artist making a living- horse photographer Jody L. Miller

You can’t be an artist and make a living

You can’t be an artist and make a living.

artist making a living- horse photographer Jody L. Miller

That’s a pretty powerful statement for any creative person to hear.  Yet, I can tell you that so many artists have heard that statement before and many may still cringe each and every time they hear it.  In many cases the statement has come from a loved one.  I am no different.  I heard that statement from my father when I was just delving into photography, other family members have chimed in along with several past partners and friends. 

I don’t think it was ever really intended to deter me from being creative but rather to reveal that no one they new ever “made a living” being an artist.  It was more a statement of concern: will I end up living on the streets or will I fall into the starving artist category.

What did Peter Lik’s parents say?

Did Peter Lik’s father tell him he couldn’t be a photographer for a living?  In 2014 Peter sold one photograph for 6.5 million dollars. Family and friends of artists may not be referring to our ability or skills but the ease in which we will be able to make a living. 

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. ~Thomas Merton

What is considered  “making a living” as an artist?

artist make a living- Horse photographer, Jody L. MillerI’ve been thinking about this over the past few months.  Most of us were raised to grow up, get an education, get a job and then get money and benefits and buy a car and a house and insurance and on and on. Wealth is the sign of success and making a living.   We compare ourselves to our friends and family.  We may try and struggle to keep up with our friends and family too. 

I’m no longer concerned with keeping up or making comparisons.  I’m concerned with my life being meaningful, feeling fulfilled with what I am doing and in turn, “making a living” at it too.  After all, I could sell a 6 million dollar photograph tomorrow. 

Does my photography pay my bills? Yes, undeniably sales from my horse art pays some of my bills!  Sales from my computer repair business also pays some of my bills.  I am making a living and living my life as an artist and it feels fantastic! 

I enjoy abundance in so many ways and I love the life that I am living: I am making a living as an artist!

Work is essential as it brings us a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction to our lives.  Most of the time my horse artist making a living- horse photographer Jody L. Miller photography doesn’t even feel like work.  I find such peace and ease around the horses.

“When you’re following your energy and doing what you want all the time, the distinction between work and play dissolves.”
– Shakti Gawain

The dictionary says “making a living” is: To earn enough income to support oneself and, if applicable, one’s family.

No problem, I have that covered.  I live in a small town in Arizona and although the costs here are on the rise I am living comfortably.  Here’s an article from The Huffington Post on how much money you need to live comfortably in some major US cities.

“I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” ~Robert Henri

artist making a living- horse photographer Jody L. Miller

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





  1. We all need to survive. But when making art is your survival it takes on a whole new meaning. Making art is the way I feel alive it can’t get any better than that. Your art and your viewpoint inspires me, thank you

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