Becoming a Full Time Artist: Q&A with Fine Art Photographer Anna Bruce

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For many of us, the idea of becoming a full-time artist is the dream.

However, the logistics of getting there can be daunting and confusing.

There are few artists out there who are willing to let others peek behind the curtain of their successful businesses. Worse still, there are many amazing artists who are stuck in the mentality that business and art don't mix.

In fact, when I first began exploring photography, the mentors that I worked with looked at the business side of art with disdain.

Selling and marketing were dirty words and dirty work best left to the galleries.

Many artists that I knew at the time operated under the premise that you needed to be discovered, and that if you hustled to make your dreams come true you were less of an artist.

At the time I was devouring any information I could on online marketing and Search Engine Optimization, and a friend sneered at me saying "You're not really an artist, you're just a creative."

While the comment hurt, I didn't let it deter me from learning everything that I could about the business side of art. And truth be told, I'm still learning!

There was (and can still be) an overwhelming belief system that an artist's work is cheapened and commercialized if they decide to take their careers into their own hands.

So if you're looking to become a full-time artist, or simply create an income stream from your art, let's dispell that belief system right away!

If your art is going to support you financially, or contribute to your income bottom line, it will require hard work, business smarts, and marketing savvy.

That's why I spend so much time talking about licensing your art on this blog; it's important for you to know the kind of investment that that part of your art career takes.

Licensing your art is simply one way to make an income as a full-time artist. Other artists make their income from print sales, product sales, commissions, and teaching.

And the path to becoming a full-time artist is not a clear-cut one. It will vary for each artist.

So I wanted to talk to someone who was in the process of forging their own path as a full-time artist and decided to sit down with fine art photographer Anna Bruce.

 Colorado based fine art photographer Anna Bruce.

Colorado based fine art photographer Anna Bruce.

Both Anna's work and background fascinated me. Prior to a marketing career, Anna had run a wedding photography business for seven years. So before making the jump to full-time artist, she had significant business and marketing chops to help her with her art career and the self-discipline to help her achieve her goals. 

As someone who has also had a career in marketing, I definitely wanted to geek out with someone who could help me dispell the myths that keep so many artists from achieving their full potential. Inspired, I asked her to sit down with me and talk about both her journey and experience in making the jump to full-time artist.

And Anna did not disappoint!

Not only was she a wealth of knowledge about how artists can get the word out about their work in authentic ways, but she also spent a lot of time breaking down the mindset traps that artists can fall into that can hold them back.

Anna was so incredibly generous with her time, advice and experience - this is definitely a talk you will want to watch!

In this chat you will learn:

  • How knowing Why you create your art is the most important question you will answer for yourself.
  • How to identify your Creative Business Inner Demons, and the how to avoid their pitfalls.
  • Why having a schedule, and keeping to it, will keep your business on track.
  • How to know when you know you're ready to make the jump to full time, and when you will want to keep your art career as a side hustle.
  • Where you can find your audience and reach them with your work.
  • The different income streams Anna is using to support her business, and what might work for your own business.

Anna also created a social media checklist that other artists can use as a jumping off point for your own social media marketing! Download it here.

Watch our chat here:

Want more of Anna's advice and wisdom? Follow her blog PhotographyThrive.com where she writes about the business side of art!

If you're interested in joining us for more in this live broadcast series, come on over to my Facebook Group "Beneath the Surface

We go live most Thursdays at Noon EST!