It’s time for artists to support each other more…

Sheila Chandra - Thursday, November 23, 2017

Back in the day, 35 years ago, when I was starting out, the competition between artists, writers and musicians even on the same projects was fierce. Information about how to thrive was closely guarded, and smaller labels and managers took advantage of anyone’s ignorance about music business law or procedure, and exploited it ruthlessly. There are lots of deals I signed which should have been better, even with people I knew well and counted as my ‘friends’. They didn’t care or feel any responsibility to tell me that.


It was truly rare then for artists to mentor each other. The competition between singers – especially female singers – was even worse. An unconscious air of resentment pervaded, right down to passive aggressive comments on looks, skills or direction. It was a lonely place to live one’s professional life.

Undermining other creators is not a luxury we can afford any more

Mercifully some of this has changed. I’ve seen other visual artists mentor people – and I know of progressive bands that have too. But there’s still a hangover from the old days, and wherever undermining still exists – whether on a personal or business level, we need to stop.

Many creative people are struggling

This is a reflection of the wider economy, but the fact is, artists are among the worst hit because of the way that funding is being systematically cut, and the music business has been restructured, royalty-wise. It is harder than ever now for new artists of quality to be ‘born’ especially if they are from less privileged backgrounds. Could a boy from poor area like the old Brixton become the next ‘Bowie’ now? Sadly, almost certainly not.

We are the caretakers of our cultural landscape

Now more than ever, experienced artists are the guardians of culture. Our support to the right people, will in large part determine how rich the creative ‘soil’ or our artistic culture remains. Whatever our private insecurities or ‘beefs’, it’s time to act maturely and put them aside in order preserve as rich a creative culture as possible.

This means you!

It’s time to contact each other and form communities rather than ‘taking sides'. It’s time to give away your secrets to people you mentor. It’s time to support people from difficult or challenging backgrounds, because we need them to give us their creative perspective and stories more than ever. It’s time to give the other party the advantage, where on principle it’s the right thing to do (rather than exploiting their ignorance) because we need to think more of the big picture than of ourselves. Let’s be brave because no one can do this but us.

Help other artists weather the storm

We’re weathering an unprecedented storm in the creative industries. We’re the canary in the coal mine re the undervaluing of human work. It’s going to happen in the wider world eventually as technology replaces many roles including solicitors, stockbrokers, doctors and chefs. This technology already exists. While in an ideal world, this should mean plenty and leisure for all, unless the people who own such expensive technologies are willing to share their wealth (does that sound likely to you?) it will impoverish everyone instead.

Let’s really support each other

In the meantime, let’s support each other. I mean true kindness. I mean emotional honesty and support, advice, contacts, insights, legal help – whatever we can give. Because we have GOT to survive this with our collective legacy of expertise intact. Especially those without a cash buffer or a privileged background, whose stories are getting rarer and rarer.

We need to pull together as a community wherever we can and support and mentor other creative people. Remember, record companies, publishers, distributors, galleries, agents and managers won’t do it for us. It’s in their interests for us to compete. But we need to take the longer view, because when the robots have taken over, what will really matter is creativity. That’s when we’ll be needed more than ever.

I'm starting a coaching and mentoring service especially for self-employed creative professionals to help them thrive in their careers. Find out more at


Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


networking effectively stay on top of email fall of innocence collections popular culture buying stardust clutter addict professional encouragement staying in control friends low maintenance creative wellbeing stay tidy automatically arrogance spree inspiration lifetimes buying wealth clearing clutter control long-term artistic development home life cupboard of shame business hostile clutter nipping things in the bud emotional balance feeling creative creative career myth tips for clearing dynamic spaces organisation display items missed opportunities procrastination compulsion too many commitments artist diary artistic chaos being tripped up clearing artist materials fine art tidy copyright making decisions hotel room business-speak symptoms of creativity static spaces branding exhaustion stop cluttering absences how to save time email bankruptcy theft networking tidiness in living spaces motivation touring tortoise and hare quality artistic conviction jealousy partners artistry artists options resentment cry morning routines loss tidy people buying happiness trope confident in clothes low maintenance strategies mornings organizing for creative people well curated closet great artists saving time to do list clear desk focus writing funding campaigns brilliant creator organise lazy artist mentors artist mentoring social media clearing in short bursts creative culture peacefulness goals artist workspaces vulnerability bulk buy pop music overwork well organized work/home life balance tidy desk creative person domestic life good art work car loving your audience creativity diary cleaning working class artists too busy living mess free wardrobe proposals buying hope creative career coaching wind down hoarding minimalists home care cleaning your desk sheila chandra coaching Sheila Chandra author the void home organising inconvenience creative confidence appointments feel like creatiing storage creative organising ‘stories’ about your possessions self promotion great art creative ambitions successful artist normality multiple lifetimes platform good friend childhood slim-line wardrobe how to work efficiently clearing as you go innocence proposal writing VIPs why organise buying youth guilty purchases visualising brands binge nurturing creative work professional creative career streamlining routines nurture creativity creative magic work trips imagination magic work priorities crowdfunding parent hobbies just in case vocation letting go diagnosis good creative habits sacrifice clutter tidier time clutter boredom clarity of thought artist goals getting ready for work creative people business-like criteria for letting go of stuff smart artists stardust hijacking creativity creative spark new year effortlessly tidy pop culture workspaces concentrated creative time celebrity endorsed products mature artists clean desk 2018 goals peer-to-peer networks friendships much better friend creative identity housework much quicker anxiety work life : clothes subconscious mind work efficiently funding email overload living clutter free chaotic temperament precious memories culture emotional support clear outs emotionally secure artist creative commissions how to be naturally tidy ‘creativity’ warm down card productivity creativity career strategy critical acclaim elevator pitch business interface to creative businesses email grief tension under-confidence efficient work patterns commitment nascent artists mess stop hoarding stuff green room working class culture buy fewer clothes slow and steady double standard professional mentors social media networking disorganization network emotional resilience being organized introverts