Posts Tagged ‘professional’

"Work", CC by Billy Wilson on Flickr

Ta-Nehisi Coates had an interesting article recently in the Atlantic about being asked, as an emerging journalist, to write for free. He got his leg up in the industry that way, and he makes the argument that there’s no ethical problem with asking people to write without paying them (as in, for the exposure). Obviously, there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and I found myself pondering the question anew in relationship to composing, though really it holds true for any artistic endeavor.

The more I think about it, it seems you can make an ethical argument on either side of the debate depending on if you see yourself primarily as an entrepreneur or a professional. That’s because the arts are neither businesses nor professions in the true sense of either word, and neither model fits that well—whatever path you choose, it’s going to be a compromise. In my own case, I always try to get paid and I usually succeed, but if it’s a project I really care about, I don’t let a failed grant application stop me. (more…)

Photo CC by woland ritz on Flickr

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Hans Abbing’s Why Are Artists Poor?, which formed an important source in my last two articles. Abbing is an economist and a visual artist, and he tackles the broad question of artist poverty from the perspective of both disciplines, trying to filter out the biases and myths that color traditional interpretations.

As a part of his discussion, Abbing brings up the question of what constitutes a professional artist. According to economists, professionals are people who earn some non-negligible portion of their living via their professional activities. This definition works for a lot of the activities humans do, but it’s problematic in the arts. (more…)