After working as an artist for the last two years I’m finally beginning to feel that I’m making headway. I recently had some of my work exhibited in Tate Liverpool and Arena Gallery as part of the Liverpool biennial (thanks to Soup Collective), and I’ve been accepted for a residency at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield. But when you stop to think about how hard artists have to work to get on, you realise the amount of passion that you must have to keep going.
For example, I have never earned a penny for all my work; on the contrary, usually, when trying to do anything within the art world, it seems to be the artist who is expected to pay. The reason that I haven’t made any money is partly down to a personal choice: I have chosen to retain my work, rather than to sell it, in order to maintain a body of work for exhibition.
I have a part time job to pay the bills, but the amount of unpaid art related work I do far outweighs the work that goes in to my paid job. I don’t just mean making artwork, I mean the amount of work that goes into promotion, networking, applying for opportunities, developing ideas and collecting or buying materials. Thankfully, my fellow artist and partner Michael Borkowsky and I share the workload when it comes to this other kind of work. Even though we make very different work and rarely collaborate on pieces of artwork, we can really help one another with the networking and promotion side of things.
I’ve also found that I have to plan my life far in advance because of the amount of varied projects that I am currently undertaking. I’m always trying to line up the next opportunity and I’m getting used to the amount of planning involved. It does mean that I haven’t had a holiday this year though, because I hadn’t allowed for a planned break in between all of my projects.
I’m not complaining though, I absolutely love being an artist. For me, it’s more than a job, I feel that it’s a calling. I’m happily in the position at the moment where I am getting opportunities for free, rather than having to pay for them, which is a huge step in the right direction. Perhaps I will even have made some money by this time next year!
You can keep up to date with all of my current projects as they progress on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-Mossbeck/173633476019580?ref_type=bookmark
You are so right, the marketing sucks up a lot of time, and for little monetary reward. But when it’s a calling you must answer the call. Luck to you–luck plays a big part in getting recognition.