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8 Career-Changing Artists
Which would you rather do?
Art Girls Jungle 19 Oct 2021

Which would you rather do? 

Unless they were born wealthy, it’s unlikely that the only job a famous artist ever did was make their art. It’s still true today. 

Not all of your creative heroes have always been set on becoming artists. Did you know that Frida Kahlo wanted to be a doctor, and Van Gogh a pastor?

We’ve rounded up 8 artists who had distinctly different jobs to the one that made them well-known. Maybe it’ll make you consider a career change? Maybe not.

Henri Rousseau: Tax Collector

Photo via kknews

Rousseau only started painting seriously in his 40s, and before then had worked as a toll and tax collector in Paris. 

Paul Gaugin: Stockbroker

Photo via wikimedia

Gaugin worked various jobs, from the navy to selling tarpaulin. Before a financial market crash in 1882, the artist was working as a stockbroker and earning a pretty tasty salary, too.

Jeff Koons: Broker

Photo via artandobject

Koons was a licensed mutual funds stock salesman and worked on Wall Street as a commodities broker. 

Vivian Maier: Au Pair 

Photo via apnews

Maier worked as a nanny for almost two decades while she made some of her most famous work. 

Richard Serra: Furniture-Removal

Photo via fineartmultiple

Serra worked at a furniture-removal company, called Low-Rate Movers, to help support his art career. 

Keith Haring: Disco Busboy

Photo via dazeddigita

While he was studying in New York, Haring worked as a busboy in the famous Danceteria nightclub.

Jasper Johns: Bookshop Worker

Photo via edition

Johns worked in New York bookshops to held integrate himself with the art scene there. 

Ai Weiwei: Professional Gambler

Photos via financial times

In the 80s and early 90s, Ai was considered one of the best professional blackjack players in Atlantic City.

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