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This is an archived post from our old blog. It's here for the sake of posterity (and to keep the search engines happy). Our new blog can be found at http://blog.fracturedatlas.org.

What Artists Want, Need, and Desire: Career Phase Demands

As mentioned, we conducted a national survey and a series of phone interviews to better understand the professional development needs of artists. In the last post, I outlined the most common needs expressed by your peers. In this post, I thought you might be interested in understanding how your needs varied by career phase.


Emerging Artists
feel like they know how to make art, but are ignorant about the operations and infrastructure of their own industry. They don’t know what it really takes to be a working artist. Most reported being told by a teacher or mentor to “just persevere at all costs” in order to achieve their creative dreams, but were not given more practical insight into the day-to-day reality of their career.

They feel the lack of information is very disempowering and causes a perceived loss of control. Therefore, emerging artists especially want an education in industry structure, functions, vocabulary, and norms; which can be a source of empowerment and create a sense of career control.

“What is the vocabulary? What is the process? Who has the power? Where do I get started? Where should I live? (NYC or Los Angeles?) How do I get an agent, or join the union? How can I avoid being scammed? How do I get an exhibit?” – collage of emerging artist comments

“I would love some sort of a boot camp in business concepts for artists. Also, we need a way to mediate the connection to capital. Artists are uncomfortable asking people for money, they need an advocate. A workshop on pitching and presenting materials would be great. We have to learn about fundraising or getting investors for our vision. I wish I had templates or someone to spoon feed me the steps on how to save money. Individual sessions would be great! It’s hard to accept that you have to be involved in the selling process, but it would help to have a partner. It would be great to have general business knowledge tailored for filmmakers…that would be great!” - Filmmaker, Los Angeles

“I have questions about how to sell music and make money, because CDs aren’t selling, technology is changing, new ways are emerging to support yourself….I hate having to push my CD…it is such an artist conflict, you want to sell your stuff, but you want to remain humble.”
–Musician, Florida

Established Artists need help getting “unstuck”, overcoming worries about peaking, taking control of their careers, taking actions toward getting the next gig, managing their “brand”, getting emotional support when their social network changes, and overcoming the negative aspects of the industry.

“My career is being pulled by the market in one direction, but I have to push it in the direction of my creative (non-monetary) goals. If I was smart, I would just do what the market demands and make even more money, but I just don’t want to make stuff for money’s sake. If I did, I could be making a whole lot more money right now.” – Photographer, San Francisco

Again, we are working to expand the Fractured Atlas Development Program to better meet your needs by developing our online training center (Fractured U.) and developing a network of highly qualified consultant and coaches who can provide customized assistance to artists trying to plan, launch and manage their careers and companies. For more information contact me (kamal.sinclair@fracturedatlas.org) or Adam Natale (adam.natale@fracturedatlas.org)