Return to Main Discussion Page

Discussion

Main Menu | Search Discussions

Search Discussions

 
 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

You Will Fail...

This is a follow up to Harold's post earlier. I enjoyed the actual conversation so I thought I would expand. Feel free to ignore this.

First, this thread is about EARNING A LIVING AS AN ARTIST. If your goal here (or anywhere) is to make a "few bucks" from your art this post is not about you. Don't get offended.

Second, it is not about what art is or why we create it or how good your art is. It is about EARNING A LIVING AS AN ARTIST.

Because this post is about EARNING A LIVING AS AN ARTIST it is about any art form. Being a painter, a photographer, a sculptor, a graphic designer, a wedding photographer...anything. Sure, it could also include musician and actor but let's keep it to the kind of art sold here on FAA.

Hopefully this is clear enough and this conversation doesn't get too far off track (yeah right). Just so everyone knows I do NOT close threads because they have "run their course" (I think that happens when nobody is participating anymore).

So let's begin...


You WILL fail if you try to earn a living as an artist. That is a little more than opinion. I am just looking at numbers. Let's just use FAA as our example. How many artist belong to this site? How many do you think earn enough to earn a living from their art? I have a few people in mind that may do that, but they are a minority.

The rest need another source of income or a spouse or family member that can feed and house them. I am in this group right now.

Let's be honest with each other for a moment. This is a tough field to make work. Education doesn't matter, hell a lot of times talent doesn't matter. It is a large mountain with lots of people trying to climb to the top. The base of this mountain is littered with the bodies of those that didn't make it and their are very few flags planted at the top.

There is no escalator to the top of this mountain. Getting up there takes a lot of hard work. If you made $10.00 for every person that asked "why aren't I selling here" you may make enough money to support yourself. But, we don't get paid for that!

It seems, based on the number of times that question is asked, that there is a large number of people that think they just need to get their work "out there" to make money. Yeah right.

The question to ask is how much am I willing to put in this? How many times can I get kicked in the teeth before I give up? How thick is your skin? You are a tiny little drop in an ocean of artist. You are competing against talented people and places like Wal-Mart that will sell a framed print for $14.99.

So I think you will fail to earn a living as an artist. People will tell you that your work is "awesome". Especially your friends on Facebook and your mom. But your friends won't feed you and your mom only has so much room on her walls. Plus, do you REALLY want to SELL work to your own mother? So I would suggest ignoring what people you know say about your work. It can't be trusted.

People will hold up examples of artist that "made it". Prints and painting that sell for tens of thousands if not millions of dollars. Most of those people had YEARS into becoming an over-night success.

For every artist that beat the odds there are 10,000 that didn't. You never hear about them. Know why? Because they FAILED.

So why do you think YOU will be different? Why should we think YOU will beat all the odds and earn a living in the art world? You won't do it. You WILL fail.


Now go out there and prove me wrong!

Reply Order

Post Reply
 

Roy Erickson

8 Months Ago

There are plenty of people who make a living at art - dedication and work - and selling your self and your art. Nothing, no way to earn a living just falls into people's lap - education and work - even if you are stringing beads. Making a living as an artist and selling your art may be the hardest part of earning a living at art. I imagine that most aspiring artists "give up" in a short period of time and go for that job that earns them a living - you know - food on the table and a roof over the head. There be very few people of any working people that just walk in and start making the money to feed and house themselves and a family.
How long to be a doctor, lawyer or even a singer/songwriter? years -

And you certainly will FAIL - if you don't try.

 

Marlene Burns

8 Months Ago

plenty of us can prove you wrong because we DO make a living from art...but most are not spending time in the forum...

 

Mike Savad

8 Months Ago

right now i'm making a living from art, if there were no POD's, probably not.


---Mike Savad

 

I have many friends who ARE making a good living at art however, they are not sitting in a forum talking about not making a living, they are out there doing it

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

Again, for all the examples of people that make it there are, what, thousands that don't.

The have-nots FAR out-weigh the ones that made it.

How long Roy?

I have heard 10,000 hours as a rule and I tend to agree with that.

 

Dan Turner

8 Months Ago

"Sure, it could also include musician and actor but let's keep it to the kind of art sold here on FAA."

You included graphic design as a qualifying profession, but then eliminated it in the above sentence. Directive..unclear...!

Dan Turner
Dan Turner Fine Art
Dan Turner's Seven Keys to Selling Art Online
To Enjoy Dan Turner's Pinterest Boards, Click Here

 

Val Arie

8 Months Ago

I can only ask myself WHY did I read this...

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

You saying graphic designers can't sell stuff here Dan? I see a lot of graphic design stuff here.

