We have good news for you. You can have a cool career and make a good living. No need to choose between loving your job and paying your mortgage. The following profile, part of theBlackEnterprise.com Cool Jobs series, offers a peek into the nuts and bolts, perks and salaries behind enjoyable careers.
With more than 15 years in the business, these two brothers—twins—have been able to tap into the synergy they’ve had since birth to pave their own lane and make a living following what they say is their God-given purpose: creative expression through artwork. Jerry Lynn and Terry Lynn‘s gifts have been showcased at the National Black Fine Art Show, the Essence Awards, the University of Memphis Art Museum, the Kentucky Derby and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The University of Memphis alumni’s works have been included in corporate collections of companies including Bell-South, Saturn, and Harrah’s Entertainment, and their collectors list boasts a who’s who including Bill Cosby, Yolanda Adams, Kanye West, Bob Johnson and Earl Graves Sr.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the twins to talk about their special brotherly bond, how purpose played a role in the profession that chose them, and their advice for young artists making a living in the industry.
BlackEnterprise.com What’s the best part about being an artist?
Jerry Lynn: Me being creative and being an artist is a gift from above. It’s my calling. Part of the motivation is me using my gift. It’s a use it or you’ll lose it type of thing. That’s always been a constant driver for me. And it seems that more I use it, the more good things come.
If I don’t use it, I kind of run empty, so to speak. It reminds me because it’s part of me to be creative.
Terry Lynn: It’s something we like to do, something I’ve always done since I was a child.
Jerry: We’ve been painting and drawing since we were kids. Our parents, particularly our mother, kept art supplies for the two of us, since she was a school teacher, and we were encouraged to keep practicing and being creative.
Talk about making this a career. What is the key to sustaining yourself professionally as an artist?
Jerry: Art for the past 15 or so years, art has been our livlihood and that’s what we continue to do. I started teaching in the past few years at an elementary school, but my art takes more of my time than my teaching job. The teaching is more the side hustle, and I went into teaching because I’m passionate about it, not necesarily for the money.
Terry: It’s pretty much what I do everyday—create artwork. I don’t look at art as a job. It just happens to be something that God has blessed both of us to make an income from and it has grown over the years.
What is the process like working as twins? Do you paint together, separately, or both? And what are the challenges and perks of working as brothers.
Jerry: Both. As of lately, we’ve been doing a lot of separate work, pursuing our own creative paths, but we always end up coming back together to do collaborative pieces at shows.
One of the great advantages—one of the most exciting things—is that, by working together, it puts us on a different platform, taking us to places I’ve never been or thought about as kids. The fact that we are able to come together and work on a piece together was something that took us to another level. As far as challenges, being an artist, you’re always being creative, so it’s about finding creative ways to approach challenge of simply being creative.
Terry: We truly do work in a synergy—very connected, especially when we do collaborative pieces. We’re like a team that already knows the teammate’s next step or movement. It’s almost hard to put into words.
What advice do you have for artists in monetizing and finding success in the business behind the profession?
Jerry: You have to keep pushing and perfecting your craft. That’s something we’ve always done—research and knowing where you stand in the industry among other artists. Find that niche, and focus in on being the best in that niche. Your niche will often find you—people will ride that wave, so to speak. Working hard, and having fun, but also realize it is still a business.
Us being twins growing up, and the whole collaborative artwork has been our niche, and it propelled us and gave us a platform. As artists, at the end of the day, things that help put your name out there—social media and things like that—it’s really in your control. Artists have a lot more tools at their disposal to become successful and promote your work so that you can make a living from it.
Terry: You definitely have to work hard, and in business, treat people the way you want to be treated. Sometimes people think they have to run over people to be successful, but our parents enstilled in us to be kind and all those good things, and good things will come your way.
Jerry: And remember to have fun. When it comes to being in business, making money and being successful, don’t think you have to do it by yourself.
For more information on Jerry and Terry Lynns’ artwork visit LynnTwin.com.