This is a good question, what does an artist do all day? What I do know compared to when I first graduated which was in 2003! is completely different. Then I thought the world would come knocking! I’d be asked to exhibit in lavish galleries, travel the world to various events and oh yes live a Bohemian Life!
Instead reality came knocking; I worked in a call centre, as a waitress, worked in an office, then found myself working as a youth worker which I absolutely loved! The word artist slowly took a back seat. But my need to connect to artists NEVER WENT AWAY! I did get very frustrated and stopped making art when pregnant with my second child, but when he was 4 months old I watched Bill Cunningham New York. This documentary hit a nerve, it was a trigger and I was back to my old self again. And I started making again.
I believe all these experiences the ones that are for the good or bad shape who we are, we discover our likes and dislikes, both equally important. I think what has helped me the most is who you surround yourself with, networking is definitely key. Being around people who get you, and as artist I believe we are sensitive human beings due to the nature of our job. We have to connect to those things that we can see or feel that create those seeds to develop work. Also being true to yourself and recognising the importance of your skills and nurturing them and challenging your practice too. Don’t be afraid of criticism, this word will only make you more determined.
For me as an artist I’d say that there is three strings to my bow;
Being a Participatory Arts Practitioner; this allows for boots on the ground working along side other professionals and communities to use art as a tool to challenge, break down barriers, educate and to enjoy sharing your passion for the arts and get paid too! This is your connection to the real world!! which is so important.
Practising Artist; continue your own art making, develop collections and feed your creativity.
Advocate for the arts; Spread the word of art and its wonder, beauty and limitless opportunities. I have done this by creating artist collective Turning Hands, being a trustee For Powys Arts Forum, taking part in community events as a speaker, judge and curator.
But lastly never undervalue yourself as an artist, because if you do you will be doing yourself and other artists a disservice.