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Unveiling the Truth: Can You Make a Living as an Artist?

Unveiling the Truth: Can You Make a Living as an Artist?


  • The American filmmaker and explorer Ernest Shackleton was an expert mountaineer. But he was also an artist. In 1907, he wrote a book about his experiences. It is a beautiful work of art itself, with rich illustrations made from pencil sketches. All the illustrations in this blog post are taken from that book.*

  • *An artist who makes a living as such needs to be part of the media or arts industry by virtue of skill acquisition or education/training. Not by choice, not because they want to sell their work through a gallery or publisher, and not because they want to do it full-time (at least not at first). For some artists - like many others people - there may be no other option than making money as an artist (for instance, by working in a coffee shop), which means that their practices are not considered art per se.*

  • **Strictly speaking, you will need to have a regular income just to live while doing artwork; you won't be able to make it your career unless you can get into the 'right' gallery or museum show that provides enough sales for you to do okay.*

Can you make a living as an artist?

Can you make a living as an artist? It's a question that has crossed the minds of countless aspiring creatives, and the answer is a resounding "Yes!" In this article, we'll dive deep into the world of artistry and explore the possibilities of turning your passion for art into a sustainable career.

While the path to making a living as an artist may not always be straightforward, it is undoubtedly achievable with the right mindset, skills, and strategies. We'll discuss the importance of honing your craft, building a strong portfolio, and finding your unique artistic voice to stand out in a competitive industry.

But it doesn't end there. We'll also delve into the business side of being an artist, exploring different avenues for monetizing your art, such as selling original pieces, participating in exhibitions, licensing your work, and leveraging the power of digital platforms. We'll provide practical tips and insights on pricing your artwork, marketing yourself effectively, and navigating the art market.

Moreover, we'll address the common misconceptions and challenges that artists often face when it comes to making a living. From the starving artist stereotype to self-doubt and rejection, we'll discuss strategies to overcome these hurdles and cultivate a resilient mindset that fuels your artistic journey.

Through inspiring success stories and real-life examples, we'll showcase artists who have defied the odds and achieved financial stability while pursuing their passion. Their journeys will serve as a testament to the possibilities that await when you combine talent, determination, and a business-oriented mindset.

So, if you've ever wondered whether making a living as an artist is attainable, join us as we unravel the secrets, debunk the myths, and provide actionable advice to help you navigate the path toward a fulfilling and prosperous artistic career. It's time to embrace your creativity, unleash your potential, and discover that being an artist isn't just a dream—it can be your reality.

As of 2009, the average annual income for visual artists was $52,000.

As of 2009, the average annual income for visual artists was $52,000. In 2016, that number had risen to $64,000. By 2020 it should reach $76k; by 2030, it will be on par with an accountant's salary at around $100k per year! If you're just getting started or have been doing this for years and want to see where your career goes next, then there's no better time than now - especially if you're looking at things long-term (like me!).


The income of visual artists can vary significantly based on various factors such as experience, specialization, geographic location, market demand, and the ability to market and sell their artwork effectively. It's important to note that the $52,000 average represents an amalgamation of artists at different stages of their careers, with varying degrees of success.

For some artists, this figure may seem quite promising, as it reflects the potential to earn a comfortable living doing what they love. It's a testament to the power of art and creativity in generating income. However, it's equally important to acknowledge that many artists may earn below this average, facing financial challenges and the need to supplement their income through alternative means.

The art world is dynamic and ever-evolving, with changing trends, technologies, and market demands. Since 2009, the landscape has undergone significant transformations, offering new opportunities for artists to monetize their work. The rise of online platforms, social media, and e-commerce has opened doors to global markets and direct artist-to-consumer interactions, providing artists with greater autonomy and potential for increased earnings.

Most artists work full- or part-time, but some create their own jobs by selling their products.

You can make money as an artist, but it takes work. Most artists work full- or part-time, but some create their own jobs by selling their products. There are several ways to do this:

  • Create your own job by making art that people want to buy. This is what many artists do today—some have enough of a following that they can support themselves entirely on their art alone (e.g., Jeff Koons). Others get more creative and sell other things like prints of their paintings or sculpture pieces instead of just selling the original piece itself (like Damien Hirst).

  • Work at another job while continuing to create art part-time—this will require finding someone else who needs help with their business idea, so they'll let you freelance in exchange for helping them out!

You can make a living at home doing the kind of work you want to do.

You can make a living at home doing the kind of work you want to do.

You don't have to be an artist, designer, or photographer—you just need to have an idea for a product or service that's new and exciting. The best way to find out if it's something people would be willing to buy is by trying it out. If enough people like your product and want more of it, then there's no reason not to expand!

You can also sell your work online by creating an online store on Etsy or similar platforms (like 99designs). These platforms must allow sellers who aren't professional graphic designers: otherwise, they won't get any attention from buyers looking for affordable options instead of high-end products created by professionals with years worth of experience under their belt!

One artist made a living from one painting in eighty days.

If you're looking for a way to make money from your art, one artist made his living from one painting in eighty days. The artist was Pablo Picasso, and the painting was Guernica.

The United States government bought it for $5 million in 1945 and hung it on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it can still be seen today.

If your work sells, it can help pay for travel and vacations.

This is the most obvious benefit of being an artist. You can use the money you earn from selling your art to travel around the world or even just visit friends and family in another city. It's also possible to buy expensive things with what you've earned—an expensive painting, perhaps? Or maybe some clothing or furniture would be nice too!

Many visual artists have made a living by using their artistic talents to earn money.

Many visual artists have made a living by using their artistic talents to earn money.

Many visual artists have made a living by using their artistic talents to earn money. They may work full-time or have another job that pays them well. Some artists have their own businesses and sell their work directly from the studio; others teach classes or write books about art history.


we have delved deep into the question that many aspiring artists ponder: Can you make a living as an artist? Throughout this exploration, we have uncovered the truth behind this common concern.

While the path to making a living as an artist may not always be straightforward, it is indeed possible to carve out a successful career in the arts. It requires a combination of talent, perseverance, business acumen, and a willingness to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the art industry.

We have learned that artists today have more opportunities than ever before to monetize their creativity. From selling artwork through galleries, online platforms, or even creating unique merchandise, there are multiple avenues to generate income from your artistic endeavors.

However, it is important to acknowledge that pursuing a career as an artist can be challenging and requires dedication. Building a sustainable living in the arts often involves juggling multiple income streams, networking, marketing, and continuously honing your craft. It requires the ability to navigate the business side of art while staying true to your creative vision.

While financial success as an artist may not come overnight, it is crucial to remember that the value of art extends beyond monetary gains. Art has the power to touch hearts, inspire change, and create connections. The fulfillment and joy that come from sharing your artistic expression with the world are immeasurable.

Ultimately, whether you can make a living as an artist depends on your individual journey, choices, and commitment to your craft. With determination, persistence, and a willingness to explore new avenues, you can navigate the challenges and create a meaningful and prosperous career as an artist.

So, embrace your passion, hone your skills, and believe in the unique value of your artistic voice. Whether you ultimately achieve financial success or find fulfillment in the creative process itself, the world needs your art. Follow your dreams, pursue your artistic aspirations, and let your creativity shine.


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