3 Myths about Artists.

#1. We don’t make any money

Common question: ‘And what’s your real job’?

Sure, I work as many if not more hours than many people in conventional jobs for much less money because art is STILL not valued by society which is frustrating af. But I make a decent living in London through various income streams including private sales, art rentals, commissions, studio & corporate workshops, and I love the challenge of being in charge. It’s not consistent, but it’s exciting. (For the first few years is was more painful than exciting but….hey, we all start somewhere.) And every bit of money I get, I know exactly where it’s come from and why I’ve got it. It’s raw trade at the most basic level and it makes me feel aLIVE.

#2. We float around getting drunk, wearing funny clothes and occasionally painting.

Common phrase: ‘Ah I wish I had your job, just painting in the sun and living the dream’

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful (and proud) that I’ve made a job from a hobby, but don’t romanticise it til you try it! Even with 2 studio assistants now (woop woop) 60% of my job is at a laptop. And when I do get round to making art it’s often stifled by pressure, expectations and deadlines. Atm I’m super inspired and can’t stop creating and I LOVE my job but this comes in waves baby. When the flow ain’t there it’s draining and lonely.

#3. We’re all tortured souls.

Common phrase: ‘All artists are crazy’ or ‘I’ll let you off, you’re an artist’

Ok so…I would have probably slotted into the tortured artist stereotype at points as my followers would attest to (I’m very open about my struggles as well as my successes!). However I believe that it’s not artists that are troubled but the system we live in — and, it’s our job to question the status quo, artists are the ones that see and feel this the most.

The romantic artist archetype has benefited the elitist structure of the art world by building mysticism and enigma around artists, adding value to their work. Yes, it’s a lonely job, undervalued and badly paid and anyone working under these conditions would struggle. It doesn’t make artists intrinsically tortured. But personally I believe persevering as an artist through the hard times has made me more independent, sure of my beliefs , unapologetically me, resilient and emotionally strong. It’s time to transform that outdated perception, into one where the artist is integral to the survival and thriving of every aspect of society, in this fast-paced, competitive and ever-changing world.

As Tam Gryn writes in an interview with Create Magazine, ‘The myth of the starving artist is dead. Artists are no longer outcasts but the most desired people in society. In a planet plagued by economic crises, social movements, technological changes, climate and healthcare catastrophes, we need artists more than ever to give us the out-of-the-box ideas we need to survive.’