Author Topic: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?  (Read 867 times)

Offline Kim_Stark

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How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« on: March 06, 2014, 03:57:40 PM »
I'm in an even more precarious predicament than I used to be. For the past few years I've been trying to work as an artist and crafter while working various street festivals, art shows (including Artomatic), etc. The last few years I've been getting fewer sales, especially since the economic meltdown of 2008. I also have a shops on Etsy and Zazzle but I haven't made much money in online sales.

When I was married, my husband's steady NASA job could get us through the lean times. Since he left me, things are ever more precarious to the point where I'll have to take a job just so I can pay the bills, which isn't easy in this tight job market.

I want to have a balance between the job that pays the bills while leaving me with enough time so I can continue to create art and prepare for shows. What do you do to pay the bills when things get economically tight between shows?

Offline Jesse

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 10:27:29 PM »
I think thatís the dream, having a balance between the job that pays the bills, and time to make art. Well, I think the dream would be to have the job that you love that pays the bills, while having time to make art! When I have a job that I enjoy, I find it supports my creativity.

Sorry to hear about the rough times.

Offline AHendricks

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2014, 10:17:56 AM »
Being on your own and trying to make ends meet is always a sobering experience and a conversation that I've had many times with other artists at the variety of flea markets, swap meets and artist alleys that I've participated in over the last couple of years.

My advice, which is no better than anyone else's, is this: Now that you are on your own, you have 3 basic needs. Food, shelter and healthcare. That's it. You take whatever job you can find to satisfy those basic needs. After you can do that, then it's time for art.

All artist's dream of making a living off their art but few, that I know, actually do and if they do, they live off a double income that allows them the freedom to be creative rather than responsibility of having to make a living. Most single artist's that I know work a real job to provide for themselves and do art when they can.

It's all about perspective and your point of view. Instead of "having" to take a job just to pay the bills, I would think you would "want" to get a job to secure your health, shelter and food.

Again, just my opinion, but if the art thing isn't working out then it's time to make taking care of yourself your number one prioirty. Once you secure healthcare, a savings of 3 months rent, utilities and food, then and only then do you get back to crafting. The balance should be 80% getting your life together and 20% making art. Cut back on the number of shows and invest that time into going over your budget to cut spending, do you have clutter you can sell to raise some extra money. You can get through this but as hard as it is to believe, art will have to take the back burner for a while.

Best of Luck



Offline Jesse

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 08:40:29 PM »
Well said. Well said.

Offline AHendricks

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 10:06:29 AM »
Thanks Jesse.

Business 101 teaches us that you have to generate more money than you spend if you want to stay viable. The economic meltdown of 2008 was over 5 years ago. It's a stretch at this point to use the recession as an excuse for not making it as an art business. Sure people have cut back on discressionary spending but as a business, it's important to realize that the economy today is "the new normal." Businesses need to adapt in order to survive.

It's easy to use this new economy as a crutch but many artists that I've talked with at shows have a hard time seeing the harder truth in that they make art that is not commercially viable; it just isn't selling. They need to own up to it; take some personal responsibility and stop playing the victim. It's time to look at current trends, retool, reexamine your focus and test market new ideas. Just because something sold in the past doesn't mean it will continue to bring in business today or tomorrow. As artists we need to keep moving forward.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 10:08:11 AM by AHendricks »

Offline GalerieSchiff

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 10:50:20 AM »
Although I don't disagree with AHendricks' advice to constantly be examining one's work and seeking new directions, my own opinion is that one should be motivated by one's own curiosity and desire to grow, as opposed to serving current trends.  While art is a form of communication, my primary motivation in creating art is to respond to my own creative urges, giving myself satisfaction in the process.  If others find my work aesthetically appealing or intellectually stimulating, all the better!  But I must say that there have been occasions where I've entered juried competitions and lost, only to experience relief at a later date when I saw what the juror chose.  The history of art is full of examples of artists who were rejected because their vision was ahead of the times, or for other reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with their work.  (For examples, their sex, political views, or nationality.)

