Over at Art and Perception, Karl has asked a question that many artists probably ask themselves; Why is it so difficult to be an artist?
He talks about the uncertainties of purpose and income. Karl also points to moments in history where artists could be reasonably sure that they would make money from art. But now, even though people are generally much wealthier, and people seem to appreciate art more, there are very few artists that can be sure that the bills will be paid.
I think one of the reasons is supply and demand. If you counted the number of emerging artists graduating from art schools around the world today you would see a lot more competition. I don’t have any numbers to refer to, but I’m pretty sure that most art graduates don’t go on to become full time working artists. Which is a good thing as I’m also pretty sure that art collectors are not multiplying as fast as artists are.
With the introduction of the Internet, it has made it much easier for an artist to make enough to pay the rent. So things are still tough, but we’re not completely helpless if an art gallery is not willing to exhibit our work.
And, we probably deserve to struggle a little with finances anyway, as I couldn’t think of a better career path to take. It’s the bankers, accountants, laborers, and factory workers that I pity.. not the artists. We have it too good.