If you have a passion for art, you’ve probably been told most of your life that you need to decide on a real job. Most people don’t think of painting, sculpting, photography, writing, or other artistic pursuits as a serious career, and parents all around the world have visions of their children graduating art school and moving back home, never reaching true professional success.
There are plenty of artists in the world with successful careers, and some of them have actually amassed a fortune based on talent, drive, and good business sense. If you’re willing to market your work and look for innovative opportunities in today’s changing world, you can achieve great things.
Here are three examples of artists who made it to the top, living
proof that you can do what you love and get paid. A lot.
1. David Choe
A prolific graffiti artist raised in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, Choe had already achieved success designing album covers and set decoration for feature films when he was recruited to paint Facebook’s first California office. Choe was offered $60,000 for the task, but he chose to invest in Facebook stock instead.
He reportedly sold a portion of the stock for $200 million, but the New York Times estimates his remaining shares of Facebook could be worth up to $500 million today. Not that he owes all his success to one smart gamble. Choe continues to create distinctive paintings and murals, including a portrait of President Obama that hangs in the White House.
2. Takashi Murakami
Widely regarded as the most prolific living artist in Japan, Takashi Murakami works in many different mediums, from painting and sculpture to more commercial, modern art. His longtime collaboration with Luis Vuitton and various hip hop artists has skyrocketed his worth to over $100 million, and he is credited with single-handedly reinventing the post-war Japanese art world.
But Murakami’s head for business is what really makes him stand out. He employs over 100 people and markets everything from fashion to toys, showing how diverse art can be and how easy it is to influence a variety of industries. His brand name alone keeps the money rolling in.
3. Damien Hirst
There’s probably no bigger name in millionaire artists than Englishman Damien Hirst, the richest artist alive. It’s hard to pinpoint why Hirst has become such a phenomenon besides pure talent and innovation that has come to help define modern Britart. His displays of dissected animals in formaldehyde as well as his abstract paintings became immensely recognizable.
In 2008, he sold an entire show through Sotheby’s, which went for nearly $200 million and broke the record for a single-artist auction. After a successful autobiography and several entrepreneurial pursuits, Hirst’s net worth is estimated at over a billion dollars. Being a millionaire artist was only the beginning for him.
Not every artist will make millions of dollars, but art can be the gateway to a successful future. None of these artists relied on their work being discovered to guarantee them their fortune or help them keep it.
If you’re willing to look at art as a business
like any other, the possibilities are endless.
Artists create something unique and find the ability to see the world in an entirely new way. There’s never been a time in history where that skill was more valuable than now.
Post by Jena Daniels. Jena blogs for business sites. Interested in getting an MBA to augment your artistic career? You may be interested to know that Pepperdine’s online MBA degree program is highly rated.
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