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Lifestyle Local artists explain benefits, hardships of careers

Local artists explain benefits, hardships of careers

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Artists throughout the Pine Belt gather once a month to sell handcrafted items and artwork at the Hub City Maker’s Market in Town Square Park. While showcasing their skills, artists also have the chance to educate many about the importance of art in society. 

While many assume that the term “starving artist” is an accurate statement, it’s not as common as they would think. Emily Stewart, the coordinator for the event, said being a starving artist is often a myth and is far from the truth. 

The event was created four years ago in an effort to support local artists and showcase their talents while giving them the opportunity to share their work and make a profit. Stewart says the market is a popular outlet for those buying ceramics, jewelry, soap and wall art. While being a coordinator, Stewart also makes jewelry and has her own booth at the market as well. 

“A common misconception I see is that it’s cheap to create art, and people don’t take it seriously and don’t realize that we live off of this and actually make a profit,” Stewart said. 

Stewart believes that with hard work and a true amount of effort, an acceptable profit can be made. She thinks that creating art and being in charge of a personal business is beneficial mentally, especially when doing something so enjoyable as a career. 

“Sometimes financially it can be a struggle, but I’ve seen it work for many. Not knowing your income can be difficult, but it’s so much better mentally when doing something you actually enjoy,” Stewart said. 

Hunter Bounds has been selling his art since 2018 and enjoys selling his work at the Maker’s Market. He thinks that many customers believe art should be free, which is far from the case. Bounds is passionate about the creative process of art and the state of mind when producing his work. 

“Ever since I started this, I’ve had a self-realization of who I am as a person and am able to portray that to others so that they can then feed off of that positive energy,” Bounds said.

Bounds believes that the effort put into selling art will reap the benefits in the long run. He thinks that having enough patience throughout the process will allow many artists to be successful. If an artist is struggling with income, Bounds recommends that having another job in order to support an art-based lifestyle is beneficial as well. 

“It depends on the skill level, the effort, energy and drive. Money doesn’t just come because you put ten hours into a drawing,” Bounds said. 

Christian Gammill, a senior graphic design illustrator, has been selling his art regularly through tattoo commissions and local events. He said he thinks those who don’t believe in art as a real career path do not realize the dedication it requires. 

“Any craft requires a lot of dedication,” Gammill said. “There’s always more to it than what you see on the surface.” 

Gammill believes that the toughest thing about being an artist is the money aspect. He also thinks that the art block is difficult, especially when on a deadline. Many artists struggle with being stuck creative-wise, which makes it hard for them to produce work. Gammill says being an artist is just as rewarding as any other job. 

“There are times of feast and times of famine,” Gammill said. “Certain communities pour a lot into the art community and some don’t. I’d rather be happy and struggling than miserable and afloat.”

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