Why I Became an Artist

I once read somewhere that only one in a thousand artists becomes rich and famous. In the past, the less fortunate 999 lived and worked in the proverbial attics. (Before elevators and waterproofing, “penthouse” wasn’t such a chic address.)

The only thing left to be glamorized in the profession was the idea of the wild artistic life: women, alcohol, and drugs. Of those three vices, women were most acceptable to the public. For years, when you would say “artist,” the first picture that popped into people’s minds was somebody poor and hungry–but with a naked “model” in the studio.

That image suited artists, of course, and they maintained it, painting themselves with nudes over and over again–on canvases, but also in ads and on the covers of pulp fiction, magazines, and records.
[A big selection is below--and there are even more art babes on Print's Flickr page.]

Now the secret’s out: This is how they get generation after generation of young artists to join the profession. Promises of love and women (or, at this point, men) attract shy, insecure, and vulnerable young souls to take up the artist’s life. Kids, don’t fall into the same trap that I did. Save yourselves! 

 
All images on this page are courtesy of Mirko Ilic, a New York-based graphic designer and illustrator. He co-authored The Design of Dissent, with Milton Glaser, and The Anatomy of Design and Icons of Graphic Design, with Steven Heller. He teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts.

For even more images, check out “Mirko Ilic: Why I became an artist” on our Flickr page.
 


About Mirko Ilic

Mirko Ilic is a New York-based graphic designer and illustrator. He co-authored The Design of Dissent, with Milton Glaser, and The Anatomy of Design and Icons of Graphic Design, with Steven Heller. He teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts.

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