23 Art Business Success Stories & Case Studies

Updated: November 19th, 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)

Painting had helped Sarah channel her emotions of getting rejected from grad schools in a positive way, as she had been the "artsy" girl in college as well. It started as a hobby but within a few months, her friends and family encouraged her to sell her art. Seeing the demand on her store, she started Innerglow Art.

How much they make: $51.6K/year
Current team size: 0

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How I Turned My Hobby For Painting Into A Successful Art Business

Innerglow Art is a successful custom abstract painting business that incorporates scripture and personable connection with buyers to produce beautiful and unique artwork.

About
Sarah started Innerglow Art over 7 years ago
Revenue
Sarah grew the business to $4.3K/month
Read by 51,652 founders

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

Justin Erickson, an independent artist based in Vancouver, came up with the idea for his business after attending local events and showcasing his artwork. He realized that he could turn his passion into a career and started developing his brand, taking professional product photos and designing collateral for clients. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Justin has been consistently earning between $500-$1,500 a month through his art.

How much they make: $10.5K/year
How much did it cost to start: $7.03K
Current team size: 1

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On Developing A Career As An Independent Artist And Graphic Designer

Independent artist Justin Erickson earns between $500-$1500 a month and offers advice on developing a career as an independent artist and graphic designer, from building a brand through printmaking, launching a business, attracting and retaining customers, and learning from other resources.

About
Justin started Justin Erickson Art about 7 years ago
Revenue
Justin grew the business to $876/month
Costs
It cost Justin $7025 to start the business
Read by 7,210 founders

So... can you actually make money with a art business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. Avatoon ($56.4K/year)

Zoltán and his colleagues founded Avatoon.net after realizing the obscure market for custom hand-drawn avatars. They launched their website and attracted customers through an email campaign and ProductHunt feature, and have since focused on improving their SEO to attract organic traffic. With a majority of their clients being returning companies, they plan to spend more on SEO and introduce different art styles at different price points in the future.

How much they make: $56.4K/year
How much did it cost to start: $800
Current team size: 3

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How We Started A $4.7K/Month Business Selling Custom Hand-Drawn Avatars

Avatoon.net founders share how they started a $4.7k/month business selling custom hand-drawn avatars and grew to an average of $5,000 per month with ~100 clients through SEO-focused marketing and serving returning companies.

About
Zoltán started Avatoon over 5 years ago
Revenue
Zoltán grew the business to $4.7K/month
Costs
It cost Zoltán $800 to start the business
Read by 7,829 founders

4. Mapply ($180K/year)

Scott Wood, co-founder of Mapply, came up with the idea for his map print business after seeing the success of a similar brand called Mapiful. With a background in digital marketing and a love for travel and art, Scott saw an opportunity to create personalized and colorful map prints. By starting with offline validation and gradually expanding his product offerings, Scott has grown Mapply from a few hundred pounds in sales to over £30k ($40k) in prints per month, with plans to expand further in the future.

How much they make: $180K/year
How much did it cost to start: $200
Current team size: 0

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How I Started A $15K/Month Ecommerce Selling Colourful Map Art Prints

UK-based co-founder grows map print company Mapply from a few hundred pounds a month in sales to over £30k ($40k~) in prints per month, without much marketing, and expands to brick-and-mortar stores while focusing on continuous product expansion.

About
Scott started Mapply about 5 years ago
Revenue
Scott grew the business to $15K/month
Costs
It cost Scott $200 to start the business
Read by 12,092 founders

So... can you actually make money with a art business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

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

Sarah Miller, the founder of sarahpaintspets, came up with the idea for her business in college when she painted her boyfriend's cat as a gift. After receiving positive feedback and selling over 100 paintings for Christmas presents, she realized there was a demand for her custom watercolor pet portraits. Since then, she has been able to increase her prices and attract customers through her personalized approach and social media presence.

How much they make: $42K/year
Current team size: 1

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Sarah Miller Started A Business Selling Her Own Artwork Online

Sarah Miller started a small business, sarahpaintspets, where she creates custom watercolor pet portraits for animal lovers across the US and Canada, which has lead to an average income per painting of $150 and receives word-of-mouth referrals as the biggest source of income.

About
Sarah started Sarah Paints Pets about 6 years ago
Revenue
Sarah grew the business to $3.5K/month
Read by 7,483 founders

6. Astrography ($1.08M/year)

Artur Kurasinski and Adam Jesionkiewicz co-created Astrography, a company that prints and sells fine arts related to space. Adam, an experienced astrophotographer, decided to print his own pictures and found that people were willing to pay for them. With a zero marketing budget, they managed to print $160K worth of fine art in 12 months and have since become a profitable business.

How much they make: $1.08M/year
Current team size: 4

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How We Started A $12K/Month Business Selling Cosmos-Inspired Fine Prints

Astrography is a small family business offering high-quality, limited edition fine art prints related to space; in the first 12 months of operation, they managed to print the fine art for $160k, largely thanks to social media without any loans or investors.

About
Adam started Astrography about 5 years ago
Revenue
Adam grew the business to $90K/month
Read by 6,885 founders

So... can you actually make money with a art business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

7. URSULA BARTON ($36K/year)

Ursula Barton, an artist, came up with the idea for her business after a spill of expensive ink onto watercolor paper led her to embrace a process of unpredictable art creation. After gaining positive reactions to her work at a cafe, she realized she had something special and started reproducing her paintings as greeting cards, postcards, and prints, eventually expanding her product line and opening a retail shop called Jailbreak.

How much they make: $36K/year
Current team size: 1

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How I Built Two Successful Small Businesses As An Artist

This case study showcases how artist Ursula Barton built two successful small businesses, one featuring her artwork on paper goods and the other being a retail shop showcasing art and handmade goods from a variety of makers, both of which have seen great success in sales and community support.

About
Ursula started URSULA BARTON about 12 years ago
Revenue
Ursula grew the business to $3K/month
Read by 6,102 founders

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

Nancy and Jarrod, both with backgrounds in the arts industry, recognized the obstacles that artists faced in gaining visibility. They decided to start Art Lovers Australia, an online gallery, to showcase the talent of Australian artists and make buying art easy for art enthusiasts. Through collaborations with designers and TV shows, their audience has grown, and they now have almost 1000 artists on their platform, with monthly sales averaging $160K.

How much they make: $1.92M/year
How much did it cost to start: $100K
Current team size: 4

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How We Created A $160K/Month Online Art Gallery

Art Lovers Australia grew from 50 to almost 1000 artists and increased their monthly sales to an average of $160K by collaborating with designers and TV shows, building an audience on social media before launching, prioritizing advertising and marketing, and creating partnerships.

About
Nancy started Art Lovers Australia over 7 years ago
Revenue
Nancy grew the business to $160K/month
Costs
It cost Nancy $100000 to start the business
Read by 4,503 founders

9. Soundwave Art ($288K/year)

Mike LaTour, the co-founder and CEO of Soundwave Art, came up with the idea for his business during a casual dinner conversation with friends. One friend mentioned the concept of turning sound waves into art, and this sparked Mike's interest. With a background in the music industry, Mike decided to pursue the idea and started working on it in his spare time. After launching the business and receiving orders from around the world, Mike realized the potential of his concept and focused on expanding his product offerings. Ultimately, the development of an augmented reality app transformed Soundwave Art and opened doors to new opportunities, including partnerships with businesses for promotional purposes.

How much they make: $288K/year
How much did it cost to start: $2K
Current team size: 1

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I Turned My Side Hustle Into A $360K/Year Business Designing Augmented Reality Experiences

Soundwave Art, founded by Mike LaTour, offers customers the ability to turn their voice or any sound into an augmented reality experience through their mobile app, giving them the ability to create personalized jewelry and artwork that is totally unique.

