How artists make a living and manage money. 3


In the last blog I talked about some ways that an Artist can earn a little money to pay the bills. This time I will talk about some more.


I have sometimes been doing interior and styling for projects when they like to have something untraditional like an upcycling style.  This can be for events like a birthday party, or wedding or even designing a TV-studio and also writing articles about upcycling in magazine and newspapers.

To get jobs that are styling, I recommend doing some for free first.  Then when you are known, it becomes gets much easier to get the next jobs

One idea to get started is to help someone with something spectacular or help out with the styling in a wedding or a big birthday party or baby shower.  Use every opportunity you can, step out and offer help. And do not forget to take pictures, this is very important.  You can post them on your blog as a reference which may bring in new work.

oslo S 2009

Get a job in an Art Gallery or museum.

This can be a help to understand how things work. I learned to see things from the other side. I learned to see where I had to be organized! I saw that I had to be clearer in what I was offering to a gallery, and how to communicate when I had an exhibition. And just as important, I learned how to make a good contract. My applications for new exhibitions improved a lot.
oslo S 2009

This painting was reproduced in parts of the big art work at the Oslo train station .

IMG_1798 kopioslo S 2009

A lot of the work was planned by using photoshop.

oslo S magnyoslo S 2009Grants

There are many grants for artists. They are very competitive to get. Don’t give up.  Apply a hundred times, and then apply for some more.

Grants can be privately or publicly funded. Some are given for a specific project that you propose and some are given outright for the work that you do.

oslo S 2009Residencies

I have been to France and Spain on a residency program and it is a good way to build your professional network all over the world. The length of the residency varies and the grants you get vary too.

You can googIe for “Artist in residence” and you should find places that will accept applications for next year. Look for the places that cover the travel expenses, and materials because many places expect YOU to pay for everything.

Public Commissions

Winning commissions for public art can be a great way to top up your income. This can be done in connection with a new building or construction project. Many countries and regions have laws that specify that a small percentage (from 1 to 1.5 %) of the total building cost has to go to art for the building. When artists get a public work commission, we can get something between  20 to 35% of the total cost of the project as an artist’s fee. The other 65 to 70% is for the materials and execution of the art work. Nevertheless Such a commission can pay many bills.

Usually city art groups have the latest information of what program is currently accepting applications.

Established artists are also needed as consultants in the committee that chooses the art and to hold the project together. It can include writing the specification, contacting potential artists, evaluating the proposals, advising the committee and once the artist has been selected, following the project.

At the moment a friend and I are in a competition together for a commission, it is a lot of fun. There are three other great artists, so it’s not easy at all, but it is a great experience.

Do you have a part time or full time job? Is it related to art? What is the best or worst thing you did to earn some money?


11 thoughts on “How artists make a living and manage money. 3

  1. Really interesting and informative!! I also think teaching is a great way to make a living along side being an Artist. It can be regular income that can make it possible to be totally free in your art practice. As a teacher you are passionate about your subject and then very inspiring for others!

    1. Thank you, thank you !! you are absolutely great and absolutely the best. I am honored !!! You are helping me to spread my blog. I will pay you back soon. (But now I’m in holiday mode)

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