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Starving Artist - as a second career or new hobby

  1. #1
    USA
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    Starving Artist - as a second career or new hobby

    Been thinking about finding a new hobby or possibly second career....

    Always have appreciation for Paintings (oil, acrylic, etc)....

    But never had any formal training....how would one start if I was interested in this? Are there any beginning type art schools in HK? in Asia?

    Also, how much one would expect to spend to on this....cost wise...I have no clue...and would appreciate any experienced artist advice...

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    Hi there,

    in the midst of Hong Kong's materialistic culture, its unsurprising to find creative energies being suppressed...or worse still, harnessed in marketing which serves only to prop up its increasingly material and spiritually empty culture.

    A formal training is not a requisite for being a successful artist - witness the masses of talentless artist-wannabes whose exposure lies within the marketing paradigm, or worse, the social butterfly phenomenon.

    Your path seems to straddle both paths: firstly, the development of painting technique and its methods, which later, must mature into artistic vision. Without the technical background, any endeavour would result in apeing crudely, with weak insight into contemporary painting.

    The second aspect of converting an interest, a passion or a hobby into an earning profession, will have less credibility without a formal training. Many still rely on who they know, or their networking with family and or friends to promote their work to a sustainable career level.

    If you are more inclined towards a love for the creativity and process of becoming an artist, I'd recommend trying an evening painting course. You can supplement this by going to the Wanchai Exhibition Centre to find info on courses, and attend exhibitions in Hong Kong, in order to fathom whether disillusionment is likely, or whether passion will endure. If that wets your appetite, many evening part time courses exist in Kowloon and Hong Kong's colleges. Most are rapidly filled with middle-aged crisis lookalikes, others are in Cantonese which may exclude some. If you haven't given up after a year and switched to learning the piano or bungee jumping, then maybe taking a full time course would be a good compromise between earning and starving. With painting, its not quite the same as photography where every digital toting camera owner thinks he is a photographer (and unfortunately it is mostly always a 'he').

    There is no reason to starve as an artist, unless one pursues artistic integrity with financial and complete recklessness. Such Victorian nostalgia does however lend itself to a fantasy that an artist is giving up more (of the material) in order to pursue his art. This itself is no better than an inverse superiority complex.

    In any case, studying a general fine arts degree or studying with a group to further your learning would be much better than posting for 2 cents (or more) on the internet.

    Best of luck on your journey.
    Last edited by Palet; 13-01-2012 at 01:11 PM.
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    "Artists? They are looked down upon as beggars. Get a job as a business manager or professional (lawyer, doctor) and stop day dreaming!!"-Local parents scolding his kid (real dialogue I have heard on the streets).

    The same goes for those who want to pursue a career in sports as a professional athlete.

    In part it reflects the conservative risk-averse culture of Hong Kong. It also reflects who limited opportunities there are away from the "mainstream" fields. So Hong Kong really isn't all that developed in that aspect. Although that may not strictly be true, but the perception still holds.
    Last edited by Watercooler; 13-01-2012 at 01:59 PM.
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    Takes years to train and years to be good at painting, unless you are already good at it... Otherwise you can look at the "paining village" in Shenzhen.. That's some work...

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    USA
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    @Palet,

    That was a good and informative reply with bits of philosophical flair thrown in.....very much appreciated....especially the bit on the middle-aged crisis lookalikes...guess i will join the crowd for now as simply as a hobby and then see where the brush takes me...

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    No formal training necessary.
    Art today is about Big Business.
    You could model yourself after Andy Warhol and sell your paintings for 100s of millions of dollars.

    Take his soup can 'paintings'.
    It wasn't even his idea - the original idea came from one of his agents.
    He photographed a graphic off a soup company's business envelope, had his 'factory workers' make photographic line negatives, had his workers retouch them and make colour silk-screen prints.
    He then signed them and sold them as 'paintings'. They now fetch about 80 million USD.

    So there you go, wasn't his idea, wasn't his design, wasn't his labour, its not even a painting - its a photographic silk screen print, yet he is gushed about as an icon of modern art.

    In any other business he'd be charged with fraud, at the very least plagiarism.
    So basically, no skills or talent needed... just good, creative business managers and marketing BS agents.

    BTW, the real artist - the graphic designer who rendered the original can graphic for the stationery was never credited and will be forever nameless.
    Last edited by TigerSun; 17-01-2012 at 12:23 PM.

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    My cousin is an artist. He's formally trained (at the Royal Academy in London) and over the past few years, has been quite successful. Mario Testino recently bought some of his work, he's been exhibited by Saatchi and at the Barbican and has had a couple of solo exhibitions.

    Despite the success, my Uncle still has to subsidise him as he isn't making enough regular money to fully support himself. It's a tough life financially. On the plus side, my cousin is very happy indeed and doing what he loves.

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    USA
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    Yes, thats the key...doing what he loves...but probably not eating as much of what he likes or living in as a big a house he wants to be in...but thats part of the trade-off, less materialistic good versus doing something one loves...

    Kind of like the ex-banker or lawyer I read recently, who quit his high paying day job and decided to become an artist with lego blocks....now that is fun.....
    Last edited by USA; 17-01-2012 at 02:26 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by USA
    Kind of like the ex-banker or lawyer I read recently, who quit his high paying day job and decided to become an artist with lego blocks....now that is fun.....
    Yeah but he also probably had plenty of money behind him to keep going.

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    Mat
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    Well well well we get the usual: no artist in HK and/or China, they are all about money and no one cares about artists. true you have way more Accountants, Lawyers, Shipping clerk and all that painters but still:

    Here: AS CHINA TAKES LEAD IN INTERNATIONAL ART WORLD, SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART FOLLOWS STEADILY BEHIND | Art Market Blog - artmarketblog.com

    and here: Chinese Artists Dominate List Of 10 Most Expensive Paintings Sold Last Year
    1 /2 and 6.

    Apparently chinese aren't that bad artists...