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Street artist If Banksy is your hero and you’ve got more than a smidgen of artistic talent, then becoming a street artist is a creative career move that will reward you with everything from accolades to outright scorn. Oh yes, as a street artist you’ll never have a dull moment, as this often misunderstood art form tends to be a magnet for controversy. Luckily it also attracts a range of other things, including connection, a sense of community and, for some artists, a really good income. Street art is a form of visual art that appears in an outdoor setting. Using a wide variety of materials and mediums, street art was once considered an illegal activity only performed by teen vandals with too much time on their hands. Thanks to a growing appreciation of street art, the once-illegal activity now has plenty of scope and has been turned into a legitimate business by savvy artists. For the purposes of this book, I’m referring to the street (or graffiti) artists who have turned their street art skills into a career and made a business out of creating art in approved outdoor locations, not the people who remain underground, obsessed with not ‘selling out’, who think that earning a living from graffiti is a no-go because it’s an anti-Establishment art form that shouldn’t be corrupted by money. Love it or loathe it, it exists and is a valid career these days. Stencils, paste-ups (posters), painted murals and installations are the most common forms of legal, commissioned street art, and can be found in bars, restaurants, car parks and public parks all over the world, from Los Angeles to Berlin. Realising the huge visual impact street art can have on the public, many governments have engaged with street artists to beautify the city and even convey important messages. As such, street art has flourished in almost

every city in the world. From the messages of peace emblazoned on the streets of Belfast to portraits of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, street art has changed the face of many a city. So how do you monetise your talent for turning brick walls into works of art seen by thousands, if not millions? Like all other careers in the arts, it can be difficult to earn a living from your creativity, especially when you’re starting out. Materials like spray paint can be expensive and with murals taking a long time to plan, sketch and pull off, it can be difficult to set your pricing and even more difficult to connect with potential customers when you’re an unknown. The good news is that many talented street artists have managed to turn their passion into a business by marketing themselves to individuals, councils, corporations and brands. From homeowners who want to commission an artist to paint a wall in their backyard to businesses who want a mural as a part of their office, and local councils who want to include street art within their precinct, street artists can make money from a variety of avenues. Some clever street artists have also started teaching workshops and leading street art tours of their neighbourhoods, so being savvy about building new income streams is really an essential part of the business. Apart from having artistic skills, street artists need to have good listening skills to be able to paint to a brief, marketing knowledge to be able to connect with potential customers, and a good work ethic to be able to stick with a big piece or difficult medium (quitting halfway through a mural is a really bad look). With the best of the best earning six-figure salaries and travelling far and wide to paint in locations around the world, this is an arts career with serious pulling power.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: None. Experience required: Experience working with a variety of mediums and materials is essential. Painting an outdoor mural isn’t the same as working on a canvas with watercolours. Training: Some graffiti artists have training in fine arts and other artistic disciplines, but this isn’t necessary. Restrictions: None.

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I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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