I attended Carnegie-Mellon University in the seventies and I am pleased with my education. At that time they branded themselves as preparing students to be professionals in their career choices. I had some great professors and mentors, perhaps that is why I am still doing art today.
I started learning how to do oil paint at an early age. I would sit at the easel for hours. I wouldn't say when I was nine that I was a professional or even an artist. I was simply a person who liked to do art. When did that all change? One could say it was when I sold my first painting in high school to a neighbor. It could have been when I took prizes in juried shows and got into the Juried Fine Arts Show at the Minnesota State Fair. Perhaps, it was when I had a "One Man Show at Augsburg College. It might have been when I had my first art student.
I like to think that professional people provide quality services and make a passion into a paying career. To keep the passion going and developing new skills one should constantly be taking classes and workshops. In order to learn about the art business I went back to school for Commercial Art at Minneapolis Technical College. Also, I took workshops in weaving and printmaking.
I guess realtors who sell real estate as a full-time position and provide quality service are considered professionals. I guess doctors with Phd's and degrees after their name are professionals Also, doctors need to have a good bed side manner to give excellent customer service.
There are alot of people who think that they are artists. Education, inspiration and longevity are all apart of being a professional artist. I would like to think that I fit that description though at times I need to come up with other ways of making money that might not be in the art field. As an artist I specialize in house illustrations, my website should prove that I am a practicing artist with certain skills, the website is house-illustrations.com
I don't have the ambition of being a starving artist. I know most professionals don't have that ambition, too. Feel free to write to me and tell me how you are a professional in your field.