Artists suffer from the fact that people don’t see what they do as ‘a job’. However, it’s a career path that should be taken seriously, given the amount of hard work and commitment it takes to reach a professional level.
At the beginning of their careers, artists require time and space to build up a body of work, develop, learn, experiment, exhibit and build relationships that will hold them in good stead. All the while still paying the bills, leading them to take second and sometimes third jobs through necessity. It makes the path a long and arduous one, seeing many great artists fall to the wayside as the challenges of the balancing act become too much. ColArt once commissioned some market research which concluded the majority of people who take up painting do so when they reach their fifties. Understandable, given the time and resources required.
However, my dear friend and fellow Art on the Street Director, Harriet Brittaine is made of stern stuff. A graduate in biomedical science, we met when she arrived at Bovilles Art Shop for an interview, knowing with certainty that her direction lay in art. She is naturally gifted (although I’m sure she’d blush at this) and has many great qualities, but the one that makes her destined for success is her absolute determination. She works in Bovilles, teaches, formed Art on the Street and she’s one of 124 Studios with whom she exhibits, opens pop-up galleries and fights for affordable studio space. Oh…and she paints. Beautifully.
At the time of writing, Harri is drawing to a close a project that would have most artists clutching their easels with fear. On the 1st October 2013 she challenged herself to complete an entire painting every day for 100 days. The concept was to take the most day-to-day items and bring them to life, making people look at the mundane with new eyes. She chose to do this on top of work, AotS and the festive period. Armed with her oils, she painted everywhere: in the pub, on the street and during her lunch breaks. She also wrote an utterly charming blog post to go with each painting. Take a look at harrietbrittaine.blogspot.co.uk to see the project in its entirety and marvel, as I did, at how complex it must be to take several hours out of each day to achieve this. And then realise that it’s Harri’s job as an artist to do so.