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What do you do?

Hey all!

As much as I'm sure you all wish you could paint all day, often the sad reality is that many living artists doing art, cant make a living doing art. If your anything like me you have a day job from 9-5 and you dedicate as much as you can to your art from 5-9 and beyond.

So, if that's the case, what do you do from 9-5 or whatever your day job hours are?

If you went to art school or college for the arts, how did you make ends meet before or after school?

If your in between work or retired, what do you occupy yourself with when your not making art?

Do you feel like where your work or what you do influences your art in any way?

I'll start.

By day I work at a mid-sized contemporary art museum in Southern California. I work in the registration department where my main focus during regular scheduling is processing incoming and outgoing art loans from the collection and inventory. During exhibition install/deinstall, I work closely with a few other departments to install and examine the condition of our artworks.

Luckily, one of my 6 or 7 professors in my senior year of art school had a brain enough to ask me "So what are you going to do to make money when you graduate?" knowing that I had a wife and a daughter on the way. In my head I was like, "Well I'm going to continue to make art and hopefully get into a gallery and sell my work". Oh how naive haha. That was when she told me to pickup a couple internships at a museum to feel out the place and see if there was a spot for me. I'm glad I took her advice because I got lucky and there were a few openings that helped keep us afloat financially but also kept me in the art world so to speak. Years later and many positions down the road I still work at a museum but in a different capacity.

I would say that some aspects of my job have influenced my art more than others. For instance, I have the luck and luxury that I am around art pretty much 24-7 whether its my own or other artists work. I think that helps me compare and contrast my work with others to see what I am doing wrong/right and perhaps expose me to different materials, mediums, subject matter so on. I think the downside is that I am around art 24-7 too haha. A major goal for a lot of artists (myself included) is to get into a museum collection or gallery, but as an artist that works at a museum, there is a certain magic that is lost when seeing where all the work is stored collecting dust. The sad reality is that only maybe 20 percent of the work, definitely less as the size of the collection grows, will ever see the light of day. As an artist I kind of have to detach myself from that a bit and go along merrily with a degree of delusion and or acceptance. I will say that I definitely take care of my work a lot better as I gain experience in handling other works that are in some cases priceless. In addition to that I've gained a greater appreciation for wrapping, packing and displaying my art over the years.

Anyone else want to share?
jcdrSummernada[Deleted User]FlattyNanaBean


  • Haha! Yup, sometimes I feel like a donkey with a carrot strung up over my head. But I'm definitely not complaining.

    Unfortunately most of the teaching positions that have come my way have required an MFA of which I don't have but would love to work toward eventually. I can't say I've ever fully just dropped everything and tried to make a living from painting.

