Another great post by Harry Giles on how being an artist today generally means working over the legal maximum working week for less than the legal minimum wage.
The idea that we should just be grateful to do what we love (for free) is so ingrained that it's only in recent years that I've started a) applying for funding and b) taking more of a stand by turning down unpaid work (unless it's something I'm really passionate about).
The artists I know are among the hardest working people I know, they often work a 9-5 and then spend their evenings and weekends making art, knowing that there really isn't going to be a point where that pattern changes.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were though? and not just for the few who can make their work free of financial difficulties and other barriers.
I, along with many other artists, get furious at the kind of people who comment on articles about arts funding calling us “lazy” and “scroungers”. They have no idea. No idea at all. And I suspect one of the reasons that artists and the industry are really a bit rubbish at explaining what it is their work involves and why it deserves funding is that we’re too damn overworked to take on a major communications campaign. Here is something I think about often: that the venues that I work with have paid staff with something approaching job security, but that the artists they programme do not. When I work for a venue for free, I am almost always generating financial value for them, so why aren’t they paying me? Why are they preferencing the managers of art over artists?