The stereotype of the starving artist has been presented a million times, and it’s partly because it’s true for many. So many artists fail to make a living from their art and either have to relegate it back to being a hobby or abandon it completely. But for every failure, there is a success story of an obscure artist who was able to rise to fame. You also have artists who have found a way to make a decent living out of resourcefulness and determination. Let’s take a closer look at how you can make it as a contemporary artist.
Forget About Chance
You aren’t going to be discovered by some art magazine or a famous gallery simply by posting a few pictures on social media. You will have to make things happen and never forget to keep creating. If it’s not working yet, it might be because you don’t have a defining piece of work yet. You also need to keep knocking on doors and prepare for many to shut right in your face.
If galleries where you are don’t show interest, look at other outlets. Antique stores, coffee shops, and other businesses like offices or banks are all great options. Some cities also have programs that allow local artists to display their art in public schools, hospitals, and parks, so make sure that you look at the opportunities there as well.
We also suggest you start looking at brokers. People like https://www.contemporaryarttrader.com/ are a great example. They will be able to connect you with a wide network of buyers and will do much of the leg work for you. Also, they will help you with things like valuation, which many new artists tend to struggle with.
Another thing that more artists need to learn is how to be organised. Artists often have difficulty dealing with structure, but if your goal is to make this a living, you have to be more professional.
This means making sure that you have a clear schedule and that you respect meetings and engagements. You also have to make sure that your pieces are well organised and that your paperwork is in order in case you want to apply for a residency, grant, or participate in a show.
You also have to make sure that you dedicate a set portion of time to dealing with the back-end part. This is when you make contact galleries, buy supplies, try to secure space, arrange meetings, etc.
Cultivate Your Contact List
The contacts you make in this business will be invaluable. You shouldn’t only focus on industry people, however. Try to gather as much information as you can, even old friends you lost contact with. These will often be your first supporters and could help you make your first sales. You’d be surprised at how many pieces artists end up selling through their emails. In this business, all you need is a handful of regulars who buy your pieces to start making a steady income and bring others in, so every contact counts.
If your goal was to make a living from your art, follow these few tips. We would also suggest that you look for a mentor who will be able to show you the ropes and the pitfalls to avoid.