How to get people to start taking your art seriously

I think all creative people have dealt with questions like "that's a hobby, right?" or "you actually charge money for your drawings?!?" or even worse, "Hey, since you are musical, could you play a concert for our group this Saturday (for free?)"

And your artist soul wants to shout, "I AM AN ARTIST/WRITER/ACTOR/MUSICIAN! IT'S NOT A HOBBY, IT'S MY LIFE!"

During college, I never had encountered this problem. Everyone knew me as an artist (or at least art student.) I sold my work regularly. I got commissions regularly. No one asked if art was my "hobby" or winced when I told them the price for a painting. I KNEW I was an artist without a doubt in my mind, since... well, that's what I was. It said it on my degree plan. But after graduation, I dealt with all the normal hassles of living in the real world... mortgage payments, bills, insurance payments, balancing the budget, cooking for my husband, cleaning the house, and most of all, a non-art related part-time job. I hardly ever had time to create paintings.

So when people asked "So what do you do?" I would timidly answer, "I'm a receptionist. But trying to become an artist." I thought I was just being truthful and honest. But you know what they heard? They heard "I'm a receptionist. But sometimes I do doodles when I'm bored."

One fine day, (or actually probably when I was in the shower thinking deeply about life) I realized it. The reason that no one believed I was an artist was because I DIDN'T BELIEVE IT MYSELF ANYMORE! I confused the amount of time I was able to spend on my passion with the passion itself.

I resolved right then to change my outlook. I stopped telling people I was a receptionist trying to become an artist. I simply told people that I was an artist. And I started believing it again from the depths of my soul, like I did during college.

And you know what? Slowly everyone around me started believing it too. They treated me like an artist, not a hobbyist. I started getting offers to show at galleries, and many people became excited to talk to me about my work. I joined many art-related websites and got inspired connecting with other artists! My part-time work even graciously agreed to let me use an unused corner of the office as my studio space. All that because I changed my own attitude and started acting like what I was!

Of course, I still have a long way to go before I achieve everything I want to achieve. But at least now I'm on the right road to do so. So for all my artists who feel stuck in oblivion... try changing your own mind. About yourself, about your work, about your worth, about anything you need. Believe you are what you want others to believe you are. Just start living that way, and everything else will start falling to place. I hope this helps you!