News flash…. The art industry has changed significantly in the last 30 years. Previously you could only sell your art through a gallery, which was a tightly controlled industry. Other than that you self represented selling commissions wherever possible or selling your art from door to door from the boot of your car.
Now thanks to the Internet and social media, artist’s are flourishing. By bypassing the old tightly controlled industry, they are now able to show their artwork directly to the buyer on their phones in their own homes.
So many more artists are financially viable and art has become accessible to so many new people.
THE NEW WAY TO SELL ART
BUT with the change so has the many varied ways in which you can earn an income from your art. And let’s face it. Unless you are a hobby artist, you are trying to earn an income from your art.
Let’s be completely honest here…. Most modern artist’s who are full time artist’s, use more than one income stream to make their living from. They might produce a number of paintings every year, but they will supplement that with a print business and possibly a few workshops on the side. Some artist’s only paint commissions, but they add art markets as a part of their business. I have seen artist’s who are completely successful who only use one income stream. For example they only paint commissions and are so fully booked that they don’t need to do any other form of income. Or they are a few artist’s who only sell prints of their artwork and they never have to sell originals.
So lets talk about some of the many ways that you can earn money from your art in 2022.
But there is a disclaimer. This is not an exhaustive list. Artist’s are a creative bunch who are always finding news ways of doing things. But hopefully this will give you an idea of some of the more common ways that artist’s make an income.
You can listen to our podcast where we go into so much more detail on each of these areas about how to make an income as an artist. To listen to our podcast you can follow this link
SELLING YOUR ORIGINAL PAINTING.
This is simplest and most traditional form of income. You paint a beautiful masterpiece and someone buys it from you.
PAINTING BY COMMISSION
You paint a specific painting for a person this is what client wants. Most of these are portraits, pet portraits, weddings or houses.
SELLING PRINTS OF YOUR PAINTINGS
Another very common way to make additional income would be to offer fine art quality reproduction prints of your paintings for a smaller price.
SELLING YOUR ORIGINAL PAINTINGS THROUGH A ONLINE GALLERY
This is where you use a third part platform to host or list your paintings. Examples would be Bluethumb, Art Lovers Australia, Saatchi, or possibly a specially hosted facebook group that specializes in selling art.
SELLING YOUR ART THROUGH GALLERIES.
You can sell your art through galleries in a few ways. You can host a solo show, where you are the only artist on display. You could be part of a group show, where you are part of a small number of artist’s that are hand chosen to be on display. Or you can be contracted with a gallery for sol representation, where the galley takes you on as part of their stable of artists and they actively promote your art in their gallery and in international shows.
TEACHING ART CLASSES
You can host art classes, either online, in person or as part of a paint and sip type experience.
SELL YOUR PAINTINGS AT MARKETS
You can sell you paintings at both regular weekly or local markets as well as art specific markets and shows.
BECOME A SPONSORED ARTIST
A little more of a rare way to make money, but some of the bigger art supplies brands do sponsor artists, to specifically use their products or to paint and post frequently on social media.
This would be where you approach a company for them to use your artwork on their product for an agreed price. This could be any type of product from cars, crockery and wine bottles.
Surface design is closely linked to art, although it is probably a career path in it’s own, I wanted to mention it here. Surface design is where you are commissioned by a client to produce a repeat print that can be applied to just about any product or surface. This can be done directly from a client, but most times is negotiated through an agent.
CREATING DIGITAL ART
Working with brushes in no longer the main thing. Working creating digital art through programs like photoshop, canva and illustrator has opened up a whole new plat form and medium.
SELLING ART AS AN ILLUSTRATOR.
Again this is probably a career choice in it’s own, but illustration can be traditional or digital and can be use for book covers, magazines, children’s books and many other things. Again illustration is usually contracted through an agent.
CREATING A PRODUCT WITH YOUR ART
This is probably a smaller part of your income stream, but you can easily create practical items with your art that can be purchased by collectors. Everything from coffee table books, calendars, tote bag, tea towels and even cutting boards. The options are endless.
MAKING MONEY WITH YOUR ART ON YOUTUBE AND PATREON
There are many artist’s who are making a great income from their own personal YouTube channel or a Patreon account. To do this well, again you would need to make this a dedicated focus, so that you can be bringing out new content on a regular basis.
MAKING MONEY WITH PUBLIC ARTWORKS
Public artworks include anything from murals, sculptures or more public artworks as part of a festival or location. Often these are done by a submission and sometimes there are specific guidelines that need to be followed. There are also many local, state and federal art grants that can be applied for, however make sure you read the criteria thoroughly before you apply.
RENTING YOUR ARTWORK.
Yes that is actually a thing. Many buildings, offices and corporate boardrooms, want to display beautiful artwork in their foyer, but they don’t see the need of owning it permanently.
SELLING YOUR ART THROUGH A THIRD PARTY PLATFORM
This would be selling you art through print on demand places, like red bubble, Society6 or Spoonflower. Once you upload you art they then sell and manufacture a whole range of products, from shower curtains to tee shirts, posters and fabric. Because the host sell and manufacture, they do make the majority of the money, which artist’s receiving a small portion of the overall sale. Artist that do well on these platforms are ones that sell very high volumes of products.
AND THE LIST GOES ON.
Like I mentioned before, this is not a comprehensive list, but this will more than help you get started on your journey.
If you would like to hear more about this, you can listen to our podcast where we go into so much more detail about how to make an income as an artist. To listen to our podcast you can follow this link