It’s the dream of almost every artist to make a living doing their art. The truth is that a minority of artists, illustrators, painters, cartoonists, craftspeople (and also actors, poets, fiction writers, musicians) are able to make a living as an artist.
Unless you’re fabulously wealthy, you may have to either find a day job within an arts related field (graphic/web design, gallery worker, clerk in an art store) or perhaps one not in the arts field. If you are passionate and driven you will still find several hours each day to pursue your artistic endeavours. The trick is to get a job you love, or like, or can tolerate, while you spend your “off hours” planning and fine-tuning/honing your skills and body of work.
Getting paid for your talents and what you love to do is an ideal plan, however it often requires paying your dues first, having a business plan and marketing your work. Besides a business plan, I also recommend an art portfolio, website, promotional materials and researching venues for showing your work.
As both an Employment Consultant and artist, I recommend searching for those who are successfully doing something similar to what you want to do, and connecting with them through opportunities such as events, social media and introductions. You might find it particularly useful to do an information interview,in order to get some advice and find out their secrets to success.
I will speak more about making a living as a fine artist in upcoming blogs; however, for now, I will leave you with some arts-related websites for further information:
The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) was established in 1963 by the Ontario government, the OAC describes itself as “an arm’s-length agency” which “grants and services to professional, Ontario-based artists and arts organizations support arts education, Aboriginal arts, community arts, crafts, dance, Franco-Ontarian arts, literature, media arts, multidisciplinary arts, music, theatre, touring, and visual arts”.
The Canadian Artist’s Representation/le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) Ontario is the non-profit association of professional visual artists in Ontario.
The Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) was established in 1968 to encourage the ongoing and cooperative development of the province’s public art galleries, artist-run centres, art museums, visual arts exhibition spaces and arts-related organizations.
Copyrights and Trademarks
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office provides information on trademarks, copyright and patents.
Living the Artist’s Life: A Guide to Growing, Persevering, and Succeeding in the Art World, by Paul Dorrell (Hillstead Publishing), 2006
Taking the Leap: Building a Career As a Visual Artist, by Cay Lang (Chronicle Books), 2006