Making a living as an artist in Australia not as easy as it used to be

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 08:00:05 AM. People may pursue the arts for love not money, but how do Australian artists pay their bills?
Photo: Sophie Clague has been forced to take a full-time receptionist job to make ends meet. (ABC News: Meredith Griffiths) People may pursue the arts for love not money, but how do Australian artists pay their bills? The Australia Council for the Arts has released new research which shows the average income of a practising professional artist in Australia declined by about 4 per cent between 2008 and 2015. The report shows in the 2014-2015 financial year artists earned a gross income of $48,400 on average. That was way below the average income of $77,121 but above the poverty line of $22,167. But to earn that the artists had to supplement their income from other jobs. Sydney sculptor Sophie Clague knows too well the challenges. The 29-year-old has been forced to take a full-time receptionist job to make ends meet. "As an artist, the sporadic nature of the income is a real worry. You can sort of scrimp and save and live in a warehouse but you're not going to be putting anything away for the future because everything you earn you're using for living expenses," she said. Sophie earned about $24,000 last year from a combination of selling artworks, receiving grants and winning an award. But over the years she's worked as a waitress and in galleries to help pay the bills. "I do worry about my financial security in the future," she said. Despite the worries Sophie is determined and spends her weekends and spare time in the studio. "I can't imagine not sculpting," she said....Read more
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