‘Structurally F–cked’ report highlighting the rawness of being an artist.

When I was art school if I was told the average annual income I would be making if I was LUCKY would be £6000 annually. Maybe I would be asking why exactly and what was the point of my art education considering the rates of my students fees, studio fees, art materials, funding a three day art exhibition in LONDON BRICK LANE, when I lived in Wales, living off my student loan and working part time, covering all my living out costs too.

When I came out of art school I felt that if you weren’t discovered you where never going to make it! Be competitive, be better, be great and you will take over the world.

But in reality, there is a cold world out there waiting to forget you.

For too long artists have been made to feel like they are the problem, do things for free, for the love, for the exposure BUT this doesn’t pay my council tax bill.

I recently received an invite from a well known arts organisation if I wanted to take part in a mentor session to help my practice. After 20 years of being a practicing artist is this what I get, I still need mentoring. Don’t get me wrong I need a lot of mentoring how to cook, live, be healthy, eat health, exercise but the art thing I have been doing it for a while now. I don’t need mentoring, art institutions need the mentoring more from artists.

Please don’t see this as a rant but a confession, I need to vent and this report is absolute golden. I heard the Art Collective Industria and Julie from AN, the artists information talk about Industria’s report ‘Structurally F–ucked’ on The week in Art podcast and it was outstanding! finally our voices are being heard.

  • A report into artists’ pay in the UK has exposed the inordinately low sums paid to artists for their labour by arts organisations. We talk to the art collective Industria, who wrote the report, and Julie Lomax, the CEO of a-n, The Artists’ Information Company, which has published the study. The Week In Art

This inquiry draws on data gathered through Artist Leaks, an online survey of visual artists conducted by Industria to probe the state of artists’ pay and working conditions in the UK public sector – data which is often elusive and hidden from public view.

Structurally F–cked Abstract from Industria Report, The Art Collective Industry UK

‘Structurally F–cked’: a report into artists’ pay and conditions

Highlighting a culture of low fees and unpaid labour, with key findings including a median hourly rate paid to artists of £2.60, ‘Structurally F–cked’ concludes with proposals for new ways in which publicly funded institutions can better work with artists. 

Julie Lomax, Chief Executive Officer of a-n, said: “We applaud Industria and the artists that have contributed to this report for their courage in telling their stories, and voicing a clear call to action. a-n recognises that structural underfunding of the visual arts sector is a key factor in the issue of low to no pay for artists. Collective responsibility is a powerful action and we call on funders, institutions, galleries, curators and collectors to place the artist at the centre and develop new economies of exchange based on transparency, fair pay, care and respect. We also call on artists to seek support from a-n, to use the guidance and tools available to negotiate better rates of pay for their labour and work in solidarity with fellow artists. a-n’s work is shaped by artists’ activism and the publication of Structurally F–cked is the first step in relaunching a-n’s Paying Artists resources with a new Code of Practice for artists and the visual arts sector due to be published soon.”

The Artists’ Information Company

The big thing I would say is that artists’ must be given the opportunity to complete an evaluation when a project is completed, this will not only hold the funding body accountable but the arts organisation who administers the funding too.

A message to art schools stop making artists feel that they need to be competitive ALL the time this breeds BULLSHIT. And start doing modules that will help support, empower artists about how to make a living. If it wasn’t for AN, the artist information company I really don’t know where I would be. They are OUTSTANDING!

We need more of this work, next artist’s pensions please.

Lastly to the arts organisation who asked me if I’d like a mentoring session no thanks, I busy making art.

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