Artistry, like a coin, is three sided. There are the two faces that everyone is very aware of, and then there is the edge, which is a side in and of itself. The front face of the coin is the image of the successful artist; the lavish character who shows in manhattan galleries and is bid on by wealthy collectors. The back side of the coin is the craftsman, who still falls into the realm of art, but makes products of a salable nature. The edge of the coin is the art, the passion.
The front side: When people first think about art they think about the four living artists who's names they know and the 50-some-odd dead ones who are etched into history. Living artists that have reached the tips of the public tongue are Banksy, Jeff Koons, Damien Hurst and.... Richard Sera (?)... and out of those most people probably just know Banksy (and everyone knows the dead guys). But when people think of art, there is a glamour, a shirking of societal norms, a panache, something intangible. This is the face of art. What this group actually represents, however, are not really artists, but very smart business men. This image represents the top .01 percentile (a microcosm of the american dream).
The Back Side: If you're an artist and you care to survive in society and you don't belong to that .01 percentile (or happen to be in possession of an incredible fortune), you probably belong to this category. You make salable items that can be bought or sold for a moderately sized audience. You make a modest living, selling a particular product, and doing fairly monotonous work, while occasionally doing what you love to do on the side. Often the product which sustains you in this realm overtakes the joy and it simply becomes a job, and the idea of doing the work we enjoy (after we spent all day doing the work we don't enjoy) is just too daunting to consider. And to the same effect there is also the artist who works at the whims of his client. His or her personal vision is merely an additive spice to the sauce the of the customers directives. Subjugation to the passenger seat. Not pleasant. But it pays the bills.
The Edge: Ah to reside on the edge. What a precipice it truly is. Those names you know, of the long since dead, have all certainly ridden this edge (go watch Lust for Life or Rembrandt and you'll see what I mean). To be on the edge is to be guided by our passions, to ignore the customer and ignore the world and it's demands. To exist for the art for the sake of the art. Of course the potential to turn the corner exists; to go from nothing to being on top of the world... but that isn't the focus. The focus is the art itself and furthering the field of creative expression. It is to realize that you are part of something much greater than yourself and to strive to make progress in that realm. It is to show that art is not just here to become wallpaper, but that humanity benefits from it, that what we represent in our art is a powerful representation of what we are as a society, and the better the art, the better we can represent that. That is the edge.