Types of Small Businesses for Artists: Business job Ideas for Artists!

Continuing in our series of looking at innovative ways for people to do business, we present 5 businesses that artistic people might enjoy. Although there are many kinds of artists (musical, poetic, written word, etc.) we have focused on visual artists for this article.

Art can be a challenging type of business because it is so subjective. What one person considers art, another does not. For example, some people can be powerfully impacted by abstract paintings while others just scratch their head in wonder. As well, how do you quantify the value of art? Is it the amount that someone is willing to pay for it? Is it the amount of time that the artist spent on the project? For these reasons, art and business rarely mix. Or if they do, they rarely mix well.

But that doesn’t mean that artists are doomed to the stereotype of the starving artist. Here are 5 types of business that visual artists can enjoy a decent profit doing:

  1. Art school: I actually took a painting class once (don’t ask me to paint anything, it was just a passing curiosity, really). I was surprised that the class was packed. As I looked around I realized that not everyone was just idly curious, like me. Many people wanted a creative outlet to unwind at the end of a busy day and painting could do it. Since that class, I’ve seen art schools held at art supply stores and in public schools where the teacher would rent a classroom in the evening. If you love art and have patience to help other people love art, an art school might be for you.
  2. Image rendering: I’m sure there is an artistic term for this. Basically, you take a photo that someone gives you and you turn it into a painting. I suppose it’s no different than painting a house that you’re standing in front of or a portrait of a person sitting in front of you, except that I see this being able to take place on the Internet: someone sends you a photo and you paint it and send the photo and the painting back. Specialize so you can charge more.
  3. Layout and graphic design: I did a bit of consulting for a magazine recently and was surprised to discover just how hard it is to find a good layout person. There are layout people, but not necessarily good ones. I don’t know if that’s industry-wide but it certainly seemed to be. If you can do layout and graphic design, hone your skills and become a top name. It might require some sacrifices for 4 or 5 years to build up a huge book of clips, but it will be worth it. The magazine I worked with paid top dollar to their layout person and catered to his many demands.
  4. Landscapes: People can’t resist a good landscape painting. If you can set up your easel at a picturesque location that gets a lot of foot traffic (think: tourist destinations) you can paint the same thing over and over again. People will watch what you paint, buy it from you, and you can start on the next version of the same painting. It will get quicker throughout the day as you paint the same thing again and again so that your profit per painting increases as the day goes on.
  5. Interior decorator: This business is becoming increasingly popular thanks to television shows on specialty channels like TLC or the Home Channel in which home builders, property flippers and decorators improve homes. Even if you don’t do a lot of interior decorating but (for example) have more experience painting, it actually requires a very similar set of skills: focal point, color harmony, balance, texture, just think of it as a 3 dimensional canvas with a light source that constantly changes.

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