The Struggles of the Modern Artist

It’s not easy being an artist – especially a modern-day one. You have all those hours put into creating a piece, and it’s not often that your work gets appreciated.

It’s not easy being an artist – especially a modern-day one. You have all those hours put into creating a piece, and it’s not often that your work gets appreciated.

Granted, artists also had struggles to deal with in the past, but they were often different from what they have to deal with today. 

Whether you are a painter, a tattoo artist, or perhaps even a singer or instrument player, you probably know what we are already talking about. On the other hand, if you just want to learn about the world of artists, here is what they are dealing with almost daily.

Stress of Deadlines

Artists, regardless of their niche, are always struggling with stress caused by deadlines. For example, as a painter, you can create an average timeframe. However, there are also times when delays happen.

Perhaps a certain piece of work needed a lot more detail work than what you expected. Or maybe you took on too many requests than what you could handle. In this case, the looming deadlines can lead to a lot of stress bottling up, resulting in massive burnout. 

Many artists use things such as USDA organic CBD salve to soothe the stress out – but the problem is that this happens quite often. Creating art is not like a 9-to-5 job where you can clock out whenever; deadlines always press you.

© Jakayla Toney

Balancing Jobs

The problem of a modern-day artist is that unless you are some big-shot extra-talented one with many clients, it’s challenging to make a living. Even talented artists may have to struggle for several years until they are recognized for their work. 

As a result, most modern artists would have to get something we commonly refer to as a “day job,” lest they want to become starving artists. Once they are done with their 9-to-5 job that pays for their bills, they have to return home to guess what: even more work. Some might find it challenging to balance both jobs.

Exposure vs. Pay Rate

Here is the main problem with modern artists: if you want to get paid, you need to get exposure. However, you cannot get exposure unless you receive commissions for your projects. And many prospective clients know about it – and take advantage of it.

Let’s say that your art niche is in photography, and you take artistic pictures of people at events, weddings, and so on. At some point, you might receive a request to take pictures at someone’s wedding – someone who owns a highly rated restaurant. The offer would be no paid money, but exposure as you worked with a known line. 

This can happen to artists, as many are asked to do free work to improve their exposure. Some may be forced into accepting this, whereas others might have to lose a prospective client. Both options are very inconvenient when what you are looking for is a paying customer. 

Explaining Prices

If you are an artist backed up by several years of practice, you probably understand this more than anyone. Every time someone asks you for your prices and gives them a quote, they are appalled that you are asking such a high price. 

After all, “you only spent such a short time on it,” or “others can do it cheaper.” They do not realize that they are not paying for the time you spent doing that piece. They are paying for the years you spent learning that skill.

Sure, there will always be someone that can “do it cheaper.” However, that person may not be as backed up by experience. This leaves the artist having to explain their prices and be called names simply because they are asking for a fair price.

Obtaining the Work Tools

When you work at a 9 to 5 job, you have all the tools for your work right there. You won’t even have to worry about buying gas for most jobs, as they often give you discounts for commuters.

However, if you are an aspiring modern-day artist, no one is paying for your work tools; you’ll have to work things out yourself. If you have started a career in photography, the chances are that you had to invest in some expensive cameras and lenses. The painting will also have you invest in brushes, canvas, and other tools.

Depending on the type of art, you may have to make quite a significant investment – one that may or may not end up bearing fruit. Before you even think about making money, you may have to spend a lot of cash on the work tools. And the problem is that they might not always balance each other out.

© Simone Perrone

 

Requests for Free Work

“Oh, you are an artist? Can you draw me/take pictures of me?” As an artist, you probably came across this question a lot. It’s so common that the issue became worldwide, with people expecting free stuff just because you can.

The biggest problem is when these requests come from people you know who don’t see your art as an actual “way of living.” They see it as something you do as a passion or a hobby rather than something you do for a living. 

They may not be completely wrong. You may like what you are doing. That being said, this doesn’t change the fact that you spent time and resources doing that piece of art for them. As an aspiring modern artist, you are not expected to drop your work just to do a favor – something that many people might expect of you.

The Bottom Line

Being a modern artist is nowhere near easy. From low pay to struggling to maintain a decent line of paying customers, it can be rather difficult to keep yourself up. Still, with work and determination comes a lot of success, something you may not want to forget.

© Arash Asghari

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