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

I can only ask Val WHY did she respond to this?

 

Val Arie

8 Months Ago

Good question John...I guess the truth is I agree with you...the chances of making a living with art are probably less than being struck by lightening or winning the lottery or any other will never happen thing.

 

JC Findley

8 Months Ago

To be honest, I have NO idea how I make the money I do with art and really, my desire when I started selling was simply to fund new toys without my wife yelling at me.

I do make enough to make a living doing this but it depends on what kind of lifestyle I want to have AND where I live, (as in cost of living.)

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

Thanks for expanding Val!

I guess we need to remember that a "lucky" few DO beat the odds and get hit by lightning or win the lottery.

I wonder how many people have done both?

 

Dan Turner

8 Months Ago

I've made a living for over three decades as a graphic designer. I still don't know if that qualifies for this thread. I do identity development, websites, brochures and corporate marketing for everything from financial services to art galas to industrial manufacturing.

Dan Turner
Dan Turner Fine Art
Dan Turner's Seven Keys to Selling Art Online
To Enjoy Dan Turner's Pinterest Boards, Click Here

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

Dan I have a degree in graphic design. Graphic design and wedding photography MAY be the best chance someone has at earning a living in the art world though both of those fields are competitive as well.

 

Floyd Snyder

8 Months Ago

Gee gosh... yet another "woes me woes me, pity me the poor artist", totally negative thread.

I can't do that. I think I will pass on this one other then to say the following:

Marlene: plenty of us can prove you wrong because we DO make a living from art...but most are not spending time in the forum

Abbie: I have many friends who ARE making a good living at art however, they are not sitting in a forum talking about not making a living, they are out there doing it

Both are great responses.

 

Dan Turner

8 Months Ago

I never looked at graphic design as being risky or difficult. It was what I wanted to do. It takes real effort sometimes and you DO need to be able to think under pressure and make consistently good decisions, but I don't look back and think that it was a hard mountain to climb. I loved it. Still do.

As long as you stay on the creative side of things (as opposed to the production side), the demand for good graphic designers has been high throughout my career. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

All in all, a great ride.

Dan Turner
Dan Turner Fine Art
Dan Turner's Seven Keys to Selling Art Online
To Enjoy Dan Turner's Pinterest Boards, Click Here

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

One thing about graphic designer is you can get a "real job". By that I mean work for someone else. A steady paycheck, maybe benefits. For all the appeal of being your own boss there is something to be said for being able to clock out at 5:00 and not thinking about work until you clock back in. That is harder to do when you are the boss.

I think getting a "real job" in graphic design is tough today. Mainly because there seems to be no shortage of quality designers applying for the open jobs. Supply and demand thing I think. Of course, I live in the "sticks" so there are naturally fewer jobs like this available. Would it be different in a big city? Probably, I don't know.

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

Thanks for checking in and not responding Floyd!

 

Dan Turner

8 Months Ago

I had a real job for only 22 months out of the last 37 years. It was my first job out of college; I was an art director for an electric sign company. I freelanced in the evenings and on weekends and when earnings surpassed my job I rented space downtown and opened my own studio.

Dan Turner
Dan Turner Fine Art
Dan Turner's Seven Keys to Selling Art Online
To Enjoy Dan Turner's Pinterest Boards, Click Here

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

I am picking up the odd freelance job here and there. I am not pushing the graphic design stuff as hard as the fine art stuff, but money is money and I will do whatever I can to pick some up!

 

FirstName LastName

8 Months Ago

Posting the original post in a forum community of artists is a cheap shot in the sense that nothing noted is news to anyone here and it offers no constructive value.

 

John Crothers

8 Months Ago

I disagree Mark.

It is not a cheap shot, it is the truth.

The constructive value is you better be prepared to work or you will not make it. I feel it is much more constructive then "you are awesome and you can do anything you want".

Sometimes the "oh yeah, I'll show you" is a good motivator for people.

 

FirstName LastName

8 Months Ago

I'll concede, the closing line offers some redemption, "Now go out there and prove me wrong!"

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

8 Months Ago

Entrepreneurial skill count more than any other credential. It's not your artistic talent, education, experience, etc. that's gives you the boost, it's that Steve Jobs quality in your character.
--mary ellen anderson

 

FirstName LastName

8 Months Ago

"Art" should be a minor in the "School of Marketing"

Big Skip

This is a very popular discussion with 444 responses.   In order to help the page load faster and allow you to quickly read the most recent posts, we're only showing you the oldest 25 posts and the newest 25 posts.   Everything in the middle has been skipped.   Want to read the entire discussion?   No problem: click here.

