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to want to throw in the towel?

(25 Posts)
hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 14:12:55

I'm wobbly.

For the past 100 years, well ok all my working life I've been an artist. It's been a struggle but I enjoyed some high happy events, shows, contracts, deals and gone through the low, painful, brassic periods - all with some weird drive that I got from somewhere (probably my dad as he was a self-employed joiner working from the bottom of the garden - we worked all hours). For the past 10 years I've bought in about £12k, profit of about £8k.

Being self-employed has worked alongside raising my two children, 12 and 9years now, but I'm now tired, out of ideas and seemingly unable to keep reinventing the wheel, alongside being in one of those brassic periods where the only income I'm expecting these couple of months is from workshops (I love doing them but not enough takers to run them weekly, therefore upping the income on them).

I've worked it hard over the past 20 years, have clients all over the place and am frightened that in these uncertain political times the wallets will clamp shut again, just as they did in 2009 and before that after 9/11.

Now the children are older should I go and get a job if I can? I feel really rubbish which I guess is a confidence issue after all these years of working alone...

I've applied for a couple, nothing to do with the arts though - I'm not strong enough to get a job teaching art just now.

Love any thoughts you have, thank you.

picklemepopcorn Fri 10-Feb-17 14:16:42

A part time job would allow you to keep up with the workshops, and ease you into the world of mainstream work.
It would probably be very tax efficient too.

hungrywalrus Fri 10-Feb-17 14:22:39

The fact that you've managed for this long is a testament to your talent and work ethic. As far as I've seen, most artists don't manage nearly as long as you have so don't minimise your accomplishments. I guess most would be artists end up not pursuing their passion at all for the simple reason that it's hard.

It's not unheard of for musicians and comedians to take a career break, do something else and get reinspired. Don't see how this needs to be any different. No decision needs to be permanent.

hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 14:23:50

Thank you picklemepopcorn

Hmmm, tax benefit eh? Ok will look into. Thanks

hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 14:24:47


Your post made me cry which isn't hard today it has to be said. Thank you for your thoughts x

hungrywalrus Fri 10-Feb-17 14:33:40

Didn't mean to make you cry, dearie! It's OK to make a tactical retreat if you need it. I'm sure whatever decision you make will be the right one for you. flowers

NotACompleterFinis Fri 10-Feb-17 14:36:23

Check out 'The Savvy Painter' blog. Also Google Ramit Sethi I will teach you to be rich. His website is loaded with tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs. He also runs excellent courses to help you make the most of your talent to enable you to earn while you sleep. (Sorry don't know how to do links on my Kindle). I am awed by anybody who has the courage to earn money by stepping out on their own. You've done it. You're amazing! The book 'The Artist's Way' is very good for rediscovering your artistic mojo. You can't be on full throttle all the time. You need to regroup every so often. I think it's natural to run out of steam - doesn't mean you're no good and it's not working. Maybe just that you need a break or a change to revive you☺ . Good luck x

hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 14:40:36

Thank you guys, I forget just how marvellous Mumsnet is x

DPotter Fri 10-Feb-17 14:55:20

I work in the Arts / Craft field as well and have had a very poor 18-24mths. I did some thinking and chatting with other artists / artisans and figured people aren't into buying stuff at the moment. Yes partially down to economic/ political uncertainty, but also the current fashion minimalist interiors means people are de-cluttering on a grand scale. And my line of work creates clutter ! However people are now into experiences so for this year I have decided to focus on teaching - adults, not children. And so far so good. Adults are easier than children, as they all want to be in the room painting, drawing whatever and there is no pressure from exams, OFSTED etc.

If teaching doesn't appeal (and I can quite understand why ) - could you try something completely different - say trying a course in Mosaics if you're a watercolourist, that sort of thing. Still creative, but challenging on the technical side. I took a drawing course a couple of years back - really enjoyed it. Didn't have to think, didn't have to 'create' , just draw what was in front of me.
Don't be too down hearted / stressed out about not feeling in the mood to create - you will get those ideas flowing again. And give it a few years and the minimalist interior design fashion will have move on and people will be buying again - at least I hope so!

SerialCerealKiller Fri 10-Feb-17 14:58:38

I wouldn't look at it like giving up. A job would bring in a stable income which would hopefully allow you to enjoy your art more.


clairethewitch70 Fri 10-Feb-17 15:00:46

What about contacting your local adult education centre and offering to run Art night classes? or putting together classes to sell on Craftsy? Writing about Art and publishing on Kindle? Childrens Art birthday parties?

SingingInTheRainstorm Fri 10-Feb-17 15:02:55

I can share some ideas and inspiration, but I think maybe you need to do something else that is mundane so you can realise how great your old career was.

