A Labor of Love

With the Labor Day holiday approaching for US workers, I thought it might be interesting to explore art as an occupation. There’s a lot more to being an artist than just being an artist, if you know what I mean.

Here is a listing of possible career choices for those who want to use their artistic ability in a professional setting:

Accessory designer

Advertising designer



Art administrator


Arts administration

Art therapist


Ceramics artist

Chief creative officer


Concept Artist



Design director

Design strategist


Event planner

Fashion designer

Fine artist

Floral designer

Graphic designer



Interior designer

Jewelry designer


Make-up artist

Marine designer

Media designer


Party planner





Production designer


Set decorator

Set dresser


Tattoo artist

Web designer

Wedding planner


I’ve taken this list directly from Wikipedia, so I’ve left the related links attached in case you’d like to learn more about any specific art-related occupation.

If your objective is to be a professional artist and make money from sales of your work, you might want to check out this article on Udemy by Jill Poyerd: How to Become a Professional Artist.

Another good resource is the Creative City Project, a weekly”artrepreneur podcast” to help artists thrive. Topics of programs include, “The Key to Getting What You Want”, 5 Traits to Help Us Thrive Creatively”, and “3 Things to Do to Beat Fear and Move Forward”.

The art world has changed greatly in recent years. Internet technology allows us to quickly and easily share our work — which has its advantages and disadvantages, to be sure. New sites are always popping up where artists can set up shop and sell a variety of products. You might want to visit a few and check them out.

Red Bubble



Society 6

Turning Art


Saatchi Art


Deviant Art

Of course, you might also choose to sell primarily from your own art website. If so, you might find a few helpful tips here: How to Make an Artist Website (And Why You Need One)

Artistic abilities and a creative mindset are traits that can be helpful in almost any occupation we pursue. Art can be something we do for ourselves, an enjoyable hobby, a part-time activity that brings in a bit of added cash, or a full-time professional career.

We hear often that we should “Do what we love…”, that doing what we love means we never really have to work, that if we pursue our passions the money will follow. Well, that’s stretching the truth a bit. Even when we love art passionately, working as an artist is still a job. No matter how much passion we have — or how much talent — being a successful artist will still require commitment, dedication, and a lot of effort. It’s not easy, but loving what we do makes it worth the effort.



  1. Yep, and good luck to anyone trying to make a living as an artist. I mean that with all sincerity.

    I worked professionally as a commercial artist/designer/photographer for a decade and slowly descended into poverty – because my wages didn’t keep pace with inflation, and art schools kept pumping out such a high volume of graduates that wages stayed low. The only way to get a pay increase was to job hop, so most people (including myself) jumped to a new employer every 6-to-18 months.

    When it finally became obvious that the term “starving artist” actually applied to me, I changed career paths, got some computer classes under my belt, and did IT support until I retired in late 2019.

    I miss doing art as a profession, but would never have achieved the level of financial stability that I have now had I stayed in the creative field.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear you. Creativity is an awesome trait to have, but it doesn’t always translate to dollars. The best we can do, I think, is find a career that will support us and allow us to exercise our creativity in some way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My advice to anyone thinking about making a living as an artist, you either should have a lot of available amounts of currency or have another career that you can save up currency first or do along side being an artist and be prepared to never make a dime at art. Real art, that is. And not going to argue what real art is. But a baker, for instance, is mainly selling something to eat. Someone who designs advertising is not really selling their art but helping sell something else that they are then paid from. For someone to actually pay money to buy something like a painting or sculpture or photograph for instance, and for no other reason, thats being a professional artist to me. And accomplishing selling art, even if one does, is a bit over rated as a goal. I always keep in the back of my mind that Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life. That keeps me focused to paint what I want to paint rather than working for a gallery and painting what the general public might buy to decorate. But naive people will often say to me, who do not know selling is not that important, that I should paint flowers or recognizable landscapes to help sell more. I just smile and not engage. They mean well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. To me, there’s definitely more to “being an artist” than selling paintings. I know a lot of artists who are focused primarily on selling art, and I wish them well. It’s a tough way to make a living, I know.

      Liked by 1 person

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