I found this fascinating table via a forum that is absorbing me a bit lately (the forum that is – not the table).
I don’t know whether to be encouraged or frightened by it.
It is astonishing to me that a ‘professional’ artist/crafter/actor/composer should have a reasonable expectation of making so little money. Sure there must be many who make over $100k and many who make $500 in any given year and those figures are averaged out. Sure the figures are 7 years old, but I imagine they must still be relevant.
Making art (of any kind), is a fairly solid pursuit. Having your head tuned in, seeing, capturing, planning, skill-gathering, promoting all take time and head-space. And yes, it is a selfish pursuit as well. There are no guarantees of ever getting back any of the money that it cost you to physically produce a work (or show it) but it is an imperative activity for many of us.
I think, most people would rather buy work from a ‘full time professional artist’ than an accountant who creates on Sundays, yet, they will be unaware of the cost in lost earnings that commitment entails. Or the study. Or the failures swallowed.
And perhaps it is the fact that we tend to look at televisions, or have our own busy hands that makes owning a piece to hang on a wall and absorb over the years less important than it used to be. Perhaps artists always earned so little.
It is frightening to see what the average ‘artist’ can reasonably expect to earn, and yet we do it and continue to do it over our lives. With broad smiles and happy hearts and wistful glances at luxury items….