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Ziel: Romanticizing the arts is harmful to artists

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Art is, and has always been, relevant to our society. From the buildings we’re in to the music we hear on a daily basis, we live and breathe so many art forms without even realizing it, especially in a city as artistic as Fort Collins. However, it’s not often that we truly appreciate the people who make these experiences possible.

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Fueled by the likes of Hollywood and advertisements, parts of society tend to have a subconscious idea that artists have easy and wealthy lives. People think that once someone with talent decides to become a writer or musician, for example, they make a living for themselves quickly.

Ironically, the way those professions are portrayed, often in films, is simply inaccurate. Their portrayal continues to feed into the social stigma people have of artists, which in turn may be part of why good artists don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Anyone with the resources but perhaps not the talent can call themselves artists.

This mindset that some have, even if they know that the stereotype may not be the norm, sets an unrealistic standard for anyone that wants to pursue the arts as their passion or career. People consistently glorify the very few artists who “made it” with hard work.

When people go into the arts with an idea that they can become successful quickly and easily, they have been misinformed by the romanticization of artistic professions and those who were lucky enough to do well in a tough market.

One of the more well-known cases of this is “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who was a waitress and single mother living on welfare when she started the series, eventually making billions on the franchise.

Meanwhile, according to Worldometers, over one million new titles have been published worldwide in 2019 so far. Furthermore, extensive research by many has shown that the traditional and self-publishing market gets worse by the day.

In the case of authors, “indie” or self-publishing is significantly more common today. Avid readers of indie books, however, have to go through a large pile of people they deem poor writers who don’t even edit their hastily written work.

When people go into the arts with an idea that they can become successful quickly and easily, they have been misinformed by the romanticization of artistic professions and those who were lucky enough to do well in a tough market. The news flash that this is untrue is difficult to face, especially if one is truly passionate about what they do. It’s so difficult for some to realize that they may give up despite their talent.

Because of its value on the surface and how art is integrated into our daily lives, when asked if they see art as valuable, any person is likely to say yes. Yet it’s all the more difficult to sift through a broken market and recognize those who have true contributions with cultural worth and the talent to make something of what they’re passionate about.

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It’s important that we attempt to make the art we already have more valuable but also to make sure artists are free to do what they love without having to worry about making a proper living.

Renee Ziel can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @reneezwrites.

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About the Contributor
Renee Ziel
Renee Ziel, Night Editor
Renee Ziel is the night editor for The Collegian this fall. With one year of the position under her belt, she is prepared to tackle her last semester at Colorado State University and to place the copy desk in the capable hands of friend and partner-in-production Copy Chief Rachel Baschnagel. Ziel is studying journalism and currently writes for the arts and culture desk, specializing in features and community-based reviews. She has been on the copy desk for over two years and also has experience writing for opinion. Ziel writes novels and poetry in her free time, as her greatest passion is storytelling. If she cannot lovingly craft words to deliver others into the arms of escapism, she turns to being the irreplaceable editing force behind the success of any piece. Being an editor is a tough job with a lot of fact-checking, AP Style memorizations and knowing countless micro English rules, and taking on copy management comes with long nights and little praise (beyond The Collegian’s caring and supportive editorial team). However, being on such a driven, hardworking copy desk is one of Ziel’s greatest achievements thus far — it is, after all, a second home. With that, Ziel aims to finish her college career strong, working with who she believes to be some of the best journalists to grace her lifetime. Renee Ziel can be reached at copy@collegian.com or on Twitter @reneeziel.

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