I’ve just read Susan Jones’ Guardian article: Artists are struggling to make ends meet more than ever before. http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture-professionals-ne…

I know things are a bit tough for everyone at the moment, which would also impact on the art world, but I was shocked to see that ArtSway is closing.

It looks like funding has been taken away… I had some work at ArtSway once, such an inspirational gallery/art community that showcased the diversity and innovation current in the UK art scene. For me it was always intriguing that such a cutting edge gallery existed in sleepy Sway, coincidentally just a few miles from my birthplace. My wife also worked with Peter Bonnell on some catalogues when she worked for a printers – they’ve folded too now.

People often ask me how sales are going and I answer, not as they used to be. Susan Jones confirms my experience, opportunities, in particular for painting, are few and far between now – if these opportunities don’t exist, my paintings won’t be seen and potentially bought by collectors. Escaping to my studio and painting is only part of the story, it’s also a business and I don’t only want exciting shows and venues on my CV, I need to sell, not only to pay for materials to make new work, but to live.

There are more and more opportunities to show video work, all very good, but they do not create an income. Also, increasingly lots of festivals and galleries request a fee from the artist to submit work – of course they need to fund their activity. But what would Alan Sugar say? You’ve got to be in profit at the end of the day and if I apply for 5 or 6 shows a month, that could amount to almost £100, great if you’re accepted by all of them, but that’s not realistic.

When money is tight the first thing to go are the luxury items, in this case, culture and that’s a pretty poor sign for the way things are going.

Today, once I’ve finished editing some videos for submission for a film festival (non-fee paying) I’m starting some plans for a large painting for a local wine festival, the organiser invited me to do something – each artist accepted will be paid with wine. Perhaps that’s the way ahead.