AILBHE NI BHRIAIN TELLS THE STORY-SO-FAR OF HER CAREER AS A PROFESSIONAL VISUAL ARTIST.
I recall reading an article (somewhere) in which John Baldessari said (to someone) that approximately one percent of art school graduates go on making work after college – and of that percent only one percent make a living from their work. I am sure his calculations were about as formal as my referencing of them, but, applied to my own (committed, talented) year groups through college, the figures still manage an around-about-rightness.
Of Baldessari’s percentiles, I belong to the former: I do not make a living from my work. I work chiefly in video and video is tricky. A benefit of this uncommercial niche is not having to store unsold bubble-wrapped works under beds and in other people’s garages. You could also say it gives the luxury of being a purist, removing the pressure to shape work towards a buying audience. The downsides are obvious enough: lack of money; need to do other things for-to-get money to make work; lack of time to make work because of doing other things to get money to make work etc. But for the majority of artists (aforementioned 99%) this is nothing new. I state it just to signal that, for me, career development means simply supporting the continued production of work, and is an ongoing and often roundabout process.