Soundwave Art ™


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Starving Artist? An Artist’s Guide to Not Starving

The term “starving artist” gets thrown around for a reason; after all, how many artists have the privilege of seeing their works appreciated while they’re still alive? How many are actually able to turn their passion into a lucrative career? Forget getting rich; what about just putting food on the table?

If you’ve been trying to sell your work for a while, then you’re familiar with the frustration of trying to find the right customers. After all, when it comes to purchasing art, a majority of the people that you meet are probably content to rummage through the framed art at their local retailer to find a print that matches their home’s décor. Sure, it may be identical to the artwork hanging on the walls of who knows how many homes in the city, but it’s a fraction of the price that they would pay for an original work. Clearly, this is not the type of customer that you’re looking for!

The truth is, it is possible to make enough money to live while doing what you love. As does any business owner (and if you want to sell your art to make a living, then yes, you’re a business owner), artists need to take an honest look at what they’re willing and able to invest into their business, how they want to position their “brand,” and what their business goals are.

Keep reading for a few ways that you can support yourself while still doing what you love.

Learn to Network

Today, it feels like everyone and their brother is selling something, from skincare, makeup, and health supplements to clothing, cookware, and books. How often do you meet someone new and within minutes find yourself on the receiving end of a sales pitch or an invitation to join their multi-level marketing business? That slimy feeling that you experience when discovering their ulterior motive may be exactly what’s holding you back from properly marketing yourself and your work.

Real networking is vastly different from indiscriminately handing out invitations to a “party” (if they can really be called that). The people that you want to meet are writers who can promote your work, art buyers who actually understand and appreciate the value of original artwork, and fellow artists who already have connections. These are the people you should be handing your business card to.

Be Honest About Business Expenses

Your art supplies, studio or office rent, gallery fees, and software fees are just a few of the expenses that you have as an artist. Depending on your art form of choice, your expenses may be quite high. Obviously, taking a look at your expenses can help you realize just how much you’re putting into your business and motivate you to look for ways to lower your expenses, such as buying more supplies from wholesalers. It can also help you determine how you should be pricing your work.

Get Creative

Until you are in a position to rely solely on selling your artwork for your income, consider branching out. For example, opening a gallery gives you the opportunity to connect with other artists and sell their work alongside your own, find the right type of buyer, and even make your own hours. If you have a passion for teaching, consider bringing in additional income by hosting classes or applying for a position in a local school.

Being an artist doesn’t have to b synonymous with, well, not eating. While making a career of your art will undoubtedly require a lot of hard work, it is possible.

Mike LaTour - Co-founder Mike LaTour  Soundwave Art
2019 Finalist - Digital Innovation In Art Award

I spent 17 years in the music industry and have always had a love of art. Combining music, sound, and art was a perfect fit.

I’d like to thank you for visiting us and invite you to have a look around. Express your creativity and record a sentiment that will last for generations!