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Valuing art and those that make it

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Don't give up your day job. You'll hear it again and again if you are just starting out as an artist, and for good reason.

Artists down the centuries have been hybrids. They work one or two unrelated paid jobs so they can work in the arts for enjoyment, for "psychic income".

It's the reason so many great compositions, canvases and films are created, for non-monetary benefits such as joy in seeing a vision realised, peer recognition, fame and the prospect of influencing public opinion.

Of course some artists actually manage to make a living through what they do. But most never scrape together enough from art to live above the poverty line, despite a sympathetic tax system, government subsidies and grants.

Artists are both liberated and hamstrung by the notion of psychic income. It's their best friend and their worst enemy. They often volunteer their time; give away their work because they want to.

"Worse, they ask one another to do the same," Jack Ll…