When it comes to the debate about art and money, you will find plenty of artists eager to argue that the two cannot coexist. Although the world of art continues to evolve into a beautifully edgy society teeming with daring digital artists and innovative experimental art, there still remains a school of thought that art should be made solely for the purpose of self-expression. While this purpose cannot be denied, it is important to realize that for many fine artists, their work is their livelihood. Simply put, they create in order to, quite literally, live.
Of course, like everything else in life, there are a number of different paths an aspiring artist can take to become a successful artist. Today, we will highlight some of the different steps any artist can take to help pave the road to profitability in the awesome world of art.
Be Seen By the People, Live and In Person
Yes, we know. The world has changed. Now more than ever before, self-promotion often plays out online. This is especially true in the world of art. However, believe it or not, it is still important for artists to get out there and showcase their work in the real world, where people can see it, feel it, and maybe even touch it. This allows the audience to form a connection with a canvas and its creator rather than just a computer screen. Fortunately, this can be achieved through a number of channels such as farmers’ markets, juried art shows, and direct submission to art galleries.
The growing popularity of farmers’ markets have made these open-air bazaars the perfect place for artists to display and sell their work. Setting up shop at a farmers’ market makes it easier for locals and others to connect directly with the artist. They get to hear about the history of a piece or collection and the inspiration behind it directly from artist. But there is a catch. Booths at farmers’ markets are not free.
To begin estimating the costs of this venture, check with your local farmers’ market regarding the cost to display for a day. If you find that the cost does not fit your budget, why not team up with another artist and share the space? This way you can split the cost. Not only will sharing a space save both artists some money, it will offer customers a wider selection of artwork.
Juried Art Shows
Although getting accepted into a juried art show may be difficult, the rewards are truly great. All it takes is the right person to see the right piece—just once. Even if it does not happen immediately, contributing to (or even attending) an exhibition can be a great way to network and introduce yourself to the world as an artist. You can find listings for juried art shows (where else?) online!
Direct Submission to Art Galleries
True, the gallery submissions process can be grueling, but if you are a serious artist, chances are you are no stranger to the hard work and persistence that comes with the territory. Any successful artist will agree that creating a polished and professional submission is one of the biggest steps you can take to get your work in front of the right people and advance your career. To start off on the right foot, do your due diligence on the galleries you are interested in to make sure your work is appropriate. If so, be sure to follow the submission guidelines to the letter. Ignoring guidelines will surely stop your submission in its tracks.
Be Online, All the Time
As discussed earlier, an online presence plays an important role in the success of many artists today. This is especially true of part-time artists and hobby artists that are not in a position to dedicate large amounts of time to the business side of the craft. So many artists—full-time and otherwise—have found that one of the easiest ways to remain relevant and in the public eye is to create a personal website. This allows everyone from curious observers to prospective buyers to browse through pieces at any time and from anywhere.
An artists’ website becomes a personal gallery and exhibition, open 24/7, and it also allows the artist to market any products and services offered from original pieces and prints to commissioned work. In essence, the artists’ website should be a one-stop shop for anyone interested in learning more about the artist and their work, while making it as easy as possible to make a purchase.
Be Everywhere: License Your Art
Licensing is another viable option when it comes to turning your passion into a profitable business. In simple terms, licensing allows other companies to market and sell your work. Licensing can happen through an individual company or a commercial licensing agency. With licensing through an individual company, the artist knows exactly where their work will end up.
With a commercial license, the artists’ work could end up virtually anywhere—on a mug, art prints, text books, etc.
The latter may not be for everyone, but consider this: licensing is like free money. Just think, a single piece can be sold multiple times by a commercial licensing agency rather than once. When a piece sells once, the income from that piece ends with the sale. When a piece sells multiple times, the income stream continues. For some, it can continue for years.
It’s no secret that turning your art into a business will present many challenges, but with hard work, persistence, and belief in yourself, the rewards could be greater than you ever imagined. Still not sure where to begin? Fredrix can help get your art noticed. Create an Artist Profile on our website, upload your work, add your contact info. and you’re ready to show!