Flying Trilobite Business Model

I'm looking for advice.

Since beginning The Flying Trilobite 3 years ago, it has been many things to me. A way to reach other people, primarily bloggers, with similar interests. A continuous art studio critique of my work (thanks for over 1700 comments everyone!). A place for my opinions to find safe haven. Until I launched last December, it was also my primary place to promote my artwork, in conjunction with my deviantArt gallery and my reproduction shop by RedBubble.

Current business model
If I have had a business model so far as an artist, it has been comprised of two streams:
1) make art --> blog art --> comments --> take new commissions.
2) make art
--> blog art --> put in reproduction shop --> sell.

As a business model, it's not unlike what bands like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead have done: put some stuff out there for free, and hope payment comes in through other means.

I've had the immense pleasure of taking commissions, collaborations which have resulted in some of my best work. A number of my images have been published in dead-tree format, 7 times last year, and I only sought out one of those, the rest found me. Ditto with the reproduction of Darwin in the museum.

Now the end of school approaches, I've been discussing with my wife Michelle and some friends about how to do even more freelance work. Since beginning Flying Trilobite, I've enjoyed the art process more than I ever have in my life. Art needs an audience - no, correction, scratch that, the artist needs an audience. And you guys rock.

New business model

I still intend to continue these two streams:
1) make art --> blog art --> comments --> take new commissions.
2) make art
--> blog art --> put in reproduction shop --> sell.
And add these:
make art --> blog art --> open eBay or Etsy shop --> sell originals.
4) send portfolio --> magazine & comic publishers --> make art.
5) send portfolio --> museums & institutions --> make art.
send portfolio --> book publishers --> {edit: skip cycle of rejection & doubt} --> make art.

(Add to this that I have discussed the intersection of Art & Science at 4 different venues - could I be one of those speakers with a microphone protruding from my tie?)

This is where I ask the blogosphere, family and friends and strangers for advice. I allow for anonymous comments, so feel free to be frank and honest if you have an opinion and want to be like Batman. Or be your bold self like Iron Man.

Could I make my weird paintings (I'm not weird, you are) into a bigger success financially?
Are there other streams full-time artists employ to make a living?

- - - - - - - -
Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***
For those of you who don't want to be Batman or Iron Man, I'm afraid you're
stuck being Zan & Jayna, the Wonder Twins. "Form of...a puddle!"