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 Udemy.com 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 https://www.richardhallfineart.com/pages/about-us
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.