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How to find your place in the art world as a professional artist

As you work towards your ultimate goal of being a professional artist, finding your place in the art world can be a challenging and overwhelming process. It's important to remember that being a professional artist doesn't necessarily mean that you need to make all of your income from self-employment – there are many other options for full-time careers in the arts that allow you to pursue your passion while also earning a steady income.

For over 20 years, I have been able to sustain a comfortable living by making 100% of my income through the arts. One of the reasons for my success has been my open-minded approach to the definition of "full-time artist." By making career decisions that prioritize stability, I have been able to sustain a successful career in the arts. I am sharing my artistic path with you today in order to help you generate some ideas on developing your own path towards a successful artistic career.

My path as an artist has been shaped by my strengths, education, and upbringing. In 2000-2004, I completed a Bachelor's degree in Painting and Drawing. While an art degree is not necessary, especially with today's access to great online training, it can be helpful in terms of accessing further education or grants, as well as other services that may require an official education. For six years, I worked full-time as a 3D artist in the video game industry, contributing to some of the industry's biggest game titles. In addition to the prestige of this experience, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most talented artistic minds in the entertainment industry. The guidance and mentorship of a skilled art director was invaluable to my professional growth and education. After teaching 3D graphics for games and architecture in college system, I established my own 3D rendering company and now work full-time as a 3D artist creating virtual reality walkthroughs for architectural presentations. Alongside this career, I have continued to work as a dance performer and instructor, sell paintings, take on commissions, and build passive income streams.

My ultimate goal is to earn my desired income solely through painting, but as demonstrated, it is possible to attain a comfortable living through the arts by keeping an open mind and exploring various opportunities. In addition to building and refining my artistic skills, I have also had the opportunity to network with other artists, all key elements to future success.

Here are a few ideas for finding your place in the art world as a professional artist:

  1. Explore different career options: There are many different career paths that you can pursue as an artist, including design, typography, architecture, fashion, pattern design, licensing graphics, illustration, and more. Consider what type of work you enjoy doing and what career path aligns with your interests and skills.

  2. Build a strong online presence: In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for artists. This includes having a professional website or online portfolio, being active on social media, and building a strong online brand.

  3. Network with other artists and industry professionals: Attend art events and exhibitions, join artist organizations or groups, and seek out opportunities to collaborate with other artists.

  4. Consider working for an established company or organization: Many companies and organizations hire artists to create graphics, designs, or other types of visual content. Working for an established company or organization can provide you with a steady income and the opportunity to work on interesting projects.

  5. Create passive income streams: There are many ways that artists can create passive income streams, such as licensing their art for use on products like clothing, home decor, or other merchandise, or creating digital products like e-books or online courses.

By considering these options and being persistent and resilient, you can find your place in the art world and build a successful career as a professional artist. Remember to stay true to your artistic vision and values, and to stay open to new opportunities and experiences. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals and make your mark in the art world.

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