Can you do art for a living?

Meyersaurus

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I paint and draw quite a lot, and up until a year ago, I only painted (boring) portraits, or things people asked me to paint without really putting in my personality.
Now, I started painting environmentalist, sinister, sometimes surreal motives which seem to repel people because of the gloomy atmosphere. Even when I try to paint something happy (gross) it winds up being dark on some level.
I'm very passionate about art as long as I paint what I want (art class was terrible because of that) but I feel like those won't sell. It's not like I do art for a living, but I'm thinking of pursuing that (in an activist way) to fund projects for instance.
Anyway, long story short: Do you think I have to rethink my painting style, or can I even make something out of it?
 
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mavrick45

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I think you should first try to sell your art how it is now without changing the style, you never know! maybe you'll get a lot more sales than you think
 
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Meyersaurus

Meyersaurus

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Thanks:)

Let me show you one of my latest (probably darkest) paintings as a reference... It's my interpretation of a carnivore: A person with carnivore-teeth who bites into a piglet. (I added the emoji line just in case, because I don't always sign my paintings as I think signatures take away from the painting)
My very latest painting is a naked man who eats his own foot (it's supposed to showcase how people's eating habits will eventually fall back on them) and people are legitimately scared when they see my artworks
What do you think?
 

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Sax

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If it's evoking a strong emotional response then it's more effective than most art. Dark themes might be harder to commercialize but you'll probably do your best and most original work if you ignore what other people want to see. That said a little mystery or ambiguity can get people to look at and think about your painting more instead of wanting to look away immediately, and rethinking your style/experimenting/challenging yourself is generally a good idea.

The punk and metal scenes use a lot of dark imagery so maybe those folks will be more receptive. I bet there's a metal band in your area that would pay for album artwork, or fans that might buy some canvas.
 

LaughingDove

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Meyersaurus, if you wish to continue with your current art themes, then you might investigate the best formats to use. I don't think too many people would want to have a large poster size version of your dark themed paintings. However, you should look into adapting your designs to things like t-shirts. If you get some good products, then you could begin marketing them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. There could also be some animal rights groups who would be interested in marketing them along with the rest of their merchandise.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I know people who sell their art in cafes around town, or who sold their paintings on Venice Beach to tourists in LA.

I second the idea of combining your painting and drawing with digital media to produce posters, tee shirts, throw pillows, wallets, whatever...one of my favorite artists, Ryan Connors, painted the art on my wallet and she sued Urban Outfitters (or was it Hot Topic?) for selling her images on throw pillows without giving her a cut.
 
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