What’s artsy nowadays?

SO, you want to be an artist. Is this a realistic career choice, or are you going to live in a cockroach-infested flat for the rest of your life, fulfilling the “starving artist” stereotype?

In short, it is not easy to become a successful artist, filmmaker, musician or any type of creative for that matter, but many people do succeed in supporting themselves through a combination of hard work, perseverance, and using their artistic talents and knowledge in a variety of ways to supplement their income from the creation of original works of art.

The internet has broadened the reach of art and made it possible for artists to increase their visibility to viewers and collectors all over the world, making them less dependent on galleries, art associations, performance spaces, etc.

So what do artists actually do in real life? Television often portrays artists as sitting around in coffee shops all day having deep and meaningful conversations, or meandering about in interesting clothes at art galleries, or having dramatic nervous breakdowns, usually connected to drugs and alcohol.

It’s true that on occasion you’ll find artists doing these things. Yet, most of the time they’ll be where they really need to be. It’s crazy but artists actually spend most of their time making art. Be it writing a story or figuring out how two shades of make-up can produce a good special effect on set.

Artists also spend quite a bit of time observing the world around them. They ponder things, people, politics, nature, mathematics, science, and religion. They observe colour, texture, contrast, and emotion.

Being able to think about and share insights about the world means learning as much as you can. Because of this, artists spend a lot of time researching and immersing themselves in culture. Inspiration is everywhere and it is different for every artist. Yet, most have an appreciation for a wide breadth of knowledge and the creative pursuits of others.

Reading books, magazines, and blogs, going to the cinema, listening to music—these are important to most artists. For an emerging artist, this avenue often involves setting up shows in unconventional spaces like cafes, or schlepping their work to art fairs.

But if you’re up for it, then give it a try.