I’m in the same boat as you.
I relied on my art income more when I was illustrating (when that was more of a choice.) Making a living at fine art is not “taboo,” just exponentially harder. Chances for financial success are no better than for “making it” as an actor or musician. Many try, few succeed. Many facilitate their art with concurrent, more stable careers or by having a spouse with stable employment & benefits or a “patron.” This in nothing new; it has always been thus.
I don’t know about Bob, but I’ve been married once before, and it might be a while before I go do that again… Although… why not? You don’t happen to know any available, wealthy women between the ages of 24 and… 26, do ya?
Bob, after reading all these comments, I agree with most of them. You are a very good artist and should not give up. One thing I’ve been thinking of trying is to go to the little shops in my town where they sell to the tourists. Gift shops often take art and while they will take a percentage, you might still make a lot more than $1. Check them out. You will need to frame them for most places, but I’ve found good deals by going to Canvasplace.com. I have already talked to several of the people in the gift shops near me and I’m just waiting until I get more painted and framed. In many of these places you don’t need to rent a space. So the only real cost is framing and the percentage they take.
I’m not counting it out, but the gift shops in Las Vegas aren’t like mom and pop gift shops. Not putting down other town gift shops, because I would rather have them like that. The gift shops here are owned by huge corporations that own the hotel casinos. The only people your likely to see there are the ones working the counter who have no say in the matter.
I guess I could try to find smaller shops though that are not tied to the casinos.
Thanks for the idea.
BTW, After averaging $34 per painting on my auctions, which still sucks, I just sold one tonight for $8. But it’s either that or not eat. In the beginning of September, I was selling my paintings with the buy now option and the sales were fairly consistent, but now, it’s almost impossible.
I wish I was in the business of selling necessities instead of art.
You seem to sell quite a bit Bob more then most on here. If your averaging 34 for these small 5 x 7 paintings why not do larger maybe you would average 50 bucks on 8 x 10 and 75 bucks maybe on something larger.
The alternative for Bob is diversity. Do not put all your eggs in one basket, have a back up plan. If the art is not making enough, then it has to be supplemented with another income or job. How many of us here have to do that? Virtually all of us I would say. Historically the art business is a fickle animal.
Even for artists that are in galleries selling at a thousand a painting by the time its all said and done the artist is left with a few hundred maybe. So one would still have to produce and sell many paintings a month to make a living.
I think it looks better than it really is. I sell a lot of paintings but most of them are sold for much lower than I want to sell them for.
If I could paint 3 or 4 paintings a day and sell them for that price, I would be doing ok. But that can’t be done. I actually can make 3 per day if I want to but selling them for that average every day, I think would be possible for 2 or 3 days at best.
Also, making that many paintings is a drain on creativity, so I don’t think I’d be able to keep that up.
I also tried making larger paintings and selling them for more money but they don’t sell. I tried many times and got the same results.
A tiny percentage of people know the trick to selling their artwork even if it’s not that great. So far I haven’t found it. I always see better art selling for less than average art for some reason.
I’ve tried for 13 years now to figure it all out and I’m no closer now than when I first started.
I think that for 99% of the artists that are trying to make a living at making art are going to be spinning their wheels the whole time. I hate to say it but it’s true.
The best most people can hope for is just extra money here and there.
I hear ya, I have done the same thing for about the same amount of years. Really haven’t been very productive the last couple of years though. Ive decided to give up on the auction thing, build an inventory and try selling while Im at. See how that goes.
One thing to add to this conversation - some of the artists that I know who are making a living with their art (% of income does vary) all seem to do workshops & teaching of art. Seems they make some income from the workshops, then those students buy their art & then recommend the artist (work & workshops) to their friends - and the cycle repeats. Might be an interesting option for those who like to teach. And of course, workshops vary from in-person at a location, to online classes, to the sale of DVD’s of the classes. Just another option to toss into the fold.
Don’t throw away your brushes Bob! I just finished reading ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield; it might not pay your bills, but it surely will say something about what is going on. You could probably pick it up at your library and/or read reviews on Amazon.
I have noticed this too.
I also have noticed that too. The other project I’m working on is tutorial and demo videos and offering them on Patreon. I have seen some artists, musicians, etc. doing pretty well there. I does take a lot of time and effort but so does everything else.
Thank you, Patricia. I’ll try to find it somewhere. In fact I’m at the library now so I’ll see if I can find it.
I decided to quit the auction format. It’s too easy to get stiffed on a painting, which keeps happening to me. Also, it sometimes takes a long time to get paid with auctions.
With buy now, it has to be paid right away or nothing.
Both of the formats have their faults but I guess “buy now” is the less stressful choice. Too bad there’s not a best offer feature.
I am happy to hear this Bob. I also prefer Buy Now. Good wishes.
War of Art? Let me save you from wasting your time reading it like I did. In short:
When you don’t feel like working (resistance), work anyway. Routine helps a lot.
Other than that the book is a lot of fluff… still pissed I bought it without sampling it first.