- Be prepared to work normal jobs- I have done everything from waitressing, writing menu blackboards to nannying. You need to learn very quickly that unfortunately you probably won’t be able to live off your earnings as a professional artist straightaway. Get your head down, take any work you can to fund your passion and perseverance should pay off.
- The influence of social media- Nowadays it’s SO important to have a social media presence. Facebook estimates that it has an average of 1.32 billion daily active users. For me, Facebook and Instagram are a must to create a following and get your name out there as a professional artist.
- Think of being a professional artist as any other business- At the end of the day if you want to earn a living from your art you MUST think of it as your “small business”. That means your number one objective is to make a profit. Budget, manage your time and costings, and make sure that you aim to sell your products for more than what it costs you to produce. Now that last point seems obvious but so many artists don’t charge appropriately for the time, supplies, studio rent etc. Any cost that you incur to produce a piece should be covered in the final selling price.
- It is about who you know- Networking is a massive factor that influences your position in the art scene. Having good relationships with fellow artists, gallery owners, framers etc can provide all kinds of opportunities.
- Every mistake and hiccup can be learnt from- It sounds like a cliche but it is true. We learn so much about the practical side of art in Art College that the business side is often over looked. From registering as self employed to filing a Self Assessment. The life of a professional artist has many obstacles and as long as you keep learning along the way you will get there.
- Don’t lose your artist focus- The most important thing to remember is that your passion is to become a Professional Artist. As in, you want to earn a living from selling your art. Through all the struggles and awful jobs just remember what your goal is and don’t give up!
Jemma K Derbyshire
Paintbox Tutor & Professional Artist