Who’s never been worried about money?
Yeah, me too…
Really sucks doesn’t it?
Recently I interviewed Antonios Valindras. He is a talented greek Film director I had the pleasure to work with a few years ago in London.
When we were discussing he opened up about the dark period he had gone through after a full year of working as Assistand Director on the sets of award-winning films in Greece.
There is more to his story than money but it was an important part.
In most countries today the pay for creative jobs is minimal. Not only are the wages low, but the money comes in irregularly, which can create a lot of stress.
In France, we have a special status for the people working in the Performing Arts. We call them ‘Intermittent Du Spectacle’: if you can show that you are an ‘artist’ (not only for Fine Arts, any type of Art) by proving that you have been working X amount of hours in X amounts of days, you get social benefits. And it is French benefits, so it is relatively generous.
It amounts for a tiny part of the government’s budget but it is often criticised (‘We are giving too much money away to people doing nothing….’ etc…). And this is a shame because, like Antonios, I believe that you truly need some time off and a certain level of financial security to create.
Making a living as an artist often means accepting that there will be Ups and Downs in your income stream, which can be draining. It also sometimes mean that you can’t ‘move forward’ or experience life the way you would you like to. I know, for example, that I have been pushing back on having a family until I can feel financially secure. I am happy with my decision, but this is one of the little regrets of my life. I can not wait to have a baby, and I want to raise them in a space that is free of financial worries as much as possible.
Other artists have preferred not waiting, and have changed directions. Not because they are ‘not good enough’ or ‘you can’t make any money as an artist’, but rather because life is made of many joys.
Creation definitely is one, but having children, travelling, taking cooking lessons, meeting friends for brunch…matter too. Especially, maybe, when you have a sensitive soul.
Because you can’t create if you are not ‘fed’. In the literal sense, but also in the emotional sense. Creativity stems from our happiness, which in turns comes from experiencing everything that our soul wants to experience.
If that is not possible because of lack of money, how can we create? We do not have a well of happiness to draw from.
So many artistic souls decide to focus on other joys. Sometimes, when I look at the ‘support system’ for artists in the UK, which is much ‘harsher’ than the French, I feel sad for all the lost talent.
What a loss for society that this talented singer works as a barista, that this charismatic actress is a call-center manager, that that director became an accountant…. true, some people make it to the very top, but even they have to go through the instability of the creative life.
Whereas with systems in place to give the artists’ mind a rest (‘you will have money to pay the bills’) so much could be created.
So much could be shared.
You can see my interview with Antonios Vallindras by clicking here: