I'm a 9-5 graphic designer myself, with the occasional commissioned piece on the side. I don't do nearly as much personal stuff or fine art as I used to, or would like to for that matter, but I guess that's what happens when you go from a full time student to full time employee. Alas, I'm pretty damn satisfied with where I am now, I feel lucky TBH. I used to get these pangs of remorse when I would look back and wonder what it would have been like to do the whole "art thing". Renting out a studio/apartment, selling work out of a gallery, networking during exhibitions, you know the whole scene. I mean, that's sort of how I was taught a "real artist" is supposed to live their life.
Then I realized that was pretty much bullshit, and that there are other ways of doing it. I like making art for its own sake, and I can still do that with the job I have (as well as enter shows, sell work, etc). What I don't like
is financial instability, and all the drama that comes with it. I don't want to live in a shitty apartment, or drive a crappy car, or constantly be worried about money because I have no idea how long my last few sales are going to have to last me. I don't want or need to be a suffering artist to be an artist -- and why people still think there is only one right way to do it
boggles my mind.
With that being said, I prefer to keep my personal artistic endeavors separate from how I pay the bills. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that I have a job that allows me to be creative/artistic, but I don't want the financial pressures of life contaminating art. Aside from commissioned work, making art is purely an intellectual and creative endeavor for me, which is why I love it so much. Rarely do I ever even think about how I am going to sell it, or how much I'll be able to get for it...and ironically its those pieces which end up being my best works! I would hate to ruin something like that by trying to mix my financial affairs.
Plus, this way I am my own patron. Regardless of what I sell or don't sell, I fund the art I want to make. I'm no ones art bitch!