21 Art Business Success Stories & Case Studies

Updated: July 23rd, 2023
Start An Art Business

Starting an art business can be a great idea if you have a passion for art.

You’ll be able to work on your schedule, set your prices, and do something you love—while supporting yourself or even making money!

There are so many different avenues available to you as an artist-entrepreneur right now—from selling your work online (on sites like Etsy), through galleries or museums, or even at craft fairs and flea markets.

There are plenty of artists who have made their mark in the industry, and they can tell you what they've learned along the way.

Here are some real life success stories of starting an art business:

1. Innerglow Art ($51.6K/year)

Sarah Hickey (from Plano, Texas, USA) started Innerglow Art about 7 years ago.

$4.3K / month
1 founders / 0 employees
Plano, Texas, USA

Case Study

I’m Sarah, an artist from Plano Texas and living out my life long dream of being an artist. I am a stay at home mom to two; my oldest Elijah is 17 months and youngest Skyla is 4 months old. My husband is also an entrepreneur, so our schedules are pretty flexible and our children get to grow up seeing us both pursue our passions.

I am most proud of how my art allows for a connection with the buyer. To me, it’s more meaningful to know the artist and their process than purchasing a piece of art in a retail store or gallery.


2. Justin Erickson Art ($10.5K/year)

Justin Erickson (from Vancouver) started Justin Erickson Art over 6 years ago.

$876 / month
1 founders / 1 employees

Case Study

Hi! My name is Justin Erickson and I am what you would call an independent artist.

Despite the global pandemic, I am consistently earning between $500-$1,500 a month. That is down from last year, but it’s certainly not as glum as I was expecting when this all started.


Learn more about starting an art business:

Where to start?

-> How to start an art business?
-> How much does it cost to start an art business?
-> Pros and cons of an art business

Need inspiration?

-> Examples of established art business
-> Marketing ideas for an art business
-> Art business slogans
-> Art business names
-> Art business Instagram bios
-> Art business Instagram captions

Other resources

-> Profitability of an art business
-> Art business tips
-> Blog post ideas for an art business
-> Art business manufacturers
-> Art business quotes
-> Art business hashtags

4. Avatoon ($56.4K/year)

Zoltán Szilágyi (from Oradea) started Avatoon over 5 years ago.

$4.7K / month
3 founders / 3 employees

Case Study

I’m Zoltán, together with my two colleagues Arnold and Gergő, we founded Avatoon.net
We are selling custom hand-drawn avatars, drawn by professional illustrators through our website.


5. Mapply ($180K/year)

Scott Wood (from Edinburgh, UK) started Mapply almost 5 years ago.

$15K / month
2 founders / 0 employees

Case Study

Hello Starter Story! My name is Scott Wood and I'm the co-founder of Mapply - an Edinburgh-based map print company specializing in colorful map art prints of the world’s best places. We sell primarily city map prints, but also have since expanded to customized prints of anywhere in the world in a variety of striking colors.

We are also sold in numerous brick and mortar stores across Edinburgh and plan to expand to the rest of the UK and beyond over the next few years.


6. Sarah Paints Pets ($42K/year)

Sarah Miller (from Atlanta, Georgia, USA) started Sarah Paints Pets over 5 years ago.

$3.5K / month
1 founders / 1 employees
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Case Study

Hello! I’m Sarah Miller, aka the “sarah” in my small business, sarahpaintspets. I make a living painting custom watercolor pet portraits for the biggest of animal lovers across the United States and Canada.

I know how it feels to have fully loved and mourned a sweet, good pet. I take a moment every week to remember that feeling so that I can empathize and connect with my customers. Making Toby's portrait my logo is my promise to paint every pet as if they were my own.


7. Astrography ($1.08M/year)

Adam Jesionkiewicz (from Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland) started Astrography over 4 years ago.

$90K / month
3 founders / 4 employees
Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland

Case Study

Hi, my name is Artur Kurasinski and I'm a co-owner of Astrography - a company dealing with printing and selling fine arts related to space. During the last 20 years, Adam (CEO) and I have established a lot of different companies and businesses. Many of them have not survived and we have gained a lot of experience in setting up and running startups (mostly technological).

Since we had a bad experience with loans and investors we agreed to finance and develop the company only from current revenues. We agreed that we did not want to create a huge entity but a small, family business. The times of dreams about creating a unicorn are behind us :)


8. URSULA BARTON ($36K/year)

Ursula Barton (from Portland, Oregon, USA) started URSULA BARTON over 11 years ago.

