The artist takes in life, breathes reality and gives us beauty. It's a massive responsibility but it's all automatic pilot for the ones called. Very few make a conscious decision to "be" an artist. Gauguin didn't quit his day job to go into art. He just quit wasting time at the bank.
The fact that Beethoven lost his hearing and composed some of the most magnificent music ever created compounds the mystery.
My neighbor, growing up, William Pachner, painted masterpieces as he gradually lost his sight.
In this culture, we sometimes reward the artist by paying them as though they were NFL stars or Wall Street thieves. Mostly, though, they live lives that we describe as bohemian or "starving" artists. Of course there is always the prospect of marrying well.
Artists, in my opinion, feel more. In most cases, they're driven to show the world all that they feel. They're wired heart to brain, direct. No governor. No insulation.
In a world of karaoke, paint & sip, cover bands and sampling, the role of the artist slides. The proprietor of an exclusive photographic gallery in San Francisco told me, "See all those Rolls Royces parked out there? I sell those people autographs."
For me, there is no intersection of art and commerce. Curmudgeon? Sour grapes?
Sticks and stones, buddy. Sticks and stones.
Where's my berét?