    I know a few artists that have but inevitably even they, like you, pick up odd jobs from time to time. Until the "gaudly" message comes down from above haha.
  • Touching JCDR! Got the chills going through that bit about you getting busted as the family artist. Good stuff. Thanks so much for sharing. It reminds me that as an artist one tends to want to surround themselves with art and artists of the like and its easy to forget that only a very, very, very small percentage of the global population have even the slightest bit of interest in art much less occupy themselves with art or actually do it. The gift I suppose, is not so much talent or skill, as much as it is the sole fact that we all have in someway or another have this built in drive to create and improve upon what we've done before with regards to art and otherwise.
  • @Kingston - Oddly this is the first time i recall seeing an image of Gnagy. Good thing too. The turned up over-sized collar on the flannel lumberjack shirt and the Bryll cream enhanced hairdo was not a look to emulate. @-)
    @edwardbopp - necessity will lead you where it will. Art was the only thing i knew, and as the college I attended did nothing to prepare students for the marketing side of their work, my path as a non-painter was pretty much decided for me.
    I also did court drawings for a number of years on and off as no cameras are allowed in canadian courts. Talk about strange ways to make a buck. The down side of that was waiting for someone to do something heinous enough (murder, rape, assault, drugs etc) to be news-worthy and having to sit through the proceedings which were usually heart-rending or nauseating on many levels. People can really get up to some nasty stuff. On the upside I learned to get a likeness fairly quickly - remands only lasted a few minutes. :-B
  • edited August 2014
    Gnagy - Covered Bridge... lesson 1 & 6
    And if you're in the mood for a quick lesson, Here's a10 min clip from his TV (show?). Scroll down past "Draw with Winkey Dink" to the old black and white video clip.
  • @coherent Holy Crap!!! That's it! It's the Way Back Machine. Thank you Mr Peabody I've now truly come full circle. @-)
    [Deleted User]ZIMBob_Aham
  • My grandma had Gnagy's book and stuff in her closet so I used to try to copy from it as a little kid. In answer to the question, I've had both left and right brain jobs throughout my life. I started out as a draftsman but changed career paths once I saw that the drawing part of the job, which I liked, was going to be obsolete with the introduction of CAD. So I was also interested in lefty political issues and became a union lawyer. I ended up doing freelance political cartoons for the AFL-CIO and small newspapers on the side. Now I'm a fed who draws and paints a lot.
  • I got a BA in fine art from a liberal arts college. Didn't really learn much about painting but I wanted to work in a museum, be an art historian and paint on the side. Well, doing that required lots more education( $$$$) so I went back to school and got the degree and license to become a physical therapist asst. 15 + years as a PTA. All the while " plodding dumbly along" with my art until I found Mark and this forum. Now I feel I have a path to developing my skills and ultimately my own style. Been on this forum since March of this year and have seen some jaw dropping talent. And I have often wondered( especially you jcdr,kingston) why you don't paint for a living. Is it that hard to get into? Are there entrenched gatekeepers, if so, has that changed with the internet? I know nothing about the " art world". Basically I decided to paint for myself and see where leads!
  • I've looked into blogs, Facebook.... it's overwhelming. I can see how it would take all your time. I'd rather just paint!
  • I think this is a beautiful photo. I walked into our local about an hour away one day with son and husband to get some acrylic paint and there was a painting behind the register and I made a comment I wished I could paint like that and the clerk said it was a class that Saturday and I said oh no I can't paint. She said she;ll teach you, its a beginners class. All you have have do is buy a canvas from us and pay the class fee and she provides everything else. I said I can't paint. Shell teach you. My son said I'm signing us up if you'll go Mom, We;ll go together. My husband said not me. So my son and I went to class and did a beautiful Bob Ross Painting and signed up for the next Saturday to go do another one. My husband was shocked at our painting. I did eventually get him to a class and he did good but its just not him. but when we're out driving now we both look and the surroundings and comment how we look at things differently ;ole clouds and trees. We recently just took a drive further up in the mountains just to look at the colors of the trees and my husband took a picture of Blackwater Falls for me. I couldn't make it down the steps ( 214 of them) this year to do it myself. I like to paiant but I;m still not very good at it but keep trying. Mt Dad was an inspiration, he liked them and wanted to to only paint him a painting for his birthday. After he passed away many told me he was so proud of them he was showing them to everyone telling him his daughter painted them. That was 4 years ago and I have yet to paint another. Still have interest. I get paints out and thats about it. I started yesterday just mixing some paints together just mixing to see what i could do. I still have trouble getting colors I want in a painting so I'm learning by just mixing.
  • I freelance web developing/design for now - but honestly, I am painting and/or going to art school+ working on my art career. So I often resort to not taking on jobs and I starve, pile bills - and reluctantly work few days to pay them off when I can.

    I plan to be in this state for next few years at least - but I figure if I didnt give it my all, it wont ever happen. If it's always the side thing with 9-5  , there will be no way to push my art as career - there just isn't any time in the day. And if it's not my full time thing, it will be difficult to produce the kind of work I'd like. 

    Plus regular jobs makes me miserable and depressed. 

    So - wish me luck!!! 
  • Good luck, nada.  Summer
  • Summer said:
    Good luck, nada.  Summer
    thank you!
  • newb said:
    I never went to art school or college. My sister was the real artist in the family but my fathers sister was a really good artist. There is a rumor that I am related to Helen Allingham. She was a watercolor cottage painter and was married to William Allingham the poet. Who knows? I do find it strange that I like to paint and poetry was my favorite English subject.
    Since I posted this I was able to trace back my family history to 1767. I can say with fair amount of certainty I am not related to them. Not directly anyway. LOL
  • FlattyFlatty admin
    My education stopped at high school . I was a house painter for a handful of years then got into the welding supply business as an outside sales rep in the greater boston area. 15 years and counting. Metal working was for a long time my artist outlet. I dabbled in acrylics on and off never giving serious effort. Then I stumbled onto Drawmixpaint. I took a chance and purchased the online coarse. So so glad I did. Love working with oil paints and hope some day to sell my work. And even if I never get to that level I will alway keep painting:-)

  • Ok, here's my spiel.