$3K / month
1 founders / 1 employees
Portland, Oregon, USA

Case Study

My name is Ursula Barton and I am an artist who has built two small businesses. My first business started with paper goods featuring my artwork of the Portland bridges: postcards, greeting cards, and archival prints.

This gratitude has been met with great support not only with the wonderful turnouts we get at our events but in the sales we have had in just our first few months of being open, word of mouth has been our biggest asset.


9. Art Lovers Australia ($1.92M/year)

Nancy Donaldson (from Gold Coast, Australia) started Art Lovers Australia almost 7 years ago.

$160K / month
2 founders / 4 employees

Case Study

Art Lovers Australia is Australia’s Premier Online Gallery. We get excited about sharing the incredible talent of Australian artists and we make buying art easy for our art-loving community.


10. Soundwave Art ($288K/year)

Mike LaTour (from Saint Louis, MO, USA) started Soundwave Art over 11 years ago.

$24K / month
2 founders / 1 employees

Case Study

Hi, I’m Mike LaTour, I’m the co-founder and CEO of Soundwave Art. We offer our customers a way to turn their voice or any sound into an augmented reality experience. A piece of art that is playable with our mobile app. We also create personalized jewelry by engraving your voice pattern onto rings and pendants.

Businesses started reaching out to us requesting access to our app for promotional purposes, marketing, art shows, and giveaways. One of our latest projects was a piece of art for James Murray from the Impractical Jokers. He commissioned us to create a playable piece of art promoting his book Don’t Move.


11. SALSO Design ($1.2M/year)

Saleh Sokhandan (from Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran) started SALSO Design about 11 years ago.

$100K / month
1 founders / 6 employees

Case Study

Hi I’m Saleh Sokhandan. I’m a designer and the founder of Salso studio.


12. Hoagard.com ($4.98M/year)

Çağrı Ayten (from Solingen, Germany) started Hoagard.com about 9 years ago.

$415K / month
2 founders / 43 employees

Case Study

Hello, our names are Ali Bedrettin Boz and Cagri Ayten. We founded Hoagard in 2014. We took up designing as a new hobby and created steel samples. At first, nobody realizes what is going to happen. Results are extraordinary. We had not only got a new hobby but also, brought a brand new notion to interior design.

Hoagard was established without investment. So it was not a gold mine between the years of 2014 and 2016 the situation was relapsing during these years. By making a huge leap in 2016, it has become a brand that reaches an average annual turnover of 4.5 - 5.5 million Euros.


13. Stencil Stop ($960K/year)

Colin Mitchell (from Sacramento, CA, USA) started Stencil Stop over 8 years ago.

$80K / month
1 founders / 9 employees

Case Study

I’m Colin, and I started Stencil Stop in 2015. We manufacture and sell different types of stencils, including custom stencils, which are some of our best-sellers. Our custom mylar stencils are super durable and reusable and are great for quickly painting a company’s brand, text, or designs on almost any outdoor or indoor surface. Custom layered stencils have become a go-to product for people looking to create multicolored, detailed images or logos.

Today we earn around $100K per month in revenue and are continuing to grow quickly by expanding our product lines and manufacturing capabilities, as well as by solidifying our brand’s visuals and message.


14. Station 16 Editions / S16 ($4.2M/year)

Adam Vieira (from Montreal, Quebec, Canada) started Station 16 Editions / S16 about 10 years ago.

$350K / month
2 founders / 10 employees
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Case Study

Hi, my name is Adam Vieira, and I’m the creative director for Station 16 Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Montreal heavily influenced by graffiti and street art.

We showcase original art, sculptures, and works on paper, which changes every month, sometimes every week. We also launch a new limited edition silkscreen print every month with international artists.


15. Iris Scott Fine Arts ($1M/year)

Iris Scott wants to inject a little bit of joy into the world with her exuberant, literally hand-painted works.

Iris Scott (from New York, NY, USA) started Iris Scott Fine Arts over 12 years ago.

$83.3K / month
1 founders / employees

Case Study

Iris Scott is a finger painting artist who makes a living from this unique art form. The Brooklyn artist is renowned for her impressionistic works in psychedelic colors depicting the natural world.

It was a revelation for her when one day, she decided to finish one of her oil paintings with her fingertips rather than using brushes. This opened a new door for her artistic expression, and her choice altered her career.

