Previously, I wrote an entry detailing the growing number of artists struggling as a result of many of the odd jobs used to supplement their income while they pursued their passion being eliminated.
The reality is as much as one can love their craft you have to eat. So can there be a balance between getting real about finances while still seeking ways to share your talent with the world?
Yes, but it’s quite a struggle, especially if you have other responsibilities.
One artist shares his story:
“Hi, thank you for inviting me to respond to your article online.
I appreciated reading what you had to say and presenting those artists who contributed to the content.
Is it reasonable and possible for an artist, musician, poet, Olympic contender to support themselves and a family and make the time to find their "voice" as an artist and hope to find a buying niche?
Should an artist earn money, working for himself, doing something far afield from art and painting?
Is teaching or working in an art-related business a better choice than running your own business on the side doing totally un-art relate things, like selling insurance or plumbing?
What an artist really needs is a part-time-job, four hours a day, working for somebody else and earn sixty or seventy dollars an hour.
I try working twenty-four hours a week designing web pages for people and paint the rest of the week and charge fifty dollars an hour at what I do, but the hard thing is keeping my clients from jamming up with deadlines all demanded in the same week.
At least when you teach art, you stir up interest in your students to buy art, and studying the old masters on your own, you can use that information as curriculum to teach others, but part-timing as a grocery clerk doesn't provide anything you can teach your art students.
What's the best combination?
Worst of all, I can't feel that I am going to give a non-art job my best effort, because my heart isn't in it, and I have this drive to make everything perfect and lose money or take on part time work that has a learning curve in it that eats up profit.
In every other kind of business in our free market system, you make money creating something that people want and need. In art, you provide something that pleases you without a thought for anyone else. How is that supposed to work?
It is a painful struggle. I am addicted to painting and can't stop, but I worry about my wife who sticks with me through this continual struggle for money.
Thank you for your ‘ear.’”
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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.