“Fuck it and be an artist”: how painter Richard Day makes a living

“Fuck it and be an artist”: how painter Richard Day makes a living

For full-time artist and entrepreneur Richard Day, being an artist is a business, his paintings are products, and his life is golden. Richard brings home the bacon by selling commissioned artwork through his online Etsy shop: shipping paintings from his studio in Norwich to homes, restaurants and offices around the world.

Richard’s painting style is as fearless as his mindset. A carnival of colour with the unfettered energy of a rock anthem, his pieces combine graffitti with traditional portraiture in striking pop-art designs. The backgrounds are often filled with vibrant splashes of spray paint and scuffs of colour; the foregrounds daubed liberally with oil paint, depicting cultural icons, musicians and historical figures. Creating them can take anywhere between four hours and four days depending on the complexity of the design.

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Richard started freelancing full-time in March 2017, and is already building up a storm with over 32k followers on Instagram and hundreds of clients. He’s also taken part in numerous events including live painting – his performances always leaving audiences agape (and asking for his number).

One would think that if being a full-time creative was as easy as Richard makes out, half the population would hand in their resignation to start a cookery school or knit tea cosies for a living. So why aren’t we writing to our bosses right now?

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For some, becoming a full-time artist is a perilous step into the unknown. For Richard Day, it was a necessary manoeuvre to be free of bosses, gallery commission, and menial routines. “I always knew I wanted to work for myself but I never thought being a full time artist was an option.”

Richard admits: “Information isn’t a problem – we have an abundance of information that tells you how to do pretty much everything including how to be an artist. I’m sure there are people much more qualified to give people advice on the topic. My advice would be to just smash it – be very, very stubborn and say fuck it, I want to be an artist. And just go for it.” He adds: “You can champion good qualities such as perseverance, self belief and all that, but for me, stubbornness is key.”

Richard goes onto say there are things you need to take into account when working for yourself. For one, meticulous record keeping and sticking to deadlines is essential. “I’m very aware how many paintings I need to sell to make rent etc. and that is always something I need to consider.” Richard says the most difficult thing he faces is shipping the artwork out, which can often be delayed during the journey.

At the end of our chat I asked Richard what he thought he’d be doing for a living if he wasn’t an artist, to which he replied: “That’s a bloody good question. I have no idea. To be honest, I’d probably be working a shit job trying my best to be an artist.”

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You can find – and commission – more of Richard’s incredible work on his online shop here.

This article is the second in a series of artist features, researched and written by me with many thanks to Richard for the great interview and photos. 

– Karis

The Truth About Remote Working

The Truth About Remote Working
  • It’s so much easier to concentrate at home rather than in an office. Who knew your beloved co-workers were a huge distraction this whole time!
  • Few of your friends and family seem to believe you actually do any “real work”, and think you must be having a jolly good time chilling all day, rather than frantically trying to achieve your monthly targets.
  • Working from your bed is great at first, but unsustainable. Two main problems here: the strong urge to go back to sleep, and serious bum ache.
  • Your online shopping habits have dramatically increased – being around for every delivery slot is a liberating (and financially dangerous) experience!
  • People expect that you are free to chat and do chores in the daytime, which is not the case if you actually want to keep your job. Saying that, I won’t say no to a cheeky laundry load every now and then, am I right folks.
  • You never, ever wear pyjamas to work, because you fear that’s the road to sadness and despair.
  • Some days you do get desperate to hear a human voice and end up trying to keep your colleague on the phone for as long as possible.
  • Lunch is an extravagant affair with great attention to detail.
  • Tea and coffee is brought to you all the time without question because: “you’re working, I’ll do it”. Best five words in the English language.
  • Socialising on weekday evenings more than than once a week is now emotionally and physically possible.
  • Being one of those cool young professionals who work in coffee shops from their MacBook is not a thing. Commuting, spending money and being in a noisy environment cuts out most of the benefits of working from home!
  • 3 ‘o’ clock, 5 minute nap? Don’t mind if I do.
  • Co-worker messaging groups are the enemy of productivity. Every time your phone bings you have to check Whatsapp, then before you know it you’re halfway down your Facebook homepage. Please social media, have mercy.
  • You find yourself working overtime most days even though no-one is around to witness it. This is mainly to account for the nap and the Facebook stalk of an old school friend you did earlier that day though.
  • You basically become the cat’s servant, who begs you for food and attention all day.
  • Occasionally people catch you having in-depth conversations with the cat, and question if remote working is actually as healthy as you claim.

