Available Balance
The Reality of the Starving Artist
March 19, 2017
Hello! This is my first Literacybase post! Leave advice in the comments!
This is about my struggles as a "starving artist."

Your job would be an artist. Just like your best friend who wants to be a nurse. You’d put the effort into your career and you’d make it. You’d wake up, do your work and create art (like other people do their work) and then you’d collect a pay check.

But that’s not the case.

When I wake up, the only thing I feel is the crippling realisation that I am completely and utterly financially unstable. The only thing I’m good at, the only thing I’m passionate about is the one thing that makes absolutely no money. (Well that and a philosophy degree. But that’s a whole OTHER can of worms.)

See Also:

A career in the arts is no easy task. If it’s your second choice, then it’s never going to evolve the way you want it to, at the pace you want it to because you will never be able to put 100% of your effort into something that doesn’t allow you to pay rent.

And that’s not even counting all the doubt and scepticism that everybody in your life will have about your career choice. Conversations at Easter will go like this:

Oh hello Sue! So nice to see you! What’s going on in your life :)” Will say my aunt, meaning well.

“Hi! Nothing new really…” I’ll awkwardly try to evade the conversation all together.

The conversation will steer into the “do you have a boyfriend territory” and eventually she’ll get tired of my unsatisfactory love life. She’ll then ask what I want to be working as in a few years.


Because I want to say that I’ll be working as an artist. But I can’t say that without looking like I know nothing of real life. That I know nothing of taxes, rent and bills. Because art isn’t a job. “It’s a hobby.”


It’s frustrating.

I am doing my best to grow as an artist but no progress is being made monetary wise. It makes me feel hopeless. Afraid that I’m gonna stay in the 90% of artists that work minimum wage unhappily their whole lives.

And I’d love to be a concept artist or a tattoo artist, but  it takes time and sacrifice to pursue art. The people around me don’t understand the risk and reward. So for all you artsy folk out there. Hold on, the starving artist trope is the most difficult one, but it is not unbeatable.

For now though, I think it’s safe to say that I’m currently avoiding conversations with extended family about it.


    1. Never lose hope. I had seen artists who had found lucrative careers using their talents like graphic artists. Or if your works are good, you can work with an art gallery to showcase your works. I admire artists, and I know how they feel though am not one.

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