Repost from 2009
Art always has been, art will never go away—art is. No matter how dire the situation, people have always needed art—to make it and to experience it. Even in Nazi concentration camps and Soviet gulags, art has emerged and tenaciously hung on. Art communicates; it soothes the soul and can nourish the spirit. Our eyes long for it.
These strained economic times are no exception; we still need art. Some patrons will still buy, though perhaps smaller pieces or perhaps from lesser-known artists (hope, hope). Whether they do or not, we artists still need to make art, to create. Perhaps the need is even greater.
But how can an artist afford to keep creating? I’ve developed a motto over the last several years as my husband and I have survived very difficult economic times and I’ve persisted in doing what I’ve known I must do (make art, speak and write) instead of dropping it for a paycheck: “Don’t worry about what you haven’t got; make the most of what you’ve got.”
This is the time to assess your art supplies. Maybe you have more Hansa yellow than you thought; you can get by with buying only a tube of ultramarine or titanium white. Do you really have to have the latest or most cutting edge easel or other infrastructure item? Follow the sales at art supply stores—timing can be crucial for your purchases. If they have a frequent buyer card, get one! You may get a better price.
Do you have any supplies that you’ve pushed aside or forgotten? A half roll of canvas that you could stretch yourself? Various media that you could combine for “mixed media”?
It’s a great time to try new ways of making art, though always using quality combinations and materials. You may be amazed at what “invention” is birthed by necessity! Don’t let the bad economic news browbeat you into giving up—art is!