The phrase “struggling” is so typically tied to “artist.” However you don’t need to win The Voice or promote a portray for tens of millions to translate your artwork right into a supplemental paycheck, part-time or full-time job.
Websites like Etsy, to go-to for handmade merchandise, might help you launch your small enterprise. However don’t overlook the significance of social media, a sophisticated web site and old school networking.
Right here’s how three creators cast methods to make cash as an artist.
Be Daring, Push Your Portfolio and Have a Facet Hustle
Alli Arnold took her first daring step to advertise her illustrations at age 8.
“I despatched a Valentine’s Day illustration to Newsday on Lengthy Island, N.Y., and so they printed it! My elementary faculty’s principal hung it within the faculty’s foyer. I knew I used to be on my means,” stated the skilled illustrator who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.
A mix of expertise and the heart to maintain submitting her work has stored her working as an artist for greater than 20 years.
After graduating from New York’s Parsons College of Design with a Bachelor’s diploma in Fantastic Arts, Arnold bought a job at Seattle Weekly.
“My rising pile of printed work empowered me to name different publications that I needed to work with. I moved again to New York Metropolis after three years in Seattle and hit the bottom working,” she stated. Her illustrations have appeared within the New York Occasions, New York Journal, Glamour, Actual Easy and different nationwide publications.
They’ve additionally appeared on reward playing cards and different content material for Goal, Barney’s New York, Tiffany & Co. and Neiman Marcus.
“Within the outdated days, earlier than social media and the Web, if you happen to illustrated for one journal, one other journal would see your work, and in the event that they preferred it, they referred to as you,” Arnold stated. “That was how my entire profession labored for 15 years: inch by inch. There was a time after I had month-to-month illustrations in 5 completely different magazines. These 5 illustrations a month paid the payments, and every little thing on high of that was gravy.”
However a transfer to St. Petersburg in 1991 hampered her profession. At the moment, face-to-face connections resembling seeing purchasers within the workplace or assembly for espresso stored the assignments flowing.
“I rapidly discovered — to my shock — that there actually is one thing to being in New York. Even on this trendy world, individuals actually wish to work with somebody they’ve met,” she stated.
So, Arnold needed to get her title out once more in Florida. She staged a present at a preferred retailer and submitted her work to native publications. The work began up once more and one job begat one other. She additionally labored social media to the max.
“I’ve 4 completely different Instagram accounts that I replace recurrently,” she Arnold.
Just this year, she started selling on Etsy, offering custom pet and people portraits. The platform made it easier to transact business, since people are more comfortable with a proven and well-known marketplace than an independent website, she said.
The October issue of HGTV Magazine featured Arnold as a favorite pet artist and it was great to be able to direct that traffic to Etsy, she added.
But, of course, a career in art hasn’t been easy.
“I know very few artists who don’t have a side hustle,” Arnold said.
Her side jobs have included work as a personal shopper, costume jewelry scout, pet sitter, proofreader, stints at The Gap and even modeling hats for the Kentucky Derby.
Have a Flexible Product Line and Mindset
Just because you go out on your own doesn’t mean you’re locked into that business model forever.
In 2015, at age 49, Malacia Anderson, known as LiLi, left her day job in customer service once the income from her art surpassed her day job earnings.
She designs and sews custom clothes from her home in Roosevelt, N.Y. Her dresses, tops, skirts and head wraps are made from distinctive fabrics with African prints from places such as Nigeria, Ghana and India.
She sells most of her clothing on Etsy.
“It’s the easiest platform for my business because it provides clear information in regards to delivery and descriptions. It’s simple to set up a shop,” Anderson said. “Their payment as well as refund process is simple. Overall they provide back office support that takes the fear out of starting a business.”
But three years after making her art her full-time career, Anderson missed the regular paychecks (and healthcare benefits) that come with an office job. So she now works part-time as an administrative assistant but significantly supplements that income as a dressmaker.
Not too long after taking the part-time job, COVID-19 changed the world.
“I had a (social media) follower who worked in a hospital and she posted that she couldn’t find any cloth masks,” Anderson said. “I made her a few as a gift and posted a picture of them. People started asking me to make one for them.”
Friends sent her photos of masks selling for $25 or more.
“I couldn’t believe it. I started making them for $10 and then it just went out of control,” she said. “In one month, I had over 800 orders in my Etsy shop.” Before the mask mania, a typical month saw 25 orders for clothing.
Meanwhile, Anderson still had custom clothes orders coming in.
She completed those orders then reduced her offerings to more standard options.
“I brought back all of the simple things that I used to do in the beginning. The price points were lower, and that was better for me and the changes in the economy,” Anderson said. “It proved to be the perfect midpoint between that and the masks.”
Now, about 75 percent of her income comes from her sewing.
Determine, Save and Spend money on Advertising
Setting cash apart two years prematurely and investing in advertising are two methods Lynn Veronneau, of Washington, D.C., transitioned from her day job to supporting herself as an expert jazz singer.
She sang professionally half time years in the past whereas finding out music in France and discovered it was a tough method to make a residing.
So Veronneau used her fluency in French and English to construct a profession as a bilingual communications specialist. For greater than twenty years, her work included stints on the United Nations, the European Heart for Nuclear Analysis and the World Financial institution in Washington, D.C.
“Within the course of I raised a household,” stated Veronneau, who married Ken Avis, a guitarist and singer she met backstage in Switzerland.
Then there got here a degree the place life was getting just a little shorter, and my husband and I began planning for one thing else,” she stated.
That “one thing else” was discovering a method to carry out professionally and depart their day jobs. Avis was working in human sources.
This was 12 years ago. At the time two of their three children had graduated from college in Canada, where Lynn Veronneau is from, and higher education costs much less than in the United States. They continued to work in their salaried jobs two more years and set aside money for their third child’s education.
The couple performed together, but wanted a bigger, fuller sound with more people. They found two more musicians to join their group and named it “Veronneau.”
“After just a year or so we decided we were going to record and release and promote,” Veronneau said.
The group invested in a publicist and a good website, with a professional writer and photographer. The website consists of simple methods to hearken to their Sound Cloud and Spotify web page.
“You’ve bought to look the half earlier than you possibly can actually strategy golf equipment. You’ve actually bought to appear to be you might be already the actual factor,” she stated. “We put all our eggs in a single basket, and we bought some traction and generated some curiosity.”
Earlier than too lengthy the group bought into the charts, and reviewers began writing about them. The group stored the momentum going, releasing extra music and incomes grants to supply festivals.
“We sort of got here out of nowhere,” Veronneau stated, “after which we had all of this happening.”