CANVAS Artist Relief Campaign: Interview with Kristian Clarke on the Mission to Dispel the Moniker “Starving Artist” Within 50 Days


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The idea of the ‘starving artist’ has existed for too long.  It’s time we do our part to ensure no artist is starving. [CANVAS Indiegogo]

The creative life isn’t always an affluent one but more often than it should be, the creative life is one of financial struggles. CANVAS is a charitable foundation based in Ontario “dedicated to assisting visual artists in times of financial distress.”

Visual Artists create a wealth of cultural and social value in our communities yet the average artist earns less than $15,000 per year.  Financial distress can come quickly putting their professional careers, health and access to essential resources at risk.

Canvas exists as a safety net to assist artist with advice, links to services, and  financial aid.  

Kristian ClarkeCANVAS is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to dispel the term starving artist within 50 days! Sitting at $1,250 of their $10,000 goal, check out our interview with Kristian Clarke who tells us about how we as a community can help make the change that is needed. 

I recently saw the term “starving artist” referred to as a romantic notion. Why do you think this is and why does that need to change?

You’re right. It likely stems from the fact a lot famous art depicts beautiful subject matter that provides an escape from the mundane. What is overlooked is the  arduous and lengthy process that was taken to reach that transcendent final product. There are years of investment that many artists make in their careers to perfect their technical ability through both formal and informal training. The creation of art is so unlike traditional occupations that society finds it fascinating. In most cases the creation of art involves materials and media that we connect with childhood and/or leisure activities.  Ironically, in a world where we value credentials, artists are some of the best educated members of society yet the most poorly compensated. We cannot expect to see great art if do compensate artists and provide them with life’s basic necessities.

What are some of the financial and economic difficulties artists in particular face?

Artist have all the same challenges that other members of society have. Their creativity cannot always cover rent payments, medication, and even grocery bills. CANVAS steps in to make sure that visual artists have help with these things when money is tight.

Can you tell us about the goal of CANVAS and its current Indiegogo campaign?

CANVAS is looking to raise $10,000 that it will put towards assisting visual artists in Ontario through its Artists Relief Fund. We just had a commitment from a corporate supporter to provide matching dollars up to $5000. That means each dollar we receive is essentially doubled.

The idea is to dispel the term “starving artist” within 50 days. Other than donating and sharing info about the campaign, are there other ways artists/art-supporters can help out?

We are on the hunt for great products and services that we can offer to artists that are looking for assistance. Things like grocery gift cards, career development services, and donated medical/paramedical services are always welcome. In addition, we have a few vacant spots for board members if you’d like to get involved in a more hands-on way.

Please check out the campaign at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/canvas-foundation-ontario-artist-relief-fund . We look forward and thank you for your support.