Making a living as a creative practitioner

Artist Nadege Meriau came to give a guest lecture to our course to talk about what working in the Creative Economy is like. As a practitioner in the creative economy myself, I agreed with a lot of what she said.

One truth about being a creative practitioner few people seem to realize is that, most likely, you’re not going to be able to solely live by your art and there’s no shame in that. It doesn’t make you any less of a successful creative practitioner.

In my opinion a successful artist is one who manages to create time and space to express themselves creatively, while still making a living, no matter how. There are different ways of making a living that go together with furthering one’s own career as a creative practitioner.

  • Exhibiting your work at fairs
  • Teaching
  • Academic work
  • Participating in talks
  • Applying for grants and awards
  • Working on commission
  • Working together with sponsors

Often people, especially those not working in a creative profession themselves, only consider an artist successful if they can live by their art. However they forget that many an artist we consider to be extremely successful today actually earned most of their income through different channels. Famous musicians like Mozart taught rich amateurs or worked on commission. In fact van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime and yet, today he is considered one of history’s most significant painters.

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