Some artists are lucky and or skilled enough to be awarded Arts grants, but these grants are awarded by a very small group of people. So then an artist has to pander to the whims of these arts grant gods, producing art they hope will be what the current gods deem worthy. Being held up as the high art, yet knowing much of what they do is often derided by the masses and then finally thrown aside for the next big thing. With some luck they will have picked up enough money along the way not to have to make art for the critic and finally to make something they really wanted, only to find out no one likes the new thing. Not the critics and not the public.
Or to go the other route and attempt to appeal to the public and gain success in the hostile and cut-throat world of commerce, making art that sells to all, trying to keep some integrity, but knowing that the last painting was sold because it was just the right size and suited the customers new sofa and curtains. Working 50% of there time promoting and selling themselves.
Or do you take the third way where the art is made, but never designed for sale, and is rarely sold. Galleries taking hanging fees for the work they know won’t sell, yet the fees pay their rent and gives the gallery a bohemian feel. The Artist poring life saving and sanity into working, with only a romantic view that at some point in the far far distant future they are held up as a great master? But ultimately most of it will just be thrown out and left for the dustmen.