When to call it quits… as an artist.


Living as an artist is tough stuff. Each day one has to press all the creative spirit out of oneself sell the distilled version while convincing everyone theirs is the best. In her article “When to Give up one Your Art Career”, Alyson Stanfield provides a clear cut solution to the inner voices of want-to-be artists. Characteristics such as “thick skin and iron stomach”, adapting to rejection, and wanting to make money from ones own art are fundamental to surviving as an artist.

As stated in the readings:

“In that respect, the artist’s earnings, like those of any self-employed worker, depend not only on her skill, talent and effort, but also on how well she performs the managerial and entrepreneurial functions (Aronson, 1991)”. (Menger 250)


“Basically, current individual work trajectories combine more and more traits from professional as well as from entrepreneurial careers: professional careers rely on reputation certified by the community of peers and by the inner circles of experts and middle men in the art worlds. But artistic careers exhibit low loyalty to organizations, and artists very often have to operate like small businesses,” (Menger 249)

Stanfield is like minded, and simply states:

“Just because your best friend says your work is wonderful and “you should try to sell it” doesn’t mean you should feel compelled to make a living as an artist.”

While all the research in the world can help convey the precarity of art as occupation, a simple and straightforward reassessment of one’s approach could help lower the supply of menial “artist”.


-Garrett Poortinga

Alyson Stenfield’s Article: http://www.artbizblog.com/2012/10/give-up.html


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