There seems to be a common misconception that being an artist is a cheap line of labour. Whether that artist is working with paintings, photography, sketching, sculpting, writing, make up or all of the above, which is painfully untrue. The painting you saw the last time you went to a doctor's office? It probably cost thousands of dollars to go into making. The photographer you see struggling to get clients? They've also got thousands of dollars put into their equipment so that they can do the best that they can do.
Maybe you recall my previous article, Respect Your Artists, which pinpointed on how we should respect our artists and stop expecting them to do things for free for us. Essentially, this is a part two to that little rant.
Art isn't cheap in the slightest. Not only is a skilled trade that comes with only years of experience, but there's also portfolio building and purchasing of the supplies. More often than not, for years artists will be pulling money out of their own pockets for these supplies, never even touching a dime that they make from the commissions or works that they have sold.
According to Alyson Stanfield of Art Biz Blog in 2014 alone, the price to be an artist was in the thousands. If you look at the number, there's a reason why the word "starving artist" exists. Rather than going to local artists who are experts in their craft, many would rather go to superstores to get their pictures, buy their paintings, etc.
An artist not only has to pay for their supplies each month, they must pay for their website hosting, studio spaces, travel expenses, gallery fees, festival fees, on top of all of their own personal necessities. For the most part, these artists are on their own, and making ends meet can really become more than just a simple difficulty.
The bottom line is, being an artist isn't as respected as it is to be any other trade. For some reason, sometimes it feels like artists are being paid with "you've got talent" rather than actual dollars. Next time you're thinking of going to one of the big stores to do something, look for a local artist. I can promise not only will you be happy, but it'll be a fun, personal, and enjoyable experience.