Cardinal Points: January 2015

Cardinal Points is a monthly feature in which I highlight a few interesting articles from around the web. This month it's all about art...

I alluded in my last post to many recent discussions I've had lately about how to make a living in a so-called "creative" field. For those of us with fine arts degrees, the question of whether or not we'll ever be able to support ourselves (without tip money) is ever present. Since this has been on my mind so much lately, this month's Cardinal Points features three articles about making a living in the arts in 2015. Brace yourself for the good, the bad, and the pointedly illuminating. 


image via petapixel.com // Jenna Martin

image via petapixel.com // Jenna Martin

The Good 

This article by artist and photographer Jenna Martin argues that it is possible to make a career doing what you love and dispels some of the misconceptions about making that dream a reality. She emphasizes the importance of hard work both in developing your artistic practice and in reaching the niche the market for your art. If you've ever felt like the world-at-large has some serious misconceptions about the definitions of words like "talent" and "passion", then this is the article for you. And if you've ever needed a little extra encouragement about pursuing a career in the arts click here to read the full article. 


image via news.nationalpost.com // Sarah Lazarovic

image via news.nationalpost.com // Sarah Lazarovic

The Bad 

In this National Post article, writer Mireille Silcoff takes an honest look at the new realities of life as a freelance writer, specifically in her own field of journalism. The reality isn't great. The honest truth is that journalism and freelance writing careers don't exist the way they used to. Media is being consumed in entirely new ways and the market is hyper-saturated with with all kinds of news, editorials, essays, and stories that the general public can consume for free. (Like this blog!) In her article, Silcoff asks what career advice successful journalists of her generation can give to the bright-eyed, hopeful young writers about to graduate and enter the workforce. To find out her answer click hereBut be warned, this may be one answer that only begs more questions. 


image via theatlantic.com // Javier Jaén

image via theatlantic.com // Javier Jaén

The Illuminating 

Finally, I give you one of the best articles I've read about the reality of being a working artist in the new millennium. This piece by William Deresiewicz explores the position of artists in society throughout history in relation to both the ethos of the time period and the different ways in which artists have made their livings in varying centuries. Surprisingly, all three elements are thoroughly interconnected. Deresiewicz's main argument is that today's artist must be an entrepreneur, not just a craftsman, creative genius, or lauded professional. Again, we can thank the internet for this cultural and economic shift. What I love about this article is that is focuses on how today's artists will build their careers, not just on whether or not such a dream is even possible. This is the article to read if you want more than just encouraging motivation or laments on impossibility of ever quitting your day job. For a real analysis of the artist's place in society click here