It’s so important to talk to your creative community about how they make it work as a profession. Very few people are able to sustain themselves on their artwork alone. Yet for some reason, emerging artists think it is an attainable lifestyle. Worse than that- that it happens right away.
I have found networking (I know, a dirty word) to be crucial. You have to talk to your community. Especially in Atlantic Canada. This seems like the hardest step for most people. Put on the dress shoes, drink the cocktail and ask how a persons day is going. I have spoken with a lot of emerging artists, and they keep saying the same thing… “I feel like I’m bothering them.”
People my age don’t call each other anymore, let alone visit each other. It's daunting. We would rather have short informal emails and even shorter texts. We forget that our heroes of the art world are normal people doing normal things every day.
I've been at this for a year now, pulling together threads of various theatre practices to make a year worth of work. It's hard, but it would be even harder if I was trying to do it alone. To be honest I may have even given up by now and gone back to serving craft beers and wings.
Our community in Atlantic Canada is amazing. I haven't met an established artist or company yet who hasn't responded to my questions or requests. Even if they couldn't help me, the connected me with someone who could.
Don't be afraid to write an email for more than four lines. Pick up the phone. Introduce yourself. It gets easier with time.