Artist’s Rant

Artists are faced with low incomes. In terms of employment, artists do not befit a modern and just society. The government and donors are obliged to raise the income levels in the arts through subsidies and private donations. Since anyone can be called an “artist,” economists say that the effects of these discourses will mean that more people will become artists and therefore will end up earning lower incomes. Little is mention that the meanings of an “artist” and “art” have changed.  Does this mean that artistic talent has decreased? Or does it mean that more citizens want to be part of the art world?

There is evidence that real incomes in the arts have gone down considerably over the last decades, such as in Australia, in Europe, in the U.S. and in Canada. Furthermore, the increased competition between artists for the available work continues the trend toward lower incomes. The privileged art community had made many artists, who originally never were painters, entered the art world for commercial purposes. In fact, recognition of talent is mainly determined by the choices of a privileged community. After their approval, the artist becomes recognized and is then supported to officially practice their craft. These selected choices in the arts set the stage and precedence for the artistic community and society.

Despite all of that, the arts contribute to culture, the economy and individual well being. Hence, it must be supported. If arts were to suddenly disappear in a particular city or a country, the economic effects would certainly be substantial. Government subsidies give artists the freedom to make “art” that in their eyes deserved to fetch high prices. Subsidies recognize artistic endeavours and artist can also afford not to sell. As an artist, during the creation process, is important to concentrate in art making and not in art selling. It is ironic that artists are supposed to be a selflessly devoted to their art while struggling to meet ends meet. Does this means that we, artists are immune to rewards? How immune is an artist when he feels are gazing over our shoulders, who either praise our work or condemn it?  How immune is an artist when she or he feels starving?

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