Wednesday, July 28, 2021


The commonplace view is that artists, especially famous ones,
don’t have 9 to 5 jobs, but like many popular notions, there are
holes in the assumptions. It might surprise to learn what some
well-known musicians, composers, poets, novelists, painters
and sculptors did or now do during the day.

T.S. Eliot was a full-time banker a Lloyd’s Bank in London
while he was writing some of his most important poems,
including “The Wasteland.”

Prolific British author Anthony Trollope was a full-time
postal inspector while writing 50 popular novels. He also
introduced free-standing mail drop-off boxes into the
English system.

The man who wrote “Dracula” --- Bram Stoker --- was a
full-time theater manager.

Poet Wallace Stevens, who won most major literary prizes,
was the long-time vive president of The Hartford Insurance

Novelist Kurt Vonnegut once ran a Saab auto dealership.

Major U.S. poet William Carlos Williams was a full-time and
beloved pediatrician.

Composer Charles Ives was an insurance company
executive who invented estate planning while writing some
of the most important American avant garde music.

Van Halen’s David Lee Roth was an emergency medical
technician (EMT) during a 20-year break from the band.

Queen guitarist Brian May has a PhD in astrophysics and
also works as a scientist.

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers
is also a missile defense expert, and has worked for the
Department of Defense.

Cindy Birdsong of The  Sopranos is a nurse.

TV teen idol Bobby Sherman, who had 7 gold singles and 5
gold albums in his singing career, became an EMT and an
LAPD police officer,

The French 19th century painter Henri Rousseau was a
full-time tax collector.

Impressionist Paul Gaugin was  a stock broker for 11 yearz
before moving to Tahiti after the 1882 Paris stock market

Jackson Pollack was a full-time baby sitter who took care of,
among others, painter Thomas Hart Benson’s children.

Sculptor Alexander Calder was a mechanical engineer.

Artist Al Weiwei, while in the U.S., was a professional
black jack player in Atlantic City.

During the day, pop art sculptor Jeff Koons worked on
Wall Street as a commodities broker.

Abstract painter Mark Rohko taught elementary school

Pop artist Keith Harig worked for 8 years as a busboy at
at the New York night club Danceteria about the same time
singer Madonna worked there as a coat check girl.

Painter Richard Serra ran a furniture moving business
during the day.

Celebrated modern composer Philip Glass (“Einstein on
the Beach”) was both a plumber and taxi driver in New
York City even as he became well-known. Once he was
called to the apartment of a major music critic who, on
answering the door, exclaimed, “You’re Philip Glass!
What are you doing here?” The composer replied, ‘I’m
here to fix the dishwasher.”

The bottom line of this story is that one’s next repairman,
stock trade, taxi ride, baby sitter, furniture mover, banker,
insurance agent, coat check, etc., just might be a very
famous artist!

Don’t forget to get an autograph.

Copyright (c) 2021 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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