Artist living on Welfare
By Jan Roos on April 13, 2011
Artists living on Welfare. Who has not met them? It is so terribly common that it doesn’t even make you raise an eyebrow anymore. While a carpenter living on welfare is simply called unemployed.
The welfare system in The Netherlands aided the development of a culture in which an artist, following his calling to produce fine arts, is more privileged than other ‘professions’. While the unemployed carpenter has to go out looking for a job, the artistically challenged creative can lie on his bed for days on end in his quest for inspiration. Such imbalances are now being taken care of. And that’s a good thing. Calling yourself an Artist can no longer be abused as an alibi to hold out your hand for tax money and sleep in.
In order to justify total lethargy artists’ often employ the term ‘sell out ‘. While claiming money from society you hear the echo of their catch phrase: “I don’t want to sell out”. The thing is, being commercial and yet not selling any of your artwork is indeed a tough cookie to swallow. In my opinion you don’t need to be commercial then. Go ahead and don’t sell your artistic messing abound, if you don’t want to. But this attitude does not need funding by others. Just imagine the unemployed carpenter stating that he does not want to be constructing commercially. That he’d rather wish to work without nails and only wants to construct round shapes against the squares of this world. The dear man would be declared mad. And his benefits would most likely be cut.
According to me it’s all very simple. The moment you can support yourself, you can call yourself an artist. But when you can’t generate enough income with your turd-on-a-stick, go get yourself another job and practice art in your own free time. As a hobby. This approach would allow you to satisfy all your artistic urges in your upstairs attic and the rest of the country would not have to pay for your lack of talent.