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The Benefits of an Organic Art Business


A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.

— Henry Ford

The number of ways to conduct an organic art business is unlimited. Essentially, you can do whatever you wish. If it’s not illegal, unethical, or immoral, then how you do your business is personal and wide open to be crazily creative, moderately innovative, or quietly conventional. It’s about what makes you happy and satisfies your artistic needs.

How you make your art and get it to market are choices you make to fit your lifestyle, temperament, and personality. You choose what works best for you and your family if they are involved or depend on your art business for sustenance.

A Wealth of Art Marketing and Business Advice.

The interwebs are loaded with much helpful information about marketing your art. Nearly all the advice offers similar suggestions, including building an email list, creating a solid social media presence, manufacturing a digital marketing system to capture leads and convert buyers, and how to sell art online.

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

My experience is few artists use digital marketing technology thoroughly and efficiently. The reasons usually relate to indifference, confusion, fear, and loathing of art marketing. As an art marketing adviser, I’ve learned it’s hard to herd right-brained artist cats in the direction of left-brained business and marketing practices. I’m not surprised because:

  • Marketing fine art is challenging under the best conditions that require attracting prospective buyers with discretionary funds to purchase original art costing thousands of dollars.
  • Prospects must be inclined to buy art in general and have a specific interest in the work at hand. And aside from patrons and collectors, most people who fit the demographics above only buy art a few times during their lives, which means timing and persistence are crucial.
  • Many artists consciously or otherwise use a unique blend of marketing art that meets their needs even though their methods are only moderately successful by choice. (See Henry Ford quote above.)
  • Those who enjoy balance in their art-life and dream-work status live by their standards without worrying about whether they meet the expectations of others.

Introducing Organic Art Business

Although we’ve probably never met since you are an artist, it tells me much about you. Even if you are an extrovert, you likely are a solo entrepreneur with a strong streak of independence who enjoys creating art in solitude. You are eager to learn how others do things—especially making art—but you do things your way using new insights to tweak your process rather than slavishly follow some marketer’s A-B-C instructions—including mine.

Unless you are a rare exception who is killing it, you probably have lots of room to grow your art business, and you know it and that you could have it too. But despite your insight, your choices about the time and effort you put into marketing your art determine the outcome.

Translation: You could sell more art, but you don’t want to pay the price to make it happen, or in some cases, circumstances forbid you from doing it. Essentially, in such situations, you are operating an organic art business. 

What Is an Organic Art Business?

The answer is whatever you think because there is no actual definition. I think it is as much a state of mind as it is a prescription for how to operate your business and market your art. However, I have thoughts on the process to share with you. They come from my decades of experience in the art business. 

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

An organic art business is one where you are free to pursue your art life without having to worry about paying bills, meeting deadlines, or keeping up with the latest trends because they are covered in other ways, such as day jobs, spouses, trust funds, or good fortune.

An organic art business is a model that works whether you create art full-time, work it as a passionate hobbyist, or something else. Depending on your goals and resources, you may choose to keep your art business small, medium, or large. Start small if you are at a crossroads or don’t know what to do. It may be all you need; if not, all options remain open.

But first, let’s talk about why you might want to consider going organic and how to get started.

How Can You Start an Organic Art Business?​

There are several ways to start an organic art business, but the most common method is to work a job that supports your art business as is or one that pays the bills until you can afford to quit and devote full time to your organic art business. That is if going full-time in an art profession is your goal.

Working an art-related job to fund your art business is an equally good organic business option. Fortunately, there are no poor choices when you are doing what you want to do and are beyond meeting the expectations of others.

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

Regardless of your approach, it takes discipline and sacrifice to achieve your desired outcome. Even if you are the quintessential Sunday painter who creates solely for your satisfaction, applying dedication and making appropriate sacrifices will make you the best artist you can be.

I believe if you have the following working for you as you wish, you are on the path toward living your best life as an artist.

Organic Art Business Components:

  • Create art others want to buy—the more compelling to others and passionate to you, the better.
  • Build your relationships into micro-tribes consisting of potential art buyers and influencers who can boost your marketing and advance your plans. 
  • Tell your story and use your passion for a subject you care about that may run well beyond the scope of your art creations to favorably influence your potential buyers and supporters into buying your work and interceding on your behalf.
  • Balance your Art-Life and Dream-Work status. Acknowledge that your life as an artist reaches every aspect of your existence and work to harmonize your life, art, and business. You can create a joyful, well-lived artist’s life with the right decisions and perspective.
  • Live your best artist’s life proactively. Be the boss of yourself as one that you love and admire. Choose yourself because it’s the only way to help yourself and, ultimately, help others. 

Your life as an artist and your art business are inextricably entwined. If you vigorously pursue operating an organic art business, you choose to live your artist’s life similarly.

Keep It Simple.

I believe the most satisfying choices for living your life and being in the art business are those that keep things simple and organic. But, in most cases, it’s choosing your quality of life over chasing fame and fortune.

It’s true that you can have it all if you have the ability and ambition to get it and are willing to pay the price and do the things it takes to make such things happen. But there are always significant tradeoffs, and I don’t see how average folks can grind to achieve and keep it simple. You always have options, choices, and decisions with a unique, organic art business model as one of them.

If You Can Use My Help, I Offer It to You.

No matter where you stand or what you want, I’m eager to use my expertise to help you get where you want to go. That’s why I created the AMTP membership group. It’s a worldwide community of artists who seek to learn the best ways to market their art on terms that work for them. They can tap the extensive art marketing library archives and get help from fellow artists and me on the lively Facebook group discussion board.

You are invited to join and experience the group in person. I priced it at $4.99 per month, so any artist can join no matter where they live or what they do. And there is no contract, meaning you have everything to gain and virtually nothing to lose by becoming a member. Join today—I’m sure you will be glad you did.

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

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  • Thanks for this. You’ve perfectly described me as an organic artist. I’m too old and busy to join another group but have followed your advice sporadically.

    • You’re welcome. It’s good to know my ideas resonate with you. I want you and others to know there are many ways to work at being an artist, and there are no poor choices.

  • Thank you Barney for giving me permission to market my paintings in ways that I’m comfortable with. All the marketing advice that gets thrown at us every day from many different sources is wearing on me and, probably, on most other artists as well. I spend way too much time on it.

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