 

John Crothers

7 Months Ago

"The point is that art isn't limited and cannot possibly be thought of in terms of quantity, unless you limit art to something physical that's hung on a wall."

If everyone that wanted to earn a living as an artist only made ONE piece for sale would there be enough wall space?

100,000+ artist on this site alone. That's 100,000 8x10 images. The limited supply of space for it is probably a BIG reason most people fail to earn a living as an artist. Then finding people willing to pay a price higher than what Wal-Mart or Target charges so the artist can actually make a decent profit. Then creating pieces people actually WANT to buy, you know...baboon asses!

 

John Crothers

7 Months Ago

So Ryan, if I follow you...

Are you saying you don't WANT to earn a living as an artist?

If that is correct then this thread really doesn't apply to you. If you do art just for the love of doing art then you WILL NOT fail.

 

Lin Haring

7 Months Ago


"If everyone that wanted to earn a living as an artist only made ONE piece for sale would there be enough wall space?"

If not, we'd build more walls. (Much, I'm sure, to Frost's chagrin)

 

John Crothers

7 Months Ago

We aren't building more walls now Lin and there is no shortage of art to fill the walls we have.

That is the problem. The market is over-saturated with choices for the buying public with their limited wall space.



I had a guy come into my booth at an art show last year. He found a picture he really liked and showed it to his wife. She said "where would you PUT it" and he said "yeah, you're right". Ten minutes after they left he rushed back into my booth, by himself, and said "I thought of a place to put it" and he bought it.

That is what we are all up against. So many works, so little space. Artist are up against that wall full of art and even more family pictures.

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

7 Months Ago

JL,
So what are you going to do about it? Even if we do fail, we have to figure out what's next and go on. You learn from your failures and change YOU. You figure out what you did wrong and go again or take a new direction. But life isn't over, so time for a new plan. All of us are going to have successes and failures, and unrealized dreams. So failure makes you nothing special. You're not forever shamed, proven stupid or bad, or deserving of sympathy. Failure only cuts the failed, the world doesn't notice failure and this is the real pain of failure.

So how exactly did you fail, and why? And what's your plan to fix it?
--mary ellen anderson

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

7 Months Ago

Ryan,
I do understand, you just like to paint for enjoyment. Nothing wrong with that BUT this doesn't make you an artist, as the OP stated. There is no responsibility for artistic development and no criteria of social impact.

If you really do have artistic talent than this is a waste, like anyone else that doesn't choose to 'get serious' and develop their natural aptitudes.

--mary ellen anderson

 

Craig Carter

7 Months Ago

Need more space for your art?

The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, is one of the most renowned artworks of the High Renaissance

There is plenty of space on the ceilings. Why does Michelangelo have to be alone in this?

 

Ryan Demaree

7 Months Ago

Noh John, of course every artist wants to make a living from creating art. But the reality is you either have to get lucky or pander to do that. Im speaking from pure statistics and history alone on the matter.

Finding a balance and a niche and expanding on it is the only way to "succeed" The definition of success is also a hard term to understand. Success as in all bills paid by art creation or success as in fulfillment? a mix between the 2?

Paying all your bills through art making requires pandering and luck

 

Ryan Demaree

7 Months Ago

dp

 

Roger Swezey

7 Months Ago

Craig's got the right idea

Why are we all up against the Wall?

We must stop being Walled In.!!

Start thinking Outside the Box, especially the Walls of the Box!!

 

John Crothers

7 Months Ago

Craig whenever I look up I wonder why we don't put stuff on our ceilings.

Maybe we are afraid our house would look too much like a church!

 

John Crothers

7 Months Ago

"Noh John, of course every artist wants to make a living from creating art. But the reality is you either have to get lucky or pander to do that. Im speaking from pure statistics and history alone on the matter. "

Ryan I don't think EVERY artist dreams of makin money from their art. There are a lot of people here looking to make a few bucks (at least that's what they say, I doubt many of them would refuse $100,000 for one of their works).

Maybe they are too afraid of failure to try to go at it 100%. Maybe they have to pay the bills and can't take the chance of depending on the art to earn a living. Maybe some of them don't think they are good enough. Maybe some of them just create to pass some time. When my grandfather died he had boxes and boxes of doodles and drawings in his closet.

One thing is almost sure though. If you don't TRY to earn a living as an artist you probably won't.

One needs to decide how serious they are and go from there.

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

7 Months Ago

"Noh John, of course every artist wants to make a living from creating art. But the reality is you either have to get lucky or pander to do that. Im speaking from pure statistics and history alone on the matter. "

Ryan, you're saying that historically every artists that made it, did so with just luck and pandering to popularity. NO WAY!!!!

