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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.

Art teacher

Were you an award-winning artist your tenure as a student? Maybe you were a successful TA in college. Or maybe you create amazing works of art through painting, sculpting and other mediums. Teach classes and impart your wisdom to aspiring artists or novices who just want to learn. This idea is best suited to a part-time business, but you can still make good money offering hour-long classes at local craft stores, community centers or your home. Make sure you have a user-friendly website to display your work and entice potential students.

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, 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.

Tattoo artist

Some artists use paper as their canvas. Why not use the human body as yours? Working in a tattoo studio can be a lucrative career path for talented artists, but it will require some time and education. Wikihow notes that you need to be state certified by completing an apprenticeship with an experienced tattoo artist and taking tattooing courses. Once you’re certified, referrals from satisfied customers will be your biggest source of business.

Graphic designer

Graphic design runs the gamut, and you can especially succeed as a small business or a freelancer. According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts, graphic artists create images for posters, advertisements, packages, and other printed matter, as well as information visualizations; graphics for newspapers and magazines. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one-third of graphic designers are self-employed, so you can work from home on eye-catching visual projects for brands and individuals. AIGA also provides information on how to land your first design job.