Unless you own a money tree, you probably have had to work at a job other than art at one time or another. Even the most famous artists have had to work at other jobs early in their careers.

I’ve lost count of the number of jobs I have had over the years. My most recent employment has been as a fish plant worker for 7 years. That fish plant is closed now, and I’ve been out of the “work force” for about a year. But, I have been making the best of the situation by working on my art, and blogging here at Artpromotivate (both of which are a full time job).

I have asked the artists in the artist spotlight this question: “Do you have a job besides being an artist?”

Read on to see how they answer this question.

  1. Dennis Sheil

    Springing to Life Dennis Sheil Napa Valley area, CA  USA

    Style: Primarily abstract

    Medium: Acrylic on canvas, mixed media acrylic on canvas


    ”I am an office/field engineer for a construction management firm. Additionally, my wife and I are owners of Rio Vista Pizza Factory in Rio Vista, CA.  Both of these jobs are very rewarding, but also very stressful at times.  Abstract and non-representational painting gives me an opportunity to let go of the finite, structured details I deal with as an office engineer and business owner.  It is incredibly liberating and fulfilling to be able to dump the data, let loose, and let the paint flow.”

  2. Ruslana Lev

    Two Red Umbrellas Ruslana Lev Ontario, Canada

    Style: Varies, Mostly representational

    Medium: painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor, acrylic on glass), drawing (ink, pencil, charcoal), sculpture


    ”I sometimes teach at Halyna's Art and Design Academy as well as have organized workshops, especially around Easter Egg painting in a traditional style of 'pysanky'.”

  3. Deborah Parks

    energy flow Southeast USA

    Style: Abstract Realism

    Medium: Acrylics, oils, graphite, color pencil


    ”My only regret is that I listened to my parents and instead of following my passion I got a full-time job; then another job, and another.  I was never happy and never fit in  the 9-5 daily grind.  Only when I am creating am I happy!”

  4. Kevin Nodland

    blue Pinellas Park, Florida, United States

    Style: Abstract expressionism, Surrealism, Digital Expression

    Medium: Pen and ink, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, acrylic, watercolor, and digital design.


    ”I did have a job as a printer on pens for 15 years until my back went out and surgery did not fix it, so they fired me in April 2013, that's why I went full time artist.”

  5. Debra Purcell
    indigo Debra Purcell
    Ohio, USA

    Style: Nueve Pointillism

    Medium: Acrylic

    Day-time Job:

    ”Housewife and mother.  I paint daily.  Love to take care of the home, my husband and children in between each color drying!”

  6. Brandy Manuel
    Brandy Manuel Wash Away
    Midwest US

    Style: Expressionism, Realism

    Medium: Charcoal, pastels, oils, acrylic


    ”Well, as you can imagine I have to hold down a steady job to pay my student loans. I work for a Telecommunications company as a contractor and do provisioning work, build spreadsheets, order completion, and the like. My coworkers enjoy artwork, and I rotate my cubicle display regularly.”

  7. Ksusha Scott
    Ksusha Scott

    Style: Painting

    Medium: Oil and acrylic

    Other job:

    ”Besides doing art and related art projects I'm a full time mom. I have a 2 wonderful boys age of 6 and 1. My life is very busy and rewarding.”

  8. Lana Arft

    Cloudy Night Midwest, USA

    Style: abstract mostly

    Medium: acrylic and mixed media


    ”I am currently not working. I worked retail for many years and I'll never do it again.”

  9. Ion Vincent Danu
    Crablike Creature Quebec, Canada, now for a while in Sibiu, Romania, Europe.

    Style: An (original, I hope) mixture of post-impressionism, expressionism and surrealism, depending on mood; sometimes, abstract expressionism too.

    Medium: acrylics, watercolor, ink, pastel


    ”I've teached artistical expression (acrylics and watercolor) to catholic nuns in a private institute for 10 years. But I've also worked in a Call center when times were hard. Strictly to pay the bills.”

  10. Leonor Braga

    Espiga leonor braga Orlando, Florida, United States - originally from from Caracas, Venezuela.

    Style: Contemporary Art, I enjoy to paint textured abstract art and some traditional art.

    Medium: I work with different types of mediums including oil, acrylic, ink , pastels and texture. But for now I have been enjoying working with acrylic and textures on canvas doing abstract art and some traditional art.


    ”I have worked more than 25 years in executive firms, now I am retired doing what I was meant to do in my life create art.”


What about you? Are you currently working at a job other than art, or have you in the past?


  1. As an artist, I have always had to be resourceful and resilient. This is something young artist/student need to know if they choose the artist's way of life.

    Being willing and able to work at whatever job I could find, has been ongoing. Finding a job to enjoy or love, perhaps in even finding a way to encorporate creativity into a day job, while pursuing my art, is most satisfying and fortunate.

  2. Art By Lisabelle
    Political Activism. Currently employed and it is non-profit. I am very involved in promoting Americans rights to choose a safer alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes, which currently are very affodable and available with much Anti Smokers trying to ban them. Being able to express myself creatively is due to 26 years of being an artist/homemaker/caregiver. I had over 10 years as a Plastics Fabricator, (Point-of-Purchase Display Market). The work took it's toll on my feet and hands, the latter is blasphemous to the love of using my hands to create art. Funny how the body sends an important messages to it's host. I live on the air. That is a borrowed line from a lesser known recording artist, that I had the pleasure to have heard. ".....do they think an artist lives on the air, they'd like some luxuries too, someone should come along and give them to you......hay hay mister melodie man, if you can't do it right than nobody can" and another song that is haunting by an ecclectic Musician and Performers from the 60's THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND Robin Williamson and Mike Herron who wrote a song that says......"somewhere in my mind there is a painting box, I have every color there it's true.... just lately when I look inside my painting box, ...I seem to pick the colors of you........." Try being a single divorced Mother, 45 years old, the only woman in factory in a specialized manufacturing of Plastic displays, when you have painted for over 14 years seriously, prior to that. Then the song goes on in the brain, and replays it's mocking message. This topic for me is crazy making and I agree with many above, who found that it was something to leave behind, when opportunity to do so was available. Artist is an occupation, and that old joke, killed Vincent Van Gogh and is still crazy making. I can't come up with anything else. LOL :-d

  3. I was blessed to have the right path available to me to be a Freelance Artist/Muralist for almost two decades of my life, but at the same time I was a manager or assistant manager in retail stores off and on to keep the ends being met. In 2009 my health started declining and I became completely disabled while still having to try and up port my family. Thankfully my fiancé has a great job (and is a Professional Photographer part time on the side, as well as gives private lighting lessons too). Since then, I've been able to focus on parenting, and trying to work on my art as much as my health allows. I sell my art pieces here and there as I can, and am thankful for being able to still do so. If I was not disabled, I'd probably still be working two jobs, one as an employee for some company, and part time as an artist.

  4. I have worked full time for the past 34 years as an artist, with no other income other than that.
    I have made a very good living in those 34 years, but since the down turn in the economy I have been struggling for the past 3 years, and have had to seek a part time job to help make ends meet.
    Having the good fortune to be able to focus on nothing but my art for 34 years as my career, I feel very blessed and thankful. Now that I am working a part time job that has no artistic aspect to it, I am anxious at the end of the day to get back into my studio and be in my element. I have to say it has made me realize what a blessing it is to be able to make a good living at what you love and were gifted to do.


Thank-you for your comment!