If you have a passion for art, starting an art business can be a great idea.
You'll be able to work on your own schedule, set your own 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 over 6 years ago.
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 almost 6 years ago.
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.
3. Avatoon ($56.4K/year)
Zoltán Szilágyi (from Oradea) started Avatoon over 4 years ago.
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.
4. Mapply ($180K/year)
Scott Wood (from Edinburgh, UK) started Mapply almost 4 years ago.
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.
5. sarahpaintspets ($42K/year)
Sarah Miller (from Atlanta, Georgia, USA) started sarahpaintspets almost 5 years ago.
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.
6. Astrography ($1.08M/year)
Adam Jesionkiewicz (from Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland) started Astrography almost 4 years ago.
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 :)
7. URSULA BARTON ($36K/year)
Ursula Barton (from Portland, Oregon, USA) started URSULA BARTON almost 11 years ago.
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.
8. Art Lovers Australia ($1.92M/year)
Nancy Donaldson (from Gold Coast, Australia) started Art Lovers Australia about 6 years ago.
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.
9. Soundwave Art ($360K/year)
Mike LaTour (from Saint Louis, MO, USA) started Soundwave Art over 10 years ago.
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.
10. SALSO Design ($1.2M/year)
Saleh Sokhandan (from Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran) started SALSO Design over 10 years ago.
Hi I’m Saleh Sokhandan. I’m a designer and the founder of Salso studio.
11. Hoagard.com ($4.98M/year)
Çağrı Ayten (from Solingen, Germany) started Hoagard.com over 8 years ago.
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.
12. Stencil Stop ($960K/year)
Colin Mitchell (from Sacramento, CA, USA) started Stencil Stop over 7 years ago.
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.
13. Station 16 Editions / S16 ($4.2M/year)
Adam Vieira (from Montreal, Quebec, Canada) started Station 16 Editions / S16 over 9 years ago.
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.
14. 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 almost 12 years ago.
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 ➜
15. 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 almost 14 years ago.
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 ➜
16. CAM RACKAM ART ($0/year)
The Covid-19 pandemic hit artist Cam Rackam's business hard, so he pivoted to creating digital art and ended up making six-figures from NFTs that sold out in just over half an hour.
Cam Rackam (from Huntington Beach, California, USA) started CAM RACKAM ART ago.
Cam Rackam, founder of CAM RACKAM ART is a 42-year-old artist from Huntington Beach.
Prior to 2021, the most he ever made selling his art was an $11,000 painting and sculpture.
When Rackam began producing digital art in the form of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, that quickly changed.
His 10,000 NFT collection sold 32 minutes after its launch on October 27, 2021, thanks to Rackam's artwork design, meme page, and social media promotions on platforms like Discord.
The collection's value was 660 Ethereum, equivalent to $2.6 million at the time he sold. Still, Rackam received $738,593.97 that day as his cut.
Read the full story on cnbc.com ➜
17. Kirsty Partridge Art ($36.7K/year)
Kirsty Partridge (from United Downs, Redruth, England, UK) started Kirsty Partridge Art over 7 years ago.
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 ➜
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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