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How to Find Yourself in the Art Business


Asking what does “How to find yourself in the art business” mean is a valid question.

— Barney Davey

For this post, it means discovering efficient ways to succeed in the art business. And it’s worth noting that the insights you’ll glean go beyond merely learning the mechanics of operating a company that sells art. That’s because there is more to the story that is worth knowing.

Of course, running a profitable business is a major part of finding yourself in the art biz, but it’s also about searching for new ways to make artworks that have commercial appeal. And finally, it’s about studying artists whose work and business models you admire to learn everything you can about what they do to be successful and what they leave out.

Your Intentions Make the Difference.

It’s one thing to make your art in your creative space that results in occasional sales, which valid your talent—and earning income from one’s artistic endeavors is always gratifying. But it’s a different approach when using your creative abilities to produce products for sale in the art marketplace. Regardless, it’s also a frequent and genuine frustration for artists who feel that making a living or even generating steady sales in the art business is a challenge that will take forever to perform with satisfaction.

How Do We Find Ourselves in the Art Business?

What draws you in, and can you make a satisfying business from it? Is the art business a field you can turn into a profitable venture? Can you find exemplars who inspire you with their art-making talents and art marketing methods that allow them to enjoy a prosperous art business? These and other questions help you get down to the nitty-gritty of why finding yourself in the art business is important.

How to Find Yourself in the Art Business
Success leaves tracks to find and follow.

Passion Is at the Heart of Success in the Art Business.

I believe finding yourself in the art business is all about having a deep passion for doing what you love because, without it, you must ask yourself why you are pursuing the art business. That’s because if you are just in it for the money, it’s an excellent suggestion to choose a more lucrative field.   

I can say with certainty that if you lack passion for making art to sell, you’re wasting your energy by chasing art business goals that require you to do tasks that don’t interest you or that you know deep down you won’t stick with doing. Success in the art business is hard enough; it takes devotion to turn it into a pleasing and prosperous project. Mainly because if you genuinely feel sincere about what you do, you’ll keep going, even when everyone around you thinks otherwise.

So, it is essential to figure out what makes you tick; to learn what about making art elates you. And once you know that, you can use your insights to build a career that satisfies your passions.

Success in the Art Business Is about Many Things.

The art business is more than selling art. It’s about everything you do to get your artwork to market, including these and other pertinent questions,

  • How do you market and promote yourself as an artist?
  • How do you connect and network with influential people?
  • What steps are necessary to grow your art business?
  • What kind of art to create?
  • How do you decide whether to seek gallery representation or market to collectors directly?
  • Where to find inspiration for making art and for marketing art?
How to Find Yourself in the Art Business
Success leaves tracks—find and follow them here.

It’s Not About the Money.

Most artists are drawn to making art to explore their creativity and express their imagination. In my life, I’ve always been around artists and creative people and have yet to meet anyone who made art so they could get into the art business. And although it’s true that selling art starts as an afterthought, so does wondering how to find yourself in the art business.

I’ve found artists primarily are not driven to create to make money because they are motivated by a need to be creative and an abiding love of art. The biggest problem for most artists is that they know they were born to create artwork but aren’t sure where to go next with their passion and how to make money from their talent. Unfortunately, the fact there is virtually no formal training on building a successful art business only worsens things.

Success Leaves Tracks.

Success leaves tracks to follow, which makes learning what other visual artists are doing to sell their art so enabling and helpful. The information about your competition is widely available. Knowing what and how they do their art business creates nifty shortcuts for you.

— Barney Davey

The Advantages of Competitive Analysis for Visual Artists​.

To find yourself in the art business, it is necessary to decide what kind of art you’ll make and what art marketing tools and strategies you’ll use to help you sell your art. That’s why learning what works for others with proven success is valuable. And artists can and should borrow tools from traditional marketers. One very effective tool that helps artists is researching their competition and the marketplace where they operate.

By doing a competitive analysis, artists learn firsthand what works and what doesn’t work for leaders in the field. To gain a complete understanding of what other artists are doing and how they succeed is an enormous advantage any artist can give themselves by using competitive analysis to investigate the competition. They use the info to determine what to do now and what to do next. If you’re unsure what your next step should be, you can see how useful it is to recognize the steps others took to make their success.

How to Find Yourself in the Art Business
Success leaves tracks—learn to find and follow them here.

Competitive Analysis Creates Clarity.

Competitive analysis of successful artists you admire will help you find your possibilities by determining the market for your art. It won’t tell you exactly how to copy someone else’s work. Instead, it will show you what works and what doesn’t. And it will provide you with the tools necessary to create something new and unique.

Your focused research will also help you understand why some people are successful while others aren’t. So don’t think of competitive analysis as a way to create a slavish knockoff of another artist’s work. Instead, it’s a tool that helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly, it gives you clarity—the exquisite byproduct of self-awareness, which competitive knowledge hones sharply.

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