Note to Artists: Get A Real Job!


The Simple Dollar – a personal finance blog has an interesting article about artists and their financial prospects. Referencing a Francis Ford Coppola interview on the risks of making money from the arts, author Trent Hamm offers some insights on the hard facts of what an artist must be prepared to do to make a living from the arts and “follow their bliss” – what they don’t teach in art school.

Coppola’s point is that: the fun creative stuff that so many of us do really doesn’t earn us much money at all, at least not most of the time…

Don’t assume your talent or skill will be your money maker for a long, long time. Your talent or skill is going to be your side job – treat it like such. If you go to work, come home tired, and convince yourself to not do anything with it today, you’re never going to make it…

Live frugally… ’nuff said.

Make friends and connections – lots of them. Spend at least some of your time cultivating relationships with people who can help you with spreading what skills you have…

Improve your own social skills, especially in gently promoting yourself. If you’re introverted, this is key. The ability to communicate successfully with others, particularly when talking about yourself while not coming off as a braggart, is an ability that’s vital if you want to get others interested in your skill. So many artists I know claim to be introverts, and shy away from talking about their work. They really MUST overcome this and be able to easily speak (in positive terms) about their own work.

If you want riches, find another career path. Art is wonderful, but it doesn’t channel human effort in a way that generates wealth. A Generous inheritance from a wealthy family is one of the easiest and fastest ways to become rich, but cannot always be achieved.

The best thing you can do if you have talent and are passionate about that talent is to start packaging it up. Contrary to what often seems taught in art school – is not true that if you sell your art, you have “sold out”.

The message from the blog posting is “Do what you love, but have a back up plan that you can tolerate to support what you love.”

Click HERE to read the entire article.