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How Artists Earn a Living
Have you ever wondered if it's possible to make a decent living as an artist? Many people entertain the thought, but most assume, incorrectly, that there's no money in art. In fact, plenty of societal stereotypes back up this incorrect notion, primarily the old idea of the starving artist, who creates beautiful paintings but can't sell them for more than a few bucks on street corners.
The reality is that many people make money as painters, sculptors, craft experts, designers, and similar aficionados of the artistic disciplines. In fact, all you have to do to verify the viability of this career field is to check with the placement office of any major university. Grads with F.A. majors (Fine Arts) on their resumes do quite well, and they snag jobs in diverse industries. Here are some of the top strategies for earning your paycheck from painting, sculpting, and various kinds of crafts.
Craftspeople and artisans who make a living from their skills nearly always specialize. This rationale makes sense for a number of reasons. Not only does specialization save you time during the creating phase, but it also allows you to up your output and eventually sell more pieces. An added bonus is that you'll bring your work up to a professional level very quickly when you do one thing and do it well. If you want to break up the monotony of work sessions, consider creating multiple items at the same time, the way Picasso did. The master was known for setting up as many as 10 easels and working for a few minutes on each painting at a time.
Earn a Formal College or Graduate Degree
If you're talented, willing to enhance your skills, and market yourself effectively, you'll be financially successful. But if you want to shorten the learning curve and earn more money faster, get a formal degree in your specialty. College-level Fine Arts degrees will open many doors. Plus, you'll learn useful marketing techniques along the way. Many corporations that hire in-house designers only consider degree-holders. If you don't have enough money saved to finance an education right now, consider taking out a private student loan. Not only do these types of loans have high borrowing limits, but they also come with no pre-payment penalties. Borrowers can cover all their educational expenses and come away with competitive interest rates and reasonable terms.
Network with Online and Local Galleries
Identify galleries that sell a lot of pieces in the same category as the ones you create. Visit in person or call and let them know you want to place a half-dozen or so works with them on consignment. It's up to you to decide on the split, but most owners will agree to list your work for a fee of one-third the selling price.
Build Relationships with Interior Decorators
One or two busy interior decorating professionals can feed you more work than you'll have time to create. The trick is building relationships and letting the right people know what you can do. Here's where an initial freebie can help you a lot. Give one of our decorator friends a top-quality painting or sculptor. Allow them to give to one of their clients as a no-cost bonus or thank-you item. It's a win-win because when the decorator realizes the value of your work, she or he will be back for more, but will be willing to pay for pieces directly. You could also use social media platforms like LinkedIn to find more connections.
Get the Latest & Recommended articles in your InboxEvery businessperson knows the value of giving away free samples, but for some reason, artists often neglect this key principle. Make a list of local high-traffic areas in public buildings, banks, corporate lobbies, and retail stores. Even a popular mom and pop restaurant can help your cause. Contact owners and building managers and tell them you would like to donate either a painting or sculpture at no cost to them. As long as they hang or place the piece on their premises, you'll be happy. You will be surprised as to how many owners of small companies are eager to accept pieces under these conditions.
It's also a fact that many big names got their start by donating works to retail and corporate establishments. If you use this tactic, be certain that the frame or base of the item includes your name and contact information. Not only will you get fresh inquiries from donated items, but you'll also be able to enhance your resume with tag lines like, "Four of my recent works adorn the lobbies and corridors of major corporations in major metropolitan areas."
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 11th August 2020.