The business of art as described by an artist

By Alisha Siebers, VCAC Executive Director

What’s it like to earn a living as an artist? I sat down with Lauren Charesse Cummings, who launched her printmaking business in January 2022, to find out what it’s like behind the scenes of an art career.

Lauren, the daughter of locals Rex and Renae Cummings, grew up attending Schoolcraft and Vicksburg schools. She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis on printmaking from Grand Valley State University. She’s drawn to printmaking because the steps in the process offer opportunities for discovery. Lauren explains that with experience you can guess what is going to happen in the printing process, but she still gets to experience the welcomed unexpected “aha” moments when pulling a new proof from her press.

She also likes that she can make multiple original prints and make her work accessible to more people: “so everyone can appreciate and enjoy something beautiful and have poetry around them.” Lauren creates both fine art pieces and also everyday pieces like greeting cards. Her work captures a certain feeling of the moment, drawing from daily life as well as nature featuring figurative work, trees and flowers. Lauren explains that while most of her work is made through printmaking processes, she enjoys varying her subject matter to keep learning and growing as an artist. She takes commissions — for those who want to have or give something that is completely unique with a hand-made feel — and has custom-printed Christmas cards for businesses, created product labels, and even designed tattoos.

What has it been like for Lauren during this first year of setting up her art business? She explains that she wears many hats and that she is able to make art about 30% of her time. She meets with clients, researches art show opportunities, orders materials, photographs her work, and packages prints and orders. During this first year, she adjusted to mostly working alone. She also had to create some strategies for the decision fatigue that can come with running one’s own business. Amid these business demands, she carries with her a sketch journal and makes sure she has some down time to play in the studio so she can discover new designs and keep her love of art at the forefront. She points out that unstructured time keeps artmaking compelling and interesting and explains she’s not “a machine or fast-food joint that can crank things out.”

Lauren has also found it important to let people know about her art business. You never know who might be excited about it. For example, she attended an Art Hop meet-and-greet so she could practice talking about her work and she was “discovered” by Brewery Outré, who loved her work and asked her to design a beer label. She also has been encouraged by how many people support her. When she posted about a show, she thought it was beautiful that people came out to support her.

As her business grows, Lauren hopes eventually to have a studio space to offer workshops and display her work. You can buy her prints and cards at Oopsy Daisy in Vicksburg and Craft + Grand in Schoolcraft or you can learn more about her fine art and commissions at her website:

Are you like Lauren, wanting to learn more about selling your creative work? There are so many aspects to joining the profession: how to market yourself, how to photograph your work, what to charge, how to sell online, and how to establish networks. If you are interested in joining a monthly gathering of local creative people to learn more about professionalization, contact me at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center or at

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