The most important things for survival as an emerging artist, in order of importance, are:
1. Make drop dead stunning art. Make art that just stops people in their tracks. The competition is T O U G H. To survive your work has to be the best of the best of the best. The definition for a good work of art is: "Technical expertise itself adequate to produce an emotional impact." So make sure you have exceptional technique, but that you do not concentrate so much on technique that you do not get your communication out. It's the technique that gets people looking and interested and it's the message that makes a work of art have the true power of art.
2. Be ethical. Being ethical means doing things which aid you, and the people and the world around you, to survive. Ethics is a personal thing. When a person does things which they themselves, deep down, know are not helpful to their own and others survival, they then cut back their own success. You are basically good and you only allow yourself success if you feel you deserve it. If you want to succeed in anything, you have to be ethical.
3. Do not have suppressive people around you. Do not accept ANY invalidative criticism (that's criticism where the critic says something is not good - even if they say it in a hidden way - like "Don't worry dear, not everyone's got talent" - yuck!). Artists are creative by definition. There are people out there who are currently destructive. They like to pick on artists as targets to pretend to be friendly to, but actually to pick at, upset and destroy. Suppressive people are defined here: www.scientologyhandbook.org/SH11.HTM
There are two types of criticism: Constructive Criticism - where the person suggests a better way to do something & Invalidative Criticism - where the person just says something is not good. Be aware in any criticism that there are such things as personal taste, contemporary standards and even envy or jealousy. Criticism is the biggest reason an artist stops making art. Surround yourself with supportive people with social personalities.
4. PROMOTE. If you have No.1, 2 & 3 done then this step will be EASY. Promoting exceptional art by ethical artists who do not have suppressive people around is a dream. If you are having a hard time with promotion have a look over 1,2 & 3 and work on them a little, then promote again. But, there is a law in the universe and it is: Outflow = Inflow - the more you communicate to the world about your art, the more attention and money you will get back. In the arts the Press is God - so make sure you are always communicating to the art, luxury lifestyle and mass press. But also make sure you are always communicating to art buyers or galleries and your past buyers. Ideally you will have a gallery do that for you, but the point is that you have to promote if you want to survive and the key is - number of people reached and number of times reached.
Once you have got those handled, then check out:
Top Ten Tips To Sell Your Art!!!!!!!
by Fraser Kee Scott
1. Find out what is needed and wanted. Like, if you find out that people want pretty pictures of houses with snow on the roof and you DON'T DO THAT, then I am not saying compromise yourself by doing that, but a fatal mistake many artists make is not to consider in any way what their potential clients need and want. Like, it can be a tiny consideration, like the client wants it framed in black or the clients in a certain area only buy certain size works, whatever, survey the people who are your potential clients and find out what is needed and wanted. Integrity is the most valuable part of an artwork. There's a fine balancing act between keeping your integrity and selling - and it's you who has to walk that line - but to sell art it's helpful to find out what art buyers need and want - research - sometimes it's the little details that would not affect the message of the art that prevent a sale.
2. Present your work as if it has value. More than any other object Art is all about perceived value. A drawing by Picasso is worth $50,000 and a drawing by Mr. Pisacco is worth a cup of tea in the diner if he gets lucky. So spend a lot of time considering how you present your work, really make it look like it's worth a lot. It doesn't have to cost a lot to do this, mainly care and attention to detail.
3. Keep a very detailed log of anyone who has bought from you before, keep this separate from anyone who has been interested in buying a work before, keep that separate from anyone who has viewed your work before. Communicate to the lists differently - give very special care and personal attention of the first, have some personal aspects to your communication with the second, be more 'mass mail' to the third.
4. OUTFLOW. Outflow is things going out from you. Like handing out leaflets is outflow, sending out promo, making phone calls, whatever. There is a law in life that is OUTFLOW = INFLOW. Just keep outflowing, it may seem you are not having an effect, then the effect comes 6 weeks later, you might hand out a thousand leaflets in one place and someone walks in from another place, keep it up, it works.
5. Devote some time to promoting yourself. One of the most successful artists I show in my gallery spends minimum 20% of his time promoting himself. Not because he enjoys it, but it keeps him alive. Sure, he has galleries to show his work and promote him, but he has to manage them. Basically it is not enough just to make the best work in the world, you also have to get that work to the world.
6. Start off with prices low and build up. Some people take the compliments to their head and think they should get high prices straight out of college. This can be a fatal mistake. People are wary of buying art, it can be a financial risk. Most people buy art because they love it, but are wary of being burned. Your buying clients are your best form of advertising. If someone has paid bucks for your art and they love it when they have friends round for dinner the first thing they are going to show them is your art, they will be proud of it, they will 'sell it' to their friends, who, trusting their buddy and seeing the work has value as it has been bought by their friend, are likely to want one themselves. So get your art out there. Sell it for whatever you will be satisfied with, make sure you survive, but at the start, until you are selling regularly and well, sell as low as you can possibly afford, that way you build up a clientele. The goal should be to have a waiting list who battle over the works (hence driving the prices up)
7. Be ethical. You are a powerful being, more powerful than you imagine. One of the reasons you do not use all your power is that you are basically good and when a person sees them-self doing something with their power they wish they didn't do, they cut back their power, to protect other things around them. So stay ethical, because then you allow yourself to be powerful (which includes selling lots of art). Also, if you find that you just are not selling, perhaps your work is better than a friend who just can't keep hold of his work and it just doesn't add up... Well check your ethics. Is there someone you ripped off? Did you sell a big work and should have paid your bills but you spend the money on loose women and liquor (lol)? If so you need to sort these things out somehow. Maybe you don't have the money to pay the bill now (you spent all that and can't remember half of what you spent it on!) - well, just get in communication with the person you owe and sort some arrangement out, confront it, pay them a little towards it, whatever - keep yourself ethical and sort out any unethical stuff from your past. This is vital to success.
8. Remember what you did that was successful and do that; remember what you did that wasn't successful and don't do that. Look at periods when you did really well, work out why and let that inform your actions, it worked, it will work again. if you are doing really good, then take a sharp turn for the worse, figure out what caused it and stop doing that. You don't need to reinvent the wheel every-time - with me I know that doing Art fairs is successful, so I do as many as I can. That type of thing.
9. Finish what you start. If you do not complete an action you start you can leave a lot of your attention on what you did not complete. That can tie things up. Incomplete actions tend to build up and form mountains. These backlogs destroy the possibility of future production. When you see your production going into apathy know you have gone the route of 'not done's' and 'half dones' and handle them.
10. Be true to your own goals. Work out honestly and earnestly your goals as an artist (these can be as wild and high as you like). Then work out realistically how you are going to achieve them. Enthuse yourself about them. Don't let anything or anyone get in your way or discourage you or tell you you can't have what you aim for. Honestly - the field of the arts is full of suppressive people who pretend to help artists but who have destructive goals. You can be, do and have ANYTHING you want. Don't have antisocial people around you who try and stop you! Find out about Suppressive people and how to avoid them here: www.scientologyhandbook.org/SH11.HTM
Do well! It's important - the world really needs imaginative artists to succeed!
Fraser Kee Scott