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Will We Ever Find Creative Nirvana?

Updated: Apr 2

This article and it's attached report are important reads for all artists and especially big organisations who could actually do something to create change but don't because it suites them that artists will be so blinded by the shiny opportunity they'll work for buttons and exposure.

From my own experience, I resonate with so much of the findings in this report. 6 months ago I gave up all my freelance side work to completely focus on my creative practice, determined to prove I could survive as an artist. I was wide eyed, excited and optimistic, truly believing if I was making big brave changes in my life to work towards my dream life of art making and financial abundance I would never again be in the precarious situations of the past. I dreamed I'd pass on the secret sauce to other artists so we could all live in our financially stable creative nirvana. As I write this I find myself again at the precipice of giving up on trying to make it financially viable to be an artist and beginning to look for a 'real' job. Living in your joy is harder than it looks and at what point do you give up and look for another type of joy (is there another kind for me?).

Reading this report makes me feel naive to even have even considered that I could be the exception; the one person in all the land to crack the creative business code. Of course one person can't change a system that doesn't work for artists. At the moment galleries are the equivalent of Instagram selling our data while we provide the content for free. Can galleries, curators and artists work in a more symbiotic way? Can we create a new system?

Not long after reading that article I saw another one about the Brighton Centre for Contemporary Art closing it's doors. These articles along with my inner emotional wrangling, made me feel similarly to how I felt at the beginning of lockdown, when all the places I regularly worked had to close their doors and I had to think about who I was if I wasn't an artist and didn't have these jobs. I'm finding the outlook for continuing being an artist very bleak indeed. I'm wondering what other career path I could possibly choose, while simultaneously feeling too old to begin a new career at almost 50 and too unprofessional having never worked longterm for any kind of organisation. Maybe I'll open that animal sanctuary...

“It’s frustrating for me as an artist but the wider picture is far more troubling. This government is decimating the arts, it’s stretching it to the limits. The whole brain drain is really unhealthy. It’s not just unhealthy for the context, it’s unhealthy for society. We need artists and we need art.” - Helen Cammock

Through reinstating this blog I hope to be at least a small part in the creation of new systems, starting with keeping on going, keep writing and keep making art. Let me know what you think.

If you can spare it and you enjoyed this post please buy me a coffee to help support me doing what I do best.

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