Art – Hobby or Profession?
Art and photography often start out as hobbies and as the artists build the skills and techniques required, before thinking about doing it full time. Other times, it happens by chance when a friend or acquaintance offers to buy an artwork. There is a significant difference between art as a hobby and as a profession. Making the move from hobbyist to career artist is not for everyone and there are a few things to consider before taking the leap.
A Pleasurable Pastime
The benefits of art are well known. The act of creating, whatever your media, brings pleasure, peace of mind, joy and an escape from the daily pressures of life. Art is also therapeutic whether guided by a professional art therapist or simply as your own experiment. Through art, we express emotion and fight against suffering and stress. Any hobby is done for the sheer pleasure and satisfaction that it brings to our lives and are often the realm where we find deeper meaning. How do you know if you have what it takes to be a career artist?
To do anything professionally requires a certain commitment and work ethic. Art is no exception. Once art crosses over into the professional realm, it becomes a job. Deadlines, pressure to produce and the ability to sell your artwork are the order of the day. Your art becomes tied to money and earning a living. Some may find this takes away some of the pleasure of creating art. Are you prepared for the hard work that this requires?
Molding your Mindset
Crossing over to art as a profession requires a certain mindset and discipline like any freelancer knows. Creating art must become a habit. Every day effort is required. The process should be treated as work as you will need to produce stock for galleries, exhibitions or street fairs. If it is treated it like a hobby, there may be times where you do not ‘feel’ like creating but must do so anyway. This is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome when starting out on a professional path and remains an obstacle for many artists who paint, take photographs or create digital artwork for pleasure.
Professionals must be more critical with themselves in order to develop their art. The art becomes the daily struggle and not the idyllic pastime.
How to move from Amateur Artist to Professional Artist
If you’re looking into turning professional, there are a few steps you can take to make the transition easier.
A good place to start off on the real world is art fairs and through groups exhibitions. Networking with other artists to arrange small exhibitions locally is a great first step to see if the public is prepared to buy what you create.
In the virtual world, a good online presence is key. Instagram, the chosen social media for visual artists is an excellent place to showcase your work. You can build a page on Facebook easily enough. Your own website is also a possibility. These days it is easy and affordable. Minimalist design and high quality photos are the best so that your artwork showcases itself. If this seems daunting, you can approach an e-commerce site like Arts4Special where you will be featured with a biography and photo. Your work is promoted through their channels and they take a cut of the selling price.
Dedicate yourself to becoming a professional artist. If you are able to give up the day job, that’s great. But even if you need to keep working to pay the bills, your perseverance will pay off in the long run as you make the transition.
Ellie Hesse in her studio
Improve your skills. Taking classes with established artists is an excellent way to improve your skill set and explore your medium. Don’t forget the business side. Learning how to promote yourself and your art is essential to professional success. Investing in yourself will pave the way to your professional path.
Rid yourself of limiting beliefs and become the artist you are meant to be!