Professional profile of freelance artists in Berlin: tight cash


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Art is an insecure livelihood. It is not for nothing that one speaks of the art of breadlessness. But if you can, you can also make a living from it.Carola Rümperer

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The study does not prepare for the profession

Carola Rümperer has to make one thing clear right from the start: As an artist, you are creative at most 50 percent of the time. The other time is spent on networking and administrative activities. Rümper works as a visual artist in her own studio in Berlin-Marzahn. But it was not easy, she admits, that the way was not. Above all, the art studies that she completed in Osnabrück and Enschede did not adequately prepare her for self-employment as an artist. "

Art also comes from ability: someone who manages to make a living from his art has to be particularly good, a special master. Perhaps that is why many art is considered a particularly desirable profession: Despite all prophecies of doom, you want to prove to yourself that you have managed to make a living from art. But how do you actually do that?

Learning content in the study

During my studies, I mainly learned art styles and techniques. But I did not realize that I would later work independently and what that means - about dealing with insurance, legal and tax issues.

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Or that I have to market myself and therefore have to approach people, ”Carola complains about the lack of her education.

Law, taxes, marketing

After studying, she therefore initially sought a tax consultant and joined the trade union ver.di. They offer members legal advice and protection, among otherswhen it comes to membership in the favorable artist social insurance or pension insurance issues. Carola found it far more difficult to establish herself as an artist on the market.

“The most important thing as an artist is to stand out and stand out because the competition is tough. This works by creating your own profile, applying for scholarships, making exhibitions, printing catalogs, making contacts and starting your own projects. Of course, all of this is very time-consuming, costing time and money - and it can take many years to be successful. ”

The Internet simplifies many things

In the beginning, Carola didn't even know how to start. Therefore, she first sought advice in artist magazines such as “Atelier”. Today it is easier with the Internet: the Federal Association of Fine Artists eV and the Association of the Communities of Artists and Art Promoters eV for example, provide information on competitions, invitations to tender and current events as well as numerous contact addresses on their websites.

Social networks such as Xing or Fac offer another way of getting information and exchanging ideasebookwhich Carola finds too unspecific. Much more important for the Berlin artist are the local contacts, for example to potential sponsors, local politicians or foundations that decide on the next project financing.

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Create unique selling points

But contact with other artists with whom Carola can interact creatively is also important. Carola therefore runs her studio together with a photographer. Her artistic unique selling point is the "Rümperiens", mythical creatures with black skin, which the artist has known since childhood in the lowlands of northern Germany and now reproduces.

An idea that has already led to numerous scholarships, among others in Egypt and Russia. And she has also received the current studio in Berlin-Marzahn as part of a funding program. Who wants to take a look at their art: Carola Rümperer has compiled a small catalog in PDF format: Carola Rümper_Luxus of the biodiversity 2011

Tedious bureaucracy

In order to do so, however, lengthy application processes are necessary, as state and municipal funds are very scarce in Berlin, which is why Carola has to write regular financing plans for some applications.

At the moment, she is preparing a catalog, which is under pressure by the Cultural Office; in order to save costs, Carola will have to layout it himself - that means that she also had to work in software programs like Photoshop.

Clean up with wrong ideas

“In the end, real work as an artist - creative in the studio - only takes up a maximum of 50 percent of everyday work. The rest of the time goes into bureaucracy, computer work, finding sponsors, organizing projects and maintaining contacts, ”

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confronts Carola Rümper with false ideas. Even though Carola is still sure that she has found her traumber in art, she advises young people with artistic ambitions to re-examine their professional desires.

Subsistence or secure existence?

“As an artist you very often live close to the subsistence level. Therefore, you should consider early on how to secure yourself financially. And you should also think about family planning and retirement planning in good time.

Precisely because your own interests change again and again in the course of life, it can Sense have to look for alternatives in similar jobs that may be better paid. ”


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  1. UN END LICH

    Hello World, dear Carola Rümperer,

    I am a little disappointed that even free artists, or as you call them, are so caught up in financial and social security.
    Perhaps it is because of the Abitur (which I could also enjoy), or because of the stadion, that you have apparently successfully completed.

    I'm just going another way.
    I have the financial security through the social legislation of Germany and of course the GG or our constitution in Germany.
    I would also most likely call myself “FREE artist”, my stage name is “∞”.
    Of course, this is not an easy path, but if this were the focus, I could have continued to work as IT SYSTEMADMINISTRATOR.

    I enjoy true freedom for the first time in my life, because I have nothing to lose, at least nothing material.
    Sure, I also need money to buy me goodies at my dealer, I've got ne apartment (albeit with a funny frustrated termination to the 20 this month - but for what there are courts and lawyers) but Hey, you did not in school learned to read legal texts?

    My (Michael Waerder) official status is:

    unable to work, exhibited by my neurologist, wg. a bipolar disorder, which I now since 1996 rumschleppe with me (-:
    so the next few months are at least financially bearable, then, when I am “controlled” I have a few more months of entitlement to ALG 1, and then like every other German who is disabled, entitlement to Hartz IV or benefits from the social welfare office.

    I do not know yet, if I'll register a trade on my stage name someday- I do not give a shit, I think you can accept gifts of money up to a certain amount, otherwise I would have to specify these in the tax return, which I usually do myself.

    Do not get me wrong, I do not want to make my way over yours, maybe it's just different paths with the same goal?

    So, now delicious breakfast stuff and then look what the rest day and the night from the 13.08.2015 to the 14.08.2015 so brings.

    see you later

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