My job involves… being flexible and finding creative solutions. I need to be able to be radical and unique whilst also being communicative and sociable. As an artist you need to communicate with a variety of people – either directly or indirectly involved in a project – and meet their intellectual, creative and emotional needs. It’s also necessary to be able to share a vision. When I have an idea, I need to translate it into a clear vision which I can then articulate. From this point, I need to seek a way to make it happen – I need to find a space to show it, get permission, find funding, set it up, promote it, document it etc.
Being an artist is like being a child and a businessman at the same time. You are responsible for everything from the initial idea through to its manifestation, display, promotion and the response of the audience.
I got my job by… creating it myself. To work as an artist, you need to be prepared to be self-employed – a freelancer. It is freedom and responsibility at the same time.
My day-to-day work includes… getting up and looking for paid opportunities from my creative ideas. Being a professional artist simply means that you have decided to take this creative obsession of yours and make it into your career. Let’s face it, we create our art because we want and need to. We don’t do it for the money, but we have to realize that without the money, we won’t have the time or energy to create our art.
I keep in touch with my friends who are musicians, filmmakers, painters, and talk to them about their projects and my own. It is important to me to be able to bounce my ideas off these people and get feedback. There is really no typical a day-to-day routine – every day is different; but I try to be involved as much as possible in all forms of art. I make notes, talk to people, and participate in other people’s projects. Being an artist is about having a wholesome attitude and constant curiosity. Everything can be inspiring.
When I feel I am ready to materialise my ideas then I take a few days or weeks off from my other work and just do it. You have to get your hands dirty.
The most rewarding part of my day job is… getting to know yourself. Managing your own time, belonging to a community of like-minded people and being an eternal kid helps you to do this. It’s great not having to be any particular way and abide to others’ expectations.
It’s also very rewarding to emotionally touch people through my work.
The most challenging part of my job is… achieving financial stability. Being self-motivated on a daily basis isn’t easy. Being self-employed means you are without a pension, holiday pay or maternity benefits. Contingencies such as falling ill or having children require pre-emptive financial planning. You have no guarantee that you will be financially rewarded for your work so often you need to juggle a few jobs at the same time. At the moment I work as a freelance interpreter, editor and hypnotist while also pursuing my art projects in film, sculpture, sound installation and performance.
My advice for anyone looking to get into this industry is… mingle with like-minded people, show your work, create a website, approach galleries, show your work on a regular basis. Promotion and networking is as important as the work itself. Having a good online presence shows that you are self-motivated and digitally literate. Build a very good portfolio you will need it throughout your career. Take on internships and art residencies, and even organise talks and presentations. It is a good way to create international networks, build your portfolio and be seen as an international and professional artist.
Take a look at Eva’s portfolio here: http://www.wooloo.org/artists/13599.