For artists in the U.S., home studios and the Internet enable networking and sales that lonely Van Gogh would surely have envied. Meanwhile, just as in Hemingway's day, France still welcomes writers to its cafes. But thanks to the web and home offices, authors can publish their novels directly on Amazon in a matter of minutes.
Here's the gist.
HOME STUDIOS AND SELLING ART
Many artists across the U.S. are working from home and selling their art on their own websites. They also sell in marketplaces like www.deviantart.com. If their work lends itself to merchandise such as mugs, tee shirts and tote bags, they can earn worthwhile income from www.CafePress.com, www.threadless.com and www.society6.com.
On the fine art side, artists Michelle Haley and Sherry Russo own the business "Two Artistic Friends" (www.twoartisticfriends.com). The company epitomizes the changes that home studios and the web have brought. Based in Northern Virginia, the two friends met as young mothers on the soccer field. Several years later, art as a business came up.
"I had been playing around with the idea (of Two Artistic Friends) for about a year myself," says Russo. "I thought, why can't I create an at-home party business where I would sell art? Something with the business model of a home jewelry show or a home clothing show." She proposed the idea to Haley, and they launched.
The two work in separate home studios in their basements but try to paint together at least once a week. "Luckily our basements are above ground so the light is sufficient," says Haley. Like many artists, they have day jobs. Russo is an administrative assistant and Haley is a business development officer at a bank.
The prices on their original work (see www.twoartisticfriends.com) range from $50 to $2,000. "We also offer note cards, fine art prints and seasonal items at shows that would range from $5 to $40," Russo says.
"To have a business in art you must be focused, driven and extremely organized," Haley advises. "You must also network and connect with larger audiences to attract new clients. I recommend keeping your full-time job until your business takes off," she adds.
When Heberden arrived in France, he wrote for newspapers and magazines and did publication work, public relations, advertising sales and translating. Now, he lives with his wife and children in a small town south of Paris.
"When I started out, there was no Internet and few opportunities to work from home," he says. "Now, writers can plug into home-based work of all kinds, which would have made things a lot easier."
If you want to go to Paris to write but don't have a job in hand, Heberden says it can still be done. "You can cobble together part-time teaching, translating or consulting. It makes a hash of a set writing schedule but finding a few hours a day is indeed possible."
He adds, "The great thing about France is there is always a place you can write -- the cafes. For the price of a coffee or a sandwich, you can buy yourself a table for several hours on end. You just have to learn to tune out the chatter."
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book is "Work at Home Now," a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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