A Guideline to the Business of ART…sort of.

A loose guideline to follow:
• First and foremost create art that you love. Too often as artists we are encouraged to create art that “sells” even if we are not inspired while creating that art.
• The second step involves some research.

Townsend Artisan Gallery & Studios

Who is your potential market and what are they buying. This sounds contrary to #1 but if you don’t know who is buying art then how do you know how to market to them?
• Get to know the market. How do you do that? By visiting local art galleries and areas that art is on display. Art fairs are good to get a feel for the current trends. Again contrary to #1 but if you are creating painted rocks and folks are purchasing glass art you may be in the wrong market.
• Develop a business plan. Or at least an outline of how you want to develop the business end of things. You may not really have an idea of where you want to be as an artist in 1, 3, 5 years but if you have a platform in place the business of art is much easier. What are the basics? Ask yourself if you need to make a living selling your art. The answer to that question can be the choice of paths for you (and give you an idea of how much energy you will need to expend). Do you have a basic pricing strategy for your art in place? Sounds simple but amazingly a lot of artists struggle with how to price their own work. Have you committed to spending some money in marketing yourself? You think your art work sells itself. Maybe if you are lucky. You have to get your art in front of the buying market and in order to do that you have to…market yourself.

“The Best of Us” Exhibit October 4th -28th, The Emporium in Knoxville, TN

• Marketing tools:
Business cards – I have heard are out of style but it is a tried and true as long as you are handing them out. What opportunities have you missed by not having a business card?
Do an art show/exhibit – Hard work and frequently unproductive but how many opportunities have you missed by deciding to not do a show in which another artist raved? See the pattern?
Constantly post images to social media- No explanation necessary.
Update your website if you have one – a creative time sucker but still a good way to get your work viewed by volume…as long as folks know about your website. Think marketing again.
Join artist groups – nothing more beneficial that connecting with other artists that share experiences. This is an iffy one for me but I threw it in because I am told it helps with making connections to galleries and collectors.

Execution. None of the above will work without putting forth effort. You have to constantly evolve as an artist so why wouldn’t you do the same with your art business? Business cards, websites, shows, etc. all take effort and time and commitment. You have to commit as much energy to selling yourself as you do in creating your art.

So the strategy is create, plan, market, and execution. And do it all over again.