Art startups

artist business ideas
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Starving artists no more. With the growth of the gig economy and the increasing popularity of side hustles, that old cliche no longer has to apply to artists. Here are 10 industries where entrepreneurial artists can succeed in business.

3D printer artist

3D printer artist
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The increasing popularity and availability of 3D printers has brought with it an entirely new class of artist. If you have knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD), you can create your own designs and figurines, bring them to life with a 3D printer, and sell them on online marketplaces like Etsy or at flea markets, storefronts and galleries.

Art teacher

franchise
Credit: Painting with a Twist
Were you a TA for art classes in college? Have you been able to find and enjoy steady work as an artist? Congratulations. You're qualified to teach classes and impart your wisdom to aspiring artists or novices. While this option may be best as a part-time gig, you can still make good money offering hourlong classes at local craft and art supply stores, community centers, or your home, or you can become an instructor for a paint-and-sip franchise. If you're tech-savvy, you can even create and offer your own online courses and webinars.

Paint-and-sip franchise owner

Paint-and-sip franchise owner
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If teaching a painting class isn't your speed, consider opening a franchise like Painting with a Twist or Pinot's Palette. In case you haven't yet experienced it for yourself, participants pay a fee to enjoy a fun, relaxing painting class with their friends while sipping their favorite beverages. Become a franchisee, own your own business, and support local artists who can teach the classes.

Custom airbrushing

artist business ideas
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Whether you're working on cars, motorcycles, murals or clothing, there's a world of possibilities for an airbrushing artist. You'll need to purchase some equipment to get started, like an air compressor, stencil materials and, of course, paints and airbrushes. Airbrushing can be done in a well-ventilated storefront, kiosk, or even at home in your garage on a freelance or project basis. You can also create and sell airbrushed paintings.

Tattoo artist

artist business ideas
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Tattoos have become immensely popular over the last 10 years, which has caused a huge demand for tattoo artists. Working in a tattoo studio can be a lucrative career path for talented artists, but it definitely takes time and education to build up to it. According to WikiHow, to become a tattoo artist, you need to complete an apprenticeship with an experienced tattoo artist, take tattooing courses, and obtain your state certification. Once you're certified, referrals from satisfied customers will be one of your biggest sources of business. If the act of tattooing isn't your thing, you can design tattoos for popular artists or sell your original tattoo designs to studios.

Makeup artist

artist business ideas
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Today, you don't need to attend beauty or cosmetology school to launch a successful makeup business. A good reputation with your clients and a strong knowledge of the ever-changing cosmetics industry is enough to get you going. Since beauty professionals often build their businesses through client referrals, offer your services to friends and family for free or at a discounted rate at first. Once you build up a solid customer base, you can charge competitive rates for weddings, proms and other formal events.

Graphic designer/artist

Graphic designer/artist
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With marketers and advertisers looking to create eye-catching and informative graphics for online and social media campaigns, the demand for creative and reliable graphic designers is on the rise. If you're looking to create work offline, you can help clients design magazine and book layouts, greeting cards, newsletters, etc. A good place to start is to look for freelancing opportunities: You can try sites like Upwork and Toptal. Once you have a steady client base, you can consider going into business for yourself.

Silk screener

clothing-line
Credit: "Burning Lies Re-Inked" shirt image via Seventh.Ink
Ever think about making your artwork into a T-shirt? Athleisure and mixing comfortable clothing items with higher-end or more polished pieces have been prevailing style trends for the last couple of years – the T-shirt business alone is a multibillion-dollar industry – so going into the silk-screening business could be a lucrative career path for you. You can keep your startup costs relatively low if you don't buy your own printing equipment and market and sell your inventory online.

Video game designer

Video game designer
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Video games have become so much more advanced, lifelike and detailed over the last couple of years, especially with the advent of VR. If you have the right skills and connections to tap into that industry, you can cultivate one heck of a career and make quite a pretty penny.

Web designer

Web designer
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If you know HTML and CSS programming, you can use that and your artistic talents to create and develop one-of-a-kind website designs. While many companies provide out-of-the-box web designs for those looking to build their own sites, many individuals and businesses are willing to pay top dollar for innovative designs that set their websites apart from the pack.

Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl, Nicole Fallon and Adam C. Uzialko.