By Stephanie Dacre
Starving artist. The word used to refer to creative people who haven’t made it yet. The title has thick, cloudy, negative stigma surrounding it.
No one wants to be called a starving artist; and it’s not because they have a problem with being called poor; it’s because it means that you went out and declared yourself an artist, and now that art, is not paying your bills. Instead of risking this shame, many people don’t create at all. The world has led us to believe that if our art won’t make us any money; we are better off spending time doing something that will. We all have bills to pay and kale to buy.
Then, there are the people who through some degree of resilience to all the bullshit listed above, continue to create with reckless abandon.
Ciara Kuurne is an artist by nature and by definition. But in the big world of music, she probably isn’t a name that is ringing too many bells-yet. You can call her starving if you want, but she will probably just tell you to fuck off and continue making her art.
I saw her play at the Astoria a few weeks ago, opening for a local Vancouver band called Deadset.
She’s somewhere between alternative and acoustic rock and if not for her leather jackets and piercings, her deep, raspy voice doesn’t match her sweet disposition.
Ciara has been making music for most of her life.
“I heard my uncle play acoustic guitar at a family function when I was five years old”, said Kuurne.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘that is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard…that is something I just have to do”. She was enrolled in guitar lessons, and began writing shortly after.
Now, at 24, her music has grown up with her. She made her music debut with her first band, Storeys of Youth.
For now, it is just her and her guitar.
“There was a transition phase where I wasn’t sure if the band was going to continue on, or if I was going to have to do this on my own”, she said.
“I also challenged myself at that time. I had to ask myself if this is what I wanted and if I should continue. I would put music down, and then it felt like my guitar would tap me on the shoulder with an: ‘Ahem, pardon me, are you going to play me?’” she laughs. “I tried to push it away just to challenge it, and it just came back to me”.
Despite the tumultuous road that a creative life leads, Ciara continues to make her music, paying no mind to society’s expectations.
She says it would be nice to “make it”, but that she understands all of this work she puts into music doesn’t mean she will. Making a living off of music would be more of a bonus.
When I asked her to elaborate, she had this to say: “My greatest rebellion against society, is to just do something I love, and if I make a living out of it, then that’s the ultimate rebellion; you’re literally crafting the world around you”.
We can all learn a little something from Ciara Kuurne.
Stephanie Dacre is a UBC psychology graduate; without a job in psychology. Instead she spends her time running, writing and drinking craft beer while scheming about her next venture.