Resourceful Artists Make Their Skills Work For Them

Only very rarely are artists able to pay their bills through their craft. But that doesn't mean they're only relegated to boring desk jobs. In fact, many are able to use their skills to earn a living.

It may come as a total and complete surprise to hear this, but a career as an artist isn't often going to pay the bills. For many, that's okay. Art isn't created to earn a living; art, in and of itself, is a living. If creative folks were only in it for the money we'd live in a pretty bland and colorless place.


Michele Carlson of KQED has a great piece up right now about how artists living in San Francisco are able to make ends meet despite residing in one of America's least-affordable cities:

"Artists are resourceful. They employ great creativity and consideration in how they make a living, often equal to that which they bring to their artistic work. Many artists cobble together odd jobs or freelance work that offer flexible hours, though financial inconsistency is the blessing and curse of independence from a day job."

This pragmatic approach is why, for example, so many actors double as waiters and similar positions that allow for stage sabbaticals. Carlson's article also highlights visual artists who have worked as freelance graphic designers, a curator who sells items on eBay, and a poet who wakes up at 3 A.M. to focus her energy on writing before heading to her stress-free day job. The piece also goes in-depth at analyzing how artists have reacted to the shifting Bay Area scene as studios and galleries get supplanted as neighborhoods get more expensive. It's well-worth a read.

The best advice for a dedicated artist looking for a day job is to find work that compliments your artistic skills and schedule. Look into freelancing. Poets and playwrights can sharpen their skills by taking technical writing gigs. Visual artists can parlay their creative skills into work as scenic painters or graphic designers.

Then again, there are those for whom art is an escape from the duties of life. For these folks, painting, crafting or writing for a living becomes a weight rather than an escape. Naturally, how an artist chooses to make a living comes down to personal preference, but it's fascinating to see the wide range of occupations they take to make ends meet.

Read more at KQED Arts

Photo credit: Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Adam Gopnik on the rhinoceros of liberalism vs. the unicorns of everything else

Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
  • Intersectionality and civic discourse
  • How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Keep reading Show less

You weren't born ‘to be useful’, Irish president tells young philosophers

Irish president believes students need philosophy.

Personal Growth
  • President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins calls for students to be thought of as more than tools made to be useful.
  • Higgins believes that philosophy and history should be a basic requirement forming a core education.
  • The Irish Young Philosopher Awards is one such event that is celebrating this discipline among the youth.
Keep reading Show less

Fascism and conspiracy theories: The symptoms of broken communication

The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.

Videos
  • The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
  • Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
  • Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
Keep reading Show less