Before we dig into this week’s topic, I need to give a huge shout out to all the amazing artists, purchase award partners, and jurors who were part of our 2018 Art Comes Alive exhibit opening and awards ceremony this past weekend! Wow! What an incredibly art-filled evening celebrating the immense talent of artists from across the nation. We’ll have a bigger and better recap of the evening for you next week. So, stay tuned!
One thing that’s on every artist’s mind is how can I increase my income? I could state the obvious and respond, “Sell more art,” and I am sure everyone reading this would spit out their coffee and get a good laugh over that. Ha! Why didn’t I think of that, Litsa?
Let me assure you if it were so easy to just sell more art, then everyone would be doing it. The truth is selling, even the most beautiful, exceptional, or even collectible, works of art is a tough job. It has taken my entire career to understand that selling great art is only one way to earn money to keep the doors to my gallery open.
Over the years, I’ve had to get creative and leverage several skills, key relationships, as well as grow and change with the times to serve my clients and artists. What I learned through both failures and successes in the art world, I realized, can help other artists succeed and do similar things to increase revenue streams. And though I offer several more ideas and tips to help increase your income as an artist in my book Secrets of the Art World, here are just 5 Ways to Increase Your Income as an Artist:
1. Understand Your Art Market
This is fundamental and just downright good business practice. You need to know your competition. You need to see what work is selling. You need to know what interior designers and healthcare industry experts are looking for in terms of art. You need to stay abreast of trends. Is your work priced competitively? Is your portfolio and online presence the absolute best it can be? Is your website fresh, current, and tagged properly so that your art will show up when certain keywords are typed in? Is your brand or signature style fine-tuned? By adjusting your work to match the needs of the market, and to put it in the RIGHT market, you’ll automatically see increases in sales.
If you’re looking to expand your market? Consider gaining exposure through our annual catalog Blink Art Resource. We created the catalog, so artists can have their work seen and sourced by trade professionals for a variety of corporate, healthcare, residential, and hospitality projects. Each year we publish Blink Art Resource and distribute it to 10,000+ interior designers, art consultants and art dealers in North America. But readership is over 50,000!
2. Sell Your Artwork Online
You don’t want to miss a trade show or an art fair that you’ve been routinely successful in, but you also don’t miss out on the ability to sell your work to a wider audience either—and online is the place to be. According to Saatchi, in 2015 the art world experienced over $3.75 billion (yes, you read correctly, billion) in online art sales. There are many online art marketplaces that will help you sell your work online. Saatchi, Artful Home and Blink Art are some of the more popular sites. But each one caters to a different audience and offers different benefits. For example, our online art store Blink Art features artwork online, that’s promoted daily on social media sites, and promoted with digital advertising as well. But unlike other online stores we have a very specific buyer audience of interior designers, art galleries, and art collectors.
By having your work featured online you’re not limited to a finite audience, literally, anyone can view and buy your work from anywhere in the world. In my book, Secrets of the Art World I also list ALL the places online you too can sell your work.
3. Seek Out Artist Opportunities—Grants, Residencies, and Commissions
There are times when artists can’t rely on the income from selling their original pieces of art alone, commissions, grants, and artist-in-residence opportunities are a great way to add a revenue stream. There are up to $24,000,000 in artist opportunities on our website alone. With a Blink Art membership, you can find up-to-date information on commission requests, upcoming grants, and possible artist-in-residence programs.
Each month we send out a blog featuring the top-five artist opportunities for free so make sure you’re signed up for our newsletters!
4. Leverage Your Expertise: Consult, Teach Workshops, Offer Seminars & Webinars, or Write a Book
You know something no one else does. I know that seems hard to believe, but it’s true. You have talents, skills, and expertise that others would pay good money to learn. You may balk at that and think you’re “giving away the farm” by letting others see your techniques and skills, but remember how long it took you to get as good as you are? If you’re teaching someone today, they’re not going to be your competition tomorrow morning. It will take years for your followers and devotees to replicate what you’ve done. In the meantime, you can monetize your skills. You can also use books, workshops, and seminars as ways to build a following, meet new artists, and from potential business relationships—not to mention gain exposure.
5. Art Licensing and Printing Your Work
There are so many ways now to have your art printed on products and even sold in stores and online. Online stores like Editions Limited and Artful Home are just a couple of businesses that offer contracts and sell copies of original works of art. Many of my most successful artists have their works printed and sold. And for those of you eye-rolling here about mass-producing artwork, I want to reiterate that selling a lot of art or even earning money as an artist does not make you a “sellout”—it makes you smart! As Andy Warhol says: "Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
I know this is by no means in depth, so that’s why I go over all these topics in depth in my book Secrets of the Art World.
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