Working in the arts is a labor of love. It’s a tough industry to crack into, and once you’re in, it’s often hard to keep up with the ever-changing trends of what’s “in” and what’s “out.” Navigating the politics of the art world, learning to charge what your work is worth, and getting your art out there are the first steps to becoming an artist. Many artists find that it’s difficult to make a living wage as an artist alone. Learn more about how to make money as an artist with this guide.
Find your own style
Trends rule the art world. Try not to descend into the pitfall so many up-and-coming artists fall into and don’t try to keep up with the trends. Trends disappear as quickly as they arrive. To build a long-lasting career as an artist, you must discover and market your personal style. With your own style, you can develop regulars and become known for a certain technique or look. This will increase your customer base, as they’ll know what they’re getting when they come to you for art.
Seek out art events around your city. Even if you don’t personally know the artists showing their work at a certain gallery, if you don’t go, you’ll never get to know them. Get out there and network with other local artists. The local art community is bigger and more powerful than many artists believe. Networking is a great place to start when jump-starting a successful artistic career.
Go out and market yourself to local establishments. Tons of independent coffee shops feature works from local upcoming artists in their stores and help you sell them. Go out and talk to people. Don’t be afraid to call galleries and pitch them your work—you may be surprised how many take it. Plus, the worst thing they can say to you is no.
Pro Tip: Sometimes, calling galleries further away from your hometown can pay off—but remember, you will most likely be responsible for the shipping until your art becomes more well-known. Consider what artwork requires to be safely shipped.
Make a website
Make yourself a website. They’re cheap, easy to build, and allow your artwork to expand in reach from local to global. Include a personal bio, a description of your style and method, and options to order custom pieces or buy an existing art piece. This makes it easy for people you meet who express interest in seeing your work to check it out—and potentially purchase a piece from you.