About
Mike started Soundwave Art over 11 years ago
Revenue
Mike grew the business to $24K/month
Costs
It cost Mike $2000 to start the business
Read by 3,585 founders

10. SALSO Design ($1.2M/year)

Saleh Sokhandan, a designer and founder of Salso Studio, came up with the idea for his business after realizing the potential of optical illusion techniques in decoration, advertising, product design, and more. He started his journey as a freelancer, gradually gaining recognition and expertise in 3D design and optical illusions. Through his unique skills and continuous hard work, Salso Studio has attracted diverse clients, including advertising agencies, big companies, private individuals, and even investors for large-scale projects, generating an impressive revenue of $400,000 per year.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
How much did it cost to start: $2K
Current team size: 6

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From Passionate 3D Artist To Making $1.2M/Year Designing Optical Illusions

Saleh Sokhandan, founder of Salso design studio, shares how he grew his business to $400k in revenue per year by using optical illusion techniques in decoration, advertising, entertainment, and product design for clients ranging from private individuals to big commercial companies and investors.

About
Saleh started SALSO Design over 11 years ago
Revenue
Saleh grew the business to $100K/month
Costs
It cost Saleh $2000 to start the business
Read by 2,606 founders

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

In 2014, Ali Bedrettin Boz and Cagri Ayten started designing steel samples as a hobby. They realized the potential for their designs in the interior design market and established Hoagard as an e-commerce brand. Despite facing challenges and initially low sales, Hoagard experienced a significant leap in 2016, reaching an average annual turnover of 4.5 - 5.5 million Euros.

How much they make: $4.98M/year
Current team size: 43

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I Turned My Hobby Into A $4.5M/Year Metal Wall Art Business

Hoagard is a profitable metal wall decor brand with an average annual turnover of 4.5-5.5 million Euros, which started out as a new hobby and transformed into a successful e-commerce business with 85% of sales coming from the brand's own website.

About
Çağrı started Hoagard.com over 9 years ago
Revenue
Çağrı grew the business to $415K/month
Read by 5,814 founders

12. Stencil Stop ($960K/year)

Colin came up with the idea for Stencil Stop after realizing there was a lack of readily available stencils, specifically Clemson University's logo, online. He set up a rough website and sold his first stencil on the very first night, providing validation for the demand for stencil solutions. Since then, Stencil Stop has grown to earn around $100K per month in revenue by expanding product lines and manufacturing capabilities.

How much they make: $960K/year
How much did it cost to start: $1K
Current team size: 9

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I Started An Online Stencil Shop And Make $960K/Year

A packaging designer started Stencil Stop in 2015, which now earns around $100K per month in revenue selling stencils, offering custom stencils as some of its best-sellers, and attracting and retaining customers through simplified products and efficient advertising techniques.

About
Colin started Stencil Stop almost 9 years ago
Revenue
Colin grew the business to $80K/month
Costs
It cost Colin $1000 to start the business
Read by 3,784 founders

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

Adam Vieira, the creative director of Station 16 Gallery, teamed up with Carlo De Luca, the president, in 2011 to create quality silkscreen prints with local Montreal artists. The idea to open an art gallery showcasing these prints and street art talent came from Art Historian Emily Robertson. Since then, Station 16 has expanded to showcase original art, sculptures, and works on paper, and plans to open a second location in Denver, Colorado.

How much they make: $4.2M/year
How much did it cost to start: $150K
Current team size: 10

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Growing an Art Gallery to $150,000/month

Station 16 Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Montreal influenced by graffiti and street art, started with a pop-up in 2013, now showcasing original art, sculptures, works on paper, and limited edition silkscreen prints that have become popular with international artists, attracting new collectors on Artsy, using Instagram to reach an international market, and expanding to opening a second location in Denver, Colorado in May.

