Art Is Sexy | Art Business Is Still Business

Hello You Sexy Crazy Creature!

Art Has Sex Appeal Okay, that above statement is over the top and slightly inappropriate, but as a prolific art business writer aren’t I allowed the same leeway as other artists to push the envelope a bit?

There is an undeniable romantic somewhat sexy notion about art and artists.

We tend to classify artists as special, creative, sometimes a little crazy or quite unique. True enough, many artists help make these notions reality by how they live their lives.

When you look at the art business more closely, you find most successful artists are hardworking people who take their craft seriously and their business just as seriously. Being an artist does provide some liberties to wear outlandish clothing, act in some affected manner, or live a bohemian lifestyle. Those artists help create the romantic notion that all artists live free and by their own rules. That said it is not an accurate description of most artists I know.

The facts are artists who have built successful careers are also successful art business people.

You cannot separate the sexy art creation part from the tedious business aspects of operating a successful art business. You have to have a creative engine that supplies the work to eager buyers. However, if you lack the talent, desire and skill to find and market to those buyers effectively, and then convince them to buy and then service their accounts, you have a hobby.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

There is no shame in accepting that you have chosen to make art as a hobby. You have freedom full-time artists lack. You can take all the time you want to finish a piece. You can paint daisies today, pets tomorrow and tackle some sculpture next week. Do whatever pleases you.

I have had my share of broken dreams.

At one time, about 20 years ago, I worked hard about becoming a master woodworker. I designed and made some beautiful work. Although I was earning around $150k annually as an advertising account executive, I yearned to quit my day job and go to full-time woodworking. As I started to put together a plan for how to make such a change, I became increasingly aware of these two things:

  1. I would have to take a significant cut in pay and lifestyle for a long time to make my dream come true.
  2. My hobby, which I was so passionate about, would turn into a business; one that would require production and ultimately rob my creativity.

When the cold hard reality set in, it depressed me for some time. My bubble burst and I had no choice but to continue working for the man. I had to come to grips that my ambitions for turning my very serious hobby into a career were not going to happen. I would not make the sacrifice.

Eventually, it all turned out okay. Because I hung in there for almost 20 years, I became so knowledgeable about the art print market and marketing art that it led me to profitable, rewarding second career, which included writing 4 books and more than 500 blog posts, including this one, about the art business.

Sharpening your business skills fattens your bank account.

Now, if you are determined to make a full-time or a serious part-time career as an artist, you have to accept that part of making that happen is to become proficient at running an art business. There are exceptions where you find artists who have help in building their art careers, and that makes a difference allowing the artist to focus on creating art fully.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

The most likely case is you, the artist, are a solo entrepreneur who needs to do everything, which is okay, too. You just have to be as adept at business as you are at making art. I believe artists who work at developing art buyers who collect their work through direct relationships are the ones who are most immune to failures or disruptions in their third-party distribution systems such as galleries and social media. Get 100 collectors is my motto for you.

There are many, many artists who handle all the aspects and who are succeeding at their careers. Most I find have a vision for art they want to make, and an equally keen vision for how they want their career to unfold. In other words, they have taken the time to set solid career goals and then gotten organized around plans to take the right steps to make those goals become a reality.

Take advantage of the sexy notions about art and artists and use them to your benefit any way you can.

Given that art is always a discretionary spending decision, it never hurts to add some allure to why your patrons should want your art. Blend you creativity, your art sexiness and astute business practices and you have a successful career.


Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use


Art And Artists, art business, Successful Artists

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    1. Hi Shelley, If I were deciding for you, I respectively would say yes and no. And, I would have a special list of one piece owners so I could encourage them to buy again. Thanks for replying. All the best!

      1. Thanks Barney! I figured out I have 33 collectors, over a 2 1/2 year period of selling my art. Now I suppose I should get your book to figure out what to do with this list 🙂

  1. Hi Shelley,

    Thanks for your comment.The book does not go deep on what to do with your collectors. That sounds like a follow up book, or at least a long blog post. Think about forming a collector society, even if just on a ad hoc basis. Offer your collectors exclusive special discounts, private showings (online or offline), free shipping, discounted framings, prints, note cards or other items you have in your inventory. Be creative. Ask them questions, ask yourself what would really throw you for a happy loop if someone you bought from did something out of the ordinary to please and impress you, and then do that, or more.

    Use your collector buying data to look for patterns. Do certain types of art sell best? Are there similarities in prices, sizes, subject matter, where they bought, how the bought and so forth. Data mining on your customer’s preferences can create beautiful enlightening patterns for you.

    I would tell you to buy my book to learn the best ways to find new customers and how to professionally and courteously ask your existing customers and other centers of influence for referrals. How to maximize your marketing so you never send another piece of marketing into the world without it being attached to a larger goal. That way you get full value and multiple touches on your best prospects.



  2. Solid business practice matters. As a NON -starving artist I do the following, I send out real mail,illustrated, the letter and envelope. I write stuff down, I get press by calling ad asking for it, I focus on the human interest side of my art life in interviews, I remember that newspapers get NEW people into the traffic, I carry my postcards at all times, I carry business cards at all times, I put my snail mail address on stuff, I offer time payment plans in
    writing, I copy the photo story at the instant printer and write my letters on them, I have shows in homes,I sell art futures to travel. I brand my self as an artist all the time. I get paid.

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