On Saturday afternoon, after another frustrating slow-progress session in the studio, I walked south through Greenwich and Soho to a store called The Compleat Sculptor. Inside, it looks a bit run-down. This is possibly because, in the entrance lobby, there’s the following sign:
One of the challenges of being a sculptor is the cost of materials, equipment and storage. Painters may get off slightly more lightly, although good linen canvas and paints are also expensive. So it’s a bit galling to artists when they’re asked to donate works or sell them at reduced prices ‘in order to get exposure’. Several speakers at Friday’s TED forum made the point that in almost any artworld event – whether a competition, show or forum – the artist is often the only one there not being paid for their contribution.
This situation isn’t limited to the art world though. It happens in any competitive field. It’s just that in the arts fields, particularly visual arts, the prizes (whether sales in a show, or competition rewards) are awarded relatively subjectively, and infrequently.
I guess we’re lucky that so many of us who are driven to make art professionally are able to support ourselves in some way while we try to ‘crack it’. So while we may not turn two million into one, we do forgo significant incomes by following our passions. As they’d say over here, “Them’s the breaks, pal.”