31 May 2023
A new series with The Spinoff and Stuff pulls back the curtain of what artists' work lives look like.
Art is Work, and this series aims to show the people behind the art we know and love – highlighting their working lives and explaining what goes into making art. Shining a light on the need for fair remuneration and working conditions, it features eight artists from around Aotearoa, running fortnightly on The Spinoff and Stuff.
The series, commissioned by Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, follows the recent release of Profile of Creative Professionals research, which highlights artists’ income and hours, wellbeing and career satisfaction opportunities in Aotearoa and the ‘gig economy’.
The series’ Commissioning Editor, The Spinoff’s Sam Brooks says, “Like many jobs, the amount of labour, time and energy it takes to even get to the point where a creative can make that work is huge. That’s true of all art forms – whether it’s a painting, a live performance, a video game, a musical composition, a sculpture, or a book. What comes out at the end of a process is barely representative of the work that went into making it; it’s the tip of the iceberg made up of blood, sweat, tears and, probably, lots of emails.”
The series will launch with actor and interdisciplinary artist Ana Scotney and will follow emerging artists, established artists, artists working in urban centres, artists working rurally, artists with jobs outside the arts, artists with families to support, artists who just have to support themselves.
“We know that New Zealanders support arts, culture and creativity more than ever, and the value of artists’ work is felt and seen by communities across Aotearoa every day”, says Stephen Wainwright, Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.
However, the Creative Professionals research shows us that artists continue to earn significantly less than the median salary for their creative work, painting a bleak picture in terms of career sustainability for people working as creative leaders, innovators and storytellers in our community.
We want to make real progress towards fairer remuneration and conditions for artists, but this will require fresh, collective thinking and action.
We can make changes to the way we support our artists so they can do what they do best – create art that challenges, inspires and connects us. A key part of this is helping to build New Zealanders’ understanding about the reality of artists’ lives and everything that goes into making their valuable work happen.”
Stories will first be published on The Spinoff, followed by Stuff. We’ll post a link to each story below as they land.
- Read the ART WORK introduction
- Read about what Ana Scotney's week looks like
- Read about the day-to-day work of Chris Tse
- Read about how Pati Tyrell answers the world's call
- Read about how Emiko Sheehan makes time to create
- Read about how Rodney Bell puts his energy in the right places
- Read about how Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole are shaping their own empire
- Read about how Victoria Kelly finds clarity in a noisy world
- Read about how Art is everything for Nina Oberg Humphries