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Ways To Make Money From: Art And Painting

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Art And Painting

FROM PAINTING HOUSES to setting up an art gallery, there are all manner of opportunities for aspiring ‘artrepreneurs’.

Don’t worry if your artistic attempts generally resemble something Picasso might have pained at the age of six months. There are plenty of opportunities where talent is not required – you could import paintings and sell them at huge profit in the UK, for example. However, if you do have artistic talent there are plenty of ways to turn your ability with a pencil, paintbrush or pen into profit. Here are 20 of the best artistic opportunities:

  1. Importing original oil paintings

Profit margins of a thousand per cent or more make importing original works from the Far East and attractive opportunity.

It’s possible to buy an ‘oil on canvas’ from countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, China, Singapore and Indonesia for as little as $5 and sell it in the UK for $50 , $100 or more. In general these paintings feature popular subjects such as town and country seems, flowers and animals, and will be snapped up by UK people eager to get their hands on an original work of art at a bargain price.

Your first job is to track down a supplier. If you contact the London-based embassies of the Far Eastern countries and explain what you’re looking for they’ll put you in touch. Ask suppliers for catalogues and / or samples to ensure they are suitable before setting up any trade agreement. Shipping is economical as the paintings aren’t heavy or bulky, and you can usually arrange payment by credit card.

To sell paintings you could lease a prominent studio space, although a less expensive method is to hold regular ‘exhibition sales’ at hotel function rooms, church halls and the like. Alternatively, sell them by mail order or get them displayed in pubs and restaurants and sold on a sale or return basis.

  1. Personal portraits

As a gift to be handed down from generation to generation, personal portraits can’t be beaten.

A good portrait artist will be able to capture the subject on canvas, whether this is the client, their spouse, their family, or even their house. If you’re suitably skilled you can charge upwards of $250 for a commissioned painting although well-known artists are able to charge over $10,000.

Choose whether you want clients to sit for you in your studio, or if you want to travel and paint them in their home surroundings (you can charge more this).

Alternatively you could work from photographs a great way to build up trade since you can operate entirely by mail order. Boost profitability by charging for prints and frames.

Market this service by advertising in newspaper and magazines, handing out business cards, displaying paintings (alongside lots of publicity leaflets and posters) at local galleries / shops / libraries, and setting up a stall at markets and boot sales.

  1. Pet portraits

Pictures of much-loved family pets make a perfect present for any animal lover. By working from photos sent through the post you can save yourself the cost of travel and studio hire and operate entirely by mail, making this a good work-from-home second income option.

A useful method of generating additional profit is to approach local printers to see if they are able to turn your paintings into prints, or perhaps even print them onto greetings cards and headed notepaper. Customers will love this and will pay well for it too.

Advertise in pet shops and animal-related publications, and leave your cards in vets’ waiting rooms. As well as private households, your service might appeal to breeders, riding stables and stud farms.

  1. Business Portraits

The corporate market can be extremely fruitful.

Approach businesses, offering to immortalize the MD or a longstanding worker, or to sketch / paint the company head office, factory, or shop front.

Firms like such pictures for two reasons. Firstly, they lend the premises an air of prestige and sophistication. Secondly, they can reproduce the image on stationery, calendars and business cards, which they can then give out to customers, suppliers, the media and so forth. Of course, your contract should allow you to benefit from any re-printing of your original work.

Mail potential customers ( all types of business, especially image-conscious ones, including restaurants, hotels, pubs, clubs, advertising / media firms, anyone with smart new offices) with your details and examples of your efforts, and follow this up with a phone call to the manager. You’ll cash in as your client list grows and your reputation spreads.

  1. Commissioning portraits

If you can’t paint, don’t worry. Simply make contact with portrait artists offering to supply them with contracts in return for a commission – anywhere from 10-50 percent of the final cost of the painting, which will more than cover your marketing costs and overheads.

Again, decent profits margins can be achieved by getting artists in the Far East to supply the pictures. You can supply them with the client’s photo, which they’ll turn into a painting for as little as $25. You can then offload it to your UK customer for $500 or more.

