Working with Artists to help make MUSIC & ART a sustainable career
October 14, 2020

8 Reasons Why Artists Struggle in Life

Whether we’re aware of it or not, we all enjoy and consume art on a daily basis. The vast quantity and quality of art available is incredible, both internationally and here in Ireland. 

Nearly everywhere you look in today’s society there is some form of art. Be it on your preferred streaming service, on your commute to work, or even as you flick through your social media feeds a rich variety of art is available everywhere. None of this art would be available, naturally, without those who create it.

8 Reasons Why Artists Struggle in Life

These creatives – musical artists, graphic designers, painters, writers etc. are the sole reason we have such a diversity of art in our world today. It strikes us as strange then that creative career paths are ill-defined, often discouraged and generally neglected.

In fact, there are many reasons why artists struggle in life, despite playing a huge role in entertaining the masses, and enriching the culture of our modern era. Below are some of the problems faces by our creative artist, and some potential solutions for how we, as consumers, can help to support our creatives.

1. Making a Consistent Living


Although creatives have such a huge impact on culture and the entertainment industry, finding consistent work and payment as an artist can be extremely challenging.

Whether you’re a musician looking for regular gigs or an artist trying to find your next commission, it can be a struggle to make a liveable wage solely from your creative endeavors.

As a result, many artists must maintain day-jobs in order to chase their dreams and make enough money to support their craft.As consumers of art, we must support artists we may know and enjoy.

One effective and reasonable way to do this is to always pay for your experience of the artwork. Never ask creatives for free copies of their work (Even if they’re your friends!). Pay as a sign of appreciation for a job well-done, as artists put in hours upon hours to perfect their craft.

Many artists now have Patreon accounts where you can pay a set amount per month to support them. It allows artists to receive a regular income so they can worry less about money and focus on their work.

2. Not Treating Art as a Business


Although artistic endeavors have a more personal touch to them than other industries. It’s important to remember that there is still a business aspect your work.

If you’re hoping to make money from your art then it is important and essential to learn how to sell your work. Not knowing how to sell and market your own work can be make or break for your career.

Creative artists should take time to learn how to sell their work effectively, and shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to professionals for guidance and help to sell more work.

3. Finding Inspiration


We’ve all been there. Sitting in front of a blank document/canvass trying to find something to draw inspiration from. It can be a real and genuine problem for creatives.

Being consistently inspired is a challenge and it takes time for inspiration to hit. This can be a great source of stress and anxiety for artists, as the pressure to produce further compounds the lack of inspiration.

At times like this, it’s important to get as far away from the work as possible. Taking your mind off of a problem usually helps to solve it in the long-run. Taking a walk, a small getaway, meditating etc. all work to reset your mind and being to draw inspiration from the world around you once again.

As consumers, not putting pressure on artists to always be putting out new work goes a long way in easing the anxiety that comes from not feeling inspired. Being patient with your favourite creatives as they work through a tricky period will always be appreciated.

4. The Temptation of Popularity


Every creative deals with this problem at one point or another: “Do I create what I want to create or do I create what I think will be popular?”

Often times these two things are one in the same, but sometimes they are not. Creating to people-please can be tempting, but when the art doesn’t come from a place of genuine meaning, the art suffers.

When fans begin to tell you what they like and dislike about your work it can be a struggle for the artist to continue to create their own vision rather than giving into popular demand.

For artists, it’s important to trust yourself and go with your intuition. It’s what got you this far so you should continue to trust yourself.

For those of us that consume art, it’s important that we don’t try to influence or tell artists what to create. We were drawn to their work for its unique qualities, and we shouldn’t try to change that.

5. Imposter Syndrome


Nearly all creative artists feel aspects of imposter syndrome at some stage. It can be a real reason why artists struggle in life. Feeling like you’re a fraud, undeserving of the recognition you receive, and generally not feeling good enough can leave creatives experiencing some difficult mental health issues that aren’t so easily side-stepped.

Issues like these can be combated by creating public-funded mental health services specifically for artists. RTE launched ‘You Ok?’ earlier this year, a mental health service for musicians and people in the music industry.

More programs like this could be developed to combat the mental health issues that come with putting yourself out there for the world to see.

6. Getting Recognition


Putting yourself out there as an artist takes a certain bravery. In a world connected like never before with so many great creatives, it can be heard to stand out from the crowd.

Every artist has struggled to get the recognition they deserve at the beginning of their careers. It’s almost a rite of passage, but it can also be daunting and disheartening to not be recognized for your talent and work ethic.

In the modern era, social media connect us like never before. Most successful creatives put work in to cultivating a captivating online presence. Having an online following is good way to be seen, gain fans, and market yourself to a target audience.

Consumers of art (AKA everyone) can help out their favourite creatives simply by following their social media profiles. By interacting, liking, sharing posts by artists, we can help them to expand their audience which is turn allows them to continue to create the art pieces we all enjoy.

7. Connecting With Your Fanbase


People love people, and are more likely to support the people they love the most. Connecting with your fan base across social media platforms, in real life, at events etc. is a long-term investment to ensure consistent appreciation of your work.

Taking time for your fans allows them to get to know you better, which in turn makes them more likely to be invested in your work. This will allow you to grown a loyal and community-like following, which will generate you more sales and further your career.

8. Contingency Plans and the Future


Due to the nature of the beast, it’s important that creatives live in the moment, and worry about the here and now. With this is in mind, it can be difficult for artists to know how their careers will unfold in the future.

Unlike other industries, there is no clearly defined path to follow. The going might be good now, but there’s no telling what will happen for the artist’s future. It is both a pro and a con of working in the creative industry.

Creating a sense of contingency is incredibly difficult for creatives from all walks of life. Be you writer, musician or designer, it can be a challenge to ensure the longevity of your career.

When disaster hits, such as a pandemic that shuts down the creative industry entirely, for example, artists can suddenly find themselves without work, and therefore, without pay.

At a governmental level we could be doing more for artists. Considering how much creatives contribute to our culture, it would make sense that they earn a regular income.

A social welfare payment specifically for artists would go a long way in ensuring continuity and at least then, when disaster strikes, our creatives won’t be without income entirely and will be able to keep themselves afloat.



In the modern world, there are many reasons why artists struggle in life. The challenges of getting recognition, regular work, and a liveable wage all impact the mental health of our creatives and affect their well-being.

As much as we love our artists, there’s always more simple and effective ways to support them, be that sharing their work online, or contributing small amounts to their work to show your appreciation.

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Author : Daragh Fleming

Author from Cork, Ireland.

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Zaid Bawab
Zaid Bawab
11 months ago

Good Read I relate


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