Being a professional artist is not for the faint of heart. Many artists had dreams of supporting themselves with their work from childhood. Making these dreams into a reality can be difficult, and requires a lot of honest work and commitment. However, it’s far from impossible. While recent years have been economically tough on the average American, the economy’s slow recovery is likely to continue into the coming year. 2015 could be a good time to get your career as an artist off the ground.
Working hard in itself isn’t enough to be successfully financially with your art — you have to work smart as well. What are some of the most important aspects of the professional artist business? How can you succeed with your work?
Figure Out Your Customer Base
Before you can sell your work, you have to identify who will be interested in buying it. Your artwork will likely be most interesting and engaging to a particular group — the key is figuring out that group’s identity.
If you have already sold some of your work, this first step is a bit easier. Figure out what the people who have bought your work in the past have in common. Did they attend the events you showed your work at? This is an indication you should continue to participate in similar events, as more potential buyers will become exposed to your work through these events. Is your work appropriate for office decoration, or more at home in a punk music venue?
Once you have answered these and similar questions about your work, you will know how to seek out the customers eager to own your work.
To make decent money on your artwork, more likely than not you’ll need representation. Many professional artists seek to have their work represented by galleries. When a gallery represents your work, you gain prestige and respectability. People will be more likely to take your work seriously, and your work will be exposed to a wider audience.
Some kinds of work may be more likely to be picked up by galleries than others, and it may take some time to find the right gallery for your work. However, particularly if you live someplace with a hot art scene and your work is good, there’s more likely than not many reputable galleries who would be interested in showing your work. Even in smaller cities, galleries like Park West Gallery represent local artists, giving more people a chance to be part of the worldwide art scene.
Keep Your Day Job
Success as a professional artist doesn’t happen overnight. Income from selling your work can also be sporadic, depending on trends in the art world and in the economy. Keeping your day job as you work to get your art career off the ground is a good choice for economic stability.
Working to become a professional artist isn’t easy. However, if you choose the right strategies, stick with it, and have a little bit of luck, you too can be successful.