Author Topic: Any artists/creative moustachians?  (Read 2714 times)

MoustachePadawan

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Any artists/creative moustachians?
« on: April 11, 2017, 10:50:06 AM »
Over the past 7 years I've worked as an artist and illustrator on a freelance basis. My biggest paycheck was $10K for an installation piece for an office building.
Nothing I've done has ever come close to that, and I've never earned from my work on a regular basis. I'd sell about 10 artworks on a good year.

My question is, is art a profession that can reach FIRE? Or is it time to give it up as a lost cause? At 37, it's the only thing I'm naturally good at (besides swimming and getting lost) but lately, I've lost enjoyment partly because of the stress of having to make it a profession, and it has not been working out.
If you'd care to see some of my works, it's here:

https://jbgamboa.carbonmade.com/
http://pinoyartista.com

Orvell

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 11:02:42 AM »
*waves* You're not alone!
I currently ~break even~ on art, with one project pulling in plenty to cover the cost of materials and occasional splurges. But it's not profitable. I get my bread and butter money from a day job.
Right now I'm not anticipating that changing, although I'd like to make art a bigger part of my life (and thus hopefully have it appreciated and have some more cash follow it) but... I don't have the hustle and gumption required to really make it rain.
Like you, I'm afraid that putting in the hustle and gumption would kill the joy. :/
PS I like your work. :)

Vindicated

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2017, 11:20:21 AM »
I wanted to say that I really like your work.  I hope that you will continue with it, even if you have to cut back to work elsewhere. 

Frankies Girl

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2017, 11:26:13 AM »
I'm FIREd now, but I was a graphic designer/illustrator for a largish company, and did do some freelance commissions on the side in the early half of my career. While it was a VERY lucrative enterprise for me, it also caused me to burnout so badly that I lost the ability to art on my own. My hope is that now that I am 100% not working, the ability will come back someday.

The whole "do what you love" thing is dangerous sometimes. I imagine most folks can do it without losing their abilities, but my job was so soul-suckingly awful in terms of the amount of new, fresh creative concepts, that it tapped me out after 15 years and I was running on fumes for the last several years, and lost everything that I used to enjoy about making art.

I see a small glimmer of it sometimes, but so far at 2 years out, still MIA for the most part.

My advice is, if it EVER starts to feel like something you have to do instead of being excited and giddy about wanting to do it - run away if you want to keep that part of yourself separated from the part that earns the $.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 04:31:27 AM by Frankies Girl »

ketchup

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2017, 12:28:44 PM »
My GF is a self-employed photographer.  She only started making any real money with it when she found her niche.  Camera gear is cheap, and everyone thinks they're a photographer, so family/wedding/etc photography is extremely saturated and there's a race to the bottom with pricing if you have no clout (even if you are excellent at it).  Within her niche, she has about 3-4 competitors in the country, and maybe a handful more worldwide, so it was WAY easier to make a name for herself.

She quit her day-job in late 2014, and really started to make things happen by the end of 2015.  She's on track to make more than I will this year (I work in IT).

Regarding burnout, that is very much a real concern that she takes seriously.  Luckily, the nature of her work gives her weeks off at a time, and the winter in particular is rather slow and allows time to recharge or focus on other things.  Post-FI, she'll probably keep working, but less frequently, only taking on projects she really wants.

mozar

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 12:52:25 PM »
Where do you sell? Have you tried patreon.com?

Orvell

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2017, 12:54:21 PM »
Where do you sell? Have you tried patreon.com?
:) Patreon is a great suggestion, if not already in use. It's where my actually-profitable project is being hosted.

skeptic

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2017, 01:50:03 PM »
Your work is great!

As you know, it is very difficult to get ahead financially as an artist.

I have helped some artists with their businesses and the whole undertaking really does need to be approached as you would any other business. And it helps to come to terms with the fact that the value of your work is subjective, so a lot of where you add value is in raising the perceived value of your work among potential buyers. Many artists focus mainly on their work, assuming that it speaks for itself, but the process of bringing the work to market and increasing its perceived value deserves a significant investment of time and energy if financial gain / sustainability is important to the artist.