Ryan, all these assumptions you make: like I don't need to learn to paint anyone can do that, doesn't understand what painting is. There is no perfect subject out there that if anyone painted it makes it art. There's no perfect vision, statement, cause, passion, you might have that anyone could paint and it would be art. Popular or unpopular, traditional or modern... or something never seen won't guarantee anything about it being good art. Painting is not copying, it's interpreting and a whole lot harder than 'anyone' skill level. And the art is about the interpretation not the subject.

The hard work requirement doesn't go away if you're serious, and a selfish waste of your talents.
--mary ellen anderson

 

Ryan Demaree

7 Months Ago

Mary- I am not saying that people dont need to "learn to paint" what I am saying is that I know how to draw/ paint realistically already it is a skill that almost anybody can learn how to do, skill level varies based on brain chemistry, genes and propensity for creative endeavors but learning realism and the mechanics of painting/ drawing are learnable skills like flooring, plumbing etc.

Art comes from personal touch to the work, whether it be traditional or abstract.

I simply do not care to try and bother with the real world visually or conceptually. Realism is redundant to me for the most part. Too simple and linear in its creation for me, although I can and have done it, I just dont waste my supplies on it when my personal work is just speaks so much louder and is less linear. Conceptually I dont care about making art that keeps up with world politics, religion or culture...nor do I care to keep up with pop culture or the decorations people hang above their sofa.

I am attracted to Surrealism because it cracks the shackles on art.

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

7 Months Ago

I can see what you're saying, Ryan it's just flawed thinking. You are saying that since art is subjective, than you can paint what you want and only how you want and call it art. It might accidentally be art, but most likely it's just an accident.

Whether it's between barns, robots, or blue and green there is a road to proficiency that you can't ignore. A proficiency that makes it irrelevant if it's a robot or a barn. It's not about having a social statement to make, it's learning how to make a statement. It's figuring out why someone likes it and CHANGING something in how you paint (NOT necessarily what you paint) to not compromise your work but make you clearer and develop your voice. It's the voice not the song selection!!!!

What talent doesn't have to be developed? Honestly, you're throwing up these wild definition of art and realism as excuses for laziness and selfishness. If you don't want me to think kid than stop saying, "I don't need to, because I already know everything'. So what if you're the next Einstein but decide not to study math, or a great athletic that never shows at the track?

What noble purity are you serving in not painting anything? What corruption or compromise occurs outside your own choice?

Fundamental belief like these, in how you see yourself fitting in life and what is art, very definitely make a difference on you chances of making a living with your art. But I'll say this, if your definitions of success include anyone else thinking that it's art other than you, than you need to be focused outward not inward. It's not the great vision that you want to develop, but your ability to interpret (paint, write, perform, etc).. If you're not sure of what you need to develop and how (and it's not self-enjoyment), than I'm fairly confident showing up at the track isn't going to work out for you.

I see no evidence that this isn't one of John's cases where the kid just can't see it. We'll let it drop but check back with us in a few years and update us. There really is a different world beyond 30 - lol.
--mary ellen anderson

 

Ryan Demaree

7 Months Ago

Why cant I justify my art as art? If something doesnt sell is it not good art? If someone has a blank canvas/ canned feces exhibition in a large name gallery and a brilliant painter/ sculptor [concept and visual wise] goes broke is he less the artist than the blank canvas/ canned feces guy? This does happen and by your logic the canned feces guy is better than the brilliant artist that didnt sell.

What a shame.

Any artist can speak about their work and makeup a story about how it connects to people, its really not that hard-Jeff Koons, Tracey Emin and Thomas Kinkade built careers around doing just that.

As an artist I have moved beyond knowing the basics of line, color, texture, composition, life drawing, concept/ style development etc. and have began to develop a vision. I will always be growing my brand and whatnot but the basics are in my past, I dont need to dwell on redundancy.

If I have painted a tree, and know that I can, and know that I could again, and I am not being commissioned to do so once again, why in the hell would I do it yet again? The only reason I would ever do it again is to get paid or to show off visual skills. It is redundant.

I never said I know everything, but I know what I want and where I am going in life. There is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change my pathway, I have seen the chance to make good money from my Cubist style of the past [I am quite good with dimensionality, geometric/ cubist art] and yet I still dont return to it. Im not interested in the predictable, I want to grab ahold of something that goes beyond me and bring it to life. I have done lots of thinking about this and self-analyzed everything I have done in my 8 years of painting. I couldnt be happier than where I am at now.

