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Practicalities of
the Surviving Artist
By Kimberly Prosa
The Artistic
Supplemental Income
This article is co-published with, an online community
and resources dealing with the business aspects of living as an artist.
Despite the popular notion that one must be a “starving artist” in order to
reach their full potential in their artistic pursuits, the practicality is that this is
not only untrue but impossible in today’s economy. It is necessary to achieve
some level of stability, both financially and emotionally, in order to really
put those artistic
Jonathan Busko
dreams into action.
Head of the Harbor 2
As a working artist, it is essential to
As a working artist,
formulate a plan for financially meeting it is essential to
Gallery North
your needs until your art becomes
formulate a plan for
financially meeting
A not-for-profit Gallery
your needs until
90 North Country Road
your art becomes
Setauket, NY
From experience, I know achieving financial stability provides for improv-
ing youroverall quality of life, which contributes to artistic productivity. Your additional income doesn’t have to come from a job you despise. With a little
effort, you can find a career to supplement your income that is flexible, finan-
Celebrating 44 years of promoting the finest
cially lucrative, and maybe even a little fulfilling and artistic in itself.
contemporary Long Island art and craa
Many artists, whether performing or visual, often resort to one of two
categories for additional work: bartending or waiting tables. This is an option
of course, and may appear to be the quickest path with the least preparation
and investment; but I have often found it to be long hours, and lots of shifts
for little money. In addition, this type of work zaps what little energy you
have left for auditions and performance. This kind of situation of barely mak-
ing ends meet doesn’t allow for the essentials of everyday life, let alone the
additional requisites of your art such as: promotional photography, audition
materials, vocal or acting lessons, art supplies, film or multi-media supplies,
etc. All of which are tools necessary to get and keep your career on track.
The past few years I have lived and worked as a dancer and actress in
New York City. I decided when I began these pursuits to use my knowledge
of anatomy and movement garnered from my dance background to become
a certified personal trainer, an occupation I could use to keep myself finan-
cially on track. After study, completing hands on workshops, and passing the
exam; I went to work briefly for a gym to learn the process, gain experience
and make contacts. I then went to work on my own as a private in-home
trainer. As a private trainer I have developed a business of regular clients
who often refer me to their friends and family; it is an occupation that allows
me to schedule clients around my auditions, performances and rehearsals.
The industry is lucrative enough that 2-3 hours a day is financially sufficient
and leaves me the remainder of the day to pursue my artistic endeavors. The
small amount of time and money invested initially as compared to the more
immediate money of a job in the service industry provided long-term flexibil-
ity, and the reward of helping others improve their health and well-being... a
more than worthwhile exchange.
Personal training has been the means to help me achieve my dream of
actively living my life as an artist in New York. Other artists I have known
have channeled their artistic talents into freelance graphic or web design,
teaching private classes of either yoga or Pilates, or giving vocal or piano les-
sons. Whatever the path of supplemental work; the common ground for each
successful artist is the theme of developing your own business niche utilizing
your artistic talents. Developing your art into a profitable business will allow
you to continue to work in the field of your craft while sharing your knowl-
edge and talents with others. But perhaps the most rewarding aspect is creat-
ing lasting relationships with clients who will in turn give you their support
in your artistic pursuits.
Improper Northshoerian April 20027 27 4/2/2009 10:25:20 AM
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