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Are You An Artrepreneur?

by Lori Woodward on 8/8/2017 9:43:22 AM

This article is by Lori Woodward, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. She is a member of the the Putney Painters, an internationally known group of a dozen artists who paint under the mentorship of Richard Schmid. Lori authored and illustrated step-by-step articles for Watercolor Magazine from 2007 to 2012. She has taught art marketing seminars at Scottsdale Artist School and at the 2012 Oil Painters of America national convention and show.



Lately, I've been seeing the word, "Artrepreneur" in various books and blogs. I really like this term - it describes the kind of business I'm engaged in.


In today's Internet economy, artists do well to observe what's working for other artists' sales and marketing efforts. As far as I can discern from my research, there are more artists selling art and making a living at it than in past decades, but keep in mind that these artists are selling in a wide variety of ways.


Gone are the days of simply depending on a dealer or gallery doing all your marketing and business. Artists who are thriving, tend to be good at running their art endeavor as a business. There are no rules or recipes to follow here. Those who are as creative with marketing and sales venues, as they are with their art, are those who are making a living.


Just Get Started


I recently bought an online course by Seth Godin, "Freelancing". It's offered on for a reasonable price. Seth is my marketing hero. He's honest, calm and well spoken. He's Genuine! Seth advises listeners/readers to be a bit impulsive, but not reckless. By impulsive, he means to get started on a project you've been thinking about. The thing about getting started - you can't get to the next step unless you're actively doing something. In other words, the next rung on the ladder doesn't appear until you step onto the ladder.


I've applied this way of thinking to my artwork lately. Instead of just dreaming and scheming, I've taken Seth's advice by "diving-in" to a project. You know what? His theory actually works! I'm much more productive when I just abandon fear and begin. That's not to say that the project will end in success. In fact, many projects will most likely end in failure. Seth reminds us that when we see successful people, what we don't see is all the ideas those folks failed at. The most productive people fail their way to success. The key is to start, no matter the outcome.


Seth uses the Beatles as an example. When the Beatles were singing in Hamburg and England and writing their first songs, they had no idea what lay in the future for them. They worked hard anyway. Of course in this case, their hard work and experimentation paid off. I love that when American record companies turned the Beatles down because, "Guitar is out", and "kids just aren't listening to what you're doing today", the Fab Four worked hard as ever and continued to create their new sound. They refused to listen to the experts and pushed forward with their vision. Were they guaranteed success in that vision? Of course not - but music changed because they stuck with it.


You Can't Tell The Future


If you have a marketing idea or an artistic goal that you've been wanting to try, but have been afraid of failing at - or not "measuring up" to your peers, why not get started and then see where it takes you? No one, including you, knows whether it will succeed or not. It helps if you get used to the idea that not all of your experiments will work to your benefit, but eventually one of them will, and when it does, it might just be a big deal.


Don't Go Broke


With that all said, it's important to keep in mind that you don't necessarily want to go broke on any endeavor. Spend as little as you can while investigating new ideas. It just doesn't make sense to invest large sums of money on something speculative. When your idea does take hold and gets great response, that's the time to invest in getting the work out there on a larger scale.


If It's Working, Don't Change A Thing


If you're well known for your current body of work, keep at it. You don't need to throw it away. Maybe you're only interested in tweaking it, or moving it in a slightly different direction. Perhaps just changing the presentation or framing on your work will do the trick. As my tennis coach used to say, if you're winning, don't change a thing. If you're losing, mix up tactics until you've taken command of the game. However, if you're doing very well with sales right now, no need to change a thing - unless you're bored to death by it.


While you're planning art and career strategies, think about what types of selling venues suit your personality and artwork. There are many more to choose from than in past years. Right now, some juried outdoor shows are providing avid sales for artists. Other artists are making a living selling small works online, yet many are continuing to sell at a roster of galleries. As I've said in previous blogs, most artists who make a living from art sales have multiple streams of income set up.


Richard B. Hall


With that, I want to recommend an artist whom I admire, both as an artist and Artrepreneur. Although I don't know him well, I've been following his work for quite awhile and can ascertain that he's fully capable of both creating his art and running his business well. Check out his website to see how he's selling both originals and also gaining passive income via reproductions. Please don't worry about whether your art looks like his or not; I'm interested in showing you artists who run their business well.  


Here's the link:  Richard B. Hall




Editor's Note:

What a better way to kick off your art career, than with a new gorgeous FASO Artist Website to display your talent! We make it easy to put together, very easy to maintain, and there is a Positively Remarkable Support Team to help along the way. To sign up for a free, no obligation 30 day trial, click here.


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Related Posts:

Multiple Streams of Income For Artists

Art Sales Trends in 2017

The Advantages of Selling Two Bodies of Work

Current Framing Options - Part 1

Planning For Profit - Doing The Math

Topics: advice for artists | Art Business | art marketing | FineArtViews | inspiration | Lori Woodward | sell art | selling art online | selling fine art online 

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Dorothy Thompson
Such a great article. And so timely, as I have indeed been trying something new. I have shown it at one show this past weekend and will have more for this upcoming weekend - another show. I hope it is popular, but that remains to be seen. Thanks for the encouragement to continue trying!

Bruce Marion
Hi Lori- Thank you for the great post! I've been following Seth Godin for years and like you, have found him to be a great teacher and so down to earth. I love the idea of his that you bring up of just jumping into something without necessarily knowing all the "steps" or the final destination. I've used that idea many times in my life and found it works really well to get things happening. You go into it not knowing the exact outcome (success or failure...or it changes to something different than you originally imagined) but the action gets you past that initial fear and allows for creativity to happen. I used this idea when I transitioned many years ago from being an illustrator to a fine artist and I'm using this idea now as I build my online streaming art lesson business. As artists, we step out into the abyss with each painting that we create....not knowing if it will be "a success", well received, create income or sit on a shelf. I greatly admire all artists, whether they make a living at it or create for their own enjoyment, because it takes tremendous courage to be on this journey. Thank you again Lori...I appreciate all you do for the art community.

Lori Woodward
Thank you Dorothy and Bruce.soinds like you are both comfortable with making changes as you see fit.

I'm just getting started marketing online. Your article is just what I need to hear!!

Sally Fraser
What a wonderful sense of humor and memories of growing up. Richard Hall does capture these memories in such a quirky way and his technical skill lends itself to be able to master his still-life settings. No wonder he is doing well along with his marketing . He has a good package.

Mark Brockman
Interesting turn of frase or word. But I've grown tired of the 'how to be successful' gurus out there. If you break down what they are telling us, well, it's just common sense, not bad information mind you but just not worth paying for. I'd rather buy art supplies.

Some of us are marketers first, artist's second, some of us are artists first and marketers second and some of us are just artists. I'm just an artist, willing to spread the wealth if others do the cold calling, foot work needed to sell. It's just who I am and I'm OK with that. I am no 'Artrepreneur'.


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