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Selling Art Might Not Cut It… Here Are Some Tips to Making a Living As an Artist

Selling Art Might Not Cut It... Here Are Some Tips to Making a Living As an Artist

1.4% of the US workforce considers themselves to be professional artists. If you make up a portion of that percentage or are thinking of throwing your work into the fray, good on you.

Artists contribute a tremendous amount to society and culture despite the fact they often don’t get the recognition they deserve.

One of the hardest parts about being an artist is managing to generate an income off of your passion. In some cases, artists end up so poor that they can’t afford basic necessities and those money issues force them away from the art world and into office jobs.

If you want to understand how to make a living selling art, below, we outline some tips and mindset shifts that we think are worth adopting.

  1. Be Open to Stable Work

Selling art doesn’t just need to mean getting someone to buy the latest masterpiece you whipped up in your workshop. It can also mean selling yourself.

As an artist, you’re endowed with a creative talent that companies are willing to pay for.

For example, a good artist is likely proficient at creating graphics that television stations could use as lower thirds, bumpers or as other marketing elements. Jobs creating creative assets like that can pay anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000+.

Be open to taking on stable work from big businesses and you’ll be able to exercise your creativity while making a great living.

  1. Build out Your Professional Persona

When you’re trying to sell art, perception is often a huge reason as to why or why not people will do business with you. To make the perception of you as an artist more positive, we recommend building out your professional persona.

Create a LinkedIn profile and feature your best work on it. Build out a website. Have contact links where people can reach out to your “agent” for business inquiries.

Small details like that can go a long way in the artistic community.

  1. Experiment with Local Sales Channels

How hard are you really trying to push your art? Are you getting booths at flea markets to try and sell your wares? Are you talking to local bars and restaurants to see if they’ll feature your art to their customers?

There are plenty of local opportunities for you to increase your exposure as an artist and potentially drive sales for yourself.

Make some calls, send some emails and see what happens.

  1. Maximize Your Online Sales Opportunities

As we’re sure you know, there are plenty of selling art opportunities that exist online.

For example, Amazon offers a whole section of its website to fine art sales. You can also take your art and throw it on coffee mugs, shirts and more on Zazzle or Cafe Press.

Social media is also a great place to sell art through given the number of people that frequent various platforms and their propensity to make impulse purchases.

  1. Get Social

Networking in the art community is paramount to getting traction. After all, your network is your net worth.

Find an artist on social media that you like and start engaging with them. Tell them how much you love their work and create an online bond. Then, when you have a new piece, ask for feedback on it.

It could be that the person you’ve been engaging with enjoys you and your work so much that they decide to push you out to their followers.

A single share from a famous person and your career as an artist could go viral.

  1. Constantly Create

A true artist never stops creating. Only through the constant process of making and failing will you be able to eventually happen upon your next masterpiece.

Many artists portion out sections of their day (when they first wake up for example) to work on their art. They do this consistently and eventually make a habit out of flexing their creative muscles.

We suggest that you do the same thing.

A person that creates haphazardly isn’t going to make a good run as a professional artist because they’re not prioritizing their passion enough to get out ahead of those that are.

Bottom line, come up with a schedule for creating and stick to it

  1. Own the Lifestyle Realities of Being an Artist

Think of the most classic artists in history. Many of them lived poor and obscure existences.

That’s not to say that they didn’t have friends or didn’t know where their next meal would from. It’s to say that living a basic life from a luxury perspective is a commonality in the art trade.

Are you okay with living a humble life if it means that you get to spend the majority of your existence creating?

If you’re not okay with that reality and need to make it big as an artist to be happy, you’re likely going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you don’t mind living with people that you love and hunting down instant approval loans every now and again to stay afloat as you live a creatively fulfilling life, you’re likely to love what the future has in store for you!

Wrapping Up How to Make Money Selling Art When Selling Art Isn’t Enough

As an artist, you probably want selling art to be your bread and butter. If you’re not seeing the traction that you need to via selling your pieces we recommend taking our advice above.

Diversify your sales channels, be open to stable artwork and set your expectations realistically.

If you do those things, we think that you’ll enjoy your artistic journey!

For more lifestyle and professional advice, feel free to browse more of the content on our site!