If you need to have an income and are addicted to art, might I suggest that you choose a day job as a commercial artist or in the advertizing industry, and work for yourself on nights and weekends?  The commercial job might not be especially fulfilling, but it will help you hone your artistic skills.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 10:52:47 AM by GalerieSchiff »

Offline AHendricks

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2014, 09:15:59 AM »
Although I don't disagree with AHendricks' advice to constantly be examining one's work and seeking new directions, my own opinion is that one should be motivated by one's own curiosity and desire to grow, as opposed to serving current trends.  While art is a form of communication, my primary motivation in creating art is to respond to my own creative urges, giving myself satisfaction in the process.  If others find my work aesthetically appealing or intellectually stimulating, all the better!

I agree that artists should be motivated by "one's own curiosity and desire to grow." Art for art sake is a wonderful thing but once you decide to cross over from art for art sake to trying to put food on the table, there is often a disconnect. Many artists resolve this conflict by creating 2 bodys of work, one for themselves to solve their curiosities and one for public consumption that caters to a wider audience.

The difference between your example of when other's find your work appealing and the plight of the OP is that she is trying to put food on the table at the expense of having to work "a real job" to pay the bills. I get a feeling that your sales, when they come, are a welcome bonus of additional income and not to keep the lights on or to provide healthcare.

With any business that produces a product for sale and relies on the income that product generates, needs to evolve, keep current, and follow trends. Sure some purists might see it as "selling out" but really ... when it comes to feeding your family, we all do what we have to get cash coming in. It's fine to create from your soul but the day's of "if you create it, they will buy it" are over and now you need to work to make art that others will actually want to buy on a continuous basis.


Offline GalerieSchiff

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 12:30:58 PM »
My suggestion that she take a commercial art job was in the spirit of what you were saying, except that when one has a commercial job one doesn't have to be continually guessing what the public wants and is willing to pay for it - a very significant advantage, if one doesn't have savings to live off of while finding a marketable product.   I also agree with you that in order to succeed as an artist, one has to be willing to prostitute oneself to some degree.  In that respect, art is no different from any other profession.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 01:21:40 PM by GalerieSchiff »

Offline AHendricks

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 04:00:02 PM »
In that respect, art is no different from any other profession.

It's really not.
I'll never forget a quote that was on the board when I walked into my first art class.
It said: "Art is like prositution. First you do it for love, then you do it for money."

I am more than guilty of producing (a certain type of) work merely for the Benjamins.
I have no shame. I will happily take all the Benjamins that I can get.

Offline ArtyHermione

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2014, 05:05:45 AM »
Being on your own and trying to make ends meet is always a sobering experience and a conversation that I've had many times with other artists at the variety of flea markets, swap meets and artist alleys that I've participated in over the last couple of years.

My advice, which is no better than anyone else's, is this: Now that you are on your own, you have 3 basic needs. Food, shelter and healthcare. That's it. You take whatever job you can find to satisfy those basic needs. After you can do that, then it's time for art.

All artist's dream of making a living off their art but few, that I know, actually do and if they do, they live off a double income that allows them the freedom to be creative rather than responsibility of having to make a living. Most single artist's that I know work a real job to provide for themselves and do art when they can.

It's all about perspective and your point of view. Instead of "having" to take a job just to pay the bills, I would think you would "want" to get a job to secure your health, shelter and food.

Again, just my opinion, but if the art thing isn't working out then it's time to make taking the http://peblueprint.com/bathmate-hydromax-review Hydromax was to take care of yourself your number one prioirty. Once you secure healthcare, a savings of 3 months rent, utilities and food, then and only then do you get back to crafting. The balance should be 80% getting your life together and 20% making art. Cut back on the number of shows and invest that time into going over your budget to cut spending, do you have clutter you can sell to raise some extra money. You can get through this but as hard as it is to believe, art will have to take the back burner for a while.

Best of Luck

One thing you could do is teach others how to draw or be more artistic as a tutor or at a local college. You could advertise in your local paper. I did this and now have a few clients. It doesn't make much money but it helps.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 12:25:33 PM by ArtyHermione »

Offline AHendricks

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 01:01:38 PM »
In the 6 months that have passed since the first post, I'm curious how the OP has gotten by. Maybe she will revisit her old thread and give us an update but most likely not. We'll see what happens.

Offline Jesse

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Re: How Do You Pay the Bills In-Between Shows?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2014, 11:49:35 PM »
Yeah, Iíd love to hear too, how have things been?