How to Turn Artistic Passion into an Actual Profession
Is anything better than getting paid to do what you love everyday? That’s why there are artists everywhere, but how do you stand out? How do you get paid to do it, how do you turn art into a career? First and always foremost is always:
1. Learn how to be miserable.
Being an artist is a privilege, you are turning your r&r into your day-to-day. The world will only allow you to do that if you pay your dues. You have to prove that you are worthy of this blessing. You have to make time for art. Do one thing everyday to improve your skill or knowledge. Don’t wait for inspiration; learn to get started without it. It will come. Trust me.
Art is extremely competitive. There will always be people around you with more talent, connections, and equipment than you can ever hope to have. The only thing you can control, the only advantage you can have over the masses is work ethic. To find success in art you must refuse to be overworked. Blow off Friday nite parties and pull all-niters in front of the canvas. If you want to become a professional artist, the best thing you can do… the only thing you can do is just get really, really good.
2. Make sure everyone you meet knows what you do.
No one is going to pay you if no one knows what you’re doing. You must be a relentless marketer. Work your passion into every conversation you have with a new person. Make sure you actually have some content worth sharing, but once you do send it out to as many people as possible.
Create an online portfolio immediately and update it regularly. It doesn’t matter how many views or likes you get. They are irrelevant. It only takes one person that matters to stumble onto your stuff and open the door for you. You work hard at what you do; find an audience for it. It isn’t fun, but you have to cultivate an online presence, a ridiculously egotistical online presence.
3. Do your research.
Don’t just jump into this thing. Do your research. Figure out where to concentrate your efforts. Find out what software and skills you should be getting good at, what books you should be reading, and what schools you should be going to or dropping out of.
Other artists have paved the way; study their lives. Analyze their work. Send your role models well thought out emails asking for advice. Trust me. I have done this so many times. It’s awesome. Unless they are celebrities, they’ll probably be super flattered and eager to help you out.
Confidence is king. You are trying to convince people that you are talented enough that they should give you money to do what you want. That takes some cajones. I definitely understand the concept of never being satisfied with your work, always trying to improve. However, if you don’t think what you’re doing is awesome then no one else will either. Fake it tip you make it.
You are also a salesman. You are trying to sell a product. You. Your art, your image, your name. It’s all a part of your brand. Keep that self-criticism, insecurity noise to yourself. Only share things that contribute to your ideal self. To the outside world, to your potential audience, to potential employers you are the most talented, creative, unique person there ever was.
5. Movement. Movement. Movement.
Complacency is the death of ambition. Never settle. Do more. Make some moves. Cut off relationships or obligations that are getting in the way.
Don’t be afraid to do something drastic. Quit your job if it’s getting in the way of your art. Move somewhere with better opportunities. Drop out if school isn’t doing anything for you. Find more ambitious friends. Make moves. Trust your gut. Be bold. You can always get a real job if this doesn’t work out, but right now just go for it.