5 considerations for your arts practice in 2024

Tips and resources for those starting out their arts practice, transitioning or looking to make it a full-time career.
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A place for art

Whether you are emerging or mid-career, the place of choice for your art practice matters. Should you hire a studio or work from home (the garage)? What forces will come into play in these different settings? Check out three women artists on their decision to make at home to learn more. Also, are you wondering what artists have on their studio playlist? ArtsHub spoke to five diverse artists with distinctively different practices to find out.

Zooming out of the studio, the city where you are basing your artistic practice can also contribute in different ways to your career path. Most often this may be the city where you graduated or where your family is based, but relocating can sometimes be a prompt for fresh creativity and new connections. In recent years, however, there has also been a strong wave of artists who consciously decide to stay or return to their home cities to cultivate the local arts ecology there.

Choice of materials

Material is a major element of any art practice, whether that be conceptually or practically. The cost of making art has also risen in recent years due to COVID-induced supply shortages, shipping difficulties, inflation and the rising cost of living in general. However, artists have also been coming up with creative solutions, whether that be reusing materials, increasing the efficiency of both labour and resources, or considering a new chapter of their artistic practice.

All of these changes can increase awareness of the materials used in the art and the associated responsibility of using them. This includes making more sustainable and environmentally conscious decisions. You may also like to consider the animal by-products that can be present in art materials, such as animal hair in paintbrushes and crushed bugs in pigment. While the industry is yet to fully grasp vegan art materials through clear labelling, ArtsHub has compiled some tips to help identify and steer away from those containing animal by-products.

Managing your finances

If you are on the path to becoming a professional artist (that is, money earned from art being your main source of income), then being able to keep track of your finances is a top priority. Symposia has a detailed financial planning guide for artists, with practical tips and steps. This includes how to budget, save and invest month-by-month. As with any business, bookkeeping for your arts practice requires consistency and organisation and, contrary to common belief, getting good with numbers will not hinder but only strengthen your creative career.

When it comes to tax time, check out ArtsHub’s tax myth busters and quick fixes for Australian artists – many of which may apply when living and working in the UK.

The community and the network

Interpersonal relationships are important in the art world, whether that be peers who you look to for collaboration and new ideas, or networks that see your potential and can offer the next opportunity to advance your practice. So where to start? ArtsHub’s Artists Essential Toolkit series offers guidance on how to build support around your arts practice, which includes community and network, but also sourcing financially to help realise a project.

If you are considering whether gallery representation is right for you, read our interview with Australian artists Luke Cornish (aka ELK) and Zoe Young on why they left their galleries and how that worked out for them.

Evolving your practice

As we begin a new year, one question that may pop up is “Where to next?” For those who are a few years into their arts practice, the transition from being an “emerging” to a “mid-career” artist can feel awkward and even daunting. ArtsHub spoke to three artists in different phases of their careers to gain some insights.

On the other hand, if you feel that your current path is just not working out, don’t be afraid to shake things up and rethink the direction of your practice. Sometimes creating a distinctive style can help an artist gain recognition quickly, but having to always stick to one aesthetic or concept can be also limiting, making you feel stagnant rather than motivated. Check out what it means to change the direction of your arts practice – the when, why and how.

For more tips and resources:

Check out ArtsHub’s Career Advice page for more new articles as they are published.

Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_