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  • Writer's pictureStuart Jarvis

Concrete Chronicles no.6

Welcome New Subscribers!

Hello everyone,

A warm and heartfelt welcome to all our new subscribers! Thank you for taking the time to provide me with your email. I hope you'll find my musings on art, creativity, and the artist's life both interesting and inspiring in this and previous editions of the newsletter.

Also, keep an eye out for special offers in the coming weeks!

The Myth of the Starving Artist: Fact or Fiction?

Is the myth of the starving artist still a reality? Do thriving artists exist, irrespective of their subject matter or so-called talent? Let’s unpack this intriguing question.

The myth of the "starving artist" is harmful and false. It drains energy and can lead to valuing money improperly or being underpaid. Films and textbooks often skip artists' financial struggles, ignoring the dizzying heights of artists like Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, and Anthony Gormley, who seem to have hit the sweet spot of combining talent, timing, and good luck. These stories reflect that our ideas about money and art are complex.

Ask yourself whether your beliefs about money and art are realistic or societal myths. These beliefs may hinder one's creative career or side hustle. If so, reconsider why you hold onto them.

Artists deserve fair pay to continue their work, whether they're painters or filmmakers. The myth of the starving artist harms their ability to make a living, as accepting low payment sets a precedent that affects others. If you can’t support yourself with art, find another job to sustain your creativity.

The rather sobering reality is that only about 1% of artists are “discovered” by mainstream galleries and achieve public recognition. In fact, most galleries are not eagerly accepting new contemporary artists. In the busy and competitive world of social media, artists are constantly vying for recognition from an ever-changing audience with shifting criteria. Today's adept artists need to be experts at adaptation—particularly when handling the skills attached to social media.

So you might ask, what do artists really want?

It’s reasonable to say that most artists don’t seek fame but rather just enough success to make a living.

This is where I comfortably sit. My goal is to create the things I love, sell my originals, or be commissioned consistently enough to bring about a life of certainty. This life is not to be mistaken for the delicately romanticised view of artists' chin-scratching in their studios with seemingly endless days squandered; it’s hard work and dedication, sprinkled with a dash of uncertainty.

For those who do find success, it’s often supplemented by another job—sometimes full-time, other times part-time. For example, my role as a teacher is integral to my professional life. I work six days a week at a busy boarding school and cherish my one day off. Teaching enriches my life and is not something I’m prepared to give up. But that’s a discussion for a future newsletter.

New Focus: Prints and Print Art

So what’s the answer? Well, until I receive that precious phone call from Charles Saatchi or Sir Nicholas Serota, desperate to buy all my work and pile thousands into my bank account over the next decade, I'll be busy making drawings and paintings from the big ugly objects I love. - (See Concrete Chronicles no. 5!) These, in time, will make beautiful prints for you, my loyal followers.

I believe I can make a success of creating high-quality reproductions of my original works.

Fine art prints are not just poor imitations but are artefacts in their own right. Colours are rendered with stunning accuracy, representing the rich glazes of oil paint or acrylic, and charcoals are faithfully reproduced to mimic the original marks in rich, velvet-like blacks.

Presenting these prints digitally signed, numbered, and conveniently sized, at a fraction of the cost of originals, makes them an attractive prospect. It also makes sound business sense for any artist striving to make a living.

I’ve partnered with a fantastic company called The Print Space. They understand our exact needs as artists and provide excellent fine art printing services along with tons of art sales advice, regularly conducting webinars and managing supportive Facebook groups. Oh yeah, and they’re 100% carbon neutral.

(This is not a Print Space sales pitch; I’m not receiving a commission through affiliate links!)

In the next few weeks, I’m excited to prepare some new prints for sale—some of my favourite works and ones that have proven popular previously. I plan to reduce the size of the print shop and carefully emphasise the quality and scarcity of these products. While this might seem like a cynical sales technique, I genuinely believe it will help in my ongoing pursuit to make a living from my art.

As loyal subscribers, you will be the first to hear about these new prints and will have the first opportunity to acquire them. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your continued support and interest in my work. I’m thrilled to have you along on this journey.

Enjoy the journey, and please get in touch. Email me with your thoughts!

Until next time,


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