After studying at the Accademia Italiana in Florence, Iris moved to a tiny apartment in Taiwan, from where she first launched her painting career before finally moving to New York.

Developing a social media following has proven to be a successful strategy for self-promotion. She currently has 346K fans on Facebook, and her Instagram has 241K followers.

Iris has been able to cross the $1 million revenue/year mark as an independent creative artist by selling her artwork and through business partnerships.


Read the full story on forbes.com ➜

16. Amrit Pal Singh ($1.32M/year)

Amrit Pal Singh says he has earned over $1 million selling 57 nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, of his artwork in about nine months.

Amrit Pal Singh (from New Delhi, Delhi, India) started Amrit Pal Singh over 14 years ago.

$110K / month
1 founders / 2 employees

Case Study

Amrit Pal Singh is an art director, visual artist, and 3D illustrator. He was referred to as the Indian NFT industry's toymaker who enjoys creating 3D dioramas and toy faces.

His famous Toy Faces are 3-D portraits that resemble cartoons of various favorite characters and renowned personalities such as Frida Kahlo, Steve Jobs, and Malala Yousafzai.

Singh came up with the NFT business idea after a friend told him that one of his earlier projects, Toy Faces, would "work well as NFTs."

For the past ten years, he has enjoyed working with clients worldwide and designing his own line of goods, including digital toys, picture books, card games, and mobile apps.

Over about nine months, Amrit Pal Singh has made over $1 million from the sale of 57 nonfungible tokens (NFTs) made from his artwork.


Read the full story on cnbc.com ➜

17. Kirsty Partridge Art ($36.7K/year)

$3.06K / month

Case Study

On Jan 9, 2015, Kirsty Partridge started an art youtube channel. Since then, she's gained over 1.3M subscribers and 81,296,486 views so far.

After she realized the growth potential of her Youtube channel, she launched her website, Kirsty Partridge Art, where she provides art tutorials, drawing guides, online art courses, and more.

Kirtsy also offers a personalized art course through her course Coloured Pencil Academy and to date, she has taught more than 21K+ students who have a deep love for art & drawing.


Read the full article on artismycareer.com ➜

18. Blake Art ($480K/year)

Brooklyn artist Blake Jamieson made over $46,000 in six weeks selling NFTs. "I believe that I will be a millionaire in like eight weeks, just because of NFTs," he says.

$40K / month
1 founders / employees

Case Study
  • Jamieson used high-resolution images of his earlier works to create NFTs of his artwork, which ranged from athlete portraits to abstract paintings. These jpegs were then listed for sale on NFT platforms.
  • He generated around $40,000 from 17 sales on SuperRare in a little over a month and a half.
  • According to the platform, Jamieson has sold 19 NFTs for a total of $44,399, with his highest NFT sale coming in at $4,772 and an average sale price of $2,336.
  • Jamieson is collaborating with Topps on a series called Project70, where he anticipates earning $500,000.


Read the full story on medium.com ➜

20. Custom Pet Portraits by Tiffany Dnaka ($14.4K/year)

Tiffany Dnaka (from Dana Point, CA, USA) started Custom Pet Portraits by Tiffany Dnaka over 3 years ago.

$1.2K / month
1 founders / 0 employees

Case Study

Hi pet lovers, my name is Tiffany, owner, and founder of Custom Pet Portraits by Tiffany Dnaka. I turn your pets into custom watercolor artwork.

This year, my goal will be to focus on scaling my brand. To accomplish this, I plan to team up with celebrities and influencers who align with my brand's mission of helping dogs in need.


21. Marblebee Ltd ($120K/year)

Jack Gao (from Toronto, ON, Canada) started ** Marblebee Ltd** over 3 years ago.

$10K / month
1 founders / 25 employees

Case Study

Hello! My name is Jack Gao, and I’m the Founder & CEO of MarbleBee. We are a manufacturer of natural stone carving products. From a piece of inspirational marble statue to a large magnificent fountain, from a luxury marble bathtub to stone carving decoration for a grand church, MarbleBee is the one-stop shop to bring stone artworks to reality.

In the past two decades, we have become the most experienced supplier in designing and manufacturing marble bathtubs and sculptures. We have established long-term cooperation with interior designers, contractors, and builders in over 20 countries and served hundreds of homeowners. We have constantly received feedback from our customers about the complementary comments they have received from their family members and friends.


Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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