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55 Art Business Ideas to Make Money from Your Creativity

Art is one of the most imaginative and expressive parts of being human. For many people, art is a passion and a calling. But what if you could turn your artistic talents into a profitable business venture?

In this essay, I’ll explore 55 potential business ideas for artists and creatives. Some are time-tested classics, while others are novel spins to consider. The key is finding the right artistic business idea that matches your skills, interests, and lifestyle goals.

The wonderful thing about art businesses? They allow you to make money while doing something you genuinely love. You get to be your own boss and set your own schedule. And perhaps most importantly, you can make a living through creative self-expression.

So if you’re an artist looking to start your own business, this primer is for you. Let’s dive into 55 potential art business ideas to explore.

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Painting & Drawing Business Ideas

Consider these painting and drawing business ideas if you love working with brushes, pencils, inks, and canvases:

Idea 1: Commission Portraits & Paintings

One of the most classic art business models is taking commissions for custom portraits, landscapes, abstract pieces, and more. Build a portfolio, market your services, and start booking paid client work.

Idea 2: Sell Original Artwork

There’s a huge market for buying and selling original artworks, from abstract expressionist paintings to hyper-realistic drawings. Set up an online store or get your work into local galleries.

Idea 3: Teach Drawing & Painting Classes

If you’re a skilled artist, consider teaching in-person or virtual classes on drawing, painting, calligraphy, and other artistic mediums. You can teach group classes, private lessons, or both.

Idea 4: Become an Art Instructor on Skillshare

Online learning platforms like Skillshare provide an avenue for artists to create video courses and earn income from enrollments. Focus on your specific niche and style.

Idea 5: Design & Sell Coloring Books

Adult coloring books have become a hugely popular artistic pastime and stress reliever. Design your own coloring book with intricate patterns, designs, and illustrations.

Photography Business Ideas

Here are some potential business ideas for photographers and camera artists:

Idea 6: Photography Studio

Open a photography studio for shooting portraits, headshots, family photos, senior photos, product shots, and more. Having a dedicated studio space can boost professionalism.

Idea 7: Wedding Photography

Build a portfolio capturing beautiful wedding photos and market your services to couples getting married. Wedding photography can be extremely lucrative.

Idea 8: Stock Photography

Contribute your high-resolution photographs to stock image sites like Shutterstock or Getty Images and earn a commission anytime someone licenses one of your photos.

Idea 9: Real Estate Photography

Real estate professionals need high-quality interior and exterior shots of properties for listing details. Offering real estate photography services can be a profitable niche.

Idea 10: Teach Photography Classes

Much like painting and drawing, there’s solid demand for online and in-person photography classes. Teach specific techniques, styles, editing software, and more.

Handmade Craft Business Ideas

For those with a knack for arts, crafts, and handmade creations:

Idea 11: Etsy Shop for Handmade Goods

Etsy’s global marketplace is a top platform for artists and makers selling handmade jewelry, accessories, home decor, paper goods, and virtually any other handcrafted items.

Idea 12: Personalized Gift Shop

Create a product line of personalized gifts, home goods, apparel, and accessories decorated with custom designs, names, initials, and more. These make great gifts.

Idea 13: DIY Tutorial Videos

Craft tutorial videos are incredibly popular on YouTube and other platforms. Show your process for making handmade jewelry, knitting patterns, polymer clay sculpting, calligraphy, and more.

Idea 14: Upcycled Furniture & Home Decor

Give new life to old, discarded items by designing upcycled and repurposed furniture pieces, wall hangings, light fixtures, and unique home decor items.

Idea 15: Handmade Trading Cards

Handmade trading cards can be delightful collectibles if you enjoy illustration and character design. Design unique characters or fan art for existing fandoms.

Design Business Ideas

Graphic designers and digital artists have many money-making opportunities:

Idea 16: Logo & Branding Designer

Help businesses and organizations craft logos, brand identity packages, visual brand guides, marketing materials, and more. This can be very lucrative.

