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6 Business Ideas for Artists

Art dealer

Imagine making a living finding beautiful works of art and selling them to art enthusiasts. If you have the money to rent space in a high-traffic area, you can open your own art gallery and assist fellow artists get their work noticed. As with any business, building your reputation and niche can be an uphill battle: You’ll need expert networking and marketing skills to get the word out. Use social media to your advantage to show your work and meet people in the business to build your contacts. Once you establish a good client base, you’ll be rubbing elbows with some of your city’s most prominent artists at your gallery parties and exhibits.

Paint-and-sip franchise owner

If teaching a painting class isn’t your speed, maybe opening a franchise like Painting with a Twist or Pinot’s Palette is. With this trendy business model, participants pay a fee to enjoy a fun and relaxing painting class with their friends while sipping their favorite beverages. Become a franchisee and own your own business, while supporting local artists who can teach the classes.

Custom airbrushing

Whether you work on cars, murals or clothing, there’s a wide range of possibilities for an airbrushing artist. You’ll need to purchase some equipment to get started, like an air compressor, stencil materials, and of course, paints and airbrushes. Airbrushing can be done in a well-ventilated storefront, kiosk or even at home in your garage on a freelance or project basis. You can also create and sell airbrushed paintings online or at local events.

Caricature artist

No festival or county fair would be complete without a caricaturist to draw fun, unique souvenirs for visitors to take home. With online tutorials like Learn-To-Draw.com, you can learn caricature techniques and begin building a portfolio to display for potential customers. Then check your town or county’s website for local events that have booths available to rent. You can charge by the portrait at these types of events—depending on how quickly you can draw, the earning potential is huge. There are also opportunities to do your work at weddings, Project Graduation parties, fundraisers and a number of community activities. Once you earn a reputation, you can offer a flat rate to be hired.

Makeup artist

A more practical (and far less permanent) way to use people as canvases is becoming a makeup artist. Beauty school isn’t a prerequisite for launching a successful makeup business: All you need is a good reputation and a great knowledge of cosmetics. Since beauty professionals often build their business through client referrals, work on friends and family for free or at a discounted rate at first. Once you have a solid customer base, you can offer competitive rates for updos and makeup for weddings, proms and other special events.

Silk screener

Could you see your artwork on a T-shirt? You can go into the silk-screening business andstart your own clothing line. Startup costs are relatively low if you don’t buy your own printing equipment, and once you build up an inventory, you can sell your clothes through a site like BigCartel.com or on your own website. Matthew Johnson, founder ofSeventh.Ink Shirts and Apparel, reminds aspiring clothing designers that having a unique product and staying engaged with customers are the keys to a successful business.