Prosperity Habits for Artists

The myth of the starving artist is a MYTH that got a foothold in society’s consciousness in the 19th Century, when a man named Henri Murger wrote a tragic love story about Bohemian artists Mimi and Rudolfo. Murger lived among a group of uneducated, poor Bohemians in Paris. He knew that readers are entertained by larger than life characters who live in exaggerated circumstances, and as a good writer does, Murger started with what he knew about—the Bohemian lifestyle and from there he fabricated a story. His story was turned into the highly-successful play La Boheme; it also became a model for artists who identified with the romanticized notion of living poor on the edge of society. And so, the starving-artist mindset was born. Do a simple search on Google for “Starving Artist” and see proof that the concept is still going strong in 2019.

Believing in the starving artist myth is counter to prosperity

Not everyone who paints or sculpts or throws pottery wants to make a career out of doing their artwork. But those who do need to prosper. Artists want to rent or own a home, eat, study to improve skills, buy supplies and equipment, have a family, educate their children, afford insurance, drive a car or pay for transportation, save for retirement. According to an article on, 60 percent of visual artists earned less than half the average American household income, or less than $30,000 in 2016. The median U.S. household income in 2016 was about $58,000.  A study of the financial state of visual artists can be seen here. 

You can’t go from being an artist who is just getting by, or creating your art after you work a 40-hour-per-week job, to prosperity without changing the story you tell yourself. And the story you tell yourself is based on what you believe. To have a different experience, you have to change what you believe, because what you believe, what you think, is what you get in this life. 

Every element that makes up your life experience is drawn to you by the Law of Attraction’s response to the thoughts you think and the stories you tell yourself about your life. Every thing you tell yourself makes a difference, because what comes into your life matches how you think and feel about yourself and your life. You may disagree and argue that life happens to you and that what happens to you often isn’t fair. If that’s what you think and that’s what you want to keep telling yourself, then your experience won’t change. 

For a long time, I thought that life wasn’t fair. If life was fair, I reasoned, there would be more equality.  Everyone could have a good education, come from a good and supportive family, enjoy abundance…but that wasn’t what I saw around me. I saw great disparity and I still do. I know now, though, it was my belief that life isn’t fair that caused me to feel upset by the inequities and unhappiness I saw everywhere.

It was my own gut-wrenching unhappiness that was compounded by a lot of disbelief (I couldn’t accept what I was seeing and hearing) that caused me to say on a daily basis to anyone who was within earshot (usually, my husband) “How can this be happening? I want to understand!” That was a big ASKING. And because I wanted to understand, I got the answer. Another artist, who is successful and sells a lot of his work made me aware of the Law of Attraction (not The Secret by Rhonda Byrne).

It wasn’t easy to set aside some of my beliefs and be open to seeing and experiencing my world in a different way. But that’s what needed to happen before my life experiences could be different. 

Realizing that something is not as you want it to be is the first step. Deciding what you want instead is the second step. 

Step Three

Stop waiting for future experiences to match your past experiences. It you keep looking back and thinking about the past, that is what you will attract to yourself. The Law of Attraction works. If you focus on the negative, that’s what will come into your experience. Start telling yourself a better story. Tell yourself things that make you feel good. Things like: Everything is always working out for me. Say that until you believe it. 

Don’t look back

The past is done. Let it go. Focus on the future, on prosperity, and on feeling better. 

4 thoughts on “Prosperity Habits for Artists

  1. Sharon, I have been wondering how the heck the whole myth got perpetuated for the last 5 years. ….La Boheme! (Head slap.) That makes so much sense. I feel better now. It is fascinating how artists accidentally doom other artists by writing incredibly catchy things that cement a myth in amber. The same thing happened with van Gogh. People still adamantly believe van Gogh killed himself despite the fact that two Harvard historians, and one of the world’s top ballistic experts, cast tremendous doubt on that theory 10 years ago. But the myth still persists because it fits into the starving artist myth and because of a best selling book by a good writer and the popular movie made from it that starred Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. I wrote a post on it here.
    Thanks for posting this Sharon.

    • Thea, I’ve been aware for some time of the connection between Le Boheme and the culturally accepted concept of the “starving artist,” but I didn’t know that I had to release it from my own mind before I could expect a different experience. The starving artist story was as deeply entrenched, but worse, I accepted it! Belief in something that is intentionally fabricated by someone to manipulate others, or that is just misunderstood because the root of a story (in real life and fiction) is not clear to the contemporary audience/observers, is the source of a lot of unhappiness in our world. Thank you for leaving a comment.

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