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Old 02-09-2018, 05:16 AM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Any full-time artists here?

Hi,
Not sure if this belongs in this section of WC.
Just wondering how you manage to be a full-time artist?
How do you make ends meet?
Do you have a part-time job on the side to support yourself and help pay for your materials?
I'm currently a full-time university student studying psychology but this voice in my head keeps saying 'be an artist full-time' but then I think that I need to have a steady income. Plus there's the pressure from family members to get a good job and pay the mortgage.
I'm also unemployed, receiving social security whilst I study. Spent $117 on paints, brushes and other material today and feel guilty and thinking how would I fund my art costs if I were not selling my art.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:42 AM
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snoball snoball is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

I'm a full time artist, just been on a long extended vacation.
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:25 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Sort of became full time after I retired in 2000. I paint from 3 to 5 hours a day, usually in the morning. For 10 years before that, I painted every evening from 7 p.m. until around 11.
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:40 AM
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Use Her Name Use Her Name is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Strange to say, I am a full-time artist. I still have not gotten my head around how it is done. I am looking for a part-time job, but it needs to be a bit "disposable." I was not planning on this, but it is the way it happened.

My advice, never get trapped in a mortgage. If you can find a little mud hut you can buy for cash, that's the way to do it.
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:24 PM
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

yeah, well, i know a ton of visual artists. One of them managed enough success via their art to support themselves and their family with that art income.

the rest have p.t. or f.t. jobs and/or a mate to support them and/or a pension to support them and/or an inheritance/sugardaddy/rich parents.

artists have to be creative to survive/produce/not go crazy, no doubt about it.

la
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:58 PM
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Couldn't agree more La - it's a pretty tough road without one means of support/income or another.
I also agree with UHN find a little mud hut and good luck
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Old 02-09-2018, 02:37 PM
Jar123 Jar123 is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

I have been supporting myself doing murals and sign painting for the last 5+ years. It's been fun.

A lot of the success is due to other things than the talent or your skills in art. Such as business and promotion which is something not all artist are keen on doing.
I find whatever it is you want to do has a lot do with nothing of what you are trying to do.
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:26 PM
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

I'm with sno.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:26 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Use Her Name
Strange to say, I am a full-time artist. I still have not gotten my head around how it is done. I am looking for a part-time job, but it needs to be a bit "disposable." I was not planning on this, but it is the way it happened.

My advice, never get trapped in a mortgage. If you can find a little mud hut you can buy for cash, that's the way to do it.

I am trapped in a mortgage sadly. I can't afford to live in my place but have tenants to help me pay the mortgage while I study my degree. I'd be content with a small house, as long as I have a roof over my head, a room to paint, and everything working fine I'm happy.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:30 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jar123
I find whatever it is you want to do has a lot do with nothing of what you are trying to do.

Trying to wrap my head around that statement.
Not understanding, sorry lol
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:04 AM
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Making the decision to set out on your own is difficult. Most people want to leave the business end to corporate "masters." A lot of artists split their time between some corporate master and their art. I was in error (a little bit) on my first post. I have actually been "planning" for this split for about 5 years; mentally, physically, emotionally.

I think that the most important mental preparation for starting an art business (you note I did not say "artist") is that you must treat it as a business. You must clock in. You must be at work. It is not optional. Although it may be laid-back because you are doing what you like to do, you must also get the contracts, do the purchasing of supplies, and drive yourself to the art competitions or fairs. You need to be a hustler. You have to have other lines of income until, and if you make enough per year to actually be able to breathe a sigh of relief and take a vacation. (Always go on working vacations and write them off on business taxes. For instance, an animal artist would want to go to Yellowstone, or Africa to see animals. If you hit a zoo along the way, you are working).

