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I've been looking into the idea of becoming a professional artist. I've decided to take on one or two years more of education, and it will possibly be in fine arts. I'm not afraid of the workload, I know I have the 'to hell with it' attitude to make it to the point wher I can make a living from it.
But what bothers me is the potential loneliness. I know that there are artists offered a desk in an office by employers, but I have no idea how easy or hard it would be to land such a job where I live. Thus far, all my freelance work have been done from home, for clients I have met online. But I honestly think that if I worked from home for a living, eight hours a day, I'd go completely bonkers from the isolation. I'm not the most outgoing person ever, so the fact that I've always been forced to interact with others through school and work have been a huge help to me.
So, for those of you who are professionals, please tell me a little bit about your lifestyles. How do you combat the loneliness? How many of you have managed to find jobs where you can work with other people?
Last edited by Eldinga; February 15th, 2014 at 01:29 PM.
Yes, I relate with the going-bonkers from loneliness. There was a time when I had to stay on my own in a new, big, town, and it drove me crazy to have no one around.
For the same reason I work in a shared studio space with three other people. I don't know where you live but your studio space doesn't necessarily to be shared with fellow artists. Plenty of other professions, such as designers and architects, often work in a shared office; there should be some of those in every medium-sized town. Or you may be able to find other freelancers and organize the whole thing, like Toerning does here: http://toerning.deviantart.com/art/S...hlet-403994508
Other than that, I always spend the weekend with my partner, family, and/or friend(s), it is a good balance (for me, a necessary one) for the workweek.
Yeah. There's little worse than the feeling of isolation when you'd rather be around others. I'm not kidding when I say it would drive me crazy after a while.
A shared studio space sounds pretty awesome, actually. I can't say I have seen any around, but I will keep an open eye for it. I live in a big enough city for it to definitely be plausible to have some circles like that. Thank you for the advice!
I've been thinking about this. Don't really have any advice for you but maybe telling you my situation will give you some food for thought in turn.
I'm going blind (Retinitis Pigmentosa) and had to stop working my normal job (call centre - great right?) about seven years ago. I moved to a very isolated rural area about the same time for various reasons, not least of which was feeling I needed to get out of the rat race because I couldn’t keep up as a result of my failing sight.
Since then I've been caring for my also blind mum and trying to get enough art skills together to get freelance work I can do from home. I cant go out at night, and getting around during the day is tough enough in familiar places let alone somewhere I've never been before. I'm not a sociable person either and always thought I was happier on my own, so isolation seemed ideal. The problem with that is, the older I get the more I realise like it or not, humans are social animals. So being on my own day in day out doesn’t seem so enjoyable anymore.
I'm now at a stage in my life where having finally recognised that, I'm thinking seriously of moving back to civilisation and being around people again. Because I feel like continued isolation has turned my already shy anti-social self into a fullblown freak who doesn't know how to be around people anymore. I just hope it's not too late.
But yeah, working freelance on your own can cause lots of issues. But if you've got people around you who care, and a strong circle of friends, places you can go to socialise etc, it's half the battle.
My husband also works from home, which is pretty good when we aren't interfering with one another. Otherwise I try to get out to various events like sketchcrawls and figure drawing and pub nights a few times a month, and I talk to people on the net.
Working from home is pretty much ideal for me, though. All I really need is someone around to help give my day some structure (otherwise I'll internet for 8 hours and then work until 4am and then be sad) and if they don't talk to me for 8 hours, great. That's what I'm looking for from a workday.
Adding to the comment about "shared" spaces. Try using the keywords "co-work" or "cowork" in your search - oh! include your current city in that search. You can rent a desk for a day, maybe pay weekly or if you have the money, get a dedicated office for a monthly price or whatever. Every cowork space is different so you have to look at the prices and what you get.
Working from home really does seem lonely. I'm used to working in companies with artists, programmers, animators, writers, etc. all together. It tends to be the most comfortable feeling I could have when surrounded by them because they were all such great friends.
I've done some freelance work although as a programmer and my bf did the art for some of our projects, and working from home, contacting via just email, messengers, phone, etc with your clients and team members can feel pretty lonely.
