Thursday, 6 November 2014

Art policys for the govenment

After going to a paying artists meeting last night at City Hall in Norwich. I have decided write some things down. This country has got into a cycle of not paying artists expecting them to work for free in all sorts of areas. Also paying minimum wage for gallery attendant work which is skilled and knowledgeable work. People might say oh its a hobby job doing art. Well I am sorry its not a hobby job I spent 10 years at College and Uni and been working at the skill all my life. I don't have time for hobby's. Just like my allotment is not a hobby it is a piece of land to grow food on because I cant afford to buy vegetables/food. I don't want to work for free but all these charity's organisations etc seem to organise stuff that requires artists to carry out the work but there is no money to pay them. 
What is the point of putting on an exhibition if no one can buy my art because they are being paid minimum wage and they cant afford on that wage to pay the rent and feed the kids. 
Tax credits are for people who have children a freelance artist doesn't get tax credits.
Housing benefit to top up income well the Housing Benefit department in Norwich does not know anything about self employed people and asked me to pay back a years worth of rent when I earned Zero money that year. So that doesn't work.
Signing on. Signing on does not work because you get signed up to a job that is exhausting on min wage and don't have time to do the art that your skilled at. 
Comparing being an artist to a prostitute well the prostitute is much better off as they get paid.
Arts council funding and other funding. So this only works if you are specialised in filling out forms. I have been on several grant form filling courses and still fail to get a grant from filling out my own forms. Having lived in other countries it would seems that this is the case world wide that the people in most need of money have to fill out form and jump through hoops for funding and they will never get it unless they get that one person who people pay to fill out the forms in the whole country this person is completely shattered because they are always filling out forms. 
Also when there is a chance of being paid the employer doesn't make it easy to part with the money its a 6 month to a year chase. 
Either there is a shake up for the whole country to start paying and respecting artists or the government gives every artist a wage so they get on with it and make art and do work for the charities and organisations and public funded organisations that don't pay artists.
National Insurance I haven't been able to pay that for years because I don't earn enough money so I am not entitled to a pension or health. So the list goes on once in the poverty trap of being artist I also cant afford to get my teeth done because that requires money or to be on benefit's. I could hide away and pretend that life as an artists is glamorous but it just isn't a soon as an actor gets off stage goes back stage to the changing room which could be mistaken for a stinky men's urinal and sometimes is a men's urinal, you know there is no glamour. I can keep going. I am a woman maybe I could say all the stuff about how women artists when they do earn money it will be 37 percent less then men. More stats here on countess. Also there is A-N for lots of info on artists and I just bought my artist insurance as this is very cheap on A-N but covers the awful inevitable. 
I was disappointed at the meeting hearing an artist say she volunteered on the London Olympics and another one say it just wouldn't happen without volunteers which is complete bullshit. The Sydney Olympics paid artists. The Olympics is a complete rip off for artists full stop, because of the Olympics there is going to be less funding in the arts in the UK and Sydney for decades. The Olympics causes people to be evacuated from there homes for good, it closes down small businesses, it causes mass evacuation of tourists and people that live in the city it is held in. It is a carnival that comes to town and rips people off. I would recommend any city to pull out of it now. A student mentioned how her school teacher told her not to take up art as a career and she said that was very degrading and that there is careers in it. Everyone in the room was shaking there heads. I could not believe how many disillusioned artists that were in the room or that they were planted there by the government. Another artist talked about tours and how venues take 50 percent of door takings and if there is little turn out because they have done nothing for publicity then the artist continually run at a loss. 


Rupert Mallin said...

Brilliant report back from this event (I couldn't go because of teaching work).

Up until 2008 I was working on large scale arts projects. Key word used was "sustainability" but nothing was ever sustained, particularly if projects involved young people, old people, those with learning difficulties or the poor.

Worse, in my view, are administrators (who are paid) putting together arts projects run on the unpaid good will of artists! Like we've private wealth or our partners or family provide for us.

I think the only way round is for artists in all disciplines to band together to put on our own projects and set up a union or such to claim a wage!

Eloise O'Hare said...
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Eloise O'Hare said...

Thanks Rupert, there is a lot of my own things in there that never got mentioned basically we could have carried on talking/discussing the subject for a week or more.
Yes I agree 100 percent that the administrators are raking it in and have little or no empathy for the artist who they want to work for free.
I am in a group now Norwich Dandies and we have got organised to get funding to pay ourselves and other artists too for a few gigs next year. But still we will be out of pocket as there is a limit to funding and there is 1000's of hours of unpaid work putting the proposals together. There is a union that has just and is in the process for being set up. But I hope its not like equity where they charge £300 to join. Which is beyond any artists reach. I think the main thing that came out of the meeting last night was to say NO to free work or low paid we have to set higher standards for ourselves and others. Here is a link to artist union on facebook