The Artists’ Hustle


The deluge of artistic labor and culture producers, together with the Internet as a flattened playing field, and capitalism’s thirst for profits at all costs, have combined to spur would be artists into a one-person whirlwind of production. Take Ryan Enn Hughes, he does his own PR, marketing, artistic production, self-manages and sells his own work. This type of work takes constant maintenance to update your website, keep your work fresh, and promote yourself across various online platforms to stay relevant.


Hughes states,  “More so than ever in this day and age, you really need to multi-task and just be ready for anything — ready for the ground to shift from under you, or ready to grab an opportunity that swings by.” Likewise another digital artist, Alex McLeod, tells the reporter, “I don’t think I’d be where I am right now if I didn’t reach out and if I didn’t hustle in every way possible.”


Yet even with these statements that speak to the constant intrusion of work, fierce competition and the insecurities of guaranteed income, the attitudes remain ambivalent and accepting. The artists admit you have to have the traits to cope with these precarities in order to gain satisfaction in this lifestyle, but if you have them, as they do, then you happily accept the forces at work, and hustle on.


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