The Art of Making Money Off Of Art

I could choose from hundreds of ideas for a first post, but I stumbled upon this specific one for a variety of reasons. When I was younger, I assumed that you had to be dead to be famous as an artist. I also soon after came to the realization that I didn’t want to be famous anyways. I never wanted my art in galleries to be sold for millions, but I did want to make a small difference in the art community.

At the age of twelve I created a social media page for art that quickly gained around 22k followers. I was able to see the effects that art had on people, and how urged the average Joe was to get his hands on it. I deleted the account soon after, but it gave me an idea- what if I could make a business out of this? A few years later I started attending art festivals as “Brooke Lamberti Artwork,” which now looking back, I could have made the name a little more creative. I sold prints and originals, and offered services in drawing commissions such as portraits or family pets. For a teenager, the business picked up and soon I was busy with making all of this artwork, and in return, a nice profit.

girl fixing bike
But I noticed one thing—I didn’t enjoy it anymore. I enjoyed seeing peoples’ faces and being able to pay for things, but art lost it’s interest. I started doing art for other people and for the money, and it became about how fast I could get it done rather than enjoying it. I was void of all inspiration for the longest time, and fell into a depression because of how frustrated I was. Nobody was even buying my prints any more, and I received very little inquiries for commissions. I still continued to go to art show after art show, hoping somewhere along the line I’d create new artwork, but I didn’t. I cancelled numerous First Fridays and amazing opportunities because I didn’t enjoy what I was doing.  I took a break and a few months later decided to turn some of my sketches into prints.

can and flowerdunking cup

They clearly showed much less effort, but they held on to a certain passion that my more detailed pieces were lacking. They didn’t feel mechanically done. People raved. I sold more of those prints than I had any other piece of art.

Now I’m in college for art. I thought it would cause me to be exponentially more inspired and creative, but I find myself stuck in a rut once more, in fact worse than ever. Well, I did. A few days ago it dawned on me. We are people pleasers. I am a people pleaser. I will NEVER make a job out of being an artist if I only create art for good grades or extra cash.

So here’s the answer:

The art of making money off art, or getting a good grade in art, or letting people enjoy your art, is to enjoy it yourself, and only for yourself. I started drawing more simply because it felt freeing and less like something I had to do. It’s not just about the talent or how well you know something, it’s about the passion behind it. If you don’t have the passion, you won’t have people buying your work. I started giving away my art prints, giving away my artwork to people who resonated with it. I don’t need to sell my work for hundreds of dollars. As nice as that WAS, I’ve found myself to be a better artist if I’m not.

I’m not sure if anyone else finds themselves in a rut, but after owning an art business for three years now, I see how harmful people pleasing is to the artist’s eye. It’s a simple message, but I think an important mantra anyone going into an art career could find helpful. Art for arts sake is also art for your sake. Art for my sake. Art because it heals, and people pay you when they know your heart’s into it.

poem and hand


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.