I pulled this list from a blog recently:
1. Decide what you want to do
2. Define your audience, and further patrons
3. Build your portfolio, and Network
4. Gain recognition (contests, shows)
5. Fine-tune your brand
6. Revise pricing strategy
7. Think about sales and information channels

This is not done one at a time, it is done all at once, every day.
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Last edited by Use Her Name : 02-10-2018 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:05 PM
theBongolian theBongolian is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

I have a friend who finally sold his first painting. $400! Actually, after commission and shipping, he made $280. After material cost $265. But still $265. He was on cloud nine for a month. Now he's in a state of deep depression. How does he build on that? That buyer is NOT going to buy another painting anytime (never) soon. Each sale is a one and done.
Repeat customers a rarety. How many Billy Paintbrush paintings does a person need? The sale put $265. in his pocket - but hasn't really done anything for his "business". Each sale is a one and done.

And it's not like his customer was a big time collector who's going to throw a party on his 40th-floor condo to show off his new Billy Paintbrush acquisition to all his art-loving billionaire friends. His customer was a guy from Jersey that wanted something colorful to cover a hole in the wall his wife made when she threw a lamp at him. Unless he gets into another fight with his spouse he's not likely to sell him another painting. Repeat customers are a rarity. Each sale is one and done and so infrequent and random it's hard/impossible to do any sort of metrics.

And at $265. profit when he finally does make a sale, how many paintings would he have to sell each month to live like a pauper? Eight? Two a week every week to make $25,000 a year. Dependents? Student loan? Rent/mortgage? Health Insurance? Cell phone, Car payment? Netflix? Actually painting and selling two paintings a week, 52 weeks a year is not going to leave much time for netflix.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:24 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Thanks for your replies.
Sad fact of life, we need to work to be able to paint.
But the working then leaves less time to paint.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:36 PM
onestrokeartist onestrokeartist is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Obviously, from the very few replies from full time working artists, I guess the really successful artists who do not need another job on the side are not on this forum.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:59 AM
marksmomagain marksmomagain is offline
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Re: Any full-time artists here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theBongolian

Repeat customers a rarety.
And at $265. profit when he finally does make a sale, how many paintings would he have to sell each month to live like a pauper? Eight? Two a week every week to make $25,000 a year. Dependents? Student loan? Rent/mortgage? Health Insurance? Cell phone, Car payment? Netflix? Actually painting and selling two paintings a week, 52 weeks a year is not going to leave much time for netflix.


I'm referring to the Bongoloian's quote, however I am addressing Mario K

Yep... I wouldn't even attempt to become a full-time artist now. Dont even want to try, and I am very good and confident in my chosen mediums. It is soo much easier and less worrisome to have a reliable (relatively) income.

I have a great fulltime job, although it does limit my art time now, it won't be the case in the not-too-distant future. I also work alot of OT which goes straight into savings. I don't have to struggle at all and I am very greatful for that everyday. I am also very well-prepared for my retirement and emergencies. I have my home with lots of land and animals, and I'm caring for a very small colony of homeless cats now. I live rural, no city for me.. I've got the money to accomplish this, plus have emergency savings and 'fun money' savings. Everything is paid for..

My own advice is to get a degree or trade while you're young in something that pays well, even if you don't totally enjoy it (my job would seen terribly boring to most here, but it pays very well with a boatload of benefits and all kinds of available time off).

Regarding repeat customers, I have two repeat customers who have commissioned and/or purchased four and five portraits respectively (over the course of a few years). I have another artist friend who has also sold multiple works to a few parties, one of whom has seven of her works). But that is a fair rarity.

We all wish to be able to live solely off our artwork. The reality is that this is not possible for anyone but a rare few. I wouldn't even worry about it. Get a trade and become a plumber, electrician, pipefitter, operating engineer (cranes and other construction equipment), machinist, etc. If you're so inclined, become a nurse, also. Do your art in your spare time while you live frugally and sock away as much cash as you can. It will pay off, but you must be disciplined and keep looking ahead to the future.

Hope this helps

Last edited by marksmomagain : 02-11-2018 at 10:04 AM.
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