Making Successful Art Careers Happen | Part One

Successful art careers happen on purpose. Top selling artists create compelling art and execute effective plans to market it.

Successful art careers happen on purpose.

When you encounter an artist whose career has blossomed, you know with certainty these fundamental components of a successful art career have been mastered:

  1. Consistently producing desirable, compelling work
  2. Effectively marketing the work to interested buyers

strategy While there is much more to developing a successful art career than the items above, virtually every worthy activity in the process traces back to them.

Learn to Practice “Kaizen” on Your Art & Your Art Career.

Kaizen is a Japanese term for continuous improvement. As an artist, you learn to improve by studying the techniques of the masters. As an owner of an art business, you need to routinely observe, learn and apply the successful business and marketing techniques of top selling artists.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
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Resources for Trends and Inspiration.

Although tips for producing faster are not part of this post, I can point you to resources for finding art trends. The second edition of How to Profit from the Art Print Market devotes an entire chapter to “Trends and Inspiration.” Enter the term “trends” in the search box on the Art Print Issues sidebar to find loads of posts related to the topic.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution for visual artists. You first have to learn what kinds of products and services, tools and techniques are available. Then you need to decide which of them fit your budget and what capabilities you have to master and utilize them. It equates to the same trial and error method of learning to create art. You get better and smarter as you progress.

Prioritizing and Discipline Are Keys to Art Marketing Success

Like making art, marketing art requires disciplined everyday activity. Effectively marketing art requires daily actions by the artist, or a trusted marketing person.

Growing awareness for and making sales of the artist’s work is the goal. As you learn to prioritize your marketing efforts, you will learn to accomplish more in less time. Ultimately, prioritizing makes decision making easier. It also produces extra hours for creating art and other profitable activities.

Making the best choices and determinedly acting upon them is necessary to develop a successful art career. Capturing the attention of potential buyers requires a steady, systematic approach of finding new ways to sell more art while retaining existing customers. These are the essential ingredients of a successful art career.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Being Creative Comes with Blessings and Curses.

Visual artists are by nature curious. This helps them see the world through a different lens than other people. Having such a unique perspective also makes artists more sensitive to the world around them, and often is the source of their creativity, passion, and ambition to make art. These same traits often are the cause of artists becoming distracted, and undisciplined, especially when it comes to art marketing.

Unfocused Creativity Leads to Confused Marketing Plans.

By not prioritizing their marketing, artists can find themselves pulled in too many directions at once when trying to get their work to market. It is common for an artist to want to make different kinds of art; that is they might be interested in working in watercolors, oil, pastels, or even sculpture or mixed media. Or, perhaps they want to do landscapes, abstracts and portraits.

Entertaining imaginative impulses is great for a creative person; it keeps the stimuli at a high level. Regrettably, it is a snare and a trap for the artist serious about marketing their work. There is a need for the artist to focus on a distinctive style, or aesthetic. Consumers, art dealers, and art galleries use continuity to help them understand the artist and their work.

Stay Tuned: Part Two Comes Next Week.

In this first part, we have covered the need for consistently producing desirable work, and for prioritizing marketing efforts. Next week we will delve into how to effectively market your work using the tools best suited to your personal situation.



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The Guide to Art-related Careers
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  1. Thank you for introducing us to the concept of Kaizen. (btw. following the link to the wikipedia references is really valuable) I realize I have been working in this way for quite some time, but isn’t it wonderful how having a term for a concept will create such clarity.
    And thank you for addressing the extremely important issue of harnessing creative impulses/focusing marketing efforts. Although it is difficult to give up the joy of creating without limitation, I am reminded of some good advice I heard long ago – “Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD”. I am eager to hear your further thoughts on this topic and shall be watching for part 2 and (dare I hope) parts 3,4 …

  2. Hi Anne, Thank you for your comments and insights, especially regarding CAN and SHOULD. That is an easy litmus test, if taken early, that can tremendously help productivity.

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