Making Money and Creating Art (sometimes simultaneously)

I do not make my living at art.

I think it’s important to state this, because too often artists feel ashamed of not being able to live off their art. Many artists (especially on social media) allow viewers to assume art is how they earn their living, while in truth they may make the majority of their money by teaching art lessons, by being a landlord, having a day job, or through the support of a spouse.

Some schools of thought dictate that you should NOT try to make your art carry the responsibility of supporting you- that it taints creativity to put financial pressure on the art. Though I appreciate the sentiment, I disagree.

I have a job because:

  1. My family could use the money now, not some time in the future when my ship comes in.
  2. It makes the time I have more precious, motivating me to paint faster AND smarter.

That being said, I plan to grow my art sales to the degree that I may no longer require a day job (and I trust that when that day arrives, I will recognize it. That process of discernment may be the subject of a future blog post…). I am doing a number of things to improve my art income- primarily involving: tons of research, some networking, and as much easel time as I can manage.

I do not have a day job because my creativity is fragile. As William Faulkner said:

 

I only write when inspiration strikes.

Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.

 

I will sit down and do the hard work at the easel, and I will do my day job. For now….

 

 

such a fan

“Vintage Fan” 2017

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Instagram as Accountability Tool

While I use social media to promote my art, my snobby side tends to feel the marketing work is “beneath me”– a waste of good old fashioned easel time!

The thing I often fail to recognize, is the absolute exhilarating benefit of the accountability social media lends me.

I do not require an audience to paint. In fact, I would be quite content to paint alone in a room where no person ever trod and no eyes ever ventured. Yet, the fear of failing can quite dampen and slow my productivity on a regular basis. As I have gained a small group of friends and followers on Instagram and Facebook, I feel the weight of their expectations and also their joy at seeing art magically appear in their feed.

While I struggle to see anything but the failings of my work, genuine viewers greet my work with eagerness, and it lends me a burst of giddiness that helps to propel me to greater productivity.

It’s refreshing to see my work with new eyes, and I am so grateful for the love and support I receive. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Follow Me: @hhighfield

 

hhighfield