    What do you do from 9-5 or whatever your day job hours are? 

    I'm retired. I tried several professions.  I first  trained as a nurse when I was young. That wasn't for me so then I trained to become a high school teacher. Got over that fairly quickly and finally became a lawyer. I had my own law practice in Sydney until I retired 4 years ago. Throughout my working life I have always been fascinated by painting. I tried my hand at it in my early twenties but decided I was no good at it. But I kept looking at paintings, collecting them, and wishing I could paint. After retirement I bought some paints and decided to give it another go. Disaster! Then, some months back, I discovered DMP.  That changed everything. Painting is what I do everyday and all day except when I am forced to tear myself away from it to feed chickens or slash our fields or move sheep... It's become an obsession and a joy. As soon as I awaken my thoughts turn to it. The first thing I do every morning with coffee cup in hand is to go down to my shed where I paint and look at what I did the day before. Then I get to work. I'm busier and more fulfilled now than I ever was when i was working as a nurse, teacher or lawyer.

    If you went to art school or college for the arts, how did you make ends meet before or after school?

    I needed money and thought I had no artistic talent so art school was not an option for me.

    If your in between work or retired, what do you occupy yourself with when your not making art? 

    The farm. We grow all our own food here. We  started eating another one of our sheep last night. Lamb chops. I grow fruit and vegetables which I bottle and freeze for the lean months of winter and about the only thing I buy is bread. And whiskey.  Painting and the farm are what occupy me.

    Do you feel like where your work or what you do influences your art in any way?

    Yes. Living is rural Tasmania provides me with endless subjects for landscape paintings. It's such a beautiful place - even if a bit cold in winter. And being retired gives me the opportunity to pursue painting in a way I never could have had I been still working. I like things just they way they are now. I only wish I'd taken up painting a very long ago. In that sense I feel I've wasted my life. But that's silly. You can only do what you can do at the time. I'm very glad to have been able to turn to it in the latter part of my life and to live in an environment that inspires it.

    So, that's me.
  • Thanks, David. You are always so encouraging. From what you write painting brings you a measure of peace, just as it does me. May it continue to do so for both of us.


  • If I added to this thread, it would have to really be read in a Kindle app. No kidding. I'm quite sure all all ur adjetives and puncuation marks would be used to describe it. A waste of God given talent. Now I cut firewood, do whatever to subsidise and photograph, and paint when I can. Not enough thought, i like it. The Lord has certainly blessed me. 
  • @some, I always thought that you were a Female of the you say that you cut firewood !  Not that a Woman can't cut firewood, but if I was depending on that occupation for sustenance and covering then I would be naked and hungry  ! Can you clarify ...Please ?

  • Im a pretty old and tired man
  • @marieb ...sorry to hear of your husband's passing. Be praying for your comfort and healing. When my exwife was diagnosed with cancer years ago, my friend said to me, "I will be praying for your wifes healing, but i will REALLY be praying for you. Because I know how hard it was on my wife when I had a brain tumor. People dont realize its hardest sometimes on the spouse." He was absolutely right. So, I will pray accordingly. 
    Attached is me, the mystery man....

  • FlattyFlatty admin
    Hey Some. I knew you were a Dude!! Haha. I like the look!! Here's mine
  • I knew that you were a Dude too haha and that you are very tall like my father and brothers!  Just saying....  :)
  • Flatty said:
    Hey Some. I knew you were a Dude!! Haha. I like the look!! Here's mine

    If you attached a pic, it didnt show up
  • @Flatty.. o, im crackin up dude...
  • Diggin the chin tho
  • SummerSummer -
    edited May 2016
    Some and Flatty.  You guys make me laugh!  LOL
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