1. Understand Your Abilities, Talents, and Goals
In my book Secrets of the Art World, I help artists work through this process in great detail. Passion, excitement, and drive are important, but you need more than that. You need to understand where your work specifically fits in the art world. Wanting to make it, is great. But, do you have the chops? Is your work technically up to snuff? Have you looked at what others are doing in your medium, your region, your price range? Have you received the feedback and honest criticism that will take your work to the next level? Do you fully understand your goals (how many pieces of work you need to produce each week, the price point at which you need to sell your work, and the client list you should have, etc.) and the time, commitment, and dedication required to meet those goals?
2. Creating an Art Career Takes Discipline
This is a big one. I’ve seen a lot of artists crash and burn over the years, and not from lack of passion or business acumen, rather it’s lack of self-care, lack of discipline, and in many cases, the inability to accept criticism, ask for help, or let go of long-held, negative mindsets about selling art. The art world is only “seemingly glamorous.” You may see pictures of artists at exhibitions and shows all dressed up and schmoozing with collectors and industry celebrities. Let me tell you a little secret: What you’re seeing on your Facebook feed is just a couple hours of sparkle after months and months of time spent in the studio. Every working artist I know gets up, puts their big girl/boy pants on, gets to work, and doesn’t stop until they’re satisfied. Like everyone else who works for a living, successful artists show up, every day, no excuses. Even if they have a day job, they find a way to produce.
3. Recognize That Creating Art is a Business
In the past couple of decades