Jeff Goins Slays the Myth of the “Starving Artist”

Jeff Goins Slays the Myth of the “Starving Artist”

Jeff Goins Real Artists Don't Starve

You know that story of the penniless, underappreciated, unrealized “starving artist?” It’s the story that somehow equates “great art” with “no money.” It’s time for that myth to die! Best-selling author Jeff Goins leads the charge in his new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age.

This is an important conversation if you, or someone you love, is a creative trying to make a living with his/her art!


“For centuries, the myth of the starving artist has dominated our culture, seeping into the minds of creative people and stifling their pursuits. But the truth is that the world’s most successful artists did not starve. In fact, they capitalized on the power of their creative strength.”

It’s an honor to welcome Jeff Goins back on The PhotoTellers for his second interview. I was thrilled to receive a copy of his newest book a few months ago, and I read it intently (scribbling 16 pages of notes). Jeff therein paints glaring contrasts between the Starving Artist and the Thriving Artist. It required Jeff 100’s of interviews and 100’s of biographies to research, then write, and the world has spoken! Within 1 month of release, the book has hit best-seller status.

What can you expect to learn from our conversation?

  • What makes Jeff qualified to write this book?
  • Do you have to be ultra famous to be a thriving artist?
  • Why did he write the book?
  • Where did the starving artist myth come from?
  • Martyrdom and the role of the starving artist myth

“Activity follows identity . . . . You live out the story that you believe.” -Jeff Goins

Chapter 3 especially resonated with me, and Jeff and I spend a great deal of time on this topic: Apprentice Under a Master. Hear Jeff explain:

  • Why is apprenticeship important?
  • How to be a great apprentice–lessons from Michelangelo’s days as the student.
  • “The Case Study Strategy.” How to get the approach a master, and how not to.
  • Jeff’s 3 not-to-do items for approaching a potential mentor.
  • How Jeff blew his first meeting with Michael Hyatt.
  • The formula for grabbing the master’s attention: “Thanks for X, it helped me do Y. Now what about Z?”

“THRIVING ARTIST–What does it mean ‘to thrive?’ It means I get up everyday, I get to do what I love, I get to make my art. Yes, it’s work, but it doesn’t have to be drudgery. And I get paid for it!” –Jeff Goins

As the conversation draws to a close, you’ll also hear Jeff’s research on artists who work for free. If you’re thinking that you need to give away your work for exposure, or a chance at paid work later, THIS IS IMPORTANT.

He’ll then give 2 words of help for the artist who is struggling to create a viable livelihood from their art.

What legacy does Jeff want to leave? That’s in there, too. [It was an in-depth conversation!]

And then . . . dear reader . . . the conversation turns dark. It involves a public argument between Jeff Goins and Jon Acuff regarding the best Batman ever. I won’t type out the harrowing, sordid details. You’ll have to listen yourself. One of them is obviously a sensible, upstanding fellow. The other guy might be okay, but shouldn’t be watching Batman. #JesusJuke #JonAcuffNeedsHelp.


If you’d like to connect with Jeff, find him ON TWITTER. Also find him online at GOINSWRITER, or TRIBEWRITERS.

After you buy Real Artists Don’t Starve, go to DON’T STARVE to snag your free bonuses.

2 other persons of interest from today’s episode:

Photographer JEREMY COWART

MICHAEL HYATT. Grab every offer that Hyatt extends, and listen to his podcast. His podcast is the one show that I have 100%, EVERY SINGLE TIME, found EVERY EPISODE a home run. I’m not exaggerating. The guy is brilliant.


If you’re struggling with work that’s meaningful, or you’re unsure what you’re meant to do in your vocation, find my previous conversation with Jeff Goins here.

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