Us artists often like to think we run the lottery of a little thing called integrity. Many of us turn down high paid careers in pursuit of our art. In some instances, we embark on the bohemian lifestyle to ensure authenticity. We follow in the paths of artists like Oscar Wilde and Van Gogh. Both barely saw any income from their artistic pursuits. You’re willing to be a penniless artist if it means you can create the art you want and spread your message. You most certainly aren’t willing to accept commissioned work which could cheapen your name.
On the surface, a reluctance here makes sense. Accepting paid commissions would mean compromising on some of your ethics. You would, after all, have to focus on subjects not of your choosing. A portrait photographer may have to build a career in wedding photography. A painter may need to settle on painting murals for companies. Neither is ideal, but here are four reasons you should pursue them anyway.
Paid work covers your creative costs
In many ways, commissioned jobs like these would buy you creative time. One wedding album for a photographer could mean a month of not having to hit the office every day. That’s an invaluable creative time, paid for by your camera. Many creatives in the past have had to buy their free artistic time in ways like these. Even Shakespeare had to accept commissioned plays. If it helps, consider how many creative hours you can buy with one day of commission work. Far from compromising your integrity, acceptance here could see your artistic dreams flourishing.
You can use commissioned work in your portfolio
Don’t think, either, that your commissions need to be wasted time. Though they may not be your choice, you could end with surprising results from work like this. If you’re clear about retaining artistic rights, you would then be free to put those corkers in your portfolio. If you operated using something like the seriously fast file sharing offered by Digital Pigeon, you could even get help protecting your intellectual property. That could free you to use those efforts elsewhere in the future. All because you opened yourself to outside work.
Commissions can help you hone your skills
Along the same vein, it’s worth noting that commissions can help you hone your artistic skills. Part of the problem with a traditional day job is that it’s nothing to do with the art you’re so passionate about. By taking a commissioned career in your chosen field, you at least ensure you’re working with your mediums all day. Even if you’re taking snaps you don’t love, that allows you to play with things like soft focus or staging. Commissioned portraits also buy their artists time to experiment with new techniques and brushes. That, in turn, increases your chances of making a success of things on your own steam one day. When you think of it like that, integrity is nothing more than a pain in your backside.
License your art to earn residual incomes to support your artistic journey
Have you ever wanted to have your artwork reach thousands of people? Have you ever wanted to become full-time artist doing what you love?
Imagine going to a store and seeing your artwork on a product, your photograph is being use in a billboard and getting paid for it.
“Art Licensing” is a great way of generating income from your art. Instead of selling originals or selling your designs outright, many artists and designers will grant the right (license) to use their art onto a specific product, for a period of time in exchange for a percentage of sales. This percentage of sales is called a royalty payment . By licensing your art, you have the potential to earn income on the same art piece or collection multiple times. A good commercial art work could be used on many products from stationery, greeting cards to ceramic, fabric and more.
In the US and Europe art licensing trade shows allow artists and designers to show new artwork to design and product manufacturing industries. As an artist you have a choice to do your own trade show or you can get an art licensing agent to represent you.
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Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex
Your Coaches ArtSHINE industries