I hope you enjoyed this list blog about remote working, which I’ve been doing for nearly a year now as Marketing and Communication Manager of Pop My Mind.

Naturally everyone has different preferences towards working remotely or in an office setting depending on their preferred working style. I really enjoyed the benefits of working from home, but it has its disadvantages too, particularly missing out on the social side of work.

What do you think? Do you think it’s a dream come true, or super dull? Let me know in the comments!

For more work-related list blogs, check out You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When… and You Know You’re Used to the 9-5 When…

Thanks for reading!

You Know You’re Used to the 9-to-5 When…

You Know You’re Used to the 9-to-5 When…
  • Swearing has infiltrated into daily office conversation on all sides.
  • You have become a little too comfortable sharing personal info with your co-workers.
  • You have come to terms with the fact you are a bit of a hermit (and by “a bit” I mean “a lot”).
  • You have attended an appraisal, and discovered talking about yourself for an hour is an exhausting endurance test which should never be suffered by any living soul.
  • You have stopped entertaining the thought that attending more than one social activity on a weekday within a week is a possibility.
  • You voluntarily give yourself, and stick to, a strict bedtime.
  • You have allocated a generous portion of your monthly earnings to a “new work clothes” budget.
  • You have calculated just how much you earn (i.e. are objectively worth) a day.
  • You now own, of your own free will, a Boots Advantage Card.
  • You’ve realised that actually a lot of what your mum says is very sensible and wise.
  • You’ve read the first two chapters of every shelf-help book aiming to improve happiness, motivation and/or productivity that Google has recommended to you. And aside for not wearing make-up to work, you’ve not really followed any of the advice given.
  • Every time you meet your friends you say, “aww we should do this more often!” – but in reality, if you were to fit any more into your already packed schedule you would internally combust.
  • You have enjoyed the smug feeling of being able to buy your sisters drinks and not ask for it back in taxi money at the end of the night.
  • You feel like the ratio of how many coffees you make for people in the office, versus how many you accept, is the direct indication of your value as a human.
  • Spending the 24 days of your annual leave in the wisest way possible is a year-long headache.
  • The delay-start function on the washing machine has revolutionized your life.
  • You have realised that even if your friends and boyfriend eventually find out you’re really boring and leave you, you will always have food. And this brings you great comfort.
  • Despite being perfectly content in the job you have, you have decided to change your role drastically in order to be nearer to vegan cafes, loved ones and cats.

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like my other list-blogs You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When… and 20 Awkward Moments at Your First Grad Job! Thank you for reading.

You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When…

You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When…

• You don’t feel the urge to excuse yourself to the room at large every time you go to the toilet.

• You start thinking that owning a house may actually be a good investment (as opposed to cutting into your travel budget).

• You now own a decorative candle which you never intend to light.

• You no longer feel self-conscious when wearing completely black outfits. In fact, you embrace the style wholeheartedly.

• You can no longer stomach large quantities of sweet or fruity drinks on a night out, and have developed a strong aversion to amaretto.

• You have managed to pay your own way at meals out with parents (although it still felt a little strange).

• Nine times out of ten, the idea of an evening in is far more exciting to you than a night out.

• You finally understand what “that Friday feeling” is.

• Your desires now include having a good credit rating and a house plant.

• You have planned the date of your decision whether to have children or not (and mildly dread it).

• More than once, you have referred to teenage boys as “youths”.

• You are beginning to appreciate the rewards of having a clean house, despite losing out on such thrills as discovering forgotten fajitas underneath the laundry basket.

• You have resorted to talking about the weather when conversation topics were painfully low.

• You now refer to your female friends as “women” instead of “girls” or “bros”.

• When selecting wine, your immediate choice is not necessarily the cheapest one.

• You have established a deep love and duty towards Aldi and have been spreading its teachings ever since.

• You have become acutely aware of your dwindling metabolism and have done what you always swore you would never do – take up jogging.

 

If you like this list blog then check out my other one on 20 awkward moments at your first grad job. I’ve also written a quick practical guide on how to be lead a more fulfilling life if you want to have a gander.

Thanks for reading!

