The artist life- fantasy vs. reality [12]

The reality of being an artist

A question from a listener leads us into a wide-ranging discussion about the artist life. Many feel a frustration about limited time to spend on their work and don’t feel it counts alongside another career, but a recent study by The Arts council found that 68% of artists support themselves with other jobs, so if that’s you, you are not alone.

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Louise is helping with organization of North Yorkshire Open Studios and facing the reality of quite how long it takes to manage an event – and find volunteers. Alice is feeling twitchy because she hasn’t painted in a few weeks.

Audience Question

Because I don’t ‘art’ full time, I sometimes struggle to call myself an artist and feel like a bit of a fake and a fraud… not deserving enough to call myself a proper artist. If people ask me what I do I hesitate as In my heart I’m 100% an artist, in my 9-5 day to day I’m something completely different but that’s not really me!

I have to work a full time 9-5 job so squeeze my art in at every opportunity of my spare time. I really would like to turn it in to my job eventually so am working hard for it.

Have you ever felt like that? How did you overcome it?

We have no desire to put you off, or say “be careful what you wish for”, but it’s easy to feel frustrated if you can’t spend as much time on your art as you want and assume it will all be heavenly when you are a “full time” artist. The reality may be different – but that can be OK too.

So, what is it really like to work as an artist? What is the fantasy and how does it stack up to reality? Do we risk losing the joy when we turn a hobby into a career?  

We cover all this and more as we discuss our own journeys from hobbyist to professional. We talk about how we strike the balance between business and art, how we keep the joy in our professional lives, and how to get comfortable calling yourself an artist.

The reality of being an artist

Inside / outside inspiration

Louise has been on a day trip to see two major exhibitions in London – Tracey Emin ‘A Fortnight of Tears’ at White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey and Van Gogh in Britain at Tate Britain (on until 11 August 2019). Both were inspiring for different reasons, but the artworks shared an emotional power and raw honesty that has Louise wondering how she can bring more of that into her own work. (Alice isn’t competing with this!)

Carve Out Time for Art
Read the Arts council report here
Tracey Emin exhibition at White Cube
Van Gogh and Britain exhibition

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Follow Alice on Instagram @alicesheridanstudio
or Louise @louisefletcher_art

“Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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