Well, whattaya know: A group called Leveraging Investments in Creativity has a survey that finds artists are suffering in the recession. Their findings are considerably more grim than those of the Times‘ anecdotal consideration in May: Though 69 percent of respondents have been following their muse for 10 years or more, two-thirds make less than $40,000 a year. (As half the respondents “identified their primary art form as visual art,” we’re surprised they make that much.).
Many don’t have health insurance, and get this: “Two-thirds of artists hold at least one job in addition to making art.” Some have even been reduced to waiting tables!
A third of those who make a you-call-this-living at their art have suffered an income drop. 37 percent “reported decreased grant amounts.” No decline in groupies or cheap red wine consumption is recorded, though 59 percent reported “low morale for themselves and others they know.”
Nonetheless “some opportunities have emerged as a result of the recession,” the survey finds: “40% report they have been able to spend more time on their art work, and one-third have seized the opportunity to experiment and collaborate more,” presumably with temporary employment agencies or rich girlfriends. 75 percent say “this is an inspiring time to be an artist,” but LINC does not explain this seemingly counterintuitive response, leading to the unfortunate but time-honored impression that artists are crazy.
This is why we got out of the racket, and turned to the high-paying world of professional journalism.