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How to make art (and get paid for it) [Interview with Alexej Savreux]

Alexej Savreux

What is your side hustle?

My side hustle is visual art and writing. I do a lot of retail (gallery stuff) and also service-oriented production. I do a lot of photography, videography, photo manipulation, printmaking, bookmaking, arts blogging, literary translations in French, Czech, English & Joual. I’ve even done community activism banners/signs before and design philosophy memes and humor t-shirts for people.

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Vermont, but my family is from Eastern and Central Europe. My grandmother was born in Liberec, Czechoslovakia and was a ballet dancer in Vienna during World War II. My maternal grandparents were spies for the Czechoslovakian government and my great grandfather, Emil was a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp. My paternal side comes from Vranja, Serbia. I also have Lithuanian, Belarussian, Austrian and Azerbaijani lineage. My dad was originally involved in folk art and now works as a college professor and my mother was an archeologist. It wasn’t uncommon for my dad to go to Paris…the Louvre, the Musee D’orsay for material culture purposes. My brother was a musician who later earned a Ph.D. in American History and my mom later worked with philharmonic and theatrical organizations in major cities in the U.S. When I reflect on it, it actually makes quite a bit of a sense that I’ve nestled into art. That said, my academic mind always shines through in my art.

Advice for others starting a side hustle:

As with school, do what you’re most patient with. In my experience, what I’ve been the most patient with has also been what I’m the most passionate about. No matter what you do or where you go professionally you have to pay dues. Side hustles are no different. I would also recommend not underestimating the value of experimenting with things yourself as opposed to trying somebody’s else’s method. Your unique perspective can easily be your greatest asset – there is only one of you.

Do you make money from your side hustle?

Yes! I 110% make money from my side hustle!! BUT do please remember that you may not be profitable immediately and it takes money to make money. At this point my side hustle most likely has the potential to become my full-time living wage!!

Do you suffer from impostor syndrome?

No. I think a lot of that has to do with psychological self-projection on the part of the individual. Believe in yourself. It can be difficult for people and I don’t mean to downplay that by any means, but what I’ve realized (and genuinely believe) is that as long as you’re being yourself there’s no reason to feel inadequate. You only know how to be you and you shouldn’t judge yourself. You’ll be happier and other people will take you seriously if you are comfortable with yourself. Just do your thing and remember, life is wonderful.

How has your education influenced your side hustle?

My background in different disciplines (undergrad journalism & astronomy & linguistics (cool combo, right?) graduate, sociology) has greatly influenced my side hustle and work. My artwork is almost exclusively conceptual art as opposed to method art. The “concepts” being derived from philosophical paradoxes, ad-libs, cerebral satire, the orderliness of mathematics, the irony of semantics, a thumb-biting toward linguistic science, absurdist, farcical renditions of classical paintings and things like that. I don’t so much derive inspiration from other artists or artistic forms as much as I rely on my academic training and my promiscuous reading habits. I believe art should make you think, even to the degree where it confuses you. Academia definitely does that in its own way. So that transition has actually been seamless, it was turbulent for a bit but now my ideas and work are making more and more sense; it’s beautiful.

How can my readers connect with you/find out more?

I would love for them to contact me directly! theartistalexej@gmail.com!! I offer a variety of creative and language-related services/products! They can also find out more about my artistic work and background at my website www.alexejsavreux.com !

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