My career advisor in high school was useless, but this entry isn’t about that. It is about careers from street art and professional street artists, the economic bottom line and the art world.
In Street Art Uncut by Matthew Lunn (p.15) there is a map of the career of street artists with images by Ghostpatrol. The professional career ends listed are: professional piecer, cartoonist, street art professional, graphic designer and conventional artist. Being a professional piecer of other street art professional may be the dream for some, for others it is exhibiting in galleries and others just want to make a living. The map doesn’t show that most professional artists will end up with two, three or more ways of earning. Or, that most will have work a dull, ordinary job to make ends meet.
Instead of Ghostpatrol’s images I will try to illustrate this with real examples from Melbourne’s street artists (thanks to Pav Art, Toby and Meli for helping me find/confirm these examples). Here is a list of street art careers:
Professional piecers, who continue with street art in a legal and professional way – Debs, Phibs, Sirum One, Meggs
Cartoonists/Illustrators/Graphic Designers, stepping off the street and getting paid to use their skills and style on paper or computer – Que, Scarlett, I Like Things, Pierre Lloga, Mend, My Charlie Girl
Street Fashion Designer, moving from the street to the catwalk and making clothing for sale and fashion shows – Pav Art and Leeane Edwards
Conventional Artist, regularly exhibiting in galleries – HaHa, Ghostpatrol, Mask and many, many others.
Art Teachers, earning a regular income teaching others their skills – Pierre Lloga, Chris Tamm in NSW
These careers in street art make it possible for others to have careers: photographers, gallery directors, dealers, tour group leaders, critics (like myself) and other writers. And probably a few more that I haven’t though of. The point that I am trying to make with these examples is that the street art world has a larger population than just artists. Although earning a living is a feature of all of these directions, they are also creating an environment, an art world. An artistic environment that is, hopefully, a sustainable creative socio-system.
There are many ways of participating and many directions to go in street art. I don’t want to give any career advice; I want to show a bigger picture.