Starving Artists

Published on August 15th 2019 by Hillary-Marie

Today’s episode brings us back to August 2018, the 9th annual celebration of Jersey Tap Fest. Part of my program with Jersey Tap Fest is a public “Tap Talk” where I invite faculty members to join me in answering questions directly from the students. This excerpt of our Tap Talk features myself and Mark Orsborn answering a question about Starving Artists…

What is the reality of the life of an artist, is being a starving artist and living in a studio apartment the reality of the life of an artist?


Starving Artist is real. But you don’t have to be a starving artist. I love the term “Artist Entrepreneur” because I think that it’s okay for artists to make money. It’s okay for artists to have IRAs and mortgage and NOT be in wild sums of credit card debt.

We have this concept that you have to be broke and grungy in order to be an artist, but it’s not true. However, it’s REAL. It’s an absolutely real reality for many people.  I lived the starving artist life in NYC in a 3 bedroom apartment with roommates, sharing a room with my boyfriend, in a rough neighborhood, got mugged a few times, couldn’t walk safely from the subway station to my apartment.

I lived that life. And then we moved into a nicer neighborhood in the city. Overtime, by making financial choices and career choices, I now have a house and a mortgage. I’ve done the roller coaster of starving artist, and it’s real. Living off PB&J sandwiches, eating on the floor of the apartment because I didn’t have money for a table yet.

Mark Orsborn:

If you want these things for yourself, you have to educate yourself. How do I get a house? You need to show that you make enough money. How do I show that I make enough money? You have to start your business because I have to be able to prove that you may X amount of money. You have to do the research.

It’s not just about you dancing, making money and then turning it back around to someone else. You have to continue investing in yourself financially but also with education”

More Episodes 

If you haven’t already, I recommend you check out some of my other Jersey Tap Fest Tap Talks excerpts, including Episode 012 where Bril Barrett and Justin Myles discuss their process for creating Choreography, or Episode 014 where we all discuss the importance of our Passion Projects, or Episode 017 where we discuss Support Systems in the Dance. So many beautiful bits and pieces of advice from these beautiful artists, check it out.

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