Love, Jobs, But Not Much Money, for Art Graduates

Artist are happy, have love, but are poor.
Artist are happy, have love, but are poor.

I've been reading a lot about two subjects lately: artists and their empty lives, and happiness as it relates to one's career. These subjects seem to conflict utterly, unless you read the data from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, which says that my theory about following your dream is true: If you do, you find a lot of happiness, which is also to say that you don't find much money. But happiness is worth a lot.

The general cultural zeitgeist on artists is that they're terrifically sad. This is emphasized not just by novels about unhappy artists, but by regular, well-publicized stories of depressed artists who either commit suicide or ponder the existence of suicide blackly.

So how is it that artists -- who should, we believe, be pursuing careers that fulfill their souls rather than their retirement accounts and thus be happier than those soulless, corporate automatons -- aren't all happy as clams? Ah, but they are.