Perfecting a craft takes years of hard work and God-given talent. But most great artists become so immersed in their work that they leave little room for much else—which can be problematic. Creating beautiful works of art is just PART of becoming a successful artist. The other part is the business. Artists who don’t understand the business of their art risk squandering a potentially lucrative opportunity.
Here are some practical marketing tips for artists who wish to cash out on their creativity.
1. TREAT YOUR ART LIKE A MENU
When you view the menu at a nice restaurant, you’ll see your appetizers, your main courses, desserts, and a special menu consisting of items the Chef has prepared for a limited time. And within each section you’ll see items that vary in cost and protein selection. This allows people with varying tastes and budgets to all dine at the same restaurant. Do the same with your art.
Some people like to buy art that simply compliments a space. Others buy art that expresses their values or the people/places/things that they value. Still, others buy art that is a truly unique piece that transcends definition. As an artist, it is your job to be able to create a collection of work that serves multiple functions. In doing so, make sure you produce prints of your work. It’s much more cost effective than only selling originals. Keep in mind that some people have “Main Course” taste with “Appetizer” pockets.
2. NETWORK WITH BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS
Networking is essential to an artist’s marketing plan and it’s ok to want to mix and mingle with individuals. However, you definitely want to make it a priority to approach organizational leaders and business owners. These are the people who not only can afford to purchase your work but who also have the resources to put you in front of others who can afford your work. These are the people who will commission you to produce a specific piece and will pay you justly for it.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has done an excellent job with partnering with Philly360 and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and as a result has been solicited by several publications, which allowed her fan base to grow. Because her great work and notoriety, Fazlalizadeh was recently able to do this…
3. BE REBELLIOUS
As an artist, your job is to take one thing and transform it into something completely different and beautiful. You’re marketing approach should be the same. Artists who have become nationally recognized have done so by giving you the unexpected whether it be by their craft alone or a combination of their craft and their persona. If you study the work of artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Basquiat along with the context in which their work was created, you’ll see that they were indeed the rebels of their generation (in both art and presentation).
For new artists, I suggest you find ways to create work that goes against the status quo and go all out on presentation. Many artists have taken the illegal “street art” approach to gain a following. We’re not suggesting you do the same, but we won’t blame you if you do.
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