Idea 17: Web & Mobile App Design

There’s a consistent demand for skilled app designers and UX/UI designers to craft the look and feel of websites and mobile apps for companies.

Idea 18: T-Shirt & Merchandise Design

Creating bold t-shirt graphics, merchandise illustrations, and other branded designs for clothing brands, musicians, sports teams, and related businesses.

Idea 19: Twitch Stream Branding & Overlays

The live-streaming community loves custom-designed channel branding, overlays, alerts, emotes, badges, and other digital goods for their streams.

Idea 20: Digital Product Design

From Etsy digital downloads to custom graphics and templates, selling digital design products can be a passive income stream with unlimited inventory.

Teaching & Education Business Ideas

Art instructors and educators have several potential entrepreneurial paths:

Idea 21: Art School or Studio

Opening an art school, studio, or educational center focused on teaching various artistic mediums and creative skills to students of all ages.

Idea 22: Private Art Tutoring & Lessons

Offering one-on-one private art lessons, tutoring, coaching, and mentorship either in-person or virtually through video platforms.

Idea 23: Art Camp Programs

Rather than ongoing classes, design art-focused summer camp programs, spring break camps, after-school programs, and kid/teen camps or workshops.

Idea 24: Specialized Art Courses

Focus on very specific niches and offer advanced or master-level courses tailored to serious artists and professional creatives seeking to elevate their skills.

Idea 25: Art Supply Stores & Workshops

Combine an art supply retail store with a classroom environment, offering merchandise alongside paid art workshops and classes on the premises.

Writing & Publishing Business Ideas

Writers and authors have vast opportunities for artistic entrepreneurship:

Idea 26: Self-Publishing Books & Novels

The wide accessibility of self-publishing platforms like Amazon KDP enables authors to independently write, publish, and sell fiction novels and books.

Idea 27: Magazine & Periodical Subscriptions

Launch a subscription-based digital or print magazine or periodical around your artistic niche, offering exclusive content for paying subscribers.

Idea 28: Poetry Books & Anthologies

Self-publish poetry anthologies and books of your original written works, building a loyal reader audience and supplementing with live readings.

Idea 29: Comic Book & Graphic Novel Creation

Tell immersive visual stories through self-published comic books and graphic novels, making them available in digital and print formats.

Idea 30: Art Instructional eBooks

Write and self-publish instructional guides as ebooks teaching artistic techniques, tools, programs, and skills within your creative specialties.

Performing Arts Business Ideas

Ideas in entertainment, music, acting, and other performance arts:

Idea 31: Theater & Improv Comedy Troupe

Start a local theater company, comedy improv troupe or sketch comedy group hosting live performances, shows, and amusing productions.

Idea 32: Musician & Live Music Performer

Build a following as a musician, singer, band, or live music performer playing original songs and music along with covers at local venues, festivals, private events and more.

Idea 33: Dancing & Choreography Services

Offer your talents as a professional dancer, choreographer, or dance instructor for music videos, stage productions, wedding choreography, and more.

Idea 34: Spoken Word Poetry & Storytelling

Cultivate a unique voice as a spoken word poet, storyteller, or monologist performing original works at open mics, poetry slams, and booked shows.

Idea 35: Voiceover Artist & Actor

With the rise of audio content, become a voiceover artist providing character voices for animations, video games, audiobooks, radio spots, and more.

The Unconventional & Experimental

Here are some more unique, unconventional, and experimental art business ideas:

Idea 36: Commissioned Body & Face Art

Use non-permanent paints and makeup to create custom body art, body painting, and face painting for events, festivals, and paid photo shoots.

Idea 37: Projection Mapping Displays

Projection mapping is an emerging artistic medium using multimedia, data, and specialized software to project dynamic displays onto 3D surfaces.

Idea 38: Immersive Art Installations

Design and produce interactive, immersive multimedia art installations leveraging light, sound, visuals, and technology to engage the audience.

