Thriving artists just don’t live off their art


Elizabeth Gilbert earned her keep as a bartender till her writing took off. At the Coyote Ugly Saloon. She wrote an article about it for GQ — which spurred the indie movie Coyote Ugly.

I know an artist who makes a living from his artwork, his digital marketing and graphic design abilities, and occasional other freelance gigs.

The geometric abstractionist Piet Mondrian painted conventional still lifes for money, while pursuing his vision on the side, the one that brought him to museums around the world.

Says The Art Story:

A theorist and writer, Mondrian believed that art reflected the underlying spirituality of nature. He simplified the subjects of his paintings down to the most basic elements, in order to reveal the essence of the mystical energy in the balance of forces that governed nature and the universe.

(He painted in a three-piece suit.)

(That’s control.)

Director Quentin Tarantino famously worked at a video store for five years. From Wikipedia:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor Danny Strong described Tarantino as a “fantastic video store clerk.”

“[Tarantino] was such a movie buff. He had so much knowledge of films that he would try to get people to watch really cool movies.”

Let your day job/night job inform your dream job!

Had George Orwell not paid keen attention during his drab workingman years, we’d never been given the gift of Down And Out In Paris And London . . .

When actress Shirley MacLaine landed her first big paycheck from a movie she purchased a small apartment building. It may have been only 4 or 5 units, but it was large enough to house her and kindle some rent income should her acting, singing and dancing career fall on hard times. Later she branched out further, penning a series of successful books on her spirited spiritual experiences.

(To this day I think of an evening bath as a spiritual practice. Thank you, Shirley!)


“Thriving artists just don’t live off their art. Like good investors they keep diverse portfolios, relying on multiple income streams to make a living.”

~ Jeff Goings
Real Artists Don’t Starve



Note: Idea making
Note: Before, after