View Full Version : Help please!

09-10-2005, 10:12 PM
I'm 16 and I don't know what to do as an artist to "survive" and make money on my own. I want to use mixed media, and everything else and I'm not interested in computer graphics. But I hear that's the only way to make much money as an artist. Someone help me please!

09-11-2005, 10:57 AM
Hi Albandia and welcome to the forum. this is a difficult question with no easy answer I'm afraid.
Some artists work for years and years and don't manage to sell a thing. Some work for a shorter time and get a lucky break. There simply isn't a sure fast way to make money in art.
The best I can advise is to keep on working at your art, get the techniques under your belt and hope that you can come up with something unique ... something that will catch someone's eye enough to say 'Hey thats good .... I would like to use that on .....'
I wish you lots of luck :D :wave:

09-14-2005, 07:31 AM
Hi Albandia
I think you've already hit on the question artists have been asking for centuries, it's not the easiest way to make a living.
You need to take several factors into account. It sounds like you're fairly free over what you want to create, so you could start by looking at where you can sell and what people tend to buy. Have a look online and in local galleries (remembering that galleries take a hefty commission in most cases), see what is selling on Ebay etc and how much people are paying. I know it sounds like stealing ideas, but it is how art has developed, everyone building on what has gone before - after all you would not be copying other artists ideas but using them as an inspiration for your own.
I don't know what appeals to art buyers (jewellery is my area) but I've done a bit of other craft work and it seems to me that round here there's always a market for decorative items with a function - candlesticks, clocks, mirrors, boxes etc etc. Capturing the zeitgeist with materials is important to style-slave galleries, for example leather is very big in the UK at the moment. Buyers will either want something to go with their new decor or something to give an updated element to their rooms. Garden ornaments (fountains, sculptures, sundials) are popular here too.
When you've come up with some ideas then work them into finished items and hawk your stuff round the galleries. Do get yourself a website too, it costs very little and is a great showcase.
Remember that your time is worth money - if you work out a price for something then it has to include design and creation time as well as materials and overheads.
Good luck, make sure you show us pictures of what you create.

09-15-2005, 10:26 AM
Hey Albandia,

As others have noted, making a life -- and a living -- as an artisan is a lifetime challenge. But it's also a lifetime opportunity -- to create something every day (or at least on a regular basis) and then have a change to share it with the world is nothing short of phenomenal, IMHO.

Like Claire, jewelry and other personal accessories is my particular area of interest. Wirework is my core, and while I use all sorts of things in the "wearable art" I create, my focus is on 1)Jewelry in general, and 2)Wire work specifically. Mixed media is a great place to start, and I still do collage and altered work somewhat regularly. However, I found that there was no way I could "do," much less "sell" everything I was interested in. I had to narrow my focus and find my niche. You may have to do that too.

I have a hard time creating "for the market" -- it feels like I'm selling off a piece of my soul. Even my "production" pieces are limited to 13. Anyone who tells you, "only xyz will sell," or, "you'll only make money using computers in your artwork," may mean well, but making sweeping generalizations don't help anyone.

You probably do need a computer, if nothing else, to edit digital photos of your work (assuming you use a digital camera to take the photos in the first place), to keep track of the accounting, inventory, shipping, and correspondence aspects of a fully operating business. For now, concentrate on perfecting your craftsmenship in whatever medium(s) attract you, start to narrow your focus, and get ready for the hard, but rewarding work of markting.

There's an interesting book out there by Carol Lloyd called Creating a Life Worth Living: A Practical Course in Career Design for Artists, Innovators, and Others Aspiring to a Creative Life. It was written in 1997 but is still quite useful. It's written as an 11 week workship with specific activities to get you to work, focus, market, and still leave quiet time for recharging and inspiration. You might want to check it out for yourself, and keep working!

Best of luck,