Monday, 15 November 2010
Financial Security for Artists?
Of course there are some for whom this is not a problem – if they have an unrelated income from savings or a ‘day job’, a spouse or partner who is willing and able to support them and so on. And a google search will bring up articles and blog posts that give tips about how to achieve financial security whilst pursuing the career that you are passionate about – such as, ‘not putting all your eggs in one basket’. (The young musician above, in Abergavenny High Street, has found a 'basket' that is not so easy for artists - though I wonder what has happened to the 'pavement artists' who used to be quite common in years gone by?)
We all need a certain amount of money to survive and that amount seems to be ever increasing, while for most of us the global recession has made it even harder to sell our art. But this very same set of global financial and economic circumstances has made me question whether financial security is truly achievable for anyone, not just artists and the like.
There is always the possibility of what once seemed like solid financial security being snatched from us unexpectedly through changes in our personal circumstances, such as divorce, incapacitating illness and so on. In the UK public sector employees in the ‘safest’ of jobs are facing redundancy because of ‘the cuts’. Even some of the most solid businesses have failed over the past two years, not because they were built on flawed business plans but because of the difficulties with obtaining credit from the banks, coupled with shrinking demand. So the notion of ‘financial security’ has disappeared from the thinking of an ever-increasing number of people. As Michele Webber commented a few weeks ago, at least as an artist, nobody is going to give us the sack!
But still, this question of financial security is one that haunts many an artist. It is true that there are compensations for this worrying lifestyle.
“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort” – but when the boiler breaks down and needs replacing or the car begins to eat up our limited cash in repair bills, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of ‘joy’ or ‘thrill’ in the air!
So we need money as well and Olivia Stefanino’s article gave us advice on steps we need to take, attitudes we may need to change in order to bring in more money and to dispel the myth of the ‘starving artist’.
However, I believe that there is another side to this question of financial security to bear in mind. This quote from Joseph Wood Krutch and many others along the same lines, sum it up for me better than I could put it into words:
“Security depends not so much on how much you have, as upon how much you can do without.”
It doesn’t address ‘financial’ security specifically but my own experience has proved to me that it can be applied to our finances as well as other kinds of security. I hope you find it helpful.
In case all this talk of insecure finances has depressed you, here's something to lift your spirits!
Karl Jenkins is half-Welsh, half Swedish but has his home in Wales. He started out as a jazz musician but is now well-known as a composer whose works include both 'easy listening' and Requiems - and a great deal more in between! There is another version of Palladio here, with wonderful photography that is highly suited to this time of year.