When you’re a creative soul, the first thing that people say to you when they meet you is usually something along the lines of, “Oh, you’re one of those starving artist types, huh?” The words might not come out exactly like this, but as much as people love creative types, there is a judgment that is passed on them that they’re not great to “settle down with” or whatever else because artists just don’t make money.
In similar regards, when you’re figuring out what you want to go to college for and all you can think about is the fact that if you don’t pursue your art, you’re going to die inside, it’s disheartening to have people all around you telling you that should study something else because you don’t want to be a starving artist for the rest of your life. The reality of the matter is that you shouldn’t be doing anything but what makes you happy. You can make money as an artist. You might have to get creative, but luckily, that’s what you’re good at.
Perhaps this is generic advice, but the reason that so many artists don’t make it is because they got tired of the chase. They got tired of being shut down, of not having people respect them or give them a chance, or they just stopped before the right idea came to them.
Art is a process. The greatest painters, sculptors, and artists of the like who have any of their work featured in top galleries didn’t find their place there overnight. They worked, they developed a name for themselves, they developed their skill, and now they’re sitting pretty making unscrupulous sums of money off of one work. So don’t quit. Quitting is a surefire way to not make money as an artist.
Painting a pretty picture is good and all, but good painters are a dime a dozen. If you want to make money as an artist you have to include innovation in your brainstorming process. What are new ways you can make your art sing? What are new ways you can bring art to the people that will have them feeling connected and leaving them wanting more to the point where they purchase from you and hire you to create installations for them? Try, and then try again. Don’t be afraid to fail. Innovation is birthed out of a million failures. Money comes to people who give people something they didn’t even know they needed.
In the end, you can write amazing novels all day, and you can paint for years on end, but if you don’t get out and network and meet people, your art will never see the light of day. Vincent Van Gogh didn’t sell a single piece of artwork in his lifetime. It wasn’t until death that his work was presented to the world and became what it is today. If you want to be a Van Gogh while you’re still alive, make the connections happen. The right people connected to the right skill set and ambition is a recipe for money making success.