In the end the solutions are highly individual. And in some cases the effort at sales/marketing/brand management/professional relationships is in conflict with the circumstances that allow an artist to produce their best work. In some cases, agents and intermediaries are willing to handle all of that headachy stuff -- in exchange for a hefty cut of the profit.

It can be done! But not an easy road, unless you get lucky or produce works that through no special effort happen to have high market value.

MoustachePadawan

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 03:32:31 PM »
*waves* You're not alone!
I currently ~break even~ on art, with one project pulling in plenty to cover the cost of materials and occasional splurges. But it's not profitable. I get my bread and butter money from a day job.
Right now I'm not anticipating that changing, although I'd like to make art a bigger part of my life (and thus hopefully have it appreciated and have some more cash follow it) but... I don't have the hustle and gumption required to really make it rain.
Like you, I'm afraid that putting in the hustle and gumption would kill the joy. :/
PS I like your work. :)

@orvell: Thanks for taking a look. What's your patreon? I'd like to see your work too.

@mozar: I've opened a patreon, but have yet to do anything with it. I'm just blown away by those who can make it their main source of livelihood (like Amanda Palmer).

@Frankies girl: I feel the same. One thing I'm trying to do is explore other forms of expression, besides drawing/painting. I'd love to learn sculpture, or 3dprinting, filmmaking, digital art...the list goes on. I hope you find that fire now that you're on FIRE :)

@vindicated: I really appreciate that

@ketchup: Your gf has defied all odds. I work as a graphic designer for an IT recruitment firm and I was just thinking that people in IT are a shoo-in for FI

@skeptic: Thanks for taking a look. Yes, the art game is a roll of the dice, and bringing it to the market is really tough, but essential if one wants to 'level up'. Although there is the commercial route. Selling art prints online on etsy at a $1 each, for example, could add up, if only enough people bought. But aside from creating, one has to be really good at marketing and promoting, and the social media feeds are already saturated with so many. The trick is either to go niche, or just focus on growing the network I already have.

Orvell

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2017, 03:41:28 PM »
*waves* You're not alone!
I currently ~break even~ on art, with one project pulling in plenty to cover the cost of materials and occasional splurges. But it's not profitable. I get my bread and butter money from a day job.
Right now I'm not anticipating that changing, although I'd like to make art a bigger part of my life (and thus hopefully have it appreciated and have some more cash follow it) but... I don't have the hustle and gumption required to really make it rain.
Like you, I'm afraid that putting in the hustle and gumption would kill the joy. :/
PS I like your work. :)

@orvell: Thanks for taking a look. What's your patreon? I'd like to see your work too.

I'll PM you. :)

Tris Prior

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2017, 07:13:24 PM »
I have a creative/crafty business - not visual art though, I can't draw. :)

I agree with Frankies Girl, completely. I've had my business for 7 1/2 years now and trying to make money at it has sucked out a lot of the joy of creating. I learned that the work that I really enjoy making is not the work that sells.... and since I have a day job and limited time, the question becomes, what to focus on? Making stuff you love that's going to sit in my stash unsold for literally years, or making stuff that you are meh about, but you know will make you money? When there's not time for both - and there never is! - I choose the latter.

Plus, if you do art as a business, you are also now a marketer. Over the years I've spent WAY more time trying to get people to buy my stuff, than I have spent creating. It is hard to get your work seen these days, much less purchased.

I don't even like my craft any more, and when people suggest I try other crafts just for fun, it doesn't work out because my brain instantly jumps to "how can I monetize this? Would people buy this?"

Don't let this happen to you!! I don't regret going into business but I miss the days when crafting was pure enjoyment and stress relief.

As to whether or not you can make a living at it - I know people who do, and I know people who've failed. I myself do not make a living wage through my craft business. I'm usually in the black by a few grand a year, after expenses.

mozar

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2019, 11:09:25 AM »
Necropost

Malcat

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Re: Any artists/creative moustachians?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2019, 11:12:36 AM »
Necropost

Thank you.
Fucking necroposts always get me.