When I was younger I was determined never to become an artist because artists starve, or
at least I would starve as an artist. To sell art one must not only produce a the art to
sell in the first place but an artist must then sell it. The art of salesmanship, where
one person must convince another person to purchase an item. For someone with virtually no
people skills, but plenty virtual skills this pretty well speaks for itself. But the artist
who starves starves for another reason as well.
Eventually my pursuit of a career in the computer technology field became the very thing changed
the rules for me, some people have what it takes in person but not online, others have what it takes
online but couldn't have a successful dealing with a customer in person to save their lives. I am
in the latter category, so my technological knowledge have changed the rules for me a great deal.
Needless to say that the first reason I might have starved as an artist may well be a moot issue.
So clearly how much success I have as an artist is now something that is determined by factors
other than my people skills.
One of the greatest values of many works of art is that it is unique, and the chances of it being
reproduced perfectly are pretty low. While I do understand the value of this I've done a lot of
hand drawn artwork through out my life (and I've got the sketch books to prove it) this is a double
edged sword that can be part of why artists starve. You might be able to sell it for hundreds or
even thousands of dollars because it's unique, it's biggest value is that it's unique, but once
you've sold it once you can't sell it for a second time. This is all fine, in fact it's important
when selling artwork to be capitalizing on the fact that the
artwork is unique, any artist would be a fool not to.
Digital artists have a different double edge in their work. They can utilize what's called the
80/20 rule within their work far more easily than other visual artists (though it can be done with
any medium). Doing a picture once they can use it in numerous ways all from one picture. But some
people would argue that the value is diminished by the fact that it is so easy to reproduce. Personally
I would say that when you account for how many times over the digital artwork can be put to use and how
many different ways a single picture can be put to use than it's arguably more valuable. Over all
selling it once might be worth far less but think about how many more times you can sell it.
That's not the whole reason many artists starve. Both of the double edge swords listed above can be
used to that artists advantage as well as their disadvantage. Although when you consider that a good
painting might be several months work and may still sell for less than $1000 it's easy to see why an
artist would starve. Of course in all of this there are still other factors.
This may be a shocker to anyone who is looking at my website but doesn't know me personally. I call
myself business owner first and artist second because of one simple fact. I have been subconsciously
conditioned to see artists as people who starve, and business owners as rich people. This may
sound crazy at first, but I have spent the past several years learning about how the subconscious
conditioning really does effect people in ways they might not expect. A large number of people
(including many artists) today are subconsciously conditioned to see artists as people who suffer
and starve. This conditioning is part of why artists starve. So calling myself business owner,
rather than artist is a simple way for me to side step my own conditioning. This same conditioning
keeps many people from being successful while pursuing their own dreams regardless of what those
dreams might be. This happens with love, money, health, career goals, every part of life.
So here's the question everyone is probably asking right now. How does anyone thrive as an artist?
This answer is something that's true no matter what you want to do in life. The first thing you
can do is start using the 80/20 rule. It's obvious how to do that as a digital artist. But other
artists well, how long are you taking per-picture, can you cut down on time without cutting quality?
Are you selling your pictures for every penny they are worth? Even if you answer both questions and
realize there doesn't seem to be any room for improvement there is an equally important factor. What
does your subconscious conditioning about making money (and your chosen profession) look like? There
is a good chance that before you make any money there is some inner work in that is needed, and if
that is the case there are a wide verity of options that you can find information about on other sites.
That advice isn't just for artists, it's for anyone who wants to prosper doing something they love. An
artist need not suffer for their work, nor need they starve, but what they must do is produce something
of value (how much time and energy that takes is really up to the artist). Money need not come at the
price of blood, sweat, tears, and struggle for anyone. Anyone who can produce something of value can