|This is the first in what hopefully will turn out to be a series of helpful articles for those of us who are focused on making a living creating things, whether it's jewelry, fine art, photography, dolls or whatever. We welcome your comments, feedback and experiences as we all work together in an effort to promote the visual arts! That being said, we would like to kick off the "Art Marketing" series with the following inaugural entry…
A young man was sitting on the side of East New Haven Avenue in Historic Downtown Melbourne. He would bring his paints and easel out every Tuesday morning and plant himself beside the Farmers market day after day, year after year. Then one day it happened… A polished businessman on his way to a meeting stopped to admire this young artist's work. The businessman was so impressed he offered to hire the artist to paint all the pictures in his chain of hotels! This young artist became so rich and successful that he was able to quit his full time job and life the life of luxury doing nothing but creating his artwork!!!
Far too often, though, that's how many people think success happens. Actors, artists – everyone wants to be "discovered" – and once in a blue moon it may actually happen, but those odds are ridiculous!
Stop waiting for your "ship to come in" and start swimming out to it!
In the world of creativity, swimming equals marketing, and you'll most likely never make it to that ship if you don't learn how to swim. You don't have to swim fast, and you don't have to have the most expensive bathing suit nor the strongest backstroke, you just have to swim, fight the current, and keep swimming.
Unfortunately we creative folks love creating, and creating is usually what we do best. Creating art has been proven to be therapeutic and even has healing capabilities, but if you're creating to make a living, you must do more than create. Unless you want to end up with a garage full of awesome artwork that no one sees, you've got to start dedicating at least 50% of your time to marketing yourself, or find someone who will do your marketing for you.
In all our years of dealing in the art & printing world, Brian and I have never met a "famous" artist who didn't have someone dedicated to doing their marketing for them. Most often we see print publishers licensing artists' work and paying royalties, but when those publishers have hundreds of artists, they rarely have a hand at making any of them "famous." We've seen some small publishers who only represent 2 or three artists do a darn good job of making those artists well known throughout the country, and most of our dealings with the super-successful artists reveal that an artisan who has a significant other or family member doing their marketing full-time yield the greatest success. Even significant others who never had any experience in marketing seem to grow into the role and hone their skills out of sheer dedication to the cause. So, if you are frustrated that you are not selling enough work, it's probably not the artwork or your skill – it's most likely that the right people are not seeing the type of work you create.
If you cannot afford to hire an experienced agent, start being reeeeaaaaaal nice to your unemployed sibling, retired parent or significant other, and see if a fresh set of eyes and ideas coupled with your talent can make a difference!
Now, we can say "start marketing yourself" for the next thousand years, but HOW does one do that? We'll use this blog to explore techniques and hopefully be able to share each others' success tips and experiences through comments on each of these blog topics!