Pursuing Your Art Full-Time: An Interview With Cassia Cogger

One of the things I admire most about today’s guest is her voice as a true artist. I also value her experience in business, entrepreneurship, and raising a family.

Pursuing Your Art Full-Time: An Interview With Cassia Cogger

Cassia Cogger is an artist, an entrepreneur who has taken her art online, an author and a wife and mother.

For Cassia, art has always been a part of her life, and an artist is who she has always been. Her biological father was an artist who was always creating when she was with him, and her paternal grandmother encouraged her to follow in his footsteps.

However, when it was time to go to college, Cassia started in the architecture department at her university. She lasted all of a year before moving into the art department where she pursued watercolors first, then printmaking and pottery along with art history.

But it was when she and her now-husband moved to New York City and she took evening classes with the Art Students League that she fully blossomed as an artist. Even though she learned the nuts and bolts of art with the ASL, it was still a few more years before she pursued her art as a full-time income source.

Today on The Portfolio Life, we talk about how her upbringing influenced her notions of the suffering and starving artist, when and why she finally made the shift from creating art part-time to doing so full-time and how her book came to fruition.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Cassia and I discuss:

  • Is it necessary to have an art education to be an artist?
  • What were the two periods in her life when her artistic production slowed?
  • Why did she spend a year in the architecture department of her university?
  • What experience allowed her to discover what kind of artist she wants to be?
  • Why she and her husband started an e-commerce business, despite not being “business people”.

The ideal artist is one who is willing to stay open.

Cassia Cogger

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Takeaways on art, money and work:

  • Is creating art really a choice for her?
  • Why she never wanted to be combine her art and the Internet, and when that changed.
  • What are the two reasons a publisher asked her to write her mandala book?
  • Is it true that those who can’t do teach?
  • What is the fine line between teaching and creating art?

If I’m not making art, then I’m not an artist.

Cassia Cogger

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Cassia on the notion of the starving artist:

  • What does she say you must do in order to be an artist?
  • How her father influenced her views on what it means to be an artist.
  • What does it mean to be an artist today in Cassia’s opinion?
  • Why was she reluctant to focus on art as her sole means of financial income?
  • Does she hold an ideal of what a real artist should be?


What do you think it means to be an artist today? You’ve heard Cassia’s definition – now chime in with yours in the comments.

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