What Does It Look Like To Be A Full Time Artist?

Gingko Drama, painting by Swann Freslon


To make it simple, it is a lot!

As, I guess a lot of jobs where you basically do everything by yourself.

But when you think about being an artist, there is this aura of romance that looks like that: a studio on the last level of an old building under the roof (do you feel the Parisian vibe?), with the floor splattered with multicolored paint, some canvases here and there, some done, some in progress, the artist, dressed with an old overall covered with paint, with a wild and disheveled look and sense of not being entirely here. They're not. Here. They're creating. They are in their bubble of creativity, following their flow. And then, they struggle. Financially, for sure. But they also struggle mentally, because art is pain. The best pieces of art have been created in pain, no?

Well, some all this are true. Some are part of the legend.


Hopeful for the Future, painting by Swann Freslon


What is absolutely false, in my point of view, is that being an artist (a painter in my case) is painting and then selling. If it was that easy, everybody would do it, right?

If painting is the base of everything else, it is just the first step of a lot of other ones before managing to sell that said painting.

It starts with inspiration, then if you're lucky and find it, there is the actual making of the painting which clearly rarely goes as planned. Once finished (painful), then how do you sell it? Well, in the same moments where you were trying to find inspiration, you also applied to art shows, contacted galleries, planned your next exhibition, shared on social media, shipped your last commission, filling your taxes, and answered emails and inquiries about your art (lucky you!), etc.

Did I forget something? Of yes, living! Yes, living. You know, eating, sleeping, running errands, being with your family, your friends, taking a shower. Life! Life on top of life, artistic life!


Illustration by Close Call Studio


This illustration from Close Call Studio summarizes so well the struggle that is of being a full-time artist!

We are far from the romanticized version of the artist caught up in the rambling depths of their own creativity. And, yes, it is tough. Very tough sometimes. But will I trade all this for a 9 to 5 job? No.

With that, I have to go. Grocery shopping is calling me...

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published