5 Ways to Supplement Your Income as an Artist

Growing up, our parents encouraged us to pursue careers of passion, careers that make us happy and have meaning. We dreamed of days crammed into bright studios smelling vaguely of fumes with oil pastels flaking on our fingers and caking on our pants. There, in our creative homes of mind, we’d paint and make beautiful things that would pack galleries around the world.

Needless to say, that's not reality. As adults, it’s no secret that making a living as an artist can be tough. While idealized as a life of passion, reality often looks more like deadlines, late invoices, rent past due and dry paint brushes as anxiety cuts into creativity.

Yet, there are more opportunities than ever to convert your creative skills into cash while making your way in the art world. While not exhaustive, here are a few of our favorites:

1. Kickstarter

We’ve always admired how Kickstarter has enabled so many creatives to bring their work into the world. Chances are, if you think your work is great, someone else out there in the world thinks so too. Whether you have a large project in mind that requires upfront costs, or just want to continue and sell your day-to-day pieces, there is likely a way to break down your project or body of work into incremental “rewards” that backers can receive.

Check out how these artists are funding their work:

2. Getting on with the Internet

While traditional mediums may be more your thing, UI/UX design and front-end development skills are in very high demand thanks to Silicon Valley’s talent crunch. And, translating your artistic skills into more technical ones for freelance work is much easier than you might think, particularly given all of the great (and affordable!) resources out there these days:

3. NeonMob

Did you know that NeonMob commissions artists to create original art for our collections? NeonMob seeks to empower artists, both creatively and financially, and we’re doing our part to find more opportunities for artists. Each collection you see on our site is hand-crafted (“hand”-crafted digitally) with care by select artists from around the world and range from 12 to 200 images. To create beautiful, accessible art for the world, learn more and get in touch with us here.

"Lust" a print by Marija Tiurina for her NeonMob exclusive collection "7 Deadly Sins." 

"Lust" a print by Marija Tiurina for her NeonMob exclusive collection "7 Deadly Sins.

4. Restaurant Identities

Perhaps you’ve noticed restaurants and cafes in your local, big city stepping up their brand identity game. With lots of competition, boutique restaurants and coffee shops are increasingly looking to pull in younger consumers with a lifestyle brand above and beyond what we’d get at Starbucks. Restaurants tend to be cash strapped compared to digital businesses, and they’re are more than willing to work with a local artist or designer to create a custom logo and brand identity.

Check out this notable identity from Russ & Daughters, a new restaurant accompanying the NYC bagel icon by the same name:

See Russ & Daughter's full brand identity, created by designer Kelli Anderson, here. 

See Russ & Daughter's full brand identity, created by designer Kelli Anderson, here

5. Consumerize

While some may prefer art on a wall, others want to wear it. Or, sleep in it. Or, carry their laptop in it. From t-shirts and hoodies, to duvet covers and tote bags, sites such as Society6, Threadless and RedBubble empower artists to put their best designs and images on consumer products. It’s literally as easy as uploading your work, and they’ll take care of the rest. For most of these sites, you’ll still retain rights to your art, so go forth and sell!


What other ways have you found to supplement your income as an artist?