Business is business, but art is not business.

Making and selling art is a tough slog. Beyond the time and effort involved, the costs are much higher than people realize. 

I doubt that most artists have a clear sense of how much they are actually spending to pursue their vocation. I tend to avoid doing so because I just don’t want to know. 


Between art supplies, transport, framing, it adds up very quickly. You also spend money on things like websites, business cards, invitations and other promotional items. Every time I go into an art store I am amazed by how much everything costs. Renting studio space, as many artists do, is a whole other world of financial pain.

Artists typically spend a lot of time making each piece of work. Most of us spent the requisite time and cash for formal studies, so there’s that. We’ve also spent years learning, developing, and practising our trade. All of that time and experimentation is critical to our overall development as artists. Lots of time, money and trips to the art store.

The majority of an artist’s production over the course of their career will likely never be sold. Also, brick and mortar galleries typically take a 50% commission. The 50% that’s left over for the artist gets eaten up pretty quickly by the expenses already mentioned. Even online galleries take 35%. 

Making art actually costs us money so we do other stuff to subsidize it. Geez, did I say this was a business? – L/C

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