The “starving artist” cliché exists for a reason: no matter what kind of artist you are—actor, writer, painter, singer, photographer, dancer, etc.—earning a living is a struggle. Regardless of your talent and experience, which school you attended, or where you took an apprenticeship or internship, you will have to market yourself in order to sell your art. In fact, self-promotion is perhaps the most important way to turn your artistic passion into a full-fledged career. Thankfully the Internet has made it easier than ever to bring attention to your art form, if you know how to use it to your advantage.
I love reading about how people make choices, define what success is, and commit to something in life that is meaningful. Sometimes what you really want is not what will make the most money, but what fulfills you. What if you have always wanted to create art as a professional or teach art? Do you ignore those dreams in pursuit of monetary success? How many people can really devote all their time and energy to the creative process and actually pay the bills? Are they considered less successful?
Despite the popular notion that one must be a “starving artist” in order to reach their full potential in their artistic pursuits, the practicality is that this is not only untrue but impossible in today’s economy. It is necessary to achieve some level of stability, both financially and emotionally, in order to really put those artistic dreams into action. As a working artist, it is essential to formulate a plan for financially meeting your needs until your art becomes self-supporting. From experience, I know achieving financial stability provides for improving your overall quality of life, which contributes to artistic productivity. Your additional income doesn’t have to come from a job you despise. With a little effort, you can find a career to supplement your income that is flexible, financially lucrative, and maybe even a little fulfilling and artistic in itself.
As an artist in today’s changing environment it is vital to create a marketing strategy capable of meeting the demands created by tense competition. Different areas to focus on for marketing include: identifying and promoting to your target market, carefully select what you pay for as an artist and compare the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision, seek alternate means of exposure, and explore different options for getting your art “seen” by your target market.