How to make money with your passion without becoming a ‘starving artist’

The ‘starving artist’ myth has become glorified by forty years of cinema and television. The tales of Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and other 70s bohemians have been glamourised from cold tales of hopelessness to these care-free ideals of pursuing your passions. What’s great about 2016 is that you can pursue your talents without starving in the process.

Of course trying to make a living as an artist is a high-risk endeavour but easier now than ever. Whether you plan on intertwining your artistic plans with a more straight-cut vocation or trying to go full-time with one talent – there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least try to make it as a creative once in your life.

In a quest to debunk the ‘starving artist’ myth, Mashable interviewed a series of creative figures in the world today to find out how, pragmatically, you can make a living as an artist.

1. Jason Clarke the GIF Artist


As an employee of GIPHY, it’s Clarke’s job to animate and loop short character animations in a GIF Format. He started as a freelancer and then joined the company full-time. His main advice is to be persistence, to self-publicize even if your work isn’t any good and don’t work with “jerks”. Jason is probably one of the few in the world who can make perfectly looping gifs like the one below – respect his advice.

2. Erika Eckerson the abstract artist


Erika pursues her artistic career in the night-times like an expressive vigilante and is a broadcast journalist by day. Art came as a creative release in the evenings and then grew into something profitable via Etsy.  She says: “I’ve noticed the more I post, the more sales I make… For me, Instagram has been crucial. It’s where most of my clients find me, and how I keep followers up to date on what I’m working on.”

3. Greg Reitman the video artist


After a decade in online marketing, Greg’s 15 second Instagram pieces launched his into a work of projecting visuals in live setting like festivals and art shows. His advice: “Learn how other artists are making money in the digital age,” he says. “Apply some of those concepts to your own work. Creating art all day sounds incredibly appealing, but if you can’t feed your family or pay the bills, it doesn’t seem so amazing anymore.”