Let’s talk dollars and cents. I think it’s fair to say that a large majority of artists do not end up making a lot of money in their chosen field. I know this to be true because the phrase “Starving Artist” specifically outlines the financial struggle of only artists. Yeah, it doesn’t go starving engineer.
I quit my day job at the end of 2021 to idiotically, pursue my lifelong passion of being an artist for one full year. I had enough money saved in my bank account from my former career (Real Estate) because I fully believed that I would make no money as an artist but REALLY wanted to give it my all.
Turns out, my stuff started gaining traction faster than I had anticipated. It really made me sit down and think “Holy Shit!!! I’m doing IT!!!” I got into 2 local galleries and booked an exhibition at a local pub all within a few weeks of each other. It was very surprising to me. I mean, I like my weird art, but it shocked the hell out of me that other people did too. It wasn’t too long after this that I applied to a big fish in the art industry world, iCanvas. If you have ever perused the interweb looking for some artwork, likely you have come across this site. They have BIG partners like Target and Amazon.
I got in. They wanted 70 pieces of artwork right out the gate. I was beside myself with excitement. This was big. I knew it was big because they pay in royalties. I have never in my life felt so important.
So, do you want to know how many hours I have spent researching companies, galleries, shops, pubs, and other stores to apply to? It is, as of right now, at 90 hours and counting!!!! One full work week plus another few days. All spent typing submission emails, linking my portfolio, and endless copy pasting artist statements. All 100% worth it.
Obviously, when you are applying to galleries, shops, and other potential vendors you get a shit ton of rejection emails. By rejection emails, I mean that you will just never hear from them at all, or you’ll get what I call a “soft no”. A politely worded email that lets you down easy. That is totally okay.
Unlike most artists, I’m not overly sensitive, I am not very in touch with my emotions, I have very thick skin, and I am very money motivated. This has worked so well to my advantage that my next article is going to be an advice article to other artists starting out that don’t want to starve.