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How Much Do Artists Make?

10 min read

The life of an artist is often filled with passion and creativity, and while this is undoubtedly true, we all know there is also a financial side and a need to hustle. There is a common belief that artists always work for themselves and make the minimum needed to survive. While many artists do get to work for themselves with very little to no supervision, most artists find themselves working under a contract or as full-time employees for someone in need of their skills. Also, many might be surprised at the level of financial stability a good majority of artists achieve.

One of the most common questions asked by those considering a career in the arts is, “How much do artists make?” The truth is the answer to this question varies depending on the specific field of art, level of experience, and location, but we hope that after this quick read, you can have an idea of how much an artist can make based on their industry or specific skills.

Let’s dive in and take and have a quick look at the life of an artist and how much artists make.

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More Than One Type of Artist

Contrary to common belief, while painting is the primary branch of art with a lot of history and culture behind it, an artist is not limited to someone who paints or draws for a living. The truth is, an artist is simply a creator or anyone with the ability and talent to conceptualize an emotion, feeling, moment, or idea. This can be someone in architecture, ceramics, music, makeup, or even the fashion industry, and so much more. With this in mind let’s find out more about what an artist makes based on their industry or creative field.

How much does a tattoo artist make?

Tattoo artists are a unique group of artists who create permanent body art. A tattoo artist in the US, according to Zippia, makes around $54,000 per year. This amount can vary depending on the artist’s level of experience & popularity. Some of the top tattoo artists can earn up to six figures a year or more.

How much do artists make on Spotify or Apple?

Musicians, on the other hand, can earn their income through multiple streams, including music sales, merchandise, live shows, and streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Information is Beautiful reported that Spotify pays artists an average of $0.0032 per stream, while Apple Music pays $0.0056 per stream. However, the amount of money earned through streaming services can vary widely depending on the number of streams an artist receives and the terms of their contract.

How much do makeup artists make?

Makeup artists are another group of artists who have a significant impact on the entertainment industry. The average salary for a makeup artist in the United States, According to Zippia, is around $49,000 per year. This amount can vary depending on the artist’s experience & clientele. However, some of the top celebrity makeup artists can earn up to $100,000 per year or more.

How much do celebrity makeup artists make?

When it comes to celebrity makeup artists, the income potential can be even higher. According to Refinery29, some of the most popular celebrity makeup artists can earn up to $5,000 per day or more. However, it’s important to note that this level of income is typically reserved for those who have established a reputation and have a loyal clientele.

How much do artists make per stream?

Artists who distribute their work through streaming services earn money per stream. The amount earned per stream can vary based on factors such as the artist’s contract and the platform they use to distribute their work. The average amount earned per stream is typically very low, but it can add up over time.

How much do content creators make?

As a content creator, you can expect to have multiple revenues of income. The possibilities are practically endless when it comes to making money on social media. Most creators make money through partnerships or sponsorships, but you can also make money through reels, YouTube ads, and even Instagram now has a subscription feature through which your followers can pay a fee for exclusive content, similar to Patreon another platform artists often use to charge for their work and knowledge.

Nevertheless, a content creator or influencer’s income can vary depending on their following and the amount of time they dedicate to their platform.

  • Mid-influencers can make anywhere from $1,000-$10,000 a month.
  • Macro influencers can make anywhere from $10,000- $40,000 thousand a month.
  • Mega influencers can make anywhere from $50,000  $400,000 a month.

Content creation is likely one of the top-paying forms of art and comes with many benefits and support from the creator’s audience if enough effort and discipline are applied.

How much do freelance artists make?

Freelance artists are self-employed individuals that make and sell their artwork professionally. They typically create their artwork to then sell it or work hourly on temporary projects. Freelance writers are not limited to any industry or field, and almost anyone in the creative field, whether a make-up artist, fashion expert, or writer, can choose to become a freelancer.

Unlike a full-time artist working for a specific business or organization, freelance artists tend to have different clients, usually work from home, and make their own schedules. In The US the average hourly paid for freelance writers is $19, which can vary easily depending on experience, industry, length of project, location, and multiple other factors.

The reality is freelance artists are becoming more popular than ever as many continue to value the ability to make their own schedule, set their own rates, and have the opportunity to work from anywhere.

Tips to Make Money Online as An Artist

Many artists, regardless of their industry choose to sell their work or find clients online. The reality is that it can be very easy and rewarding to sell your work online as an artist. A quick example is, you can easily make anywhere from $100-$1000 as a beginner on Etsy selling your art. From quick canvas pieces, you might decide to make in your spare time to hosting your own website or art gallery to reach out to high-paying clients, it’s all achievable with just a few minutes of your time dedicated to setting up an account with a marketplace or creating your website.

To successfully make money online as an artist you should consider:

  1. Making sure you know your audience or find an audience to target with your art.
  2. Create a website or portfolio.
  3. Build connections and find creative ways to direct people to your site.
  4. Invest in high-quality photos or content for your portfolio.
  5. Implement SEO strategies so your website can have more traffic.
  6. Find an online platform like Etsy or Amazon Handmade to sell your pieces.
  7. Set competitive prices.
  8. Be unique and find something different from the rest to offer.

Regardless of the route you were planning on taking when you first clicked on this article, we hope you found some useful information on how much you can make as an artist depending on your field and overall experience level. More than set time to educate others on how much money you can earn as an artist, we hope to empower and encourage those with creative skills that it is very possible to make a living as an artist and achieve a fulfilling career, contrary to what we often hear out there. We also hope to inspire creators to find the best route for them to use and conceptualize their talent while helping them find the best way to maybe earn something from it, whether as a side hustle or a full-time business.

If you or someone you know is trying to kickstart their career as an artist but is lost on where to start, at Ecwid we make it easy for new creators to build their own website or portfolio for free without any commitments so they can test the waters and slowly start building their own business. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge today and tell us how it goes!


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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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