We have all heard the term ‘starving artist’, and the statement that ‘an artist needs to die before their work becomes valuable’. It is a feeling accepted and even adopted by many artists as part of their persona. You have to admit there is a certain romance in the idea of the tortured and struggling artist as we conjure up images of famous painters from times past. Unfortunately it is also an idea that perpetuates the current situation where artists are encouraged to provide their work for free, often in the vain hope of receiving recognition and opportunities for sales, and leaving them struggling to survive.
Certainly, over the years, we have all met numerous talented artists who simply couldn’t establish their careers in art. But why would they expect to be able to? Most start out on this road early in life when they have limited funds, and a talent that is just emerging. After completing any education they might be lucky enough to undertake, the artist is pretty much on their own.
As we said, over the years we have met many talented artists. Most do not have the resources or guidance needed for them to develop and create the works they are capable of and that will earn them the recognition and income they strive for. Instead, just to survive day to day, many are spending their time creating small inexpensive works that they can sell relatively easily. Some supplement their income by running art classes or taking 0n a second job. Soon this job will become their first and art will take a back seat.
Other artists we have met have managed to struggle on developing and creating some wonderful artworks. Unfortunately when, for whatever reason, they can’t get their works into the galleries where they will be seen, many of these artists continue to create artworks for which they have no identified market.
In most careers, you serve an apprenticeship of a kind, which provides an increasing level of income as you work your way up in whatever field you have chosen, and while we are not intending to pay a salary to our artists, we wondered whether a variation on this basic approach could work when applied in the field of art. Trial collaborative projects proved that it could and Fe29 was born.