I learned at a relatively young age that an artist can no longer sit behind an agent or manager and wait for the art world to come to them. That rarely happens, unless you're part of a very elite 1% of artists. Even so, Damien Hirst has to make appearances and communicate with others about his work from time to time. So for those of us in the 99% - we hustle.
My first job was at Taco John's (midwest people know whats up). I really loved it. I loved working. Work hard- play hard- live hard. I was not one to keep a steady job by any means, I'm pretty sure I worked at around 20 different places from age 15- 21. Some people are so afraid of change and i'm afraid of steady. I like to mix it up, have as many different experiences as possible. Some of the random shit I did: Taco maker, waitress (like 10 different places), worked at Dillard's for a while, Claire's in the mall (worst fucking job ever, I was told to pierce ears with no training and I got that stupid ear gun stuck in like three babies ears....), hostess, I used to pick up something from banks after they closed and deliver them to some random building (i'm still not even sure what the hell I was picking up and dropping off but it payed well), lab teach at a wood shop (still not sure how I landed that since i'm afraid of most power tools), I cleaned houses for a while, worked in the photo lab, I was a barista, I worked at a credit card company in collections (i'm sorry). I cringe at the thought of a future employer reading this and thinking, ummmm NO. However, this is not how I live my life today. I realized all of that shifting and changing is tiring and when you find a job you truly love, you don't want to leave it!
While going to Humboldt State University I was a photo lab tech for a little over three years. Then when I started my Masters at UNLV I received an assistantship where I taught two photography classes each semester. I loved it! I knew it was a match and that on top of hustling to sell my own work I would be overjoyed teaching art. When I was at UNLV I was a scholarship freak. I applied for everything ( this is another part of being an artist hustler, there are tons of grants out there for you to support making work and a living as an artist, don't underestimate free money cuz it's out there!). I received an Arts Bridge scholarship that gave me the opportunity to work with elementary students. I worked with 8th graders and 2nd graders. I WAS IN LOVE. Making lesson plans and showing these little babes the possibilities of art was so cool. I knew that I wanted to teach a younger crowd.
I know that a lot of artists can make it just as an artist and don't have to find another job if they hustle hard enough, but I never wanted that. I enjoy spreading my time between several things, as you might have guessed if you read the first post. Everyone wants different things out of life and that's the best part. If you want something you can have it, and who cares what someone else wants!
While I am waiting to start my second masters program I am hustling in ways I never have! I'm selling my personal items on eBay and Depop. After traveling in Europe for two and a half months with only what would fit in my backpack I realized I had way to much shit. Life was really awesome while traveling. I wasn't distracted by my things! My friend gave me the book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and I cleaned out about 3/4 of what I owned. I've never felt more liberated! The majority of what I owned were books. This is great and makes me seem very scholarly, however most of them I never read and if I did I no longer needed them. Half.com is whats up if you need to sell some of your books! The image at the top is a current item I have up for sale on Depop at a very good price! Shameless promotion! You can look up my stores online under my name shelbischroeder.
On top of online stores, I'm currently getting a plethora of items together to refurbish with textiles I've designed and sell on my website. Below is a serving tray I worked on yesterday. I will have more items to show on here soon, but i'm hoping to put together a nice collection before selling them on my site.
Society 6 is a great place to sell prints and have your work placed on apparel and home decor. The one bummer is that you don't get a huge profit from this site, but you do get your name out there. My hope is to someday have all of this on my own website instead of outsourcing , but when you don't have a ton of money to put into the production of items, websites like this are great for sharing your work with a small profit.
Although i'm not a part of this scene yet, Bucketfeet is a cool company that sells shoes designed by artists. This is another cool outlet. http://www.bucketfeet.com/
The bottom line I've made for myself is I always have the possibility to be making money out there. Yes, things my not fly off the shelf at your eBay store, but at least your putting it out there and sooner or later you will sell somethings.
Things don't happen for people that don't do things. Don't be afraid to fail. Failing gives you the opportunity to see where you are vulnerable and you take that information and figure out how to succeed. HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE.