I get lots of remarks about how fun it must be to work as a self employed artist. Well, yes it is. I love it. But I’m not sure it is exactly what people visualize. I don’t get to spend nearly as much time making art as I would like. In fact, I maybe get in 1 hour of art making for every 3 to 4 hours spent doing other parts of the job.
- There is all kinds of business stuff to take care of; bookkeeping, ordering, listing items on etsy, paying bills, packing and shipping, accounting (yuck!). I also keep track of inventory carried through a number of local business, and deliver new items as needed. This is the part where the word “job” trumps the word “hobby”.
- Keeping up with social connections is also a important part of my job. I do this through blogging, Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram. Since everything is pretty visual based, that means lots of photos that have to be taken, edited, watermarked, and re-sized for the web.
- In addition, a fair amount of time is spent in the category I call continuing education. I look at what other artists are doing, read publications, experiment with different techniques, and take classes. I pay attention to trends and techniques that I can incorporate into my artwork.
- Then there is also the pro bono work. Art mentoring, how-to instructional sharing, volunteering my art services for community projects, and so on. I have to be pretty careful here, because though I love to share, there are only so many hours worth of free work I can afford to do!
- And of course, there is the shopping time involved in finding the treasures that I re-purpose in my artwork. Combing garage sales and thrift stores is a fun, but time consuming task. In addition to my artsy etsy shop, fromvictoryroad, I also have a vintage shop called stashanew on etsy, so I always keep on the lookout for things to stock that shop as well. Then all of that stuff has to be cleaned, organized and put away!
- Art shows and craft fairs also take a load of time…pricing, packing, loading, setting up, taking down, and then generally hanging out for a day or two.
- I write magazine articles that need to be edited, and re-written, often with instructions included.
- Then finally, I can squeeze in a little time for actually creating art. I am often doing this while visiting with family, or watching a movie, or any other spare time I can find.
- Once the art is made, a considerable amount of time is spent on the computer in digitally preparing it for making prints, notecards, etc. I also make my own prints, and spend quite a bit of time making sure colors are just right, and everything is coming out just right. That means equipment maintenance as well.
The only thing that really makes it work is that I am a bit of a workaholic. Working for yourself takes a great deal of self-discipline, which comes much easier if you love what you do. It also helps that I am pretty productive in the time that I am actually creating. It is still a challenge to carve out time for actually making art in the midst of all the other demands of the job, but I can always tell when I have gone too long without the part of the job that I love the most. It is a constant challenge to keep it all balanced and things running smoothly!
So there you have it. That is pretty much the story of what it looks like to have the dream job!