  1. Specialist paint jobs

Thanks to the introduction of revolutionary painting materials, fancy paint effects such as rag rolling, color washing and stippling are becoming all the rage. Anyone who has trained in these techniques can earn up to $65 an hour – far more than standard decorating work pays.

Demand comes from two main sources.

Homeowners – especially ones who’ve been keeping an eye on TV programmes such as Changing Rooms and Home Front – are keen to have their houses decorated in the latest styles. Also pubs, restaurants and other businesses are paying specialist decorators big money to make a room look as if it were covered in wood or marble, but for a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

  1. House painting

A tried-and-tested business, you can get started for around $150-$400. You’ll need a step ladder, extension ladder, assorted rollers, brushes, trays, buckets and paints, plastic sheeting, tape, sandpaper, thinner for cleaning brushes, and a vehicle to carry everything in.

The procedure for interiors is fairly straightforward. First you must clean all surfaces and sand them if necessary, before covering all furniture, window edges, light switches and anything that mustn’t be splattered in paint. After checking the color is right you can paint the room.

For exteriors you may need extra equipment such as a powers sander and paint remover, and you must remove old paint, mould etc. and treat surfaces before you paint them.

Word of mouth is the best from of advertising, but you could use door-to-door leaflets, cards in the shop windows and newspaper ads. It’s well worth contacting landlords, property agencies and builders, along with pubs, clubs and other premises that require regular decorating.

  1. Creating cartoons

Being a cartoonist is all about the three P’s: pleasure, prestige and profit.

It can be lucrative if your material is accepted by one or more regular publications, as the minimum NUJ (National Union of Journalists) rates for a single box cartoon are $60-$80, increasing  to $400 for a full color half to full page. Cartoons are also commonly featured in books, advertisements, product packaging and reports.

Don’t assume you need to be talented at drawing to get involved. Even if your ability is best described as ‘rough and ready’ you can still create great cartoons – just take a look at the differing styles featured in the daily papers. All you need are good ideas and enthusiasm.

The best way to acquire cartooning skills and the knowledge necessary to make a living in the business is to enroll on a home study course.

  1. Doing caricatures

The skill of the caricaturist is closely aligned to cartooning, and a good one can earn money anywhere.

Set up a stall in a busy public area with a couple of seats, a sign and an easel, and aim to capture the essence of each customer in a couple of minutes.

Markets and shopping centres are ideal, although other good places are festivals, boot sales, and outside museums, concerts and sports events. You can charge museums, concerts and sports events. You can charge upwards of $4 for a picture, or more if it is framed.

A crowd of interested onlookers will soon gather round, with a constant supply of potential models.

Give out plenty of business cards and get a Yellow Pages / Thomson Local listing, as you can also offer your services at parties and weddings.

  1. Designing greetings cards and stationery

Card companies pay freelancers good money for outrageous gags, eye-catching designs and sentimental slogans which can be used on greeting cards.

Again, the idea is often more important than the technical ability of the artist. You could even develop and sell you own range of cards.

The best way to make contact with card companies, wholesalers and retailers is through trade publications and fairs – your local TEC or Chamber of Commerce will give you information.

  1. Baby plates

In America, commemorative plates are big business, second only to stamps and coins in terms of collectability. They’re gaining ground in the UK too.

The artist hangs out in the maternity ward waiting room, and when a new baby is born they approach expectant fathers asking if they would like a painted commemorative plate featuring a baby’s name, birthdate and weight. Sometimes a picture or the family’s coat of arms will be added to the lettering.

Thanks to the customer’s sheer joy of being a father, a sale is forthcoming nine times out of ten. Charges are anywhere from $15 to $50 per plate.

If you’re friendly and approachable with a flair for painting you’ll succeed. The idea can be applied to marriages, graduations, and much more.

  1. Doing calligraphy

If you’ve a steady hand then you could find calligraphy – art of handwriting – highly rewarding.

