Can one be a serious artist and have a regular full time job?

There have been several people whom had made a statement to me that an artist is not as serious or genuine as one that does not also have a full-time job to make ends meet.  When I first heard this I did take it personal. I was a little annoyed and since then however I have been thinking about this.

The first thing I want to do is break this down. To use logic, that means that all “real” artists do not have any other job except their “art”.  Let us look into the “real” artist argument.

The definition of “artist” in Webster’s Dictionary states;  :

; a person who creates art : a person who is skilled at drawing, painting, etc.
: a skilled performer
: a person who is very good at something

Hmmm! I do not see anything in the definition that states not having a full-time job other than art. I am confused. Let’s dig a little deeper. With the definition in place, here is the definition of art:

1:  skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <theart of making friends>

a :  a branch of learning: (1) :  one of the humanities
:  an occupation requiring knowledge or skill <the art of organ building>
a :  the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also :  works so produced
a archaic :  a skillful plan

b :  the quality or state of being artful

Ok, once again, I am unable to find the phrase, not having a full-time job. So, it does look like that statement falls apart. oh well. 🙂

Great Work Ethic or Jealous Mistress?

(Train Girl Series)
Pencil and pastel on tinted paper
Great Work Ethic or A Jealous Mistress?
Every morning I wake up hours before I have to leave for my 9 to 5 job. The alarm does not even go off. I awake, make coffee and fire up the airbrush for another daily 3 hour session at the easel. Each morning is an attempt to learn from yesterday morning’s mistakes and I attempt the resolutions I have wrestled with in my mind the night before.
When I am on my way to work, on the train, I have my portable studio and I work on my drawing skills; working to sharpen my eye and hand. These little drawings, which now I have over 20 done, are called my “Train Girl” series. I also work on them on my afternoon commute as well. Without these exercises, I would feel horrible all day.
Like a shark I am constantly pushing myself, always moving and searching. I am never satisfied and I never want to “arrive”. This, to me, would be a defeat. I never want to ever have a limit or ceiling to what I want to accomplish with my art. I am definitely not talking in monetary goals. I am speaking of artistic goals. To draw and paint better and better, to be able to reach a hurting world with a little beauty.
The question I ask myself sometimes is this; Am I hugely ambitious or is it a compulsion? Is this something that I have a choice to do, or is it involuntary, as the shark has to keep moving or die? Is art, to me, a jealous mistress, that does not allow other endeavours take her place or even come close? I know this, that any 9-5 job I had, always took a back seat to my art. Maybe that is not clear enough, my art was always the locomotive and the 9-5 jobs were the coals that allowed the locomotive to run.