How to Start Earning Money as an Artist

Too often, artists are told that they can’t make a viable career out of their passion. Truth is, while some artists might struggle to make ends meet, others make a good living by selling their work, and supplementing their income. Here are six tips for getting your career in art off the ground.
make money as an artist

We’ve all heard about starving artists, but being an artist is definitely a viable career option if you’re willing to put the effort in. While some artists might struggle to make ends meet, others make a good living from their art. These artists don’t just sell their work; they also use other methods to supplement their income.

The truth is, most artists can make money—they’re just not sure where to start. Here are six tips to get the ball rolling so you can start earning money as an artist.

Take internships

It’s useful for artists to think about how they’ll make money a few years before they actually graduate. One of the easiest ways to make connections in the art world is to take an art internship, as you get to work alongside established artists and representatives.

Interning with galleries will also give you the chance to work behind the scenes of art selling, which can teach you about how to market your own art. If you want to do an internship, apply for as many as possible; often these positions are oversubscribed, so there is no guarantee that you will be offered a place.

Teach the subject

Teachers earn a consistent income within the art world, so you can consider teaching art for financial stability. However, it is important to make sure you have some experience for the role; lots of new graduates apply to teach art but just don’t have the experience. Normally these positions are very popular, so you need an edge to be considered.

Reduce your living expenses

The first step to make money is to not spend money—and rent is a big expense. Established artists make a consistent living, but for new artists it’s hard to guarantee how much you will earn. If you don’t earn enough one month and you have expensive bills to cover, you could end up in debt.

You can take the pressure off by reducing your living expenses and moving somewhere cheaper. It’s normally less expensive to live out of the city center, and you can save even more money if you live with roommates rather than alone. This is a difficult step, but it’s a sacrifice that makes it much easier to become a professional artist.

Network with other artists and creatives

To make money as an artist, you will have to network. Networking gives you the opportunity to talk to established artists, representatives, and buyers of art. They will give you insights into buying and selling art, and they may be willing to help you with exposure. As you speak to more people at events and exhibitions, your career will start to gain momentum. Artists rely on the art community to thrive and succeed, and the only way to join the community is by networking.

Create an art budget

People budget for cars and rent, so it makes sense that artists should have an art budget. If your goal is to be a professional artist and you need to spend money on supplies and travel, you must budget for these expenses.

Sit down and work out your monthly art costs, including equipment and travel. This will be your monthly budget, which you can then add to rent and bills. This will help you to make sure you don’t overspend or underspend.

Create profiles on creative selling websites

Websites like DeviantArt and Etsy give artists the chance to showcase their art to the world, so a larger audience will get to see your work. In today’s world, social media is one of the easiest ways to advertise, so you should use this to your advantage. Other members of the site can also buy your art, so this is a good way to get your first art sale. The best part is that you can sign up for free, so more people can see your art without you spending a single dollar.

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