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

7 Months Ago

"Why cant I justify my art as art?"
Because the purpose of art is to connect. It might be art, but if so it's accidental and it has absolutely nothing to do with medium or subject.

"Art is in the eye of the beholder" has no validity to thinking that "all that is beheld is art". You have missed the word beholder. The saying is saying that art is in what others like. You are saying it is in what you like? It's not subjectively liking that makes art, it's in being beheld as art. Whether you like it or not than art does have actual standards and codes of ethics. You can't just self-appoint yourself.

btw: did I mention the phd work in philosophy? Your argument is invalid.

" I have done lots of thinking about this and self-analyzed everything I have done in my 8 years of painting. I couldnt be happier than where I am at now."
If your evaluation scale was personal enjoyment in the first place than I'd expect you to be happy. It just whether that means your art is any better and how'd you know.
--mary ellen anderson

 

Ryan Demaree

7 Months Ago

My art holds meaning to me and connects with many others like me, I dont need to connect with the average person to be valid.

Dont care about the phd.

I measure the value of art on how well the artist can explain their art and why they do what they do, and the visual/ auditory components which can be measured.

The degree the artist has, how much they sell, the cultural significance etc. are things I also take into consideration, but those are backdrop details.

If a pile of shit is popular im not going to respect it on that basis, I need to hear why it is significant.

I have said over and over again that I create art with pushing Surrealist techniques and reaching that crowd in mind, and occasionally it brings me sales/ recognition etc.


I dont feel like popularity and monetary gain means much, if anything at all in the long run of the "success" of a work of art. It is a superficial way to measure art.

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

7 Months Ago

Fine, you're self-appointed great. Congratulations. It's a very safe standard of success. I'm sure you'll do great.
--mary ellen anderson

 

Ryan Demaree

7 Months Ago

Im glad we can come to a conclusion, good chum

 

Viet Tran

7 Months Ago

You Wonít Fail
(Sundry thought written for my kids)

remember
failure is the mother that gives birth to your success
who is too smart without a stupid moment
who could always win
and never
lose

itís too bad
that youíre falling down
so be mad and feel sad
as much as
you like

just
donít lie on the ground forever and whine
everything keeps moving ahead non-stop
and no one is waiting for you
waste no time
to stand up
and go

Thao Chuong
2013-12-10

 

Viet Tran

7 Months Ago

The Art of Living

I
do
need
water for my dried throat
bread and butter for my hungry stomach
tiny space just enough to rest my sore back
and probably sex to douse any intense moment whenever I am in heat

but
sex
food
and shelter
are not everything for my living
they only meet my very basic need for survival as an animal

I always look for something better beyond the natural instinct of a being

my heart thirsts for
love,
companionship,
and human touch

my mind is full of
dreams
endless thoughts
and wild imagination

creative process enables me to express my inner self and capture beauty of the outer universe

thanks
to
poets,
artists,
musicians
and all other creative people
for shining my days and enhancing my life
with the milky way
of your stunning
works

Thao Chuong
2013-12-10

 

Ronald Walker

7 Months Ago

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Just wanted to say that. There are many art related fields in the art world that pay decently. The uncertainty of sales always made me nervous, I like to know how much money I can count on and then as sales are made be pleasantly surprised.

 

J L Meadows

7 Months Ago

As far as I'm concerned, I HAVE failed. I'm not creating any more print images. Time to move on.

 

Roger Swezey

7 Months Ago

JL,

From your bio:.."My art is for those who love to think, laugh and wonder. I am always adding new artwork, so I hope you'll visit often. In the meantime, welcome. And enjoy the show! "

Mr/Ms, Meadows, I've always enjoyed your show...and anxiously await every new art work you add.

I know talk is cheap, so I've just done something about it.

 

J L Meadows

7 Months Ago

Well, Roger, all I can say is "Thank you." I appreciate it, and I hope you enjoy it. :)

 

Shasta Eone

7 Months Ago


@ Viet Tran
Appreciate greatly ... your reply.

For myself, .... I enjoyed a thirty year career in art which began as a senior in high school doing freelance commercial art for Proctor & Gamble.
Graphic design and photography led to commercial printing where I was not just an art director, but held positions in each of the production stages except running a press. From this I moved into video production for two television shows, which opened the way to working in educational and commercial television. It put food on the table and paid the bills as a single mom raising a son. Creating, directing and producing for commercial cable television is what I retired from.

And I owe it all to one man : the high school art teacher who provided a solid foundation for anything you might want to enter into ..... as an artist. It also allowed me to return to the passion for painting, in my retirement and create the " Serenity Scenes" collection of work, here on FAA

I don't know any better ... or different. It's what I am, do and love.

.

 

This discussion is closed.