The artist's dilemma: can creativity truly retire?

The artist's dilemma: can creativity truly retire?

As an abstract artist, I often find myself contemplating the future. It's a journey of self-discovery that has taken an interesting turn since my husband retired last year. The thought of what my own retirement might look like, and whether artists can truly retire, has been a subject of much introspection. In this post, I'll share my thoughts and engage in a debate between the pros and cons of artists retiring from their craft.

Pros of retiring as an artist

  1. Quality time with loved ones
    One of the most significant advantages of retirement is the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones. In my case, it's my husband. We dream of traveling the world, working on shared hobbies like creating metal sculptures, and enjoying activities like kayaking. Retirement could provide us with the precious moments we've longed for.

  2. Exploring new passions
    Retiring from art might open doors to explore new passions and interests. It could be a chance to delve into other creative outlets, such as writing, photography, or even teaching art to aspiring talents.

  3. Freedom from commercial pressures
    Many artists face the pressure to create art that sells to make a living. Retirement could mean liberation from commercial constraints, allowing for more experimental and personal artistic exploration.

Cons of retiring as an artist

  1. Art is intrinsic
    For many artists, creating art isn't just a profession—it's a part of who they are. It's a means of self-expression and a source of purpose. Retiring from art might feel like losing a vital piece of oneself.

  2. Creative expression and survival
    Some artists depend on their craft for their livelihood. For them, retiring might mean giving up a source of income, raising questions about financial stability.

  3. Legacy and impact
    Artists often aspire to leave a lasting legacy through their work. Retiring could hinder the pursuit of leaving a mark on the world through art, and this sense of unfulfilled potential might weigh heavily on the mind.

Play Me The Piano original abstract painting from collection CELEBRATE by Canadian painter, Claire Desjardins

Finding a middle ground

The debate over whether artists can retire doesn't necessarily have a definitive answer. Instead, it often comes down to finding a balance that works for the individual. Here are some considerations:

  1. Part-time engagement
    Some artists choose to continue creating art on a part-time basis after retirement. This allows them to enjoy other aspects of life while still nurturing their creative spirit.

  2. Exploration without pressure
    Retirement can be an excellent time to experiment with art without the pressure to make a living from it. Artists can focus on personal growth and self-discovery through their craft.

  3. Teaching and mentoring
    Passing on artistic knowledge and skills to the next generation can be a fulfilling way for retired artists to stay engaged with their craft while contributing to the artistic community.

The question of whether artists can retire is deeply personal and varies from one individual to another. It hinges on one's attachment to their craft, financial circumstances, and aspirations for the future. Ultimately, finding a balance between retirement and creative fulfillment is the key to a satisfying and meaningful artistic journey in the later chapters of life. As for me, I'm still navigating this path, hoping to strike that perfect balance between art and the adventures that await in retirement.

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1 comment

I retired at 52 to enjoy painting without pressure.. then I hit 60 and ‘came out of retirement’ to start working more professionally again due to all those things you listed ;)
It’s a wild rollercoaster in the artistic mind ;))!


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