Think artists simply make money by painting a picture and selling it on?

Here’s our top 12 tips to earning money from inner-talents and passions:

Commercial and non-profit galleries

Commercial galleries sell artists’ works at a commission, typically between 40% and 50% and on contract. Whether you submit your work for sale or enter into an ongoing relationship with a gallery, the parameters should be set out a contract. Nonprofit galleries, which show work that is younger and edgier, will take commissions usually not more than 30%, but won’t “represent” artists or enter into contracts

Out of studio

Artists sell their work out of their studio by arranged visits or open studios arranged with other artists.  If you are represented by a gallery, that agreement may extend to “studio sales” or all sales of your work. If not, you’ll retain 100% of any sale

Pop up galleries

There are more and more pop up galleries open around different cities. The show are on a short term lease by to 2-3 weeks. and can be organised by group of artists or curated by an art director. The commissions are varied from 20-30%.

Online galleries

Any commission from an online website is determined by the terms of use contract that you agreed to. Commission can range from 2-20%.

Art centres & Museums

Artists generally don’t usually see a cent from exhibits in a museum. In some cases, however, they do. Installation artists are typically given an artist fee for creating a temporary installation. The fee can be set by you or the museum. Listen to what a curator has to say about the business of museums


Art Markets

Some artists sell their art at markets. Keep in mind you need to find a suitable market to sell your art as people expect bargains. Using a market is a good way for new artists to learn from. You’ll retain 100% of  profit.

Art Commission (Private)

Artists will do work on a commission basis for private clients. The client commissions the artist, the artist sets the price and should ask for a percentage up front. If you have a formal relationship with a gallery, they will likely take a cut of work that they bring you. Terms of commissions will be stated in your contract. Commissions could range from 30-50%

Art Commission (Public)

Artists are commissioned for public art usually with a new building/construction project. Many states specify by law that 1% of the total build cost goes to art for the building. Usually state/city art groups have the latest on what program is currently accepting applications. There are also private funds for public art like The Public Art Fund and Percent for Art. When artists get a public work commission, they typically get 20% of the total cost of the project as an artist’s fee

Art Grants

There are many grants and very competitive to get. Grants vary in their awards, and can be privately or publicly funded. Some are given for a specific project that you propose and some are given outright for the work that you do.

Artist Residencies

Residencies enable artists to get away and focus on their work. The residency’s length and the money granted varies. Some residencies can charge money, but many will cover at least some if not all costs. You must apply for these residencies and have a flexible work schedule. Often, the most valuable asset is the professional network an artist forms while there as it may include other artists, curators and other influential people in the art world.

Teaching and workshop

A popular way is to teach. Teaching opportunities at a college level are competitive, but don’t overlook guest artist programs. There may be ways to get a teaching job that you have not thought of. There are galleries or creative hubs looking for artists who can do workshops and run regular art class.

Art Licensing

“Licensing” is a way of generating income from your art. Instead of selling originals or selling your designs outright, many artists will grant the right (license) to use their art on a specific product, for a set time period in exchange for a percentage of sales. This percentage is called a royalty. By licensing your art, you have the potential to earn income on the same art piece or collection several times.

About The Author

I am a Business LifeStyle coach who specialises in working with artists, designers, crafters and all creative professionals. Myself and my partner Stuart Horrex are here to help you to achieve your Life & business goal and dreams. We have had over 20 years experience in finance, retail,furniture,food,wine fashion,crafts and hospitality.