How to Turn Your Art Practice Into a BusinessSeptember 02, 2018
A guide to building a sustainable business on top of your art practice, written and illustrated by Carissa Potter.
I used to think that there was one right path—or one best way for things to happen—and I just had to work towards that. But over the years, I have come to understand that there are so many ways for things to work, you just have to be open to what they might be. This way of thinking is what has led me to feel good about creating a business out of my art practice, called People I’ve Loved—a workshop based in Oakland, California that makes prints, cards, and other kinds of objects.
Yesterday on a walk, a friend asked me what my life running an art-centric business was actually like. She is someone who makes the most amazing art, and who I believe in wholeheartedly. She’s now thinking about trying to make art full-time, but to do so, she’d have to leave her job at an art school. It’s a hard call. On the one hand, she has the type of job that everyone dreams about having, working on a college campus around inspiring people with really good health insurance. On the other hand, the job doesn’t challenge her, and her art practice has all but disappeared. She wanted to know what it’s actually like stitching together a livable income as a full-time artist—something I’m trying to do every day.
I didn’t set out to turn my art into a business. Instead, I ended up here by way of a winding path. But I’ve learned a lot on the journey, and as I shared my experiences with my friend, so will I share them here. This guide will cover how to prepare yourself to think about your art as a way to earn a living, how to go about setting up a business, and how to try to make it all work. I hope you find it useful.
— Carissa Potter
The Creative Independent