When I was growing up all I ever wanted to be was an artist, that's what I told everyone, and spent much of my childhood, drawing, doodling and coloring. But, the older I got the more reality set in, or what the reality was then, and I believed I wouldn't be able to make a decent living as an artist. The "Starving Artist" myth certainly had left it's mark on me, and so I went off to college pursuing what I thought was going to provide me a more stable income throughout life.
I ended up graduating from the University of Central Florida in 1999 with a Master's Degree in Political Science, initially to go to law school, and then later changed my career path to teaching. I started out as a high school teacher, and VERY quickly realized this was NOT for me, it only took me four months and I was out, haha! I ended up getting an editorial job in the Political Science department at UCF working with one of my former professor's on academic journals, which lasted about two years. During this time I also obtained a Florida Residential Contractor's license and helped my husband to build custom homes.
Throughout all of these career changes I was always creating art, I started painting in acrylics and instantly fell in love with the medium and decorated our home with lot's of colorful art. I even dabbled a little in the mural scene in the Orlando area just to be able to try something creative. But, it didn't satisfy me artistically the same as being in my studio creating art that spoke to me and was less controlled. In 2002 I had started to notice that some artists were beginning to have success selling their art on eBay, so I thought I would just list one of my paintings and see what happened, and what happened next changed my life forever! I listed the painting on a five day auction, and it received a little bit of interest, a couple of low ball bids, but in the last few minutes of the listing, the almighty eBay bidding war ensued and my painting sold for over $125. I was in shock and elated that someone bought one of my original paintings, it was a rush that has propelled me ever since to continue to create and sell my art through the internet and have a more personable relationship with my collector's.
I would list some paintings every now and then on eBay when I had the extra time, and they would always sell at auction, many times for much more than I expected. I was Jonesing to see what would happen if I could do this full -time, but the home building business was booming and I couldn't fully devote myself to my art career, but I was finally starting to believe that it may really be possible to make a living as an artist, turn my passion and dreams into a reality. It wasn't until late 2007, after we sold the construction business and moved to Alaska, that I was finally able to dive into a full time art career and it turned out to be everything I had hope it would be. I was able to paint for most of the day and spent the rest of the time listing on eBay and packaging up original paintings and prints to ship around the world. Truly a dream come true!
To this day, the majority of my art business is still centered around the internet where I sell my originals and limited edition prints and my licensing partners, numbering close to 30, sell on the internet and direct to retailers that sell on and offline. When used properly the internet can be a wonderful opportunity to advance your art career and connect one on one with art collector's. There are so many different avenues to selling your art, but the key is visibility, I cannot emphasize that enough! The internet has millions of pieces of art for sale in one form or another, it takes a lot of work and effort to be found, but with consistency and hard work you can do it and be a successful artist making a very good living, I am proof positive, and will continue to look for opportunities and expand the reach of my artwork. I will have to create a blog post soon about some of the ways you can create that visibility as an artist, so stay tuned!