I finally managed to get a break for a day or two and it’s a bit strange to adjust to. The last two months have been extremely busy so this is a welcome respite. I do have a couple of projects in the horizon, but for now I’ve put it out of my mind until I have more information in my hands. In fact, it’s been so busy that I’ve had more work in the last two months than all of last year. Granted, most of these projects have been smaller compared to some of those major development projects which often involve animations and plenty of stills. But quantity-wise, these projects kicked last year’s butt. I’m not bragging or boasting – but rather implying that I think things are definitely turning around.
I think there’s a few different things at play here. Construction and advertising was put on hiatus during most of 2009 during the downturn in the economy. I think with this year, people are more optimistic and willing to spend. After all, there’s only so much “sitting on our butts” society can handle before we dust off our old clothes and put them back on. I don’t think the turnaround is going to be drastically immediate – there are still plenty of unemployed people around the world. But the people who do currently have jobs are managing to stay in them. Employment has risen to above 2008 levels. Secondly, I think there was a major “thinning amongst the ranks.” In my field, plenty of people lost their jobs and lost work. People that didn’t strategize or market themselves fully, people that didn’t make the right business decisions, people that got caught up in the thing called “life”, or simply people who had a sub-par level of work found themselves out on the streets – struggling to either stay in the field or completely abandoning it altogether.
So I think I’ve experience a residual effect from other businesses picking-up pace. I also think people have found LunarStudio because other artists and art-related companies have gone under. In some ways it’s a good thing, but in other ways it’s bad. I don’t like receiving 2-3 resumes and 2-3 solicitations for outsourcing on a daily basis. It simply means that other people aren’t doing as well and if you have any sense of compassion, this is not what you want to see out of your fellow man. I consider myself fortunate for the time-being, but it comes at a human cost.
The business of art is a tricky concept. Most artists know well in advanced that our field is not something you’re probably going to get rich at in our lifetimes. In my mind, the ideal medium/compromise is a little of both – you want enough money to live comfortably and perhaps even retire, but you also want to be able to love what you are doing. That has been my goal – to create, inspire, and simply make a comfortable living. Becoming “rich” is just a pipe-dream – it would be nice, but that’s not my goal. If that’s your sole-goal, than you might lose track of the art itself.
As for fellow artists – the field is simply flooded with creative talent (and quite a bit of novices.) Most will go largely unknown and lost, especially in today’s white noise of telecommunication. In art, that’s just the way things have been since the dawn of mankind. People that painted caves, pottery, knitted baskets, troubadours, musicians-alike, painters, sculpters – they have always been highly admired yet grossly under-rewarded for their efforts. I think with art that there’s “too many” people in the creative field to be completely sustainable, people feel that they don’t need to pay for something they feel is “unnecessary”, and last but not least, people feel that artists love what they do so they feel they can “get away with” not paying too much for an artist’s services. Hence the common english term, “starving artist.”
To me – there needs to be a compromise in order to earn a living in the field of art. Being passionate about your “style” almost always involves learning how to work well with others in order to even earn an average living. You can’t just go around painting whatever you feel like painting and expect that people will automatically buy into it. You almost always have to cater to some degree to other people’s tastes unless you feel like starving, or are fortunate enough to have parents, husbands, and wives to support individualistic efforts. Technically, you can do whatever the heck you want, but be prepared to have to take on that part-time or full-time job to support what essentially becomes a part-time hobby.