Day in the life of
Sculptor – Kevin Caron
I am an artist, specifically a sculptor. I work in metal as well as 3D-printed resin.
I create my designs in my head or on my computer in my CAD (Computer Aided Design) program, then bring them to life in my metal working studio or using my 8-foot-tall 3D printer.
A typical day usually begins in my metalworking studio, where I tend to weld in the mornings when it is cooler (I live in Arizona), then prep for the next day in the afternoon. I weld, grind, shape, fit and put a finish on my metal sculptures, some of which are more than 10 feet tall.
My 3D printed sculptures start in CAD (some of my metal ones do, too). Once I have a design I like, I save it in STL format and take it to the 3D printer. I choose the type and color of filament I want, set up the filament and software, and start printing. The 3D printer runs continuously – sometimes as long as 4 days – until the sculpture is completed. It can take several tries until the sculpture prints the way I like it.
So I can make more sculptures, I sell the ones I’ve made through galleries or on my website.
Other than the creative part of the business, do you do anything else in your day (admin, marketing, etc)?
I have a business manager who handles the office side of things, including marketing, inventory, sales, overseeing bookkeeping (we have a bookkeeper – the best $100 we spend each month!), client relations, etc.
Many artists do these critical tasks themselves. I am fortunate to be able to focus solely on creating, but these tasks are just as important to being an artist – if no one knows about your work, they can’t buy it!
My business manager works full time applying to shows, keeping tax obligations straight, following up with prospects and patrons, all critical to building an art business.
It is surprisingly challenging to keep having fun when the creating can be hard. Keeping that playful perspective is so important, though, for the kind of work I do.
Sometimes it is hard to make something I see in my head – the materials don’t always want to do what I want them to do!
Selling my work is critical – this is my business. I have help with the marketing and sales from my business manager.
I love seeing my creations come to life! I think that’s the best part of my job.
I love working with new materials and techniques, always exploring new ways to create.
Advice for aspiring artists
If someone is considering becoming an artist, my top advice is to understand the business side is as critical as creating artwork. No matter how good your art is, if you don’t do the complementary business activities, your career can not advance. Whether you do them or someone else does, they need to be done so people are able to see, appreciate and buy your work.
If you are currently working and considering becoming a full-time artist, just as important is not making the leap too quickly. Everyone I know who quit their job to be an artist full time has had to go back to work. Instead, I worked part time on my art for 4-5 years before quitting my job. Those part time hours help you know whether you really like being an artist full time – it is not for everyone, especially the business side.
That way you are also building your patron base, your mailing lists, your collateral materials like your Website and social media presence. Then, when you make the leap, it is not into a void but rather into the future.