"As artists, we are eternally heartbroken." Lady Gaga
I'm a potter and full-time working artist who has been designing and making custom dinnerware for over four decades. With all due respect to Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga) I'm not eternally heartbroken, not even a little, and I confess I find the idea a little silly. Artists don't need to be broken to create good things, nor is it necessary to suffer for our art. An artist wants and needs to design and build beautiful things (Well, you can create ugly things too, but I'll leave that for another time) and to connect with people who want those things. They also want to be appreciated for their efforts by having people buy their work, love it, and come back, again and again, to add to their collection. That is how this whole artist thing works, you learn a craft through trial and error, work with mentors who will always be better than you, bust your ass every day, and maybe you'll be able to make a living at it. Maybe.
But maybe Gaga is right in one way; as a potter, I find it heartbreaking when people believe that a ceramic dinnerware set sold at a big retailer is the same because they look the same. Nope. Of course, machine-made ceramic and dinnerware won't hold up, but more important is that those sets aren't singular; they're common. When you come to my studio, there isn't a dinnerware set for sale, there is nothing to sell you until you and I design what you want. Then, you must do the one thing the big retailers won't make you do, wait. Wait! That's right; once you and I create a design, you have to wait because I'm going to throw, color, and fire each piece by hand. That takes time, but when they're all done, you'll come to the studio and see it all laid out, and that is a magic moment when you realize it was worth the wait.
I'll never be a heartbroken artist because I have invested my life in learning a craft I love with all my heart. I'm proud that my works are in homes and fine restaurants around the city, all over the country, and around the world. I didn't get here by suffering; I made beautiful things with my hands for people like you, and there is no heartbreak in that equation.