Day job artists in Europe
18 February 2010 Leave a comment
An excerpt from a good article in the Guardian:
But none of these scenarios will ring true for the average artist – who is more likely to be stacking supermarket shelves, waiting tables or writing advertising copy by day, and acting, dancing or sculpting by night.
Right now, the economic climate for artists in this country looks particularly bleak. There’s the innate financial instability of most artistic careers (low earnings, and sometimes none at all; little job security; no pension or other benefits), together with the recession. Then there’s the fact that – unlike some European and Scandinavian countries – the British government makes no specific social provision for artists, unless through the publicly funded regional arts councils.
In Denmark, for instance, 275 artists are granted an annual stipend of between 15,000 and 149,000 Danish krone (£1,750 to £17,000) every year for the rest of their lives. In France, public funds are awarded through regional bodies not unlike our arts councils, except that the range of awards is much greater: artists in the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, can, for instance, claim up to ¤7,500 (£6,545) specifically to equip their studios.
But in this country, for artists without a lucky early break, rich parents or benefactors, a day job is often the only way to survive. It needn’t mean that fame and fortune aren’t just around the corner: Joy Division’s Ian Curtis worked in an unemployment office until 1979, well after the band had released their debut EP. Van Morrison immortalised his old job as a window cleaner in the 1982 song Cleaning Windows; composer Philip Glass wasn’t able to quit his jobs as a plumber and a taxi-driver until the age of 41.
What a day job inevitably means, of course, is spending the majority of your waking hours not doing the thing you love: making art.