Your Art Can Make a Living
Posted on 12/02/2020
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Freelance artist Konstantin Kahl has his hands in everything visual arts. Growing up in New York City, he always knew that he wanted to do art for a living. As a teen, he attended LaGuardia’s arts high school before moving on to Hampshire College in Massachusetts. It was there where the young artist got involved in various art styles/genres which had led him to making costumes, special effect designs, sculpture, and graphic art. On December 2, he shared his personal journey with Theater Design students at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Half Day Program.

During a Zoom call in, 40 students and faculty listened as Kahl presented a variety of his work which included his early designs to contracted pieces. Some of his clients include the Bronx Zoo, Brain Pop, Coney Island Sideshow, and others.

According to his presentation, he had his hands in everything art related while studying at Hampshire College including designing Cosplay and creating the concept for the Headless Horseman in a production of “Waking Sleepy Hollow.”

Yet after college, he went back to layman’s work first scooping ice cream followed by working for a renovation company.

But his artist’s journey didn’t end there he told the students. While working in renovation, he realized that he missed using his creativity. So he took an internship with a puppetry workshop. He then slowly started making contacts and meeting clients who were willing to pay him for his art. This included various entertainment companies, television productions, and corporate designs. He said that everything he learned in art, he was able to incorporate in his work.

His advice to the students, “It is better to be a Swiss Army knife than to have one path. This opens you up for more opportunity.” He then dispelled the myth that one cannot make a living with their art. He added that they have to be willing to have a variety of skills, as well as to take on small jobs alongside the larger ones.. “No job is too small as long as the pay is fair…making art is work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” He also encouraged the students to keep their art going for personal enjoyment without the need to sell it for monetary gain.

At the end of the presentation, he took questions from the class. He then showed his high school sketchbook in order to show where he started out. He told the students to not be discouraged with where their art work is now but rather to keep working to improve it. He said that he never could’ve imagined during his high school years that he would be doing art for a living.

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