I paint full time. That does not mean that I paint 8 hours a day. I actually paint very little. That’s because I can’t, not because I don’t want to. I cannot do the job that I have been trained for and as a result am on permanent disability. I don’t dislike my paintings but I don’t like them either. At best I am ambivalent but I do enjoy creating them.
There are some incredible artists out there and they can support themselves as full time artists.
Others just manage to get by and some have to choose between art and food. They are compelled to create and would do so regardless but funding at least allows them to feed themselves. Luckily being on disability allows me to paint without worrying about food.
Funding allows artists to paint full time or more time, until they can develop to the point that they can support themselves. Funding helps bridge the gap for young artists to mature to a point where they can support themselves. I believe that art benefits society so having a program that supports young artists is a good thing. Artists can be compared to small cottage industries. Art does not support a large number of people but it does put money into a niche area of the economy. I believe that a society that supports art is a more mature and healthier society.
It’s interesting what the Internet has done for artists. In one sense it has destroyed a system that has been flourishing for centuries. That is the system of patronism that worked for most of the great masters. I can’t imagine being ensconced in a patron’s household working on things my patron thought were important. Not much different I guess than working for a company. Today it’s possible to reach a huge audience through the Internet but art values seem to be low. I don’t believe that auction values have anything to do with reality. Prices paid at auction for art are ridiculous and have nothing to do with the art itself. If you really want to buy some art contact the artist and buy direct.
Funding normally entails thousands of government dollars. At one time I considered working for or with a fine-art printer but the downside was that I had to produce a large body of work and the printer owned everything I did. I just couldn’t justify it. If you enjoy owning art then think of how much you spend on your house. My daughter wrote a great post about supporting artists.
The amount you might pay for art will likely be less than an amount you might pay for someone to paint your house. With art hanging on your walls you might be able to get away with less wall paint.