Support material for Creative Victoria VicArts Grant application

I've gathered together relevant material to support my application to Creative Victoria. Here you'll find:

  1. Stats from Season One
  2. Example episodes from Season One
  3. Testimonials
  4. iTunes reviews
  5. Selected media coverage
  6. Season One episode list
  7. Episode plan for Season Two
  8. Expanding opportunities for Victorian artists
  9. Budget notes
  10. Timeline
  11. CV

1. Some quick stats from Season One

Some amazing stuff came out of Season One of Starving Artist, here's the really quick overview of how far we've come already:

#1 iTunes AU Arts
#10 iTunes AU overall
10,000 downloads in the first week
Over 145,000 downloads across season
Top 5% of podcasts globally
5 star rating on iTunes

Over 50% of Australian listeners from Victoria
Over 80% of featured artists from Victoria

Launch event (150 tickets) sold out in 90 minutes
Featured in ABC TV, SBS, Frankie, VICE, Fairfax, Junkee, and Artspace
Inked commercial sponsorship deal with Etsy - who'd never sponsored a podcast previously
Funded through $15,000 in crowdfunding

Season One Launch Event

Sold out in 90 minutes

2. Example Episodes from Season One

This episode is the first from our #AskAnArtist series and features actress Caitlin Stasey, appearance activist and writer Carly Findlay, and illustrator Gorkie, talking about the ethics of using your beauty to promote your creative work. 

For Season Two we plan to make more #AskAnArtist episodes, so that our programming can be more responsive to our audience, and so that the community can actively shape the outcome.

This episode is one of our standard interview episodes from Season One. It features Wendy Syfret, editor of iD (VICE), talking about  the art of negotiation, how hard it is to work out how much you’re worth, and just how much this stuff matters at your 10 year high school reunion.

This was one of our most popular episodes, and in the year since it aired I've had many strangers come up to me to publicly thank me for their now much-higher salaries.

3. Testimonials (where fancy people say nice things)

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"The podcast is an engaging conversation series with creative Australians focusing on how they manage their money – often a tricky subject for artists during the early stages of their career. The interviews provide much needed advice and insight and aim to inspire and empower the audience as they work towards their artistic goals and towards self-sufficiency."
Fenella Kernebone - Head of Curation TEDxSydney

"I wish that I had a resource like this when I was starting out. This type of honesty and spirit of sharing knowledge is rare in the creative world - but so valuable and important."
David Booth aka Ghostpatrol - Melbourne artist

"Working in the arts, something that drives me crazy is talk. Ironic as a writer. But there is so much talk about intent, action, movement, change. We get lost in semantics and academic language. The fact Honor made a project that is problem and solution oriented, that speaks directly to issues and tries to unpack them in a real life way, is so, so refreshing. But more than that it’s a real resource. Young creatives are always laden with conversations around what their work “means”. That adds to a market place where their skills are some how not seen as totally real. We need to have conversations around what creative skills are worth, so they can finally be quantified and valued."
Wendy Syfret - editor i-D (VICE)

"Honor has shaped Starving Artist into a project that is unique in format, approach, content and reach. As an established artist and lecturer – and having assisted many young Melbourne artists at the beginnings of their careers – I know that Starving Artist is a rare, necessary and timely resource. The relationship between art and money is often a tight-lipped conversation, and it is admirable and significant that Honor so boldly and candidly approaches this topic in a way that is accessible, entertaining, and that will assist many creative practitioners – particularly Melbourne creatives in the early stages of their artistic careers."
Laura Woodward - artist and lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts

Becky Sui Zhen, who featured in Episode 8: Two Careers and Kids - where she discussed how she sees herself managing her creative career and having a family, and how her mother's illness has influenced her thinking around parenthood.

Becky Sui Zhen, who featured in Episode 8: Two Careers and Kids - where she discussed how she sees herself managing her creative career and having a family, and how her mother's illness has influenced her thinking around parenthood.

"Please do yourself a favour and listen to this podcast. So encouraging and honest, not just for those in the creative community but for everyone. Really makes you think about what you are giving to the world and it's worth."
- iTunes review

4. iTunes Reviews

"Open and honest discussion about the money side of the creative industries, but still super relevant for anyone who's ever going to ask for a pay rise (i.e. most people). The world needs more of this."

"Brilliant. So helpful for anyone trying to follow their passion and build a career, creative or not."