It has applications in many areas: hand lettered menus, party invitations, signs, shop displays… Offer yourself to advertising agencies, graphics studios, party planners and retails organizations, and to hotels, restaurants, pubs and shops.

Another possibility is to create attractive hand written scripts, framed, on quality art paper, featuring popular poems, sayings, people’s names and star signs. These could easily be sold by mail order, or through retailers, including market stalls and gift shops.

  1. Painting murals

Murals are superb for brightening a place up. You’ll see examples in (or on)  a variety of public and private buildings, including shopping centres, restaurants, hotel foyers, school and park playgrounds, and so on.

If you’re good at small sketches / paintings there’s no reason why you can’t cash in by working on a large scale. While there are no tried- and-tested publicity routes for muralists, you can get your name known by making personal calls to businesses, advertising / graphics agencies, the local council, art schools and colleges, and galleries.

Always take photos of your work and build up a portfolio to show people. If you can, get free publicity from newspapers and local TV.

  1. Blueprint paintings

Being able to turn rough blueprints and sketches into paintings is a skill valued by a number of businesses, but primarily architects and building contractors.

If you have the necessary visionary talents then put forward your services. If they like your work you’ll be handsomely remunerated -$200 per drawing is the minimum you can expect.

  1. Home art gallery

Why not turn your home into a weekend art gallery?

Use ads to attract work from local artists, sculptors and craftsmen, and make money by charging a commission on sales (33 per cent is average). You can even charge visitors a small admission fee.

Get the gallery known by putting up posters and signs and distributing leaflets, and build up a database of art fanatics and buyers who can be mailed with details of new exhibitions.

Themed displays are good for attracting publicity, so send press releases to newspapers, radio and TV companies. Also attempt to attract sponsorship from local firms. Businesses commonly use arts sponsorship as a way of improving their image and forging links with the local community and might pay a hefty fee to have display entitled ‘ The Boggs  Corp. Exhibition of Local Landscape Art’.

  1. Leasing art

Another way to make money from works of art is to lease them to local firms. Offices, hotels and restaurants love to have attractive works on display as it impresses customers and clients and gives the permission and ‘up-market’ appearance.

The main reason they’ll pay to rent them from you as opposed to buying them outright from a dealer, is that the rental cost is tax deductible, whereas the purchase cost usually isn’t and they’ll be able to swap items when they got bored with them.

Once you’ve built up a store of works, mail companies with details of your service. When an item is rented out, split the fee with its creator.

  1. Private art school

A wonderful way to exploit / establish your reputation as an artist and make some regular cash at the same time is to set up a private art school. Classes could be held in your home, in a local gallery, a village hall or community centre, or even in one of your pupils’ homes.

What you teach depends on your aptitudes. You could give a series of lessons in your specialist subject, which might be anything from sketching to sculpture, of you could recruit other artists to give talks and demonstrations on a range of art-related subjects.

  1. Painting posters

Another way to make profitable use of your abilities is by painting posters. Retailers use them use them to advertise prices, discounts and sales, businesses use them for publicity purposes, and they’re commonly used by clubs and church too.

Contact organisations and show them examples of your work.

  1. Artists’ agency

You can earn lucrative commissions by setting up an agency that supplies businesses and private clients with suitable artists for paid work (for murals, posters, portraits, or anything else described above).

Through extensive marketing – perhaps a direct mail campaign, backed up with telephone calls, posters, plus newspaper / Yellow Pages listings – you can set your agency up as the first port of call whenever someone requires a trained artist for a particular job. Putting together a catalogue of local artists is an effective marketing method.

This is a perfect opportunity for anyone with good contacts and could easily be run in conjunction with and art school or gallery.

  1. Hand painted gifts

No matter how modest your artistic talent there are plenty of things you can make paint by hand and then sell via gifts shops, market stalls, boot sales, or by mail order.

By coming up with an original design or a witty angle you could soon put together a range of products that are both innovative and profitable. Here are just a few items you can make using the minimum of inexpensive materials and paint: badges, jars and boxes, tablecloths, lampshades, jigsaw puzzles, earrings, animal key rings, house name plaques.

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