Making a living as a spiritual artist - Spill some tea on the Why & the How
Hello & Welcome ( or welcome back) to my blog!
Today, I would like to spill some tea with you guys on my experience of making a living as a spiritual artist. Looking back it was only over a year but boys! I feel like 5 years in business already lol... It's just that there has been so much that happened and I have never learned this much in my whole life. It is definitely excited, lots of laugh & tear. And the most important thing is that everyday I wake up feeling so energetic & loved like diving in a big warm hug from a higher source within me. It is magical. And I want to share the story of this magic with you today.
First of all, what is spiritual artist?
I think the definition of a spiritual artist is very personal and could be different to different people. You could say all artists create from within so their artworks can be defined as spiritual too. What my definition of spiritual artist is simply an artist whose content is around the spiritual subjects of meditation, yoga, chakra balancing, and any other spiritual practices. So there we go, that sums up pretty much what I do with my art.
My art journey started since I could remember, probably around 3 or 4 years old. I always love drawing, and making crafts. But my journey of doing art full time only started officially at the beginning of 2021. It was a long time of self denial and didn't align my higher purpose with my action. I knew from over 20 years ago that there was a part of me that love making art my career, and the other part of me was too scared to follow that dream. So, I studied architecture instead and worked as interior designer for a total 10+ years. There was a time I joined a spiritual path and became a nun ( for 3+ years) and learned that I should always tune into my inner voice; though it still took me another 5 years to make a leap to quit anything else for art.
My art is an expression and reflection of my inner world or I call it the inner beauty, the power that I believe is stronger than we can even imagine. And with the assist of spiritual practices, we can always tap into that infinite source of power/ beauty.
So this was how I started my journey. I quit my full time job as an interior designer and opened an Etsy shop and my own shop through Shopify ( the platform that you are reading my blog right now). In this post, I will tell you exactly how I make a living as a spiritual artist:
1. My own shop selling digital prints: As you can see from my website, I have over 50 items that listed as digital downloads. Most of the customers are coming from my Instagram @Innerbeautybysierra and also @sierra.illustration. Both instagrams I have over 3k+ followers and they are pretty much separate from each other and different followers as well. I decided to run 2 different art accounts because these two have different art styles, one is vintage line art, the other is fantasy/ fairy tale like. Other stream of customers coming from my pinterest
2. Making commission through Instagram & Etsy: In the end of 2020, I started to take commission designing yoga towels for a Hongkong brand, then a music album cover for a Kiwi singer. And it all started from there, I purchased an ipad after these small gigs so I could draw faster and more proffessional. In early 2021, my first gig was to draw an oracle deck with Zamm, a well known tarot author in Wellington. And commissions keep coming through my Instagram. I guess the key is to keep creating and posting consistently, there are more opportunites than we thought. Etsy is another place where I take commision and I usually earn a lot more from this source as customers here are willing to pay a lot more for art. I found many people connecting me through Instagram as they don't have big budget for hiring artist. But on Etsy, I could charge $40 up to $50 per hour, and one piece could take 5-8 hours.
3. Selling printable on Etsy: I love selling on Etsy as they have a large amount of existing customers. Etsy is a great marketplace to start and build the audience. Something that I make sure I do in every listing is to include a freebies that mentions my website, my social media, my podcast & youtube... to build my own audience. I found that we can't depend on Etsy for traffic as the sale can dive down over time so it isn't really a great passive income stream. And another downside is that they just raise their fee lately so benefits to seller is a bit less.
4. Selling POD on Red Bubble, Society6,...: When talking about passive income (well "passive" here means putting in the work upfront, and making some income even when we are sleeping - it doesn't mean that we work less - the true passive income I would say is more from stuff like investing long term in index fund,...), Red Bubble is a lot better than Etsy in a way that we don't need to answer customers' questions, don't need to deal with any of that; and we could make more sales over time.
These are all of my income streams. Even they aren't a lot but I did survive my first year of being a full time artist. And what my career provides me isn't only money to pay the bills but also a great lifestyle. I was still able to go to yoga most day ( the same as I did when doing my interior design job), and even better as I could do yoga anytime I want and see my friends during week day. Because guess what I am my own boss! And in the deeper level, I love being who I am, what I truly want and feel connected & in an alignment with my higher self.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ME THIS YEAR:
- 2022 is so exciting for me. I just signed up for a table at Armageddon this October in Auckland! And I will be selling physical prints of my artworks, yoga coloring books, moon calendars, embroidery arts,... and many many other things. I am still planning and finding some good local printing shops to help me with these. And thanks to the universe! I got reached out by StickerDot. They printed my branding stickers and just shipped to my door a couple of weeks ago. These cute Art Paper Stickers are the start of everything. If you have been following my artworks for a while, you could perhaps recognise this illustration in my logo. This is one of the very first drawings I did in 2020. Thanks to StickerDot, the drawing is now my branding stickers. If you are interested in looking at what they offer in their service, check them out at https://www.stickerdot.co.nz/
- Another plan for this 2022 is that I am going to run an in-person art/meditation club for women in Auckland with my friend. We will host meditative art & crafts workshops ( by donation/koha - free if you are financially struggling). This has been always one of the things I wanted to do after starting my full time art business. And now second year in this journey, I am so ready! I used to do meditation workshops & classes with my friends when I was in my spiritual path. And another fun fact is that I am a certified meditation teacher and has been meditating for over 8 years.
So that is all for this lengthy blog post, I hope to see some of you guys at Armageddon this October or at my meditation & art club.
You can watch my Youtube video on my first year as a spiritual artist here to see some other details on selling art online:
PS: Do check out StickerDot. They are a great business & I can't wait to work with them and print out some more stickers x