When Kristi Kohut‘s accountant told her that attempting to earn a living off her art didn’t make any financial sense and could prove to be a mistake, she knew she needed to get a new accountant.
“I told him, ‘Submit the papers to start my LLC. Thank you very much. I’m hiring someone else,'” she reflects with a laugh. “When you hear people saying it can’t be done, you just have to turn around and prove them wrong.”
In the years since that 2014 appointment, Kohut has certainly proven her accountant wrong. She’s sold more than a million dollars worth of her colorful, vibrant artwork, and since she’s chosen to forge a trajectory separate from that of the traditional gallery-to-art collector model, 97 percent of those sales have come directly from her website. Kohut has opted to prioritize making personal connections with her fans through — you guessed it — social media. She typically posts to Instagram three times daily, and it’s not unusual for followers to send her direct messages claiming pieces they see there before they’re even finished.
“I can expose my work to people all over the world in a moment, so it breaks down a lot of walls to finding someone who’s a good match as a collector, who really responds to my work,” Kohut says of the power of social media for artists. “It makes owning a piece of artwork all the better, because you know the background.”
While the stereotype of the “starving artist” can keep many creatives from making the leap to focus on their art professionally, Kohut feels that our modern world is actually a unique, opportunity-filled one in which to make it happen.
“We are living in such an incredible time,” she tells us. “You can put your work out there and you have nothing to lose. There is a group of people out there that needs your work.”
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