When I started blogging, my hope that was someday, somehow, I would figure out how to monetize the blog, or my art, or both.
The goal was simple: make art, post stuff, get subscribers, make money.
Have you ever seen the episode of South Park with the Underpants gnomes?? You know, they steal underpants, the kids follow them one night to figure out where all of the underpants were going…and the kids find the gnomes with enormous mountains of underpants. They ask the gnomes what’s going on, and the gnomes tell them:
- Phase 1: collect underpants.
- Phase 2: ?
- Phase 3: make profit.
The boys ask them, what about phase 2? All of the gnomes stop and start mumbling and look around at each other, asking Phase 2???
That’s kinda how I feel…I have no idea what happens in Phase 2. I just know that I make art, I like to slap paint on stuff, and I want to get paid. Then I have way more time to art.
Oh, and I also love to talk about what I love doing, and I love sharing fun tips and ideas and inspirations, I feel a NEED to give it back cuz that’s how I found this whole thing, by checking out other artists’ blogs and videos. That’s how the blog really got going.
And I knew only that if I kept blogging, somebody would eventually look at it, and I might be able to build up the following from there. Doesn’t that seem like what others do? They blog a bunch, they get a bunch of regular readers, and somehow they get paid. Advertisers just magically want to start paying them for space on the blog, I’m sure that’s exactly how it goes,right??
Okay, so I understand that’s not reality. And I have found all kinds of other satisfaction from the blog.
So as we kept plugging along, praying for some opportunity to get paid to be artistic, I got more and more frustrated with “practical” jobs, “practical” choices and so on. I was having more trouble smooshing myself into that mold.
Now, over the years, my hubs has painted houses, sometimes all white (boring) and sometimes with super-cool faux painting schemes. He’s re-done cabinets and installed awesome wood-work and helped people with color schemes and decorating diy ideas. We just hadn’t really pushed it to become a more consistent and financially supportive part of our lives.
But now we are doing just that.
What I realized is that I want to get paid to paint. Commissioned work is pretty cool because I know the piece is sold before I make it. And the customer gives me the idea and the inspiration.
Painting a house is exactly that: a commissioned work.
It’s not exactly what I was thinking I was working towards, but it is so way much better than calling people all day long, looking to make a sale. Stuck in a chair all day long, no sunshine, no exercise, and no painting. That kind of day sucks for me.
And because I’m playing in paint and painting tools and Home Depot for jobs, I am thinking about other projects and inspirations while I’m working. And while I’m working, I’m listening to music, chatting with the hubs, and finding new ways of doing things all of the time…
It’s taken a few jobs to get in the swing of the physical exertion part of my day, but I’m feeling stronger and more energetic and more excited all of the time. In fact, I had a break because my oldest kiddo and babysitter was at camp. I had to send the hubs to the job without me…and what did I do? I painted the walls in my living room in between art projects at home!!
Here’s the point…
So often many of us pine for an artist’s life. We ache for a way to make money arting so that we can spend all of our time arting. We feel a pang of longing looking at the artful lives of those out there and feel like we’ll never get there ourselves.
If we can broaden our scope of possibility just a bit, we can find ways to live the life for which we’re pining. We might be able to find other ways to explore our artistic selves and to financially support ourselves and our art supply habits! :)
And all we did was put up ads on craigslist, fairly often, and eventually built a free little website so that we could give that link on the ads. People can go to our website and see explanations of what we do and see examples, as well as click over to our flickr page for more pics of our work. We also believed in ourselves, that we could do it, and kept up our optimism.
And people do call us. We do get work. And I get lots of left-over supplies to play with!
Pink and white walls, black doors, and stencils and stickers to decorate.
Painted walls, trim, and stained and painted stair rails and posts.
*Now I’m looking for someone to get brave and hire me to do a full-blown mural! Then I’ll really be having some fun :)