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  • Writer's pictureHannah Blackmore

Balancing Art and Life: The Reality of Working Temporary Jobs While Pursuing Art

The journey to becoming a professional artist is rarely a straight path and often involves balancing the demands of temporary jobs with the pursuit of creative passions. For many artists, including myself, supporting oneself financially while continuing to develop as an artist is a challenging but necessary reality. Here, I share my experiences and insights on how to navigate this balancing act and maintain your artistic drive.

The Necessity of Temporary Jobs

After graduating from art school, I found myself facing the practicalities of life outside the supportive academic environment. Despite my artistic ambitions, I needed to earn a living to cover my expenses. Temporary jobs in hospitality and retail became my lifeline, providing the financial stability I needed while allowing me the flexibility to continue working on my art.

These jobs were not always glamorous and often required long hours and physical labour. Balancing shifts, dealing with customers, and managing the demands of these roles could be exhausting. However, they also taught me valuable lessons about resilience, time management, and the importance of hard work.

Finding Time for Art

One of the biggest challenges of working temporary jobs is finding the time and energy to create art. After a long day on my feet, it was tempting to relax and unwind rather than paint. However, I knew that to achieve my dreams, I had to make time for my art, no matter how tired I was.

I developed a routine that allowed me to carve out dedicated time for my creative practice. This often meant early mornings, late nights, and using days off to focus on my art. While it required discipline and sacrifice, these dedicated sessions were crucial for my artistic development. They provided a sense of continuity and progress, even when my schedule was demanding.

Balancing Financial Stability and Creative Fulfilment

Working temporary jobs provided financial stability, but it was important to find a balance that allowed for creative fulfilment as well. I learned to view my jobs not just as a means to an end but as opportunities to learn and grow. Interacting with a diverse range of people and experiencing different aspects of the working world enriched my understanding and often inspired my art.

I also sought out jobs that offered some flexibility, allowing me to take on freelance projects or participate in art exhibitions. This balance was not always perfect, but it enabled me to maintain my artistic momentum while ensuring I could meet my financial obligations.

Building a Support Network

Having a support network made a significant difference during this period. Friends, family, and fellow artists provided encouragement and understanding, especially during times of doubt or exhaustion. Sharing experiences with other artists who were also balancing work and creative pursuits helped to normalise the struggles and provided a sense of community.

Gradually Transitioning to Full-Time Art

The ultimate goal was always to transition to being a full-time artist. This shift didn’t happen overnight but was the result of gradual progress. Each sale, commission, and exhibition brought me closer to this goal. I continued to develop my skills, build my portfolio, and increase my visibility in the art world.

Eventually, as my art career began to gain traction, I was able to reduce the hours spent on temporary jobs and focus more on my creative work. This transition required careful planning, savings, and a strategic approach to building my artistic brand and business.

Balancing art and life by working temporary jobs while pursuing a career as an artist is a challenging but rewarding journey. It requires resilience, discipline, and a passion for your craft. While the reality of supporting oneself financially can be demanding, it also provides valuable lessons and experiences that contribute to your growth as an artist.

For aspiring artists facing similar challenges, remember that every step, no matter how small, is progress. Make time for your art, seek balance, and build a support network that encourages and sustains you. The path may be difficult, but with perseverance and dedication, it is possible to achieve your artistic dreams while maintaining financial stability.


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