Lifestyle: where to live and work

Van dweller Palo Alto, CA photo by ZZ

I was taught growing up that jobs were for sissies, somehow you were supposed to suffer and sacrifice and be poor to do art. Money was evil. One was a sell out if one did make it as an artist. the only real alternative was to just suffer along with no health insurance, no car and no indoor plumbing.

Later I decided money was just a tool and I wanted with all my heart to make money as an artist and lots of it.

I am not saying that full time money solely from art can’t be done and I have had freelance projects that have made my hourly pay jobs look like a joke. But in between projects I have ended up working a lot of different jobs. While you plan your you leap to full time art there are some vocations that can be flexible and undemanding enough that it gives you breathing space.

Looking back on life I think that for me personally I would have been happier to have a vocation to “fall back on” all along instead of working low paying jobs I hated between freelance illustration jobs. Making art for money and having that in the back of ones mind all the time can squash the creativity that makes good art that is genuine, fresh and thus really a successful product to sell.

There are so many good vocations that can be done part time or freelance, dropped in and out of without penalties or problems

Financial stability can be a wonderful base for an artistic project to take off.


Undemanding Jobs and gigs

Vocations that artists can do that can pay well but do not take too much time or energy away from art. I am working on a series of articles with descriptions and ratings, for pay, training time pros, and cons, for jobs and gigs  I have actually done or am in the process of training for. Check back for more links or sign up to get the latest.

Spa sales believe it or not the down time is 6 months per year and the pay is pretty decent.

Freelance web design

Dance teacher

Puppeteer and puppet making workshops


Obvious Gigs

Modeling for art classes

Live in Caregiver

Vacation rental cleaning, house cleaning Handy app jobs

Driving gigs, Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Caviar, (not recommended)

Waitressing, Catering, cocktail server

Vocational  Training that pays

Massage therapist

Pilates Trainer

Nursing Assistant

Medical Assistant


Fitness instructor or personal trainer

ESL trainer

Sleaze Factor Jobs

Lingerie Model

Exotic Dancer



Traditional Art Gigs

(Actually quite demanding)

Teaching art

Raising money through grants, patrieon, social media


Photo by Z .Zuniga
Photo by Z .Zuniga

Should you Simplify or Elaborate?

A huge art studio is a lot of fun but when you are starting out you might need to save. I have had large studio spaces of my own, shared space with other artists and at the moment I am saving for a van abode. Tiny house? Gypsy Wagon? combination of two or three? It all depends on where you are in the process.

Should you work a full time job and do art as a side gig or a hobby or would you rather have a couple of side gigs while you build your art business.

Private Oakland, CA studio space that cost me $450 per month in 2016 but was in a bad neighborhood.

Shared studio space for $300 a month in 2015 in Berkeley, CA, but lots of drama from a few of the 30 tenants.