No artist should starve

Photo of Artist Curt Hammerly

Almost everybody has heard of the term ‘starving artist’, which is an individual who wants to make a living by doing what they love but don’t make enough to live comfortably. Often times this happens because the artist is not well known, therefore it is difficult to sell their products and/or find a stable well paying job doing what they love. Though, Curt Hammerly believes anyone can be successful, especially those in this age. 

With access to the internet, anything is possible. No artist should have to starve. 

Hammerly is a former student in Boulder, and has a background in fabrication and design. A useful skill he learned within his studies at Boulder was marketing. Hammerly’s original plan was not to become a ceramist; this new found passion came upon him by accident. One day when he was riding his bike he was hit by a car; he broke his neck and a few ribs. 

He said he was unable to leave his house for months as he was on his path to healing, it was driving him crazy being cooped up all day and night. Hammerly said he was well enough to go out-though he was still in a neck brace, unable to move his neck- he was eager to activate his creative side again.

Hammerly then took an eight week class in a pottery studio in Boulder. He discovered that ceramics was his new passion; he said he came up with many ideas and was determined to improve himself.


He decided to build his own studio in his basement. After a while he realized the space was too small and got a real studio in which he worked in with his brother. Now, Hammerly shares his ideas and projects on the internet.

After he had been posting his art on social media for about two and a half years, Hammerly began to sell his art on Etsy. He started sharing his products on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Having multiple social media platforms is helpful when it comes to finding people to connect with, as in people who enjoy the art an individual creates. Once there is a solid group of buyers, then it is easier to sell products. 

Now, whether someone is very well known or only has a couple followers, “You can start with almost nothing,” Hammerly said. “So don’t be afraid to try, even if you are a small account.”

As far as pricing goes and figuring out what to sell, Hammerly said, “It’s easier to find 20 buyers for a $20 peice than one for $1,000.” 

He said from his experience, there is not a specific price for a product because each is different, so each individual can start out with what feels right and go from there. Nothing is set in stone, there is always room for change. 

Being in an age where the internet is at almost everyone’s fingertips,it is an easy access to whatever information or assistance one is searching for. Though there are some main tips Hammerly gives to those who are wanting to sell their products online. 

3 Main Tips:

  1. Bring something new to the table
  2. Make the highest quality content you can 
  3. Take quality pictures of the product

Another helpful tip he adds is to keep track of people who want to buy the product. Make an email list to save their names; artists can use apps like MailChimp to save them with easy access. This is a safe way to retrieve information in case the other social media platform crashes or malfunctions. 

To learn more about Hammerly and his experiences here are two of his outlets: all three social media platforms with the handle @Hammerlyceramics, and his own website called Hammerly Ceramic.


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