Turning your hobby into your profession....good idea?


Well-known member
As I have said here on more than one occasion,drawing and painting is my hobby .The quality of the few works I posted here make this clarification unnecessary I suspect, come to think of, it high time I pestered you lot with some more of my works...

Anyway, I noticed there are quite some professional artists posting here, makes me feel a bit like a kid among adults ( for reference, I'm a 51 year old geezer 😆 ), and I have a question.

A long time ago, when I was working as a student, a teacher and I were talking about this subject, hobbies and stuff, and I remarked how great it would be to turn your hobby into your work and main source of income.
He looked me dead in the eye and said, "that has a major drawback you know". I asked what that would be, and he said, it means you have lost your hobby.....

I never forgot that, and I think he made a really good point. So my question for the professionals here is, how do you think about this? Do you agree that turning your hobby (I am kind of supposing that most professionals started off making art as a hobby ) had that drawback?
Art is still my hobby. When I manage to sell a painting or take a commission it merely finances my addiction to art. :giggle:
That's great Sno. It is actually rather how we keep sheep, they don't give much in the way of income but they pay for their own keep ( and the hay for the horses). Another perk is that we don't have to buy meat.
I consider our sheepkeeping as a hobby too, though we have more than most people would call hobbykeeping, our flock is 80 head.
I was never a hobbyist with art. I had money in mind from the get go. Had I not believed I could sell my work, I never would have started. Had I been unable to sell my work, I would have stopped. It was too hard (as it went, ill health stopped it for me). If you really are considering taking the pro route, be aware that the road is full of peril even if you don't fall ill. The number of people who are actually able to make a full time living at any creative activity, and art probably more than most, is vanishingly small compared to the number who try.
Thanks for your reply Musket.
To be clear I have personally no intention whatsoever of going pro, my question was solely asked out of interest in other people's perspective. Not that I would mind selling a piece when someone would be interested, but I don't market myself or my work, so that's quite unlikely.
And yours told me that I supposed wrong; not everybody starts out as a hobbyist!
Maybe I was too young to begin as a "hobbyist." I just made art because I loved to and began selling it out of necessity. I took whatever I could for get in the beginning. I worked my way up in the professional scene, but it took so many years than I care to remember. In the meantime, I was also a musician, which I was serious about from the get-go. But I wasn't thinking of big money for that either. I was thinking of survival to sustain it. I took small jobs to supplement these things until art and music began to sustain me fully, but it's never been any kind of posh lifestyle. Now my "hobbies" are gardening and reading when I get the time, but I'm known to kill a few plants out of neglect at times. Either that, or I don't know enough about them to keep them alive.
Though I am sure that must not have been easy Arty, that does sound like quite a ride, impressive!
I kinda like how I was assuming the pro's had turned their art hobby into a job, and most of the reactions here are along the lines of "Look son, there never was a hobby, we were dead serious from the get go".


I never thought of myself as a hobbyist OR a professional. Or as an amateur for that matter. But even before I went off to art school (to learn how to be “serious” about it), I never believed I would sell anything. My painting world (NYC, late 70’s) was still all pretty much men, I knew that only around 1% could actually make a living from it, and I had no mentors/support to show me how to promote or market myself. But more importantly, I just didn’t have the ambition to learn. Maybe I was exhausted working to make ends meet, moving around, raising a kid, dealing with long commutes, renovating an ancient house, taking care of old mom and crazy bro and...so...no.

So...since I’m a practical kind of gal, I just got paying jobs to keep me afloat while painting in all the free spaces. I’ve now been at it (nonstop, mind you) for 37 years, with some shows, reviews and sales here and there. But nothing to puff up over, and nothing to feel deflated about either. At this point, I can easily live with the labels others put on me (amateur, hobbyist, bad painter, whatever) and just let the art chips fall where they may.

The only thing I know is that I’ll just keep on painting until I can’t do it anymore.
I kinda like how I was assuming the pro's had turned their art hobby into a job, and most of the reactions here are along the lines of "Look son, there never was a hobby, we were dead serious from the get go".

True of me. My hobby (in the sense that I never tried to make any money at it, not my level of ability) was playing guitar.
I do not connect hobby/pro with labeling the ability of the artist. I simply mean it in the "(main) source of income" context.
I have seen works of hobbyists that are of stunning ability.