I recently read Funemployed by Justin Heazlewood, a book written about the realities of earning a living as a fulltime artist in Australia.
Heazlewood, an author/ comedian/musician/ writes a painfully entertaining account of his experience making a full time living in the arts. He shares his successes and his lows. In an age of facebook and blog sites perfection it is easy to present only life’s successes and omit mentioning our failures. But it is the later which provides the greatest insight to the reader as to the challenges faced by artists in Australia.
I think Heazlewood has been very generous in the sharing his thoughts and feelings. He expresses his doubts and conflicting emotions with a rare honesty. Sprinkled through his narrative are insightful anecdotes shared by other artists with similar experiences. This is a seam of gold.
A full time living in the arts is not an easy gig. Rather than dissuade you, this book should arm you with the knowledge that you are not alone in the difficulties you may face.
If you are considering a full time career in the arts, or setting up an arts practice I recommend that you grab a copy of this book and have a read (and a laugh).
Heazlewood, J 2014, Funemployed Life as an Artist in Australia, Affirm Press, Melbourne
Arts Practise School is only the beginning. We can learn all our lives. The Lady in Number 6 A Century of Wisdom pianist Alice Herz-Sommer.
We can learn all our lives is a quote from ‘A Century of Wisdom’ which I have just finished reading, a biography by Caroline Stoessinger about 109 year old pianist and holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer. It’s a wonderful book which I only came to know of because of the recent Academy Award winning doco about Herz-Sommer based upon Stoessinger’s book. Herz-Sommer is an amazing, energetic and intelligent lady who at 108 still puts in several hours of piano practice daily, despite having ‘retired’ from performing as a concert pianist. Her music is her life and she is nourished and guided by it. She passed away just a few weeks before the documentary received an Oscar. You can see a link to a video short ‘The Lady in Number 6’ www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oxO3M6rAPw
Whether you are looking for wisdom of seeking insights into an artist’s life I highly recommend this book.
Stoessinger, C 2012, A Centuary of Wisdom, Randon House, USA
Carlo was about 87 when he related a story to me about seeing some violins during a visit to Perth many years ago and how, when he returned home to Margaret River, decided to make one. I asked if he still had it and if so, could I see it. He went inside the house and then returned to the verandah where we had been sitting, with a partially made violin.
Carlo had hand carved the instrument from a local marri tree, shaping the wood from the memory of his Perth visit. The marri had proven difficult to work and cracks finally appeared, so the project remained an unfinished dream from all those years ago.
But really, I digress, yet still on a vague musical theme and life’s lessons. I read a wonderful book recently called Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy, an autobiographical account of a young musician who grows and matures through her successes and disappointments, and gains a worldly wisdom from her wonderfully gifted piano teacher.
The piano teacher’s knowledge and insights transcend mere musical technique and reveal her great depth, not only as a human being and artist, but as a great educator. Goldworthy’s narrative style flows easily, her recollections priceless. If you are considering a career in the arts, or if you are already involved with an arts practice, I highly recommend you read this book.
Goldsworthy, A 2009, Piano lessons, Black Inc., Melbourne.