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7 Rules for Good Vibes While You Settle down as Full Time Artist
A smart survival guide.
Art Stuff 27 May 2019

Managing your career as full-time artist requires more than creativity and fun to splash color on the canvas. It should also include working on a plan to provide you with enough income while you try to build up your freelance business.

Here are some ideas that will boost and improve your way to becoming the next Yayoi Kusama.


1.Set Goals

To survive as a freelance artist, you need to maintain a detailed vision of how you want your career to develop. At the same time each year, create a list of career-related goals you’d like to accomplish in the year ahead. This could include the galleries you love to work with, institutions where you love to show, curators you want to meet. Each month, write down a description of the projects you’d like to complete. Break down your month long goals into four week increments. Create a mood board for your lifelong career goals, and put it in a prominent place where you can be inspired by your dreams on a daily base.

2.Create a Schedule

Surviving as a freelancer, whether as an artist or else, requires a huge amount of self-discipline, since there is no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. No need to arrive at the studio at 9 and leave at 6pm, but try to make sure, your schedule is somewhat consistent

When working from home, also arrange with your family and friends to respect your work time and space so you can be productive.  Ask people not to call during your peak times as you might find it hard to find your way back to work after an hour long call with your lovesick girlfriend, and turn your phone off.


3.Keep Records

As a freelance artist, you will be constantly expanding your skills and create new works. Whether painting, music or photographs, always memorialize your work in some way before selling it off.

At some point (or for your first monograph), you will be happy to have built a little archive.

4. Spread the word

Obviously there is a difference on whether you annoy people by constantly tell people how brilliant you are or by hiding in the studio 24/7. You don`t have to turn into an entertainer but, if you feel like it, go to parties and other events where you’ll meet interesting people, carry some name cards linking to your portfolio and start circulating your name and talent.

5.Save Money

As likely you wont have a cheque rolling in every month to cover your bills, try keeping your spendings down. Yes, you are allowed a cold brewed coffee or a vegan dinner at your favourite hipster place, but simply try to put money aside for a rainy day.


6. Stress Busters

Freelancers can be prone to overworking, and some signs of burnout might sound familiar. Make yourself take breaks throughout the day. Exercise at a yoga class or go for a morning run, hang out with friends, schedule a massage – Simply create a healthy balance between work and play.

7. Work it Out

Keep a day job, even if it’s just part time – especially in the starting period. Perhaps you can sign up at some freelancers platform and design some cool posters or be a consultant or teacher. Since freelancing can have slow periods, your day job will keep you more flexible until the next customer comes along.


Images via artsy, instagram

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Curator – Public Programmes
Whitechapel Gallery - London, UK
Research Associate, Krasner & Pollock Exhibition
The Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York, USA
Artist Liaison
Art Works Gallery & Advisory - Singapore
Artist Manager
Karimah Ashadu - Germany