Recently I read that successful Canadian authors earn approximately $7-20,000 annually, which I believe basically translates to every one of the arts. Along with the overcast, cold, snowy weather these days I found that statistic to be kind of depressing. It continued to state that the bulk of a professional writer's income comes from other venues like teaching and other part or full-time jobs, like waitressing.
As my week rolled along, I began to realize that if that statistic is true then I feel especially succesful as I do sell my work and also my writing, do teach and am fortunate to hold the position of Art Program Coordinator at the local public library which means that every area of income for me is related to the arts. I'm also fortunate because my husband is the main bread-winner in this house so the amount I earn can be used for vacations, fun money and, now, continuing my education.
That's not to say it's all easy, because it's not. I do warn anyone who isn't in this 'gig' because their heart requires it, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere. When considering incomes in many other lines of work, the statistic is pretty pitiful, plus as an artist you certainly do open yourself up for criticism. It's hard to be so transparent and sensitive. And I do believe if you do work just because someone else is doing it and appears successful at it, you probably won't get very far. I also believe that if a person creates something that is special and meaningful to them, other people feel it, too.
This is hard work. It's good and rewarding, but hard. There is much time spent alone without positive feedback, which can be very difficult. But, boy, when you create something that resonates with you, it is absolutely uplifting. When you do what you do just because you want to and don't care how anyone else feels about it, that's a good day. So, in spite of the continual bad news about life as an artist, the depression, the high suicide rate, and this, I love what I do and feel blessed to be able to do it. I wouldn't live my life any other way.
AIRdirondack Art Project