Artists who practice their craft with passion and dedication regularly see little financial reward for their work. Reflecting on the lives of George Orwell, who would never appreciate the success of his world-changing novels, or Vincent Van Gogh, who never saw his art critically acclaimed, there can be an overwhelming sense that in your lifetime you’ll never make any money out of your creative labors. However, you can overturn this defeatist attitude by considering the simple and effective ways of getting money for your art, and translate your creativity into cash. Here are some everyday solutions to your poor artistic finances.
Take it to the Streets
Think street art, and you might be drawn to images of Dick Van Dyke scrawling in chalk in Mary Poppins’ Victorian London, or large professional dance outfits flash mobbing in public squares. However, subtle, quiet, and frankly brilliant street art is experiencing a renaissance of recent, driven in part as a reaction against digital-based artworks that have flooded the internet.
Whether you’re a musician, a painter, or even a poet, hitting your local streets, or even touring cities with your talent, is an amazingly fun way of making money and gaining much-needed exposure. Think of the ease with which someone might Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook your work, and the simple act of donating a buck in appreciation of being confronted with art when going about your day-to-day chores. So head out there and capture the public’s imagination. Some incredibly famous artists started on the streets, so you’ll be in excellent company.
Contact Art Spaces
Creatives know how hard it can be to make money out of art, so they’re some of the most receptive people to visit and talk with about exhibiting, performing or sharing your talent. Art spaces are often funded publicly or through donations, and therefore have a loose, flexible policy when it comes to accepting people’s ideas.
Once you’ve organized an exhibition of your art, you’ll be surprised at how many people do in fact care about seeing up-and-coming artists. If you price your work at the right level, art fans are more than willing to purchase work in a supportive fashion as well as simply following their desire to own something you’ve created. You’ll also meet other artists and industry people who will make great networking contacts for future projects that could turn out to be incredibly lucrative.
Think Tactically About Your Skill
You may insist that you create for creation’s sake and that you’re not looking to profit from your artistic indulgences (a very common view, as it happens) but that’s no reason to blinker yourself from the most profitable aspects of your particular talent. Stepping back for a moment to appreciate what you have to offer, considering where you could apply your skills to make money, might lead you to some money-making schemes that support your other work.
For example, if you’re a writer, you should know that screenwriting is the money-maker where your skill set is concerned. Turning out one good script or pilot and approaching production companies could lead to a lifetime’s worth of income and reputation. If you’re a sculptor, you may find that individuals are looking to commission people with your skills to create art for a private collection or a themed exhibition. Whatever your artistic passion, there’s almost certainly a way of directing it towards lucrative ends.
Apply for Funding
So everyday and easy that you can often overlook it, a simple email or filled-in form can open doors to funding your creativity that you never quite knew existed. Research charitable organizations, artistic bodies, and federal or governmental resources that you can access to support you in whatever creative exercise you wish to pursue. Funding takes the pressure off the artist and allows you to create your very best work, which you may be prevented from doing because you’re working a 9-5 job, or struggling financially.
Funding applications can be a little daunting, especially for artists who shun bureaucracy and the mainstream in general, but it pays to be humble and open to these income streams. Check out how the United States funds the arts for a good overview of what exactly there is out there, and consult with fellow artists and artistic institutions that will be more than happy to point you in the direction of various funding apparatuses.
Assess the Value of Your Collections
Everyone has a backlog of collections of their own art, and of things that have inspired them to create art that might have gathered value as they’ve gathered dust in your closet or basement. If you were particularly inspired to draw cartoons by DC and Marvel when you were younger, head to Dylan Universe Comics, who’ll give you an excellent price on your collection.
Likewise, if you collected art from a decade or so ago, it is almost certain to have accrued some value. If it’s something that you believe you no longer need to keep hold of, the money generated by your savvy eye for a good piece of art may serve to fund you for a whole year of your own work. The same goes for if you have enough money, buying art as an investment to sell on later, especially if you truly trust your eye for a good deal. If anyone should know what’s going to become valuable art, it is probably a practicing artist, immersed in the world of creativity and ambition.
There’s no need to resign yourself to a life of scraping by as a necessary sacrifice for your art – romantic as that may be. If you’re wise and take into account the sought-after, rare nature of creative skills in a variety of industries, you may find that your investment in your artistic pursuits leads you to wealth and recognition that were beyond your wildest dreams. This article has set out some simple money-making ideas for artists looking for a little financial boost for their pains; if you’re one such person, remember that the artist’s life needn’t be a poor one – there are options out there to translate your creativity into cash.