An Artist’s Life is a Solitary Existence
As an artist, you spend the prime hours of your day completing the works of art that you hope will support you and your artistic dreams. You believe that your art will someday be viewed by intimate crowds in a gallery setting. Or that if you get a really big break, your pieces might find a place before an adoring museum crowd or in a well-traveled public space. At the very least, you hope to make a living from your efforts.
An artist’s life is a solitary existence, but that aloneness is one of your most important creative tools. It gives you the quiet time to conceive your next big idea. It gives you the peace to create. As an artists you live a solitary lifestyle because that’s what works for you.
As an artist, you are the ultimate self-employed earner. Not only do you create fabulous works of art, but to bring home a paycheck, you also fill the shoes of an artist’s agent and an artist’s marketing professional.
Selling your art calls for a tedious balance of creativity and social skills. It takes marketing savvy most artists would rather not have to cultivate. As an artist you’d probably prefer to be at home creating art instead of making phone calls, wandering from gallery to gallery, or posting work samples and marketing blurbs online. But if you don’t sell your art, who will?
Artists Must Buy Supplies to Stay in Business
When you make money selling your art, you must eat and pay the rent, but you must also buy supplies. If you eat well but don’t have the brushes, pigments, canvas… or whatever medium you need for your creative process, eventually you’ll spend yourself out of business. Then you’ll have to get a real job.
Art is Not an Office Job
A recent National Endowment for the Arts report, “Artists and Arts Workers in the United States,” said that artists earned more than the national average salary. As an artist, you know better.
The careers they cited –architects, and graphic designers– are often tied to corporations and industries. Painters, photographers, sculptors, and other self-employed artists don’t have corporate salaries with benefits.
Artists Might Not Have Healthcare Insurance
As your artist’s career probably isn’t an office job, there’s no regular salary check to pay the bills. There is no sick pay or paid vacation. There’s no company-subsidized health plan for medical emergencies.
To afford individual health insurance for the self-employed, you would have to create and sell a piece of art each month just to pay the premium for bare bones coverage. It can be a choice between health insurance or eating and paying the rent.
Speaking of Rent
Unless you have a sponsor or a high-dollar grant to pay the bills, living in New York can be an economic roller coaster for a self-employed artist. Fortunately the city has embraced affordable housing for those who fit a broadly defined “artist” category.
Manhattan Plaza is 70 percent occupied by performing artists. A new development in West Chelsea will offer affordable housing for “..actors, singers , and other artsy professionals …” East Harlem Elementary School will become El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, a living/working space for artists. These projects are possible due to historic property tax credits, Section 8 housing programs, and arts and preservation organizations who value the artists in their community.
Do You Live a Solitary Life?
If you’re living an artist’s life, you have no co workers in the next cubicle, no standing lunch dates or afternoon coffee in the break room. You do it all alone, but you don’t have to. Contact us, and we’ll help you with marketing, online listings and great artist’s resources.