"Thank you for filling this gap! Moving into a creative industry comes completely without a guide - this is as close to "professional development" as I've found!"

"Important and interesting - a must listen for young creatives and young people thinking about work, money and identity."

The sold-out launch party featuring five Victorian creatives from the first season: Sarah Firth, Wendy Syfret, Frances Cannon, Becky Sui Zhen, and Honor Eastly.

The sold-out launch party featuring five Victorian creatives from the first season: Sarah Firth, Wendy Syfret, Frances Cannon, Becky Sui Zhen, and Honor Eastly.

"I love how Honor manages to make talking about money so incredibly interesting. This podcast is essential listening for anyone interested or working in the arts. It's probably the one podcast that you'll listen to as soon as it's released."

"I love that this podcast is not afraid to ask all of the questions I'm very afraid to ask. More please!"

"Fantastic. So informative, relatable, so recognisable and reassuring. My thinking is already changing towards my day-to-day artistic practice and where I want to be."

"Finally, realistic and down to earth interviews for artists who need life and career advice, that goes into the real money issues. I've been to a number of talks and so many glaze over topics without any in depth conversation, this podcast does the opposite and shares the lows and the highs."

5. Selected Media Coverage

Starving Artist: A Podcast That Gets Real About Money, Creativity, and Privilege by VICE

It's hard to make a living as an artist, but Honor Eastly's new interview series offers frank and helpful advice.

Steaphen Paton, who was featured in Season One in Episode 10: Artistic Integrity Is More Important Than Money.

Steaphen Paton, who was featured in Season One in Episode 10: Artistic Integrity Is More Important Than Money.

For many creative people, it's anxiety-inducing to even think about money. But for many of us, there's no choice—knowing where that next paycheck will come from is a necessity. "Any conversation about art and money is also about class and privilege," Eastly says. "And that is a scary conversation to hold as someone who does have significant privilege, but it's a crucial one."

This article was shared over 300x on Facebook alone.

Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia by the Australian Council for the Arts

Starving Artist was profiled in the Australian Council for the Arts Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia. This is a major piece of research that tracks trends in the lives and working conditions of Australian artists over 30 years and identifies challenges and opportunities for artists’ careers into the future. Selected professional artists were invited share some of their experiences.

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"Learning how to make the art + money equation work has been one of the biggest challenges of my life, let alone my creative career. It’s why I finally took all my blood, sweat, and worry, and turned it into the Starving Artist podcast. For many artists making money creatively is either a mystery, or hidden behind a big banner reading “SELL OUT!”. I wanted to change that. What I found is that artists make it work in many different ways, but one of the most helpful things for sustaining a creative career is to have radically honest conversations about this delicate topic." - Honor Eastly

Wendy Syfret who appeared in  Episode 2: How To Negotiate A Raise

Wendy Syfret who appeared in Episode 2: How To Negotiate A Raise

Negotiating the difficult balance between financial viability and a life in the arts is possible but it challenges the idea that you can be anything you want.

A week after it's launch it is sitting at number 10 on the iTunes podcast charts, indicating that this is a subject which has captured the interest of many.


Like many female artists I'm told I 'work too hard', the reasons are complex; Honor Eastly for Fairfax

"Creative careers take time. And money. But for now let's just talk about time. In many ways the art world is a stayers game, and this To Be Or Not To Be A Parent conundrum is at least a partial contributor to why so much of the established creative careers are dominated by men; they have more time to make a career before they reach that crossroads."

We have also been featured in:
ABC TV's weekly art show The Mix as a recommended podcast
Junkee talking about How Creatives Actually Make Money
Frankie's Top Aussie Podcasts for Creative Types
Foundation for Young Australia's These 8 Podcasts Will (Probably) Help You With Your Career
Artspace's 7 Art Podcasts to Feast Your Ears On

6. Season One Episodes

7. Episode plan for Season Two

Current plan for Season Two features:
10 Victorian artists
3 major international artists - to increase international exposure for Victorian artists
Over 50% women-identifying artists
4 x #AskAnArtist episodes - where popular listener questions are used as the basis of an episode, to keep the project responsive to community wants and needs. Nb: not all artists are confirmed for these episodes so that listeners can nominate artists.

Click on each episode for a short description of the episode and the artist's bio.

