Updated: Sep 22, 2021
Chapter I, Starting Out.
How does one find the secret of living the dream in a society that requires a continual flow of cash? Early on the aspiring artist has to find their own identifying signature style, their direction that separates them from the rest. In today's world, it takes more than just being talented. A gallery or collector wants your art to have a unique characteristic(s) that holds your work together as a unit and is identifiable even without your signature. To discover that 'personal style' often requires spending many long hours of concentration and experimentation in the studio. But, there's always one issue that always gets in the way: those pesky living expenses.
When the aspiring artist has to keep an outside job going to cover their living expenses, it means hours away from the studio, a break in concentration which makes the goal of becoming a full-time artist more distant. If you’re working forty hours a week at a job you don’t enjoy you may not have the energy at the end of the work day to begin work in the studio. So how does one fulfill the dream and overcome such seemingly, insurmountable obstacles?
For me, I knew from a very early age that I wanted to spend my life painting canvas' until the end. I quickly discovered that objective was easier said than done. I knew I could only get there by setting priorities. One huge factor that kept me running on that treadmill was debt. If I was to break into the world of art I realized that I would not have to work as much if I had fewer bills to pay.
I realize everyone is different and have different needs. Some can live with fewer comforts than others. In my case, I was willing to sleep in my van if I had to in order to eliminate the largest expense on the list --- a mortgage or rent. It's easy to live without a credit card (at least for me it was). Being tied down with a car payment was out of the question. By reducing expenses life becomes less stressful.
My second tip would be to use your artist talents by offering an artistic service of some kind, like graphic art, inexpensive portrait paintings, pinstriping or hand painted signs, home murals, calligraphy, or a hundred different creative endeavors that might bring in enough extra cash to allow you to work part-time (instead of full-time). In my case, I began to paint hand-lettered signs for small mom-and-pop businesses around my neighborhood. Painting signs for one week gave me enough money to pay my bills for a month and enough time to spend the other three weeks in my studio developing my signature style.