“I made something beautiful out of nothing” – My profession as an artist and art teacher

Translated by Herbert Meck.

In our new series, club visitors tell us about their everyday work. Today, Asuka tells us about her work as an artist and art teacher in Munich.

What do you do for a living? How long have you been doing this job?

I am an artist and art educator by profession. I have been practising these professions since I graduated from university in Japan in 2012. At the moment, I mainly live from my profession as an art teacher, but on the side I do exhibitions of my work and sell my art to interested people. In Germany, I wanted to further develop my knowledge of art and that’s why I started studying painting/free art here in Munich.

How did you come to this profession?

I had been very interested in art since my childhood and wanted to develop my interests further. My parents are both teachers by profession, so I could well imagine this profession as an art teacher. It was something I was more or less familiar with. I then decided to do a Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a minor in art education.

What does your normal working day look like?

I am more or less free with my working hours. I can decide for myself when and how much I work. But I am the kind of person who needs structure, so I try to create a daily routine and structure for myself. My working day looks something like this – I teach art in the morning in a children’s art house as a part-time job, after that I go to the university and spend eight hours painting there. I also give art workshops here at ClubIn twice a month, also as a part-time job.

I would like to mention briefly that there is no compulsory attendance at my university. Students don’t have to go every day or spend eight hours there like I did. It is entirely up to you when you go and how long you stay. We also don’t have professors who check every day whether you are present or not, whether you are working or not. The only thing they look at is your final product and they give you feedback on it. That’s why there is no exact pattern of how artists work and how long they work. It is always different.

What other tasks do you have to do at work that are not normally associated with your profession?

Before I started art as a profession, I didn’t know how important social contacts are for an artist. These contacts that you make through your career as an artist will support you morally at some point in an exhibition, for example, they will all come to your exhibition. I mean, it’s almost become a rule to go to the exhibitions of the artists you know. Of course you don’t have to do it, but we all know what a big deal it is to have an exhibition. That’s why we want to support each other and go. But you also have to mention that there are quite a lot of introverted artists and it takes a lot of energy to stay social.

But it’s just a beautiful thing to see how all these artists stick together and want to support each other. I’m an introvert myself and I often don’t have time to go to every exhibition, but somehow you should. At some point, you have an exhibition yourself and are just happy and grateful when people you know come to your own exhibition.

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most is the feeling of having achieved something or invented something new. For example, when I finish a painting, I have this feeling of “Wow, I did it! I made something beautiful from nothing.”

What do you find exhausting in your job?

As I mentioned earlier; staying social. Very often I would love to just spend time alone painting.  But I have to say, when I’m around people, I enjoy it too. It’s just that I often find it difficult to pull myself together and leave my flat (laughs).

Do you think you earn well and sufficiently for your work?

I think I get a pretty good wage as an art teacher at the moment. I get an average of 17 euros per hour.  As artists, we are allowed to decide for ourselves how much we want to sell our pictures for. But there is also an orientation for artists, which we can follow. This orientation is called fact and this fact is simply a number that increases according to your experience in art. We can take my fact as an example. Since I am still a student at the moment, my fact is x10. Let’s say I want to sell a 20×20 cm painting, I will factor it as follows: (20 + 20) x 10= 400 euros. My fact will increase according to experience, popularity, prices.

Would you change your job if you had the chance?

(Laughs) No! I mean to what? What else, if not art?

What do you wish for your professional life in the future?

I wish that my work will be in a museum someday. It’s a dream for me to go to some state collection and see my own work hanging on the wall there.

Thank you very much for the interview, Asuka! 

If you want to have a look at Asuka’s work, feel free to visit her website: https://www.asukamiyahara.com

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