Artist Entrepreneurs:
Steps to Success

As an artist, promoting your work is essential to your success.

Whether you are an artist or a collector, it is fascinating to think about the way artworks are promoted by their creators. If you are an artist, you probably want your work to be seen by as many people as possible, in the hope of achieving viral success. Collectors, on the other hand, may want to try and dig a little deeper to find the works that aren’t yet in the public eye.

This all begs the question: is it worth choosing to be an artist as a career? Unless they are going to hire additional staff to deal with marketing their works, artists have no choice but to embrace being an entrepreneur and getting their products out into the world where they can be seen, and hopefully desired, by art buyers and collectors.

Steps to Success:

Defining Your Style

If you truly believe that your artwork is good enough to stand out amongst the sea of competing works, you need to treat your art like a business, which includes following some basic rules and conventions. In the early days before you are well-known, finding a signature style can be an enormous help when trying to establish your artwork as a brand.

If you struggle with this, study the works of other modern artists whose success you would like to emulate. Angelo Accardi is an excellent example of an artist who found success with a particular piece and continued to build on the elements first introduced in that painting to create his future works.

How To Determine Your Signature Style

If you are yet to find success in the market, choose your favorite piece and consider what ideas or approach you used whilst creating it. For those who are a little further along, pick your most successful artwork and use that as the basis for defining a signature style – this will be your brand, your identity that you are introducing to the market.

Ask yourself, why is this particular piece my favorite, or why this work was more successful than other attempts; How did you create it, what is the content or subject, and what form or media did you use to produce it. You can then build upon these elements by creating further works that amplify your most popular ideas. And remember, when you create your signature style you are also defining the audience of your works.

Who Wants to Purchase Your Ideas?

Understanding your audience is essential as an artist-entrepreneur, but getting to know the people who purchase your works can be harder than it sounds. The most important things to understand are what prices your audience is willing to pay, how often they purchase artworks, and what kind of environment they are comfortable spending money in.

The auction house isn’t for everyone – small art galleries are becoming a popular alternative venue for collectors to make purchases, alongside local art fairs and trade shows. You should keep track of all the information you can gather about your audience and re-evaluate these elements regularly. The idea is to try and get ahead of the curve, in business-speak, where you will eventually be able to predict where your art will sell, and for what value, before you get there.

Pricing & Making a Profit

Now that you have gained an understanding of your audience, how do you determine a fair price for your work? Some artists will use the dimensions of their work to identify a price per square inch, but there are many other common methodologies you can follow.

Ultimately, you need to ensure that the price you put on your works covers the materials used and a fair rate for the time you spent producing it, with a reasonable profit on top. Working out overheads, material costs, and retail markup can all be alien concepts to your average artist, despite being basic principles of a successful business.

How to Promote Your Work

In today’s market, having an attractive website that reflects your signature style is absolutely essential to your continued success. Be sure to include high-resolution photographs of your work, alongside intimate descriptions of the artwork, why you created it, and what you hope it will represent to your buyers.

Social Media can be a dark place these days, but maintaining a presence on sites such as Facebook and Instagram is also essential to the success of any modern artist. Keep in touch with your audience by writing a blog and allowing users to comment and interact with one another, and provide an option for visitors to opt into a regular newsletter too.

So, is it worth being an artist?

Without a doubt yes, as the world will always need artists. Have faith in yourself and your work, put the effort in, maintain that effort, and you can find success.