1) Massively successful in everything they try
2) Incredibly wealthy
3) Widely acclaimed by the larger public
4) Completely fulfilled by their pursuit of art
Wait... what's going on here? Oh yeah, this is the mythical professional artist, the one that is 1 in 100,000 (or is that 1 in 1,000,000?).
So who is the real professional artist? I pursue this because one day I may be a professional artist, and it will be interesting to go back and look at this list. Professional artists may not align with all of these, but I believe the list is a good start.
1) Recognition of mastery by an influential few and/or an educational / certification organization
2) Consistent output of quality product based on the mastery of the artistic technique
3) A portion of their income comes from the artistic efforts
4) The maintenance and promotion of artistic technique
5) The creation of new artistic techniques based on prior mastery
6) The sharing of artistic techniques, promoting the efforts of all other artists (including amateurs!)
It put together this list because my swing dance teacher begged off of being a professional. They said that they did not have the massively successful career or the fulfilling life from their pursuit of dance. I would consider my dance teacher a professional because they align with all of the above real-life hallmarks of a professional. Is he waiting to achieve 1 in 100,000 status before he is considered a professional? I hope not! This would leave very little hope for us up and coming professionals.