Yes, street painting is a profession. As you can guess, there is no internship or apprenticeship. It is not a classic apprenticeship. Under tax law, street painting is considered a liberal profession in Germany. Artists are automatically self-employed as sole proprietors in Germany. That is, you bear the full risk of an entrepreneur.
In my eyes, however, there is a crucial difference between opening a kiosk and going out on the street and painting a picture. The difference in motivation is hopefully clear. Kiosk owners don’t care what brand of cigarette or magazine is sold. They are certainly not emotionally attached to the products on offer.
Emotional doesn’t quite hit the mark. My sister is a hardcore manager and a typical shark in the free market pool. On this very subject, she argued that I could also work as an employee. Then the risk as an entrepreneur and also the associated high taxes would be history. It then took me a while to make her understand that being an artist is more of a quality, a state, and not a choice. I am an artist, not I deliver art. An almost invisible but big difference from my point of view.
My motivation is to share, not to sell. When I started street painting, it was a part-time job to study. But even then, the revenues were a reassuring sideline. When I copy Caravaggio’s play of light onto the Cologne Cathedral Plateau, it’s not to make real money. I then became so fascinated with a picture that I couldn’t wait to show others my copy and, more importantly, how the picture was created. So I don’t think it’s okay to have to bear the same high risk of an entrepreneur.
Another crucial point is that artists, by nature, are rarely also talented entrepreneurs. Thus, for many, professional failure is literally pre-programmed.
So street painting is a profession . As a street painter, you are on your own. This basically has the advantage of artistic freedom, it doesn’t follow any dictates except yours. In practice, however, the situation is different. Many jobs are done because they secure the rent. That’s fun, too, but has nothing to do with art anymore.