Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Do you really want to paint full time?

I wish I could paint full time! It would be awesome! I'd get up every morning energised, paint when and what I want, people would pay me loads of money for my skills, I'll be famous, I'll be recognised, people will love me, work will flow in...


And which planet are you on?

Certainly not mine!

The truth of the matter is, turning a hobby or a passion into a job, whether part time or full time is hard work. It doesn't happen magically. It takes talent, perseverance
and a smidgen of luck. So why do it at all?

Here are some benefits of NOT giving up the day job, and deciding to be a part time artist:
  1. You get a weekly pay cheque, AND some bonus cash on the side
  2. You don't have relatives asking when you're going to get a 'real job' (unless of course your other job is 'actor' or something else that doesn't rate on your parents' idea of 'job').
  3. Your 'hobby' begins paying for itself
  4. You can build up a portfolio/ career so that if something happens to your day job, you've got something to fall back on
  5. You can claim 'toys' as business expenses, just like a full time artist (just make sure you're following all the local tax laws!). This may include magazine subscriptions, education, online costs, some expenses such as electricity, phone, and fuel (if you work from home), as well as the ever important art supplies! Now if I could justify buying a Renaissance sword as a prop...
  6. Your art stays fun! You aren't doing it all the time, so it doesn't feel like 'work'
  7. You can pick and choose what you do. I've taken a break from commissions for a short period, I've also knocked back opportunities which I wouldn't have been able to do if I was relying on the money.
  8. You get to have two careers (I'm lucky, most days I love my day job. Being a part time artist is a bonus).

So is there a downside to having two careers?

You betcha!

  1. You have no time! At one stage, I was working 50-60 hours a week as a developer, coming home, and then putting in another three hours each night to finish commissions. Then the weekend came around (if I wasn't doing overtime), and I was painting all day. Not to mention needing to cook and clean and buy groceries!
  2. You have to learn to prioritise. I don't have kids, so I don't have that extra responsibility, but some days you have to really consider how much of a priority is the painting? What will it do to your reputation if you miss a deadline? Will your boss understand if you rock up to work with paint in your hair because you finished your painting at 2am this morning? Is it that important to enter the painting competition or should you really be shopping for your mother's birthday present.
  3. If you don't take care, your part time job begins to be a drag... You are doing this as a business, but you don't want it to feel like you are working 90 hrs a week and have no time left for anything else.
  4. You have to do commission work/ fill orders/ do business stuff on your weekend.
  5. You get the guilts (well I do!). I used to feel so guilty if there was an email that took me more than a day to answer. I'd go out and wouldn't enjoy myself if I knew I had a half finished commission on the easel. I took my work with me on holidays!
  6. You may need to clear it with your boss at the day job. I work for the government, so I have to fill in a form every single year stating that my business is not a conflict of interest.
  7. You have to go to work, even if your muse is calling. Do you know how much it bites when you're stuck in a 2 hour meeting with business, and you're thinking about that magical painting on your easel at home?
I'm sure the list could go on, but I'm prioritising, I want to go paint!

Part time Painter, yup that's me!

How do I start the new year? By starting a new blog of course! What do I hope to achieve with this blog? Inspiration, creativity, diversity, world peace... um, yeah. The truth? I want to be a testimonial (maybe more a mark on the page) that you can work full time, and still carry on artistic endeavours professionally, and with some modicum of success.

You see, I'm an artist. A part time artist. Some weeks a very, very part time painter. I'm also a software developer, working full time for a government agency (.NET for all you geeks out there). I've been straddling the two careers for several years now, sometimes successfully, other times not.

I chose to do things this way for several reasons:
  • I hate not knowing when my next payday will be
  • I don't like working at home by myself all the time (despite all the office politics, I need people around me)
  • I would get bored easily just painting (don't get me wrong, I love painting, but I need other types of brain stimulation - things I get from programming and project management)
  • I procrastinate (give me a deadline, a budget, people to boss around and I'll get things done, otherwise...)
  • I'm not as dedicated to art as I would need to be
  • I like having art as something I enjoy, not
So with this in mind, I intend on focusing on
  • productivity - balancing time, life and art
  • creativity - how you keep your 'muse' in check
  • being a microbusiness - will I have a life and keep my sanity?
  • being an online artist - galleries, products, marketing oh my!
  • reducing stress - yes, having multiple hats can be stressful!
  • reviews of books, products, websites, tips & tricks related to art and creativity
  • any other related tid bits
If you want to find out more about me and my art, please visit my website at www.NicoleCadet.com