You can make a living making art.
My husband is an artist. When I tell people that I get all sorts of questions that typically go something like this…..
“Oh. What kind of art does he do?”
“He’s a potter, um, he makes pottery. You know, mugs, bowls and functional work as well as some larger more artistic gallery pieces.”
“So, does he make a living at that?!” (insert confused and curious facial expression)
“Yes, actually – he sells his work in stores and galleries across the country.”
And it goes on and on. But the main point is that people are fascinated that he makes a living making art. They think it’s kind of romantic and that he must just sit around creating art all day and that he’s so lucky to do something that he loves to do. They are right, it is great that he does something that he loves and he’s good at, but it’s a lot of hard work. Physically. Emotionally. Everyday he is on the wheel throwing clay, and if you’ve ever done it, you can attest to the fact that it’s not really a whimsical easy thing to do. You need to dig in and put some elbow grease in there. Then you have to add the design. Bisque fire it. Apply the glaze. Glaze fire it. And then find people to buy the stuff that you have made. It ain’t for the faint of heart.
We travel to many shows throughout the year to get in front of buyers. Here in NH we are members of the League of NH Craftsmen which has a great annual fair with hundreds of artists. We go to Philly for a wholesale show so small shops can buy his work and sell it in their retail locations; we go to Baltimore to get in front of one of the largest crowds in the country for “made in America” art. We sell online through artfulhome.com and we use word of mouth the best we can to tell people about Boyan Pottery.
I tell you all of that for two reasons.
- Check out some of the art shows in your area and support local artists.
- To drive home the point that making art and selling it is not something that you can just do and get lucky. You have to work really hard to develop your brand and your business. Just like you would any small business. The notion that artists are all struggling and broke is something that I try to fight by showing people how successful Boyan is and introduce them to the many many artist friends we have that make a living at creating the things they love.
So, if you want to start your own business. Make art! (it does help if you’re good at it 😉 You can make a living at it!
Here are some links to my favorite local artists here in NH who are living breathing proof that it’s not a fluke and you can do some pretty awesome stuff and sell it out of your garage or living room. 🙂
Forstbound Bags – okay, she’s based in Boston but grew up in Hopkinton so she still has NH street cred.
Katy Brown Solsky– creator of many cool things, and runs the Concord Art Market!
Who are your favorites, post them here!