If You Had to Choose: Fame Now or Later?

In honor of Days of the Dead, traditionally held November 1-2 in Mexico as Dias de los Muertos . . .

Deep Thought Thursday

Is it more important that you achieve fame for your art while you're alive or that you live on through the history books?

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22 thoughts on “If You Had to Choose: Fame Now or Later?”

  1. Why does it matter, as long as your art is selling well?!
    It would be nice to have fame while alive and after in history. I would hope my art would continue to be enjoyed many years after I am gone. Yet, want to sell plenty now while alive.
    Circling back…why does it matter, as long as your art is selling well? ;P

  2. “Success can corrupt, while usefulness can only exalt.” Is my work useful… would be a better question and probably with better results for quelling….the…

  3. fame as in what – being known around the world for the quality and unusualness of my work? or in terms of sales? they’re not the same….. many say they like and admire, but few buy…

  4. I would prefer the legacy. It isn’t about the money, rather knowing I could move and inspire others way after I am gone.

  5. Now, definitely. In Heaven, this will be the last place I’m thinking about. But, rather than fame, I would like sales so I could have the freedom to leave my day job and go help people. Instead of fame, I would like margin!

  6. Those thoughts have come up in my mind all my life.
    I figure, I am just going to do the best job I can, business wise, as well as the polishing of my art, and if I get to see fame while I’m still alive, I’ll gladly welcome it; if not, I get some satisfaction in the wispering belief that I will eventually be discovered, appreciated, and my work loved and admired by multitudes.
    I am at present, profoundly grateful for the appreciation of my art by all my friends and relatives. These are people I know and love. I am satisfied. What? To be famous to strangers? That is abstract. But my ego, I guess it is, secretly wants to go down in the art history books as a testament to recognition of my perservierence and struggles and sincerity.

  7. Both. Though not necessarily famous for the same reasons. Fame after one’s demise is of a different sort and has different reasons than fame during one’s life. Perhaps I should say that now I want success and if that includes fame, then great! For the future I want my fame to be because of whatever legacies I have left.
    Do we perhaps need to be more specific about fame. How about infamy and notoriety? The latter could be an interesting legacy, too.

  8. If I had to pick it would be now. I’d like to make all the people in my life happy by them seeing me successful with my art, especially my Mom. She would be so happy for me and then of course I could make sure I could take care of her when the time comes. Also, sharing the rewards with those I love would be icing on the cake!

  9. Victoria Pendragon

    I make art because I have to. It’s always been that way. And I don’t share it for me, I share it because it has…wait for it…a message. People like it or they don’t. It’s immaterial to me, though I do enjoy the enjoyment when it happens. As well, I enjoy the utter confusion it sometimes generates. Lets me know I’m doing good.
    I don’t need fame now or later; I just need to do what I do.

  10. Later. This is something very clear to me. For now I want to make a living, get some recognition but from collectors and the few galleries or agents that would matter. “Fame” implies a larger exposure and public interaction that I really don’t want to take part in. I’d rather putter in the studio and have my friends make me leave the house every couple weeks! But I definitely, most definitely, want to eventually create things (I’m not there yet) that are shown in the Tate Britain gallery. I want my work to be significant enough as a whole near the end of my life or after I’m gone to be given to the public and actually shared in public collections. I think maybe this is because my art is all I’ll leave as evidence of my life, and I’d like to leave something. 🙂

  11. I want to make a lasting impact with my paintings, and leave a legacy.While I am a spiritual person, but not sure about any kind of ‘heaven’ or afterlife; so for me, immortality is gained through art. I would rather make a claim that way: if you think about it, Honey Boo Boo is getting her 15 minutes while alive, along with those talent-free Kardashians. I choose “no” on that 🙂
    It continues to impress and surprise me that my clients actually love my more challenging work, and buy it, and the easier paintings don’t sell nearly as well. That tells me that whenever I paint in the grips of the true creative force, it is the right direction, and not to worry about commercial art at all; for today or for a legacy.

  12. Now please, and for the rest of my life. I learned a good lesson when I was on Oprah — Fame sells. It’s best if you’re ready for it. But I think everything you’ve taught us Alyson is about spreading the word, and extending your reach and audience. Artists, unless they have one wealthy patron, need a wide audience to earn a living. The wider the better. So now please.
    After I’m gone it would be nice to continue to have value, but the critical part is now while I walk this beautiful planet.
    XO Barbara

  13. I think it depends what you define as fame as well as the degree – local, national or international.
    Do I want people to respect my work, recognise it and seek it out? Yes.
    Do I want people to be snapping my paintings up as soon as they’re produced? Yes. Do I want my work to be seen as an important step in the big picture of Art history? Yes.
    Do I want to be treated like the next Lady Gaga, mobbed wherever I go? Nope!
    There will always be dangers with peaking too soon, but if you want a degree of success then some level of fame is part of the package, surely? Sure a legacy is a fine thing to leave but everyone wants to be appreciated in their lifetime.

  14. When Artists create any type of Art that inspires people, that has a visual and emotional impact; they have already made themselves imortal. In today’s world Artists are “Googleable”. History is already made with each work of Art they post and sell. Gaining Recognition for thier work, ideas and how it impacts people when an Artist is living and breathing is ofcourse a Cherry on the top!

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