What people do not realize is….
Artist get a lot of bad publicity. Living as an artist takes a lot perseverance and drive. You need to do a lot of work by yourself. Delegating work is difficult since you are the creator and owner of the business. Here are some basic truths about being an artist. If you think that what I list below is something you can do and are willing to do, then you will have a head start as an artist. Go through each point carefully and find ways you can overcome the obstacles in your artistic practice.
If you are a realistic painter or an abstract artist, the struggles are the same. These points are the unavoidable points that you need to master as an artist.
1. Success is not based on skill. You can be a wonderful painter, for example, and the best portraitist in the whole country but you will not succeed if no one knows about you. You need to get out there and show your work so people know how good you are. Really good publicists in the artworld were Dali, Georgia O’Keefe, Chris Cran and Picasso.
2. Marketing is not easy. There are many ways you can market your work. Do your homework for your particular niche and find the best way to show your work. An artist that really worked their niche is Yayoi Kusama. She is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. For more information about her go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yayoi_Kusama
3. Create! You will not succeed if you do not create work. Get to that studio and build your collection of artwork. You need to do work that you can show. No work-no shows. The more prolific artists are everywhere. Picasso and Monet were well known for the quantity of work they produced. One current artist to look at is: Kara Walker. She is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, and film-maker who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identityin her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes. For more information, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara_Walker
4. Fellow artists are both your biggest promoter and your biggest competition. This is a fine balance. My fellow artists have sent people to my art shows because those buyers were interested in my style. At the same time, I have had other artists say negative things about my work in hopes that the buyers not look at my work. What can I say? Choose your friends carefully.
5. Taking the time to practice your skill without the pressure of sales is essential. You need to take time to just work at perfecting your skills. Not all works should be put up for sale. Most artists need ‘down’ time. One podcast that I listen to is ‘Savvy Painter’. https://savvypainter.club/join-savvy-painter-waitlist/. She interviews different artists from all walks of life. Regularly, the artists say that they take time to work on pieces that are not related to their current series. They continue to explore and find new ways to hone their craft. If you like podcasts, here is an article on other podcasts on art: https://www.artistsnetwork.com/artist-life/12-art-podcasts-inspiration/
6. You will need to learn social media skills. Most artists prefer being in the studio and ignore other skills. This is one skill you cannot avoid. You need to learn Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and whatever new media that applies to art. Use them. One online class that helped me was by Alun Hill. You can find out more about him and his classes at: https://www.tetmo.com/p/how-to-use-pinterest-to-make-money. He has sales regularly so wait for one of his sales. He explains social media really well.
7. Earned income is irregular. You will have months where you make a lot and other months where not a dime comes in. You need to save for those lean months. Keep account books and a balanced budget. There are hundreds of advice columns on this topic but it all boils down to keeping your costs down and not overspending. Find a local accountant that specializes in small businesses and ask him/her for help. They are often generous with their time, in my experience.
I hope this helps you.
Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca
I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/
For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:
All photography and artwork by Doris Charest
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Till next time …