c. Throsby argues that an artist’s career can be divided into stages. The first stage, or the beginning is when the first steps are taking in the direction of a creative career. This might be enrolling in a course and studying their chosen domain. The next stage is what Throsby describes as the period when the artist is the most hard working as they want to become professionally accepted, or established. She also argues that once the artist is established they are not as hard working, but still remain committed to their profession. These stages raise the question, how do you know when you are an established artist? The majority of artists in the survey of the reading said that they considered themselves ‘established’ once that had had their own solo show, or first professional engagement.
d. What factors hold back an artist’s professional development?
I wanted to focus on this question as I find it will become relevant once we have completed our degrees and go off to try establish ourselves in our chosen domain. In the reading Throsby argues that there are two major contributing factors which inhibit the development of an artist professionally, they are financial problems and time constraints. Financial problems include a lack of work opportunities, financial return from creative practice and access to funding/support. Time constraints arise from external pressures and responsibilities, this problem also ties in with the financial problem as a lot of artists find it necessary to have a “day job” in order to live comfortably (pay bills etc) thus there is no time to do creative work.
As a personal experience I find that when telling someone that I study a bachelor of contemporary arts the question that usually follows is “What do you plan on doing after?” I think people don’t really consider art to be a “proper career path” and that there is a stigma associated with it, and especially in Perth, where the arts and culture is not so significant. Even now, I know that choosing this career path is not going to be easy and it will definitely not be financially stable for myself. This raises some kind of fear in me, especially as I know that what lays ahead in terms of a career is unpredictable and it can go either way, successful or unsuccessful. In a way, I guess the fear of not knowing is a factor which could hold you back from developing or even starting, “Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all.” (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p.13)
Throsby, D. Hollister, V. (2003). Dont give up your day job : an economic study of professional artists in Australia (pp. 33-36). Sydney: Australia Council.
Bayles, D. Orland, T. (1993). Art and Fear. Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. Image Continuum.