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!


Harish said...

hmmm... well happening with me too.