Despite the 2020 HECS increase, which saw arts degrees more than double in cost, a new State Government initiative is providing hope for Western Australia’s art community’s continued growth.
According to a media statement from Minister for Culture and the Arts, David Templeman, the new State Government plan will “map out how [they] can best support the growth of WA’s arts, culture and creative industries over the next 10 years.”
Senior lecturer and major lead of fine art at Curtin University, Mark Parfitt, says creative professionals like himself would like to see a few changes come out of the plan.
“Many artists, particularly young people, are looking for grants that are easier to apply for. At the moment they are really, really hard to apply for. There’s money that’s provided to creative practitioners but if they were able to increase the pool of funds that would actually be a reprieve,” he says.
Mr Parfitt says the job prospects for young artists right now are very good.
“At the moment I’ve got more industry people asking for students than what I can supply them with,” he says.
His advice to young artists is to be prepared to diversify their career pathway into teaching, community arts offices, and gallery work, but to stick to your guns.
“Follow your passion. You’ve got to go where the energy is. That’s in terms of the art making, what you’re interested in, and how you like to make it. Whether that’s making films or performances or paintings of sculpture or anything like that. It’s important not to follow a market or a trend,” he says.
Anita Tsangaris is a 22-year-old Denmark-based artist. She started painting in 2019 as a supplementary income source to help pay her rent.
“Art was something I could do and so [I knew] if I can monetise this thing that I have in my toolbox, that will supplement my income and I can keep living on my own,” she says.
She started off by selling her paintings on Facebook Marketplace.
“You can monetise anything now, it just depends on how much time and energy you want to put in to get something off of the ground.”
Her online presence has grown into an Instagram page with more than 125,000 followers, a website where she sells her works online, and she has more than 2 million views on her TikTok videos.
For Ms Tsangaris, social media has been vital in making a career from her art, but she says it’s a full-time job being your own social media manager, content creator and artist.
“You have to consistently be showing up and fighting and working every day to make something work,” she says.
Jessica Cotten, project manager of the Emerge Youth Art Awards in Nedlands says the exhibition has had a record-breaking year.
The annual exhibition is an opportunity for artists aged 18-25 to exhibit their works in a gallery, with cash prizes available to award winners.
“We’ve had 175 artworks this year, by 145 artists which is a huge increase, and the quality of works is wonderful as well,” she says.
The exhibition, a joint venture between the art centre and the City of Nedlands, is exhibiting the works of entrants until August 18.