The Hustle with Vik
Vik, a Delaware-based artist whose entrancing fantasy illustrations transport you to a whole new realm. In this interview, I asked Vik to talk about their hustle with side jobs & tabling events.
MP: How long have you been doing your art thing?
V: This current trajectory of my work has been going on for maybe 5-6 years now. As for art I've been drawing since grade school.
MP: Can you talk briefly about your hustle? What do you do to maintain making art?
V: Really I focus on small part-time jobs and side gigs. Things like DoorDash and Amazon Flex. While they're horrible companies who exploit their workers to a criminal degree...they are good at allowing me to meet my needs as they come. If you have a 9 to 5, I recommend not getting swept up in the company culture that most places try to push. Eventually, it will get in the way of your artistic endeavors. Other than that, makers’ markets have been instrumental in fueling my art. It's become a good way of monetizing my art to allow me to continue making while connecting with a large number of people.
MP: In your experience, what are some of the pros and cons of selling art at tabling events (i.e. zine fests, punk flea markets, artist markets, etc.)?
V: The biggest pro really is meeting someone who really gets my work and connects with it. That's the biggest thing that fuels me to continue making. As for cons, it's pretty common things most artists are familiar with. People writing your honed skill off as a "gift, the "I can only draw a stick figure" comment. People trying to haggle your prices down also happens from time to time. It also can just be a genuinely exhausting and stressful experience. The success of several months’ work can hinge on the crowd of a single weekend event. Funnily enough, it's always worth it for the connections and friends I make.
MP: Your style is very fantastical and unique. When doing commissions, are you usually seeking gigs or are folks coming to you because they dig your style? Is staying true to your style important to you?
V: So oddly enough, I get very few commissions. That is probably partly because I don't seek them out because I don't enjoy them very much! The ones I get are for requests of a specific subject drawn in my style. The types of commissions I do enjoy the most are when the client wants something related directly to my body of work. For the most part, I've found that people would prefer to wait until they see a piece I made on my own and buy that rather than request a specific subject.
MP: How important is living (or having lived) in a place where there’s an existing, thriving art community to your work?
V: Extremely important. If I'm not around others that share my interests, I fall into a pretty deep depression. That's been one thing I've had to overcome since moving. The area I'm living in now seems to have a very small, isolated art community, and seeking those people out has been a challenge.
MP: What’s one important lesson you’ve learned from your creative outlet?
V: Stay true to yourself. One thing I see in convention circles is artists chasing trends and fads. That's a fast way to burn yourself out. At the end of the day, you should make something because you get a sense of fulfillment out of it.
Thank you for taking the time, Vik! The Artist Talk is a little series that's still in its experimental stages, so we'll see how it goes! We have more interviews underway so check back here to read them :)