Idea 39: Digital & Generative Art

Explore digital art using creative coding, data visualization, AI art generation, digital sculpting, motion graphics, and multimedia software for digital artwork.

Idea 40: Wearable Art & Fashion

Combine visual arts like painting, sculpting, metalwork, and more into one-of-a-kind artisanal fashion and wearable art pieces like garments and jewelry.

The Online & Digital Art Space

Finally, the rise of the internet has created brand new frontiers for online and digital art businesses:

Idea 41: NFT & Crypto Art Sales

While controversial, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) enable digital artists and creators to authenticate, sell, and collect royalties on digital artworks and media.

Idea 42: YouTube Channel & Live Streaming

Cultivate a following for your creative talents through free YouTube tutorials, live streams showcasing your process, or entertaining channels sharing your art.

Idea 43: Online Digital Art Commissions

Similar to physical art commissions, take paid gigs for creating custom digital artworks, illustrations, animations, graphics, and more for online clients.

Idea 44: Print-On-Demand & Merch Sales

Through print-on-demand services, artists can upload original artwork to be printed on clothing, accessories, home goods, and merchandise as needed.

Idea 45: High-Quality Brush & Product Design

Very skilled digital artists may find opportunities to create custom brushes, textures, graphics, illustrations, and other tooling for design software companies.

Idea 46: Commissioned Murals & Public Art

Skilled muralists can find opportunities painting large-scale commissioned murals for businesses, communities, events, and public spaces.

Idea 47: Sculptural & 3D Art

Sculptors have opportunities selling smaller piece sculptures and figurines, while very skilled 3D artists may land commissioned work for large-scale public installations.

Idea 48: Street Art, Graffiti & Urban Art

Street artists can monetize their talents through commissioned pieces for businesses, festivals, live art performances, teaching workshops, and more.

Idea 49: Papercraft & Paper Art

Paper artists can create intricate sculptures, dioramas, quilling art, kirigami pieces and more to sell as products and take commissions.

Idea 50: Caricature & Live Event Art

Offering live caricature drawings, digital sketches, and other entertaining event art as a service for parties, conferences, weddings, and gatherings.

Idea 51: Art & Craft Supply Creator

Very skilled makers could produce and sell their own craft supplies like paint, brushes, sculpting tools, stencils, and other artistic tools and materials.

Idea 52: Art Consulting & Curation

Experienced artists and gallerists can offer professional art consulting services to collectors, businesses, and others for acquiring artwork and curating collections.

Idea 53: Art Tour Guide

Combine a passion for art with experience as a museum docent or city tour guide providing educational art tours and guided experiences.

Idea 54: Art Law & Business Expertise

Artists with business and legal knowledge could provide consulting services around areas like copyright, licensing deals, contracts, and more.

Idea 55: Multimedia & New Media Art

On the cutting edge, artists can explore emerging technologies like VR, AR, AI, and more for creating new media artistic experiences.

That covers a full 55 potential art business ideas entrepreneurs and creatives could explore for monetizing their talents!


There are seemingly limitless creative business ideas for artists spanning visual arts, performing arts, teaching, publishing, digital art, and much more.

The key is finding the right vehicle to match your talents and properly monetize your abilities through smart marketing and audience-building.


Q: How do I decide which creative business idea is right for me? A: Evaluate your strengths across different artistic mediums and skillsets. Then assess your goals, lifestyle preferences, earning targets, and what type of business model fits best. It’s also wise to pursue your biggest creative passion.

Q: How can artists market and promote their creative businesses? A: Modern artists must leverage content marketing through social media, an online portfolio, videos, live streaming, a blog, and more to build an audience. Email lists, networking locally, collaborations, and paid advertising can also help drive awareness.

Q: What are some ways to validate artistic business ideas?
A: Conduct market research through surveys, interviews, and startup tools to assess demand. Start by offering services to early customers, launch a crowdfunding campaign, or create a minimum viable product to gauge interest before diving in fully.

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