How about taking up a job illustrating, is that something you could do? Or even working part time hours at a college? You'd earn quite a bit from say 8 hours a week.

Good luck with your job search, hope it goes well.

hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 15:07:30

Thank you so much for your thoughts and your time. DPotter good to know we are in similar boats.
]clairethewitch70 great idea's about writing, I have SO much knowledge after all these years but collating them would be a massive challenge I'm not sure I'm in the place for.

I love doing radio though so perhaps a podcast - or could that be another thing I start and falls to the wayside? Sorry for being Mrs Minus x

user1478860582 Fri 10-Feb-17 15:09:37

In a world that's getting darker by the minute we need artists like yourself. You make the world far easier to deal with.

I haven't got anything useful to add but I hope you manage to figure it out.

mummymeister Fri 10-Feb-17 15:13:41

apologies if this is a bit of a curved ball but are you in your 40's? I felt very like this when it was the peri menopause. low self esteem, lower energy levels a feeling that I had "battled" and just wanted a quieter life. you could see if this is the case with your gp as sometimes its whats going on in your body that causes these issues. sorry, hope you don't think I am trivialising your obvious financial situation but its just worth thinking about before you take any drastic steps.

DJBaggySmalls Fri 10-Feb-17 15:17:20

YANBU to want to throw in the towel. But maybe you just need a bit of a break and some reliable income.
I am in awe of you for your courage.

hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 15:20:51

mummymeister yes... 46 now x perhaps a blood test might not hurt...

DJBaggySmalls thank you for your words and your comment.

user1478860582 you are right, we do need artists just now x

TinselTwins Fri 10-Feb-17 15:27:41

People aren't buying physical art (myself included, I used to have quite a lot from independant artists. But as people are no longer able in many cases to move to bigger homes as their families grow, streamlining becomes essential

However people are buying LOTS of tattoos, and although I don't have any myself, I do often think that it is so important that at least that outlet for artists to make a living is still thriving, would you consider that OP?

JoJoSM2 Fri 10-Feb-17 15:34:14

If I were you, I'd probably get a part-time job to have time for art but to also have some income coming in. You could view it as a new exciting opportunity to try a different profession smile

hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 15:34:18

Thats a good point about moving Tinseltwins. Not sure about tattoo's as am a bit squeamish!

Thanks for your note though x

ErneyAndAgnes Fri 10-Feb-17 15:40:02

I have an artist friend who I met whilst working in retail- she also had children a similar age and had decided to get a part time job to tide them over financially for a bit. She worked during day time hours, weekdays, and it seemed to suit her lifestyle quite well as she could be at home when the kids needed her and could work on her art at weekends- though it was never enough time! She went back to being a full time artist after a while- I think the career break helped give her inspiration and re-invigoration. It doesn't have to be permanent, and the job doesn't have to be fulfilling- art is your passion and you should never forget that- but you never know what is just around the corner.

TinselTwins Fri 10-Feb-17 15:54:21

I'm not an artist at all but have felt like you about work and I went and did something totally different - I HATED it and went back to my own field with new enthusiasm for it, it blew away the burnt out feeling, and since going back after trying something I ended up hating, I have since been promoted and am doing much better than I had before. I'm better at my job than I was before my break, and I enjoy it more and don't feel like maybe I should be doing something else

I think it's a good idea to get another job and give yourself a break from the pressure of trying to make art pay the bills and then let things evolve from that

hugsandmoo Fri 10-Feb-17 15:58:41

ErneyAndAgnes, this is the bit I love about your post 'but you never know what is just around the corner'. That's exactly how I'm feeling.

Tinseltwins, thanks for saying that about your own experience. Just because I'm interested, which career are you in? Thanks

hangingoutthewashing Fri 10-Feb-17 16:32:19

You've worked hard , it's always very hard on your own and to survive this long you have had to work hard , not only do you have to produce the work but also promote it and sell it ....
time for a little break , don't be hard on yourself it's good to have a change , a recharge , a different perspective ,
A little part time employment will give you a little fresh cash , a change of scenery , a fresh outlook and hopefully enough time to re- evaluate
Best of luck op with whatever you decide

Merrylegs Fri 10-Feb-17 16:38:11

I don't know what your discipline is but have you ever done community/partnership working? Community Engagement. For example councils often have budgets for art on buildings or there are arts council grants for collaborative projects with business or organisations. Do you ever do projects where you apply for funding? It is time consuming and a lot of work but if you had an idea which involved a particular section of the community, an organisation you could partner with and a clear outcome you could apply for funding and realise the project.

Have you seen that episode of the Office where Dawn talks about being an illustrator and how she had to start working part time in an office to supplement her income. Is v sad. Keep up the doodling!

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