art bum, (slang)
someone whose lifestyle is so centered upon art related activity that they decline to or fail to achieve career or social advancement at least outside the art world. The art bum is often aware that normal nine to five jobs or business careers typically interfere with the constant study one wishes to commit to his/her particular art. Thus art bums freqently seek out a living through menial labor, part time jobs or better yet, by being on the dole. Contrary to the term "bum" the art bum typically has an obsessive driving work ethic within art and works endless hours without vacation or pay, but often fails to make the rent on time and drives a ratty automobile that becomes a frequent target for impound by nasty neighbors.

The desire to work so hard for art is explained by the fact that true artistic endeavor is an all consuming passion requiring ever deeper attention to thought processes, philosophies, experimentation, networking and eventually self-promotion. The art bum is also frequently unable to find any meaningful reward in any form of labor outside of artistic endeavor. Indeed, to the dedicated art bum, most of social-economic order is about slavery and structures of hegemony, not about our higher human potential. The art bum should not be confused with those particular bums who choose to live lives without effort, without vision and without passions for the better social or personal good.

See also: art crimes

quote: "Though I eat from cans, I'm healthier" - a line from the song I'm Not Losing Sleep by David Bowie, one of Britain's hardest working and now-richest art bums who was reportedly laughed at when he announced that he wanted to be a rock star. Bowie's artistic stage career was preceded at least by one job working in a record store but that would be an art activity in itself.

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