About
Adam started Station 16 Editions / S16 over 10 years ago
Revenue
Adam grew the business to $350K/month
Costs
It cost Adam $150000 to start the business
Read by 6,191 founders

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

How much they make: $1M/year
Current team size:

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How A Fine Artist Built A Million-Dollar, One-Person Business That's True To Her Vision

Artist Iris Scott crossed the $1 million revenue/year mark as an independent creative artist through business partnerships and social media promotion, with a Facebook following of 346K and an Instagram following of 241K.

About
Iris started Iris Scott Fine Arts about 13 years ago
Revenue
Iris grew the business to $83.3K/month
Read by 566 founders

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

How much they make: $1.32M/year
Current team size: 2

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This 32-year-old artist made over $1 million in 9 months selling NFTs—now he’s reinvesting for the metaverse

This case study showcases how an Indian visual artist generated over $1 million in less than a year, selling 57 unique nonfungible tokens (NFTs) based on his artwork.

About
Amrit started Amrit Pal Singh about 15 years ago
Revenue
Amrit grew the business to $110K/month
Read by 608 founders

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

How much they make: $36.7K/year
Current team size:

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Interview with Kirsty Partridge

This case study details how Kirsty Partridge grew her art YouTube channel to over 1.3M subscribers and 81,296,486 views, and expanded her business by launching an art tutorials website and personalized art course which has taught 21K+ students.

About
They started Kirsty Partridge Art almost 9 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $3.06K/month
Read by 1,211 founders

17. Blake Art ($480K/year)

How much they make: $480K/year
Current team size:

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This 36-year-old Brooklyn artist made over $46,000 in six weeks selling NFTs

An artist generated $40,000 from 17 sales on SuperRare by selling NFTs of his earlier works, with his highest NFT sale coming in at $4,772 and an average sale price of $2,336, and is set to earn $500,000 through collaboration with Topps on a series called Project70.

About
They started Blake Art over 8 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $40K/month
Read by 775 founders

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

Tiffany started her custom pet portrait business after experiencing loss and wanting to create a specific style of artwork to remember her furry friend. She launched on Etsy but eventually moved to her own website to have more control over her marketing and customer communication. Through trial and error and a strong presence on social media, Tiffany has been able to attract and retain customers, and she plans to focus on scaling her brand in the future by partnering with celebrities and influencers.

How much they make: $14.4K/year
How much did it cost to start: $473
Current team size: 0

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I Run A $1.2K/Month Custom Dog Portrait Business With A Mission To Rescue Lost Dogs

Custom Pet Portraits by Tiffany Dnaka has seen massive growth since starting in 2021, with yearly revenue doubling year after year and an average of $1,200 a month in sales, and founder Tiffany's 2021 goal is to scale by teaming up with celebrities and influencers.

About
Tiffany started Custom Pet Portraits by Tiffany Dnaka over 3 years ago
Revenue
Tiffany grew the business to $1.2K/month
Costs
It cost Tiffany $473 to start the business
Read by 1,491 founders

19. Marblebee Ltd ($120K/year)

Jack Gao, the founder of MarbleBee, came up with the idea for his business after combining his previous experience in e-commerce with his passion for carving skills. He realized the potential of creating stone carving products, specifically marble bathtubs and sculptures, and decided to merge his skills with the e-commerce model. Since then, MarbleBee has become the go-to manufacturer of natural stone carving products, serving hundreds of homeowners and establishing partnerships with interior designers, contractors, and builders in over 20 countries. With a strong marketing team and a growing online presence, MarbleBee is experiencing a period of rapid growth, with plans to open a showroom in Toronto in the near future.

How much they make: $120K/year
How much did it cost to start: $150K
Current team size: 25

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How My Grandfather's Carving Skills Helped Me Build A $10K/Month Stone Artwork Business

MarbleBee is a natural stone carving products manufacturer that has become the most experienced supplier in designing and manufacturing marble bathtubs and sculptures, established long-term cooperation with interior designers, contractors, and builders in over 20 countries and served hundreds of homeowners.

About
Jack started Marblebee Ltd about 4 years ago
Revenue
Jack grew the business to $10K/month
Costs
It cost Jack $150000 to start the business
Read by 984 founders