If you can, definitely try to get in a company vs working from home if loneliness seems like a big issue for you. Try and see if you can break into company jobs via internships or such when starting off. I landed my first job in the industry via internship and got to work professionally in them after that. Although layoffs happen pretty often in the game industry, not sure for other industries that hire artists, so freelance helps me during those times while searching for another company, but I feel like once you have a few experiences from those full time jobs and make good connections, it improves your chances each time. Recommendation letters, phone calls, etc with future employers can make a big difference.
Paradoxically, being in a heavily densely populated area can be one of the most isolating places in the world. Having lived in both the squalor of Yau Tsim Mong in Hong Kong and Bangkok all my life (With only 8 months in a remote coastal area) with 2 perpetual language barriers and an assortment of other ghastly shit to deal with - been there, still fixing - it's certainly not easy.
You just have to force yourself out the door. Once you do, it gets easier. It's a constant attrition of getting things together piecemeal, getting out of your head, and keep on trying. (Because the alternative is worse)
"Never regret thy fall from grace, O' spirit of Icarian flight, for the greatest tragedy of them all to face, is to never feel the burning bright"
Believe my lies, for I tell the truth about them. Or would you rather me lie about telling the truth?
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I like being isolated. Being an artist is perfect for that. I live with my partner but she and I will go weeks without going out and seeing people. I do go to gallery events when I have to and I travel so its not like I hate people but I can sit in a crowded airport all day and not interact with anyone around me. I have my friends who I keep in touch with online and by phone but I really don't need to be constantly around a lot of people. Most of this stems from working all the time, I just don't do things like normal people. I can't imagine going on a vacation or needing to get away from art. If I want to take a break I do but its not structured the way most people take two weeks vacation every year and then retire and do nothing. I'm going to paint till I drop don't really want much else out of life.
Get a cat! They love to help paint! They'll even drink up all the paint water when you're done
Just realize that there is more to life than career and try to find the healthy balance.
Work on developing yourself as a human being and building healthy relationships.
Art shouldnt mean locking yourself in a closet to get good...
you'll make the best work when you live a life that you can reflect on and put into the work.
Last edited by JakehC; March 5th, 2014 at 05:54 AM.
Find some art club/organization/association near to you and join them.
I felt the same as you until I found a few organizations and associations around here in Singapore. One of them have a shared studio with other like-minded people. Now I hang out there all the time. They also give me job opportunities, too.
I even join a local Meetup group and attend their events occasionally.
If there are life drawing classes near your area, attend those too. Just join anything, clubs, associations etc. that are related to your interests (not necessarily have to be in the arts, though that would really help). It'll give you an anchor to the greater world.
Edit: having read through all the posts in this thread, I really agree with a lot of them. The reason I went freelance in the first place a few years ago is because I like working alone and being alone. I have a very low social need and hate workplace politics that would inevitably come with working with people and I thought that working freelance from home is a perfect solution for me.
Then comes the problem - I'm not a very social person which means that I never gave myself/seeked out opportunity to socialize, and therefore I'm not good at it and not confident with it...and yes, as someone said earlier, whether we like it or not humans are social animals and at the end of the day we do need to feel like we're connected, a part of the bigger world. That's how I seeked out those organizations and events to attend. I'm getting to the age where I feel like being all solitary isn't that fun anymore. I'm going back to school in summer and after that I aim to work in a company.
Last edited by kayness; March 6th, 2014 at 09:54 AM.
I don't get it. How is anyone ever alone now the Internet exists? It's so easy to find MINDS that actually share interests with you to talk to.
I like being alone. That is I don't specifically shy away from socialization and I can easily connect with people but I find it even exhausting and oftentimes I prefer a good night at home rather than going out. I think it's mostly because I was a single child.
That being said, there is a difference to being alone and being alone. I have found that the environment effects it greatly. In my last place I lived in a windy area with lots of concrete and grime, the apartment wasn't very cozy and it was far from everything outside I cared about. It gets really dark during winter and though I didn't realize it too much back then, I was feeling a little lonely and cut off because of that. Currently I have a pretty nice place, I see trees and grass outside, hear the tram outside, nice park for jogging, the sunlight is perfect in the kitchen in that crucial 10 am Sunday coffee time. True, I have better flatmates, but we don't really hang around much and we're pretty different people, they're just a distant noise behind the wall. And despite some other things being less great in my life right now than they were a year ago, I feel happier.