Monthly Archives: July 2013

(not) starving artist


It’s very possible to be an artist and not be poor. Some artists are able to support themselves financially. Some even live very comfortably.

Hard to believe, I know.

As a woman who holds a degree in Art History, I have long joked that my degree was completely worthless except when I’m watching Jeopardy and the subject is “art.”

But what is an artist to do?

Amazingly, the current economy is displacing many workers who followed a traditional route of get practical college degree-get job-move up in company. Many of them are laid off and don’t know how to bounce back. Like me, you probably know a dozen or so people who have been laid off in the past few years. Some start their own businesses, some get lucky and find another job, others are not so lucky and can only find jobs making a fraction of their previous salary.

The economic climate is changing in ways that don’t favor the old advice. The good news is that the new paradigm favors the artist.

Artists are creative thinkers. The new career paradigm favors creative thinkers
Artists are used to economic uncertainty and living frugally. When a job is lost, a person is forced to survive and hustle to find funds to live on. Sadly, this state of economic uncertainty and lack of job security is becoming the norm. The days of working for the same company for an entire career are over. The new norm has careerists changing jobs, and even careers, several times–even dozens of times–during the course of a career.

For an artist, who typically has a difficult time fitting into the more traditional paradigm, this is good news. For the artist, the key lies in thinking creatively and being able to visualize a life lived outside of the box.

The keys: having an entrepreneurial mindset, finding your tribe, and embracing technology
For an artist, an ideal scenario would be practicing art all day, while working for yourself, and possibly even being location independent. Tired of working for someone else? That’s OK. Work for yourself.No time or money to go back for a degree? It probably won’t help you anyway. Your tribe is more important. Working while visiting another country? No problem. The internet has changed the way we all do work.