Four Things Every Professional Artist Need to Survive in Their Career

One question that a prospective art professional will eventually deal with: Can I make a living out of art and creatives?

The answer to this question is as complex as the question itself.

Our society has a lot of misconceptions about the world of creatives. Many think that art is a hopeless pursuit that offers no financial security, no middle ground, and no stability. We hear of stories about prospective artists, especially freelance or independent artists, with impressive credentials who still failed. These artist-failures are talented, committed and dedicated, yet unappreciated. Regrettably, their works get noticed and valued only posthumous.

But there’s also the other face of the art world – the highly successful and well-known artists who earn a celebrity status. There are acclaimed professional artists the likes of painter/sculptor Damien Hirst, sculptor Jeff Koons, painter Jasper Johns, muralist/graffiti artist David Choe, and painter Andrew Vicari. And of course, there are also those who have earned prominent recognitions in the art world.

To many people, the creative sector is a huge gamble where you either succeed or fail. It’s a “make or break” career that requires courage, perseverance, and hope. Some even think that you need the stroke of luck to make art a viable source of income.

However, there are some things you can do to help improve your chances at success.

Firstly, you need to have a goal. You have to define what you want in your career. Writing down your goals in a paper planner, like those reviewed here, can greatly help you in goal-setting. Creativity is the lifeblood of artists. As such, you explore new ideas and concepts. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get distracted by all these new stuff, and you end up not completing any of your tasks and goal. Having a written goal can help you get back to course whenever you lose track.

Secondly, you need to have the mindset of a small business owner. While it’s true that art is passion, you should be realistic. If creatives is your bread and butter, treat it as it is. If you’re a freelance artist, you have to think of basic business stuff like marketing, accounting, inventory, and sales. You need to build and maintain relationships with clients, galleries and other worthy connections. You may also want to self-promote through the internet and social media.

Thirdly, you need to be an expert in time-management. Unlike the regular office workers, artists have the liberty of time. You can choose when to work and when to rest. Such a very flexible schedule is both a curse and a boon. Artists require a tremendous amount of discipline and commitment. You have to stick with your work schedule and meet your deadlines. A planner from Get Life You Desire comes in handy to help organize your life.

Finally, you need to be wise financially. If you’re a self-employed artist, you have to learn how to manage your own finances such as paying for your own pension plan or healthcare plan. Majority of freelance artists supplement their income with another job. Doing so can help you get through difficult financial times or when you’re contract has ended. As you start your career, you need to learn how to budget.

Religion and Art

Religion has historically been one the biggest drivers of art. Even the cave paintings, some the first art we’ve ever identified historically, seemed to be documenting some sort of deity. The cathedrals of Europe are stunning, and designed to make people think of God because of their sheer size. The Dome of the Rock is designed to dazzle onlookers with the glory of the divine. Why is religion the producer of some of history’s greatest art?

Beyond Ourselves

One of the biggest reasons that religious art is as wonder as it is is simply because it points to something bigger than we are. When people have a cause that is much larger than they are, that cause will drive people to create things that are truly wonderful. The cathedrals of Europe took over 200 years to complete. The longest construction time for a cathedral was 600 years… that’s around 10 generations. What on earth would drive something to start a project that they wouldn’t live to see, and neither would anyone they knew while they were alive? In 600 years no one would even remember who they were. So, the main reason that religious art has the power that is does is because it is driven by something beyond us; the belief that in creating this cathedral, they were honoring God.

Religious Power

Many of the largest works of art and architecture were sponsored at least in part by the state. Because in the medieval period, there was no separation of church and state. The catholic church had as much or more power than the king himself. Because of this enormous power, they also had massive amounts of money at their disposal to create works of art. During the Renaissance, it was much the same. They commissioned artists like Michelangelo and others to make statues and paintings with religious themes. In the Muslim world it was much the same; caliphates had enough power to create stunning Mosques. These would not have been possible without religious money.

In the Modern Day

Even today, there are wonderful examples of art. I just went up to New York to play paintball with my family (and yes, I wore a great-quality paintball mask to be safe!) and saw the cathedral in the middle of New York City. Although this wasn’t built with as much state/religious money, it is a real work of art in the middle of one of the world’s busiest cities. Even if you’re not religious yourself, it is sometimes nice to think about how religious has done some good in addition to the bad. Many paintings, statues, and buildings that we take for granted have come as a result of people believing in some sort of deity. Maybe there is something to that; believing in something often gives us a direction in life that many people seem to lack. Either way, a true fan of art cannot deny the impact that religious history has had on the world of art history.