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Can I live on art alone?

Forum > Rants

1407636615624 by CJEdmonds

So it has become increasingly difficult to pull myself away from painting and after discussion with my partner, I have decided I will no longer fight it and will focus solely on my work.  My inner dialogue where ever I go is "I must paint that. I must draw that. Those colours are beautiful" People, landscapes and text are inspiration everyday.

My question is Can I survive financially? And simply how can I stop it if I can't?   I wake at 2 am ready to paint my dreams. Sometimes I will paint all day. It is a physical  and emotional release to 'get it out'. 

Would love to hear from those who are Full time artists ..Can you survive on what you earn from your work.?


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4 articles & 201 comments since 14 Jan 2010
The answer is no. Unless you have curatorial friends in high places, know the right dealers and went to the right art schools you have no future as a successful moderne artist. If you are a traditional artist who is excellent in figurative oil painting and has good taste you might be reasonably well paid and successful supplying the commercial market which, strangely enough is a bit lacking in good wall ornament art. There is a niche there, and cruelly devalued at present.

If you wish to make your art a part of your life then the "lower" orders of design and supply may work if you can smile and bow, take your check (before handover!) and build your reputation through skill, ambition and being pleasant. You can have your artistic lifestyle cake and be able to eat too.

The lower orders of design and supply are in interior commercial design, set design, film sculpting, landscaping and the productive crafts ( fashion, furniture etc.) all these things are still needed and many are still open to interested people, free from tertiary educational controls and wasteful degrees. These occupations still rely on pure talent and skill, if you cannot do the work you are dumped fast, even of you have the piece of paper from some Uni. A personal approach to the firms and designers is best, if you have talent they will find and use it. Do not go through universities or polytechnics as they are hated by most successful companies.

Hope this helps, art is about compromise and sharing your vision sometimes.
Probably what you do not want to hear though...
1 articles & 1 comment since 9 Aug 2014

Thanks Monkey. That is the perfect honest answer..I appreciate your response. .I have had success in solo exhibitions and cafe exhibitions. So I will keep battling on. I have tried but I can't silence the optimist on my shoulder.

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