Making a living as an artist? What artist hasn’t struggled with that question. Painter and guest blogger, Jodi Maas shares her journey of being an artist. Jodi debunks the “starving artist” statement and tells the many options available to aspiring artists. I met Jodi several years ago during the Prescott Area Artists Studio Tour. I was struck by Jodi’s talents and beautiful abstract paintings with fun and vibrant colors and shapes. I’m partial to her horse abstracts of course. She was the only artist studio on the tour that had horses right behind the studio. I remember her father took me out to introduce me to the horses. Please enjoy this blog from Jodi!
“Making a Living by Doing Art” by Jodi Maas
All kids love arts and crafts. I was no exception. From grade school to college I spent most of my time doing art, sketching, painting, and fine art. Then in art school at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I focused on illustration and graphic design, because our culture teaches us “you’ll be a starving artist” and you can only make money in art by doing advertising.
I did make a living for 15 years in the advertising field working in the art department for Zia Record Exchange, but even that was an unusual and fun job in art.
Strange art jobs that I’ve had over the years.
One of these jobs was working at a therapeutic horseback riding facility with troubled kids. We gave riding lessons and did art projects. I actually got paid to do that and had really good benefits, because it was through Arizona State University.
I was also an airbrush photo retoucher for several years. I did jobs such as fixing cracks in old photos to make them look like brand new old photos. I added missing family members to the family portraits, removed zits from high school kids’ class photos, and worked on medical photos and x-rays. The strangest thing I ever had to work on was an x-ray of a mascara brush lodged in someone’s throat. They mostly do this all digitally now, but it’s still a good career option.
Finding a lucrative art job-making a living as an artist.
The most lucrative of all my art jobs was a career that I had never heard of until I was 44 years old. This mysterious art career is one they don’t teach in art school. This art is based on the current and seasonal color palettes and the world of interior design. It is seen almost everywhere, not just in art galleries. This art is sold to hotels, banks, hospitals, corporate offices and furniture stores. It is rented to the television and movie industries for set design. This art matches the comforter on your bed or the pillows on your sofa.
I happened upon this career through an ad in the paper. It looked interesting, artists needed… full-time painters. So I applied and got a job at the Phoenix Art Group. I was used to painting photo-realistic style time consuming art, but, I quickly learned to paint fast and loose because this company paid by the piece. At Phoenix Art Group your paycheck depended on how fast you could paint. In general, the more you paint and the bigger the piece, the more money you would make.
I worked at that company for 2 years. I left there to work with an agent in Los Angeles who sells the paintings at his art gallery Perrell Fine Art. He also sells to numerous other art galleries, interior designers, furniture stores and hotels all over the world. He also participates in trade shows all over the country. It’s nice because he handles all the clients marketing, sales and promotions, and all I have to do is paint.
The Art of publishing and making a living as an artist.
Another area that an artist can make money in is publishing. You’ve seen retail stores like Z Gallerie, Crate and Barrel, and Cost Plus World Market or even Target. They have a section in their stores where you can buy art. These pieces are giclees or prints. Many are hand embellished with texture and metallic highlights so they can look like an original painting. If you have several pieces that are published, or even one or two really good sellers, you can make some nice passive income in royalty money.
Most of the time I don’t know where my paintings end up, but when I do, it’s fun to see on a TV commercial or to hear that famous people bought my art. One of my paintings showed up on a TV commercial that aired during the superbowl last year. It was an ad for Toyota featuring Seinfeld. Some of the celebrities who own my paintings are Dr. Phil, Hugh Jackman, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. My paintings have been on the set of “Access Hollywood” and several network television series such as “Two and a Half Men”.
Art is everywhere you look!
Aside from my personal examples, there are so many other careers in art. There’s fashion and furniture design, video and set design, landscape architecture and, industrial design. There’s fabric and wall covering design, gem cutting, stage, toy, or game design, tattoo or comic book artist, the list goes on and on. Art is everywhere you look. If you are an aspiring artist I encourage you to follow your dreams. Art is a very valid career choice.
Jodi Maas’ artwork can be seen on internet image searches or her website www.goatflowers.com
You can see her work in person during the Prescott Area Artists’ Studio Tour Oct.6, 7 and 8, 2017
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Arts Prescott Gallery CO-OWNER, Dragonfly Arts in Cottonwood and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch, Prescott Family Diner. Jody is also participating in the Prescott Area Artists’ Studio Tour Oct.6, 7 and 8, 2017