Why is it that people seem to think it is OK to call artists ‘MAD!?’
Or ‘Not normal!’

Honestly, I am fed up with it!
To be an artist means being a highly functioning person –


  • artists create objects of desire
  • artists have to have an ear to the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, to do this
  • artists put their ideas into practise, they are motivated self starters
  • artists have to sell which means being a marketeer and a salesperson, both in person and online these days
  • artists have to maintain a website and compete in a global market
  • artists have to be able to cold call a gallery or think out of the box to find a venue
  • artists have to be events organiser par excellence, to host private views and exhibitions
  • artists also have to be caterers, what other job involves throwing a party to make a sale?
  • artists have to be good networkers, to be able to find new markets for their work
  • artists have to be able to write about their work and them selves
  • artists have to be accountants, book keepers, do mail shots, general office stuff
  • artists have to be organised enough to commit a lot of time to their work
  • artists have to be resourceful and be prepared for feast or famine
  • artists have to be risk takers and gamblers (unless someone else is paying the bills) as there is absolutely no guarantee anyone is going to buy your work, you have to develop trust in your own ability
  • artists often have to work more than one job, to pay the bills, whilst producing their real work
  • artists have to have self belief, commitment, drive, motivation
  • artists often have to overcome years of rejection and failure and still keep producing work
  • artists have to be finishers, commit to an idea and see it to completion to succeed

This list is not exhaustive….
Being an artist is running a business like any other business.


Which bit of that is MAD?


I suspect the cultural ‘mad artist’ view was born with Kirk Douglas portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in the 1956 movie ‘Lust for Life’. Vincent is seen as a raving howling lunatic his madness culminating with cutting off his ear. The ear event is not entirely factual as a recent fascinating BBC documentary ‘Vincent’s Ear’ proved.


In earlier times artists have worked in courts and palaces, been commissioned by the church, employed by patrons …. been respected for the talented individuals they are.

I am not a great artist by any means, but I am a good artist, a selling artist.
I have paid my way as an artist for a long time. And I am really truly fed up with being called mad.
Even as a joke!
I promise you I am not humourless, I will laugh with you, but seriously – enough!


Passionate yes, mad no!
I don’t go round calling other people mad!


Artists are magicians, transformers, sensitives, creatives, idealists, enthusiasts, skilled observers, experimenters, insightful individuals, artisans, questioners, visionaries, believers, lovers of life, communicators, alchemists, idea-mongers, inspirational beings, inspirers, energisers of culture, path finders, commentators, enhancers, leaders, self starters, free thinkers, truth seekers, often extraordinary ….


But not mad!


Look at that list!


Artists have a LOT to offer in this current mad world!



‘Perpetuating the Myth’

Cartoon by Kirsten Harris

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