Making A Living While Being An Artist
“So I founded a school with the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB) and, I think it’s a unique school, because it’s a school that teaches to artists only but not artistic disciplines. It’s about how can you make a living being an artist. So, we don’t teach about playing guitar, writing books or that kind of thing, but what are the soft skills you need to be in this business. How do you interact with people? How do you ask for grants? What is copyright? How do you present yourself?
That’s all the things I’m teaching in the school, and it’s a unique experience for artists, because it’s a time for them to think. Because, they never have the time to think. They have the time to create, they have the time to find money, but they don’t have the time to think. So, we think together, and the results are amazed. For example, managing time for artists that’s something, but when you teach them how to manage time in a managerial point of view, it doesn’t fit with the artists’ way of being.
But there is a certain way, there is a need to manage your time when you are an artist. You know it, because you are an artist. And so, what do the other artists, and that’s what I teach. And it’s a wonderful experience for them also, because they come from every disciplines you can imagine. We have visual artists, we have singers, we have dancers. We have a lot of different, from different generations and from different cultures. So this is also a place where they can ask questions about the Quebec culture, because they don’t understand. They say why do they do that? We speak about that, and that’s really interesting for them and for me, also.
Yeah, we have guests. I try to have a lot of guests, because it’s really interesting to have people from different disciplines. I ask Nicholas to come. I ask to come, and they are happy, and they are really useful for the students. Beyond Montreal? We have a lot of people from Africa, from Europe, from everywhere in the world, asking to come to school. But it’s impossible, because it’s so expensive if they are not Quebec, and they have to pay.
Because, you know, the problem is that artists are completely sure that if they are good at what they do, they will have success. But they don’t realize that it’s not only that. They need to be good at building their career which is not the same that just playing the guitar, for example. So they need to learn a lot of different things.”