While most aspiring professional artists need to hang onto that day job, there are a few, such as Toronto painter Rachel Taggart, who can survive on their art.
Thanks to events such as the Beaches Studio Tour, which runs May 3 to 5, Taggart says, artists in Toronto have opportunities beyond the cherished gallery setting to showcase and sell their work.
“I’ve made a decent living off of my art,” Taggart said. “The downturn of the economy did affect my sales, but I’m beginning to see things picking up again.”
Taggart is a self-taught artist. She began experimenting with painting 12 years ago and considers herself a part-time painter and a full-time mother of two.
She and her husband live comfortably off of their combined income. Her smaller paintings cost approximately $130.00 and up, and some of her large canvases can go for as much as $4,000.00.
Taggart participates in the Beaches Studio Tour every year, and has also participated in art shows across the GTA and New York.
“It’s been worthwhile for me,” said Taggart.
The unfortunate reality for many artists is that even for professionals, most need another job just to pay the bills.
Gillian Morris is a part-time artist and the full- time Assistant Board Secretary at Nuclear Waste Management Organization. It’s her day job that pays for her constant travels, bills and art supplies.
Always looking to grow as an artist, Gillian has gone to art schools and workshops across Europe and the United States, painting on location.
Unlike many of the other artists at the Beaches Studio Tour, her focus is to show off her work, not to sell it. She does sell some of her work, but that is not her main focus. She paints for the love of the art, not for the money.
Aldo Cundari says he trained as a fine artist but got into the advertising industry ‘to pay my bills.”
Recently Cundari, who runs the Cundari Group ad agency, and two other art-inspired partners purchased the Toronto School of the Arts, which was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
For him the move made sense, and solidified and emotional bond; Cundari says he was one of the first people to sign up for the school. The school will be re-opening on May 4th.
“Thirty four years later, I own a large advertising agency, but I had always been missing that one component where I could express my art, versus commercial art,” he said.