A couple of articles ago I said that it was not difficult to become a vegan. I can't say the same for a career as an artist! This is a path that requires a hard skin and patience to spare. In this text, I would like to go into some aspects of my work, which perhaps tend to remain in the shadows and which many people do not know about. At least I didn't know them until I came across them myself. Being an artist requires an investment of energy and enormous working hours, which are not paid for. In this respect it does not differ too much from many other business activities. One should not look too much at the clock and the calendar if one wants to seriously try to make a living from art. You will hardly get paid for all the hours you spend writing biographies, in several languages; learning how to take pictures of your works, make them lifelike on photoshop, insert them in paper and online catalogues; create any other marketing product related to your art: postcards, envelopes, business cards . And don't forget to create and update your own website, which is an absolute necessity for an artist: without it you will not be set up professionally enough.
All this and more, which I am probably forgetting at the moment, I learned to do on my own. The Academy of Fine Arts that I attended and where I graduated brilliantly (another unique, albeit wonderful, effort) did not give me a single one of these notions. I only began to realise that I would have to broaden my technical, not strictly artistic, faculties later. I realised that in order to participate in some competitions with prizes or that offered special programmes for young artists, you had to submit a digital portfolio, accompanied by texts and personal intentions. This started my journey as an artist in the digital and real world. And you soon realise that you are a little ant in a very big world, where thousands of artists like you are struggling to gain a little space and an audience.
There are plenty of initiatives for artists, yes, but 95% of them are very expensive and you soon realise something else: Being an artist involves lots of extra hours of work and learning and... money to invest! Which is yours! Almost no initiatives aimed at artists are offered for free. But if you don't exhibit, no one will see your work and you won't be able to sell it. But it costs a lot of money to exhibit your paintings: you have to pay for the walls where you hang them. The considerable prizes offered by artist contests are paid by all the artists who have participated in the contest, but did not win! Often you have to pay an entry fee just to participate in the selections of those contests, which 99% of the artists do not pass.
Each artist will find his own solution and sooner or later perhaps a balance between earnings and investments. There are those who perhaps find sponsors, those who perhaps are regularly supported financially by their families, who perhaps are good enough both as artists and as promoters of themselves! But most artists, and I consider myself among them, will have to support themselves. That means self-funding your art career with other jobs, for years, or you don't move forward. It's going to be a long road, because time is fragmented and you can't use it all just to dedicate yourself to art, because how else can you pay for your life? Sometimes finding even just the time to paint is not a given, among all the things you have to do.
And you have to deal with another aspect: society doesn't consider you to be necessary or a professional, which can be very frustrating. But with time you get the hard skin! Fortunately, you also meet opportunities along the way that make you feel necessary, part of something. And you also meet people who support you and who fall in love with what you do. These people believe in you and find in your art an emotion they can't do without, deciding to take it with them forever! That object that you have made and that they buy means so much to them. And in fact it's right because inside that art there is a whole world: the artist's imagination, her ideals, her colors, her talents, her studies, her tears, her small but important successes, her defeats, rejections, discussions, self-discipline, shame, pride, fatigue, concentration, perseverance, falling and then getting up again, the overwhelming passion, obsession, and immeasurable love.