Saturday, October 02, 2010

POLL: What do you do when not being an artist?

Is an artist a certain sort of person?  Does this lead to them working in a certain sort of way or following a certain sort of career path while aspiring to become a full-time artist?

On the face of it one would think this is so.  But how does it actually work out in practice?

Morning on the Seine - a copy of Monet's work in coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This month's poll asks What's your primary occupation when you're not being an artist?

Standard Classification

Here are the options - based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO)

I've adapted this by extracting two teacher roles (which would normally go under Professionals and added in Homemaker/Mother, Retired and '100% Artist'.  Strictly speaking you're supposed to take your last job if you're retired but in this instance I think "Retired" is an important category in its own right.
  • Managers 
  • Professionals (excluding teachers)
  • Professional Teacher (art)
  • Professional Teacher (other subject)
  • Technicians and associate professionals 
  • Clerical support workers 
  • Service and sales workers 
  • Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers 
  • Craft and related trades workers
  • Plant and machine operators, and assemblers 
  • Elementary occupations (eg cleaners, factory workers, shop workers)
  • Armed forces occupations 
  • Homemaker and Mother
  • Retired
  • Practising professional artist 100%
This pdf document explains the ISCO structure and provides examples of jobs within each category if you're not clear which one you belong to

You can find the poll in the usual place in the right hand column - inbetween "for your Information" and above "Bloggers who folllow this blog".

The poll finishes just after midnight (GMT) on 31st October and the results will be published as soon as possible after that (hopefully the same day).

I've genuinely no idea how this poll will come out - what do you think?

In the meantime, you might like to read this article from the Harvard Business Review about How Artist/Leaders Do Things Differently which highlights the following as features of the work process:
  • Passion fuels the work
  • Form and content can't be decoupled
  • Iteration is expected
  • All failures are opportunities for course correction 
[Note re the drawing:  I've been meaning to do some more copies of works by old masters as I find I learn a huge amount every time I do this.  The drawing at the top comes from a series of works Monet did of the Seine - painting the same view over and over again in different seasons, different weather and different times of day]


    visioneerwindows said...

    In a way, this presents a problem - most persons, when their job ends for the day, leave it at the office so to speak... but while am a retired baker/chef/banquet display decorator, and now an artist - when am not actively laying down the ink or colored pencil, am yet thinking of art, of compositions and related ideas as I look at the world around me, or reading, or any of a number of activities... it is as if being an artist is 'a way of life' as it were, and I view the world from an artist point of view...

    and imagine a number of others will admit to being the same way...

    Sophie said...

    I trained as an architectural historian, but once my children were born I found I did not want/could not work part time. I found being an artist is very flexible, so now a full time mother and artist.

    Julie Broom said...

    I'm laughing at the 'form and content can't be decoupled' part. In my job in IT I find myself irritated by inconsistent use of fonts, text and background colour combinations that lack contrast and poor spacing and layout in documents! I'm really interested to see if your survey matches my own experience - the majority of artists I know are non teaching professionals, retired or homemakers.

    Katherine Tyrrell said...

    Julie - you made me smile. I'm so glad it's not just me that gets frustrated by documents which fail to communicate effectively because of their layout. Websites can produce the same reaction in me!

    Carol Lee Beckx said...

    For the last twelve years I have combined running my own retail shop with being an artist. I have had to learn to paint quickly and make time to create. I am now planning to change this and concentrate more fully on making art.

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