Making Money in Astronomy with Cathrin Machin
Purpose: To explore the life of Cathrin Machin, a space artist making money through her passion of the cosmos, along with giving some helpful tips about how you as well can make money through your galactic interests! This one is a real treat, a must-listen for everyone.
Cathrin Machin: After leaving her engineering education path to pursue a job in the video games industry, Cathrin eventually found that her artwork was in high demand and is now a professional space artist. She is a prime example of someone taking what they love to do, which for her is painting the cosmos, and turn it into a career.
This Episode You’ll Learn:
- How to turn your passion into a career
- How to find that passion
- General advice on getting started in a new path
- Why Cathrin Machin’s life is so incredible
- What it takes to inspire yourself
“The difference is betting on yourself, and being willing to take that leap.”
“Find what gives you a heartbeat, and pursue it.”
“Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”
5:56 - Alternative Careers in Astronomy
We can all do something we’re passionate about, and it often starts with a little “side hustle.” This can be difficult to instill within ourselves while grinding through a job that drains us, but the possibility is always there. Each one of us has suffered through a job that we’ve hated, and while getting out of it can be difficult, staying would be worse. Cathrin relates her experiences in this realm and what led to her eventual nervous breakdown, which she thinks everybody should have at least once.
15:36 - Let’s Get Kickstarted
Whether you’re an artist, a photographer, or whatever, you can use this method right now to get going. Even when we aren’t fully confident in our own work, we can find that others are inspired by it--or are willing to pay for it! Then if we can innovate even just a bit, like making your paintings glow in the dark, your popularity can expand faster than the universe.
22:52 - Painting Style and the SpaceX Project
As a surprise for SpaceX, a primary source of inspiration for Cat, she created a massive painting of a spiral galaxy originally photographed by William Herschel. People often think her paintings are computer generated, and while the concept is created digitally, her artwork is purely pigment-based, even hand-grinding her own paints.
32:18 - The Market for Astrophotography
Dustin implores astrophotographers to push their images out there, and even get themselves going on Kickstarter. People are hungry for this content--they want these incredible photos of the universe, but much of the appetite is left unsatisfied. These images don't need to stay in the realm of photos either, but can be made into backpacks, car covers, lunch boxes, or whatever! Don’t have your own images? NASA data and images are completely free to download and use for your own purposes.
40:41 - Entrepreneuring in Astronomy and Beyond
In astronomy, and literally every other realm, there is room to capitalize and innovate on a market. Which aspect we decide to act upon is up to our imagination. If we love it, we can find a way to make money from it; or, if we already have a business venture, we can add on to it. Tony relates his experience in doing this.
57:36 - Conclusions and Final Advice for Listeners
Cathrin and Dustin give some crucial advice for all of us to get started in our own ventures. Be okay with not being amazing or perfect, and just get going. Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, or an artist, or whatever, but everyone is meant for something. Find it. Pursue it. Live it.
Like what you’ve listened to? Hate what you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments below!
A look at the past and an eye towards the future. Dustin and Tony discuss where we've been and where we're going in astronomy. Join us.
Curious about getting recognized in the industry and how to spread the word of your work? Check out our talk with Kevin Legore about astronomy outreach here.