12 Creative Business Ideas for Artists

If you want to combine your creative skills with your entrepreneurial savvy and start a business to capitalize on your artistic skills, then you’re in luck. In this guide, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best art business ideas for you.

What is a creative arts business?

A creative art business can take many forms, but when you think of a creative business, you usually think of creation. Writing, music, design, fashion and food are just the beginning of the countless creative business opportunities out there. However, artists will likely want to focus on small art business ideas that leverage their talents in mediums such as photography, graphic design, calligraphy, and textile creation.

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What makes a good art business idea?

There are many creative art business ideas out there, but some have more potential to be more lucrative than others. For example, while there is an audience for custom mailboxes that resemble your dog, chances are they don’t have enough universal appeal to make for a booming business. To find good creative art business ideas, you need to be able to put your artistic skills to work in a business that has some legs. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering in-person or online art business ideas.

  • Is there an audience for this business?

  • Can I make a profit and offer an affordable service or product?

  • Does this business capitalize on trends without being a passing fad?

  • How saturated is the chosen market?

12 business ideas for art

Before you start your creative business, consider these ideas. For some artists, deciding on a business idea is a no-brainer, but others may need to take some time to figure out how to translate their skills into a successful business model. Either way, this list should give you some entrepreneurial inspiration.

1. Painting and Sculpture

Let’s start with an artistic business that’s almost as old as time. Painting and sculpture are two very traditional art forms for which there will always be a market. After all, we all have blank walls and empty mantels that need a bit of decoration. In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to sell your art to the masses. Expensive gallery and studio space can be exchanged for a sophisticated social media presence or an online portfolio, for example. Thanks to the internet and global shipping options, you can easily sell your art online to anyone – which means your potential customer base really is limitless.

2. Greeting Cards

With the right design and text, greeting cards can be a work of art. Not to mention, the average person buys multiple cards for a variety of occasions throughout the year. Take your design flair and sharp wit and create a range of unique and special greeting cards. Not to mention that starting a greeting card business can also be very inexpensive since your materials are cheaper compared to other art forms. Depending on your business model, you may not have to create them until the order arrives, so you don’t run the risk of unsold inventory. If you can make your customers feel when they look at your cards, they will want more.

3. Candles

A true artist can perceive beauty with all five of our senses. Smell is just one way to contribute creatively. Consider starting a candle business that combines beautiful glassware with irresistible scents. A good candle expertly blends style, design and fragrance in a way that can delight a customer. Be warned, this is a saturated market, so you really need to tap into your creative side if you want to stand out from the crowd.

4. Antique shop

Technical skill isn’t the only way to tap into your creative side. If you don’t want to create art yourself, why not use your taste to your advantage? There are always customers looking for special vintage decorations and pieces of art, but not everyone has the time or resources to discover antiques. By starting a business that curates antiques, whether in a store or online, you can do the fun but sometimes dirty work of sifting through thrift stores and estate sales to find the best pieces. Your customers will be willing to pay for your good eye to find the right styles.

5. Art Advisor

Much like curating antiques, you can use your taste to build a business while pursuing your passions. Art Advisors help clients find the right artwork for their personal collection. You need to be an art expert (we look at all art historians) and have a pulse on what’s happening in the art market. Word of mouth will be an important aspect of promoting this type of business, but once you have a few happy customers you can look forward to your business picking up steam from there.

6. Graphic Design

We live in a digital world, which means digital art is just as important. Starting a graphic design business is a great way to flex your creative muscles while providing a valuable service to businesses. You can work on branding campaigns by creating logos or social media graphics for businesses, designing products, updating websites, or selling design templates you’ve created. From super fun and creative projects to B2B focused sales materials, there’s no shortage of work for graphic designers to apply their creativity to.

7. Calligraphy

Beautiful penmanship is one thing, but calligraphy is a next-level skill that not many people can brag about. Calligraphy is used in many art forms, as well as in products such as wedding invitations and place cards. Both consumers and businesses need beautiful calligraphy services. Therefore, consider starting a freelance calligraphy business to fulfill these various needs.

8. Tattoo artist

Did you know that the tattoo industry brings in $3 billion a year? Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular and people are willing to shell out a good chunk of change for a quality tattoo. Of course, life as a tattoo artist requires some great skills and a very steady hand – it’s an art form through and through. So if you have the skills and want to create artwork that will stay with a person throughout their life, this might be the art business idea for you.

9. Artistic Director

The art director title can encompass a variety of jobs. Some art directors help create films, others design magazine layouts, some plan massive marketing campaigns, and others oversee all branding for a company. These are just a few of many examples of what art directors do, but what most have in common is that they plan the overall design for a project, whatever that may be. If you have a passion for styling, photography, graphic design, and typography, then becoming an art director can help you unify all of your creative interests.

10. Photographer

Photography has long been considered an art form and is becoming more appreciated in our social media obsessed age. If you are interested in starting a photography business, you have a number of options. You can sell nature or travel photography to media or tourist boards; Photograph events like weddings, birth announcements, parties and more; or you can work for a product-based company to photograph their merchandise for use on their website or in promotional materials. Your options are many, so this creative business can work well for many types of artists.

11. Branding Consultant

Every business needs strong branding if they want to send a clear and memorable message to their customers. While many larger companies have in-house branding experts, smaller companies may need a little help in the branding department. Like many creative business ideas, branding consulting can combine design, photography and copying skills – so this is the perfect career for someone who enjoys working on the bigger picture of a creative project. By helping companies make a name for themselves, you can pursue a lucrative career in the arts.

12. Art teacher

If you have any of the creative skills mentioned earlier in this list, you can also share your knowledge by teaching others. Whether it’s a still life painting course for 30 students or one-on-one lessons for students in the art of calligraphy. You could offer digital art classes or create educational content for social media. You can also create courses that other teachers can use in their classes. Find the teaching method that works for you and spread the word about your new business.

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