8. Expanding opportunities for Victorian artists

For artists who were featured in Season One of Starving Artist, the biggest feedback we received was that being featured on the show opened them up to new audiences, increased their profile, and their work opportunities.

The audience of Starving Artist is currently:
50% Aus
25% US
25% rest of the world

We currently rank in the top 5% of podcasts globally in terms of downloads, with our most popular episode downloaded over 17,000 times, and featuring a little-known Victorian artist. This marks significant high-level, focussed engagement for this artist and their work. Very few podcasts globally are able to shine this kind of attention on lesser-known creatives in this way. Starving Artist is an anomaly.

We receive fan mail from every corner of the globe, and with each Victorian artist we feature, we open them up to a brand new international audience that is engaged and interested.

One artist with a significant email list remarked that being featured on the show double the size of their email list. This has fed into her artwork and creative business, giving her more artistic opportunities and business contacts.

Due to the cross-artform nature of the guests, and the focus on quality interviews, audiences cross-pollinate and find artists they otherwise wouldn't come across. Many find themselves discovering artists that work outside their usual sphere of interest, and we have received significant positive feedback on this.

We now receive regular requests from all over the world from people wanting to be featured on Starving Artist as a way of furthering their creative careers opportunities. Despite the international offers, we have decided to focus on Victorian artists, and are dedicated to having the majority of artists featured from Victoria.

For Season Two we have four strategies for how we will further our reach and the benefit to the Victorian artists we feature: increase publicity spend, increase advertising spend, partner with international organisations, and feature major international guests.

Increase publicity and advertising spend
We will dedicate significant funds ($3,500) to hiring a PR company to promote the show to mainstream media in the four weeks prior to launch, and the two weeks post-launch (so as to capitalise on the launch event success). We will also build on our social media strategy from Season One by dedicating $2,100 to advertising spend for social media (we spent $0 on ad spend for Season One). This will increase reach of the show, and benefits to Victorian artists featured.

Partner with international organisations
For Season Two we have partnered with Artists U, an established US-based grassroots initiative that educates artists in how to build sustainable lives. The director and founder of Artists U, Andrew Simonet, will provide mentorship and strategic expertise directed toward establishing a sustainable American audience for the podcast.

Andrew is the author of Making Your Life As An Artist, one of the top recommended resources for artists trying to make a living. Andrew is a strong supporter of the podcast and since 2006 he's been working tirelessly to create resources for artists, and embed these resources in communities across the US.

Feature major international guests
For Season Two we have strategically chosen major international guests (Mark Manson, Megan Tan, Adam JK) alongside Victorian guests in order to increase exposure for Victorian artists to international audiences. We found this an incredibly effective strategy for Season One, with a noted increase in new audience listenership around US-artist, Steve Roggenbuck's episode.

9. Budget notes

Important notes:

  • If the City of Melbourne grant is not forthcoming we will dedicate more of our current Crowdfunding to the production of Season Two of Starving Artist. I currently have a Patreon campaign that allows me approximately $1000AUD per month towards creative projects (Nb: Patreon shows figures in USD). Already $5000AUD has already been allocated to this project.
  • We estimate tickets sales at $1,100 for the launch party. Last year we made $925 through launch party ticket sales. As the Wheeler Centre is almost twice the capacity of the previous venue, $1,100 is a conservative estimate for ticket sales.
  • Last year we received commercial sponsorship from Etsy. Due to the unexpected success of the first season the sponsorship deal was significantly underquoted for season one. The $2,000 estimate for commercial sponsorship for Season Two is a conservative estimate. In line with industry standard prices, with sponsorship on each episode we are expecting to make $5,000 in sponsorship for the second season.


  • Wheeler Centre venue hire
  • Auslan fee
  • Cost for publicist and advertising spend advised by Lisa Taylor, General Manager of Harvey Publicity. This includes one month of intensive PR to mainstream media publications.
  • Cost for audio production - editing, mixing, sound engineer - is in line with industry standard rates as advised by Audiocraft

10. Timeline

Season Two will follow a similar timeline to Season One:

Oct - Dec 2018: record interviews and get audience input on #AskAnArtist episodes
Jan - Feb 2019: editing, producing and mixing episodes
March 2019: pre-launch marketing
April 2019: post-launch marketing and weekly release of episodes
mid-June 2019: Season Two ends

11. CV

Honor Eastly's full CV:

If you got to the bottom here, thank you so much for reading :)