"You can't have a career as an artist." "There's no way you can make money selling art." "You really want to grow up to be a starving artist? You'll never make it" All of the statements above have one thing in common: they're false. Throughout most of my life, I've heard all of the words above and have definitely met those who believe if you try to be an artist, you simply can't make a career out of it. I used to be very shy when telling people what I do for a living, thinking someone might not take me seriously, and it's time to leave ANY thoughts like that in the dust!
Lucky for us, we CAN make careers out of art - as a fine artist, graphic designer, makeup artist, interior designer, illustrator, WHATEVER; you can turn your dream job into your career. You should know that your talents are valuable, that you are one of a kind, and that you can harness your passion to turn it into profit.
In case you're feeling a little down (let's face it, 2020 is a little depressing) and are:
in school thinking about your career
making the jump to freelance
starting your side hustle
starting a new job somewhere as a creative
I've got some goodies for ya! I'm sharing five tips that will help you become more confident and move past any roadblocks on your journey to living an art-based career. Keep on reading :)
Identify what brings you joy
Seriously! What makes you stay up at night causing your brain to burst with ideas? What motivates you? What do you love? Focus on that. Now ask yourself, can I see myself doing this as a career and still be passionate about it? For example, I love to draw and as an illustrator, I draw every day but am drawing different styles and items for various clients. I love to draw and the idea of a creative challenge excites me, so it's definitely a career I plan to follow and grow in.
Working with clients the way I do doesn't suit everyone - it can be hard when people "critique" your work and give feedback to draw something just for them. In this case, you could work in an area that's product-based. If you still love to paint or draw, create collections or items with your artwork and sell them! That way you are truly your own creator and don't have to alter your work for others. Whatever it is, RUN WITH IT and explore! If you think you can't make a career out of it, just remember that passion & joy has to be there.
practice and explore
As you start to explore your creative joy, explore the different facets of it. If you love makeup and want to be a makeup artist, there are TONS of different layers to makeup artistry such as Special Effects, TV/Film, Editorial, Runway, Broadway/Dance, and more that you can explore.
Try playing with each one to see where it takes you - you will DEFINITELY discover something about yourself! Continue to practice and become a master of your tools so others come to you for guidance and you are well versed in your craft.
Start a Passion Project
I will ALWAYS be a huge advocate for a passion project! This is the number one way to practice, explore, and showcase your work that:
shows off what you're passionate about
increases your audience and
displays your work in a professional way to attract ideal clients or fill up your portfolio!
Start with one project and then keep going or even start a collection. Lauren of HomSweetHom started a "Homwork" challenge for fun to challenge her audience to a piece of lettering homework each week that quickly gained traction. She was able to show off her work each week, engage her audience and it brought in additional work! The hashtag now has thousands of posts.
Harness Your Community + Audience
Once you've started showcasing your work, harness the power of your audience to grow, and see what they love about YOU. Whether you have 5 followers or 50,000, numbers never matter, it's about how you show up and engage with your audience and community. Engage with them to hear their feedback about what they want to see from you and what they specifically love about your work! This is going to help you grow tremendously and spark new ideas.
Don't Give Up
Sounds simple enough, but trust me when I say I've come very close to giving up so many times. It's not easy to have a creative career - you are creatively tapped into every day!
Imagine this: say you lose everything but you are an artist and you still know how to paint. With that knowledge, a few paintbrushes and some paint, you focus hard on making good art, art that you're proud of, and the best you can do with your current abilities. That's all it takes - it always comes back to basics. With hard work and perseverance, you can absolutely accomplish ANYTHING. When it gets tough, take a break, don't quit. Remember that even if you slide downhill, with your talent and some grit, you can always walk farther than you did the first time.
Feeling inspired? Good! PLEASE shoot us a message on Instagram or leave a comment below if you have any questions about a creative career. I'd love to help in any way that I can! Xx, Sami