20 Awkward Moments at Your First Grad Job

• Forgetting to bring an essential item on your first day of work
• Misreading a client’s body language and going in for a hug instead of a handshake
• Being a ‘superior’ to someone who is older and much more competent than you
• Accepting everyone else’s coffee offers but forgetting to do your round
• Attempting to appear sober in front of the boss at work socials
• That awkward conversation where every colleague explains to every other colleague why they don’t want to add each other on Facebook
• Pretending you know what VAT does and how it works
• Trying not to act surprised by the large sums of money that businesses deal with
• Trying to resist pointing out an innuendo during a business meeting
• Curbing your enthusiasm for food at all times
• Being the youngest attendee by a good 20 years at business networking events
• Accidentally making cutting sarcastic remarks during said networking events because you’re nervous and trying to be funny
• Having to politely laugh off sexist remarks in order to be professional
• Negotiating when is the appropriate time to start using winky emojis in emails
• Trying not to mention that you’re a bit hard up at the moment incase your boss thinks you’re hinting for a pay rise
• Having to ask your colleagues permission for a glass of wine at work-related events
• When the conversation moves to, and skirts around, how you got the job and the other people who applied for it
• When you get tongue tied whilst interviewing someone because they’re too attractive to handle
• Trying to discretely stuff your packed lunch box with samosas at the end of an investment meeting (because wasting food is something you simply cannot stoop to)
• Trying to hide your crazy cat lady nature until it’s too late for them to fire you

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One of my comics, demonstrating that these awkward moments are far better than not having a job, let alone an enjoyable one!

If you want to see more of my comics and artwork, go to my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

Misa’s Story: Starting a Business in Rural Cambodia

Keo Misa is a charismatic 27 year old woman who has grown up in rural Banan and set up a professional shoe making business in her home town, Phnom Sampov, with her family. After meeting her in a cafe, she invited us to her house to see her shop and to have a chat about how she achieved success at such a young age.

 

The Road to Success

From childhood, right up until high school, Misa would help her mother prepare and sell soy milk at the market everyday in between her studies. It was essential for Misa to help her mother to generate income for the family: usually in Cambodia it is the head of the household, i.e. the father, who is mainly responsible for earning money. However due to various unfortunate circumstances, including neglect from Misa’s father, it was left to her, her mother Keo Kim, and her sister Tach Sarey, to support the family and each other.

Misa has mastered the English language despite limitations within the education system in rural areas of Cambodia, including Banan. She studied everyday for three hours at Phnom Sampov High School in order to get into her desired University course: Business Administration at Pannasastra University, from which she graduated in 2007. She continued her English studies throughout, and after, her degree. Misa recounted that her happiest memory was when she got a job at the University shortly after volunteering for the position. She continued to work there for another four years after graduating in various roles, before resining to begin her business.

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Some of the shoe designs in progress

The Tools of the Trade

It was Sarey, Misa’s sister who inspired the project when she returned from Thailand, having worked at a shoe factory there. They combined their knowledge of shoe making and business strategies to kick-start their business plan. They hired a professional trainer to show them how to make fashionable styles of shoe, including cowboy boots, despite his expensive commission costs, and imported the material from Thailand, which has superior quality compared to the material from Cambodia or Vietnam. 

Any business suffers from teething pains, however, and Misa’s was no exception. The accumulative cost of material, training, setting up the shop and hiring staff was very expensive, and loans from the bank have limits. For instance it might take 10’000 USD to take your business off the ground, but you might only be able to borrow $3’000 from the bank at a time. Luckily for Misa and her family, her mother Kim already had a successful side-business in alternative medicine. Using the money from that, as well as donations from Kim’s customers, they were able to generate enough income to launch the business.

The family also encountered other obstacles, such as fierce competition from other companies, and staff accepting bribes from customers in order to have quicker service, which Misa resolved by overseaing the transactions of the business.

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Misa outside her shop

Misa’s Advice for Aspiring Business Men and Women

Don’t copy from others – make your own decisions and form your own brand
Do what is good for other people – don’t make money at the expense of others, for instance giving your customers a low quality product for a high price
• Be honest and consider others when you’re competing with other rival businesses
Be honest with the people you work with – admit mistakes, and tell your co-workers if they have made a mistake too
If you want to do something, do it! Take the risk!
You can find Misa’s Shoe Shop, which opened in December 2015, on the road behind the Phnom Sampov Health Centre in Banan District, Battambang Province. Her mother’s alternative medicine business is also open every Wednesday and Thursday to customers. They are extremely hospitable people and welcome interested tourists and customers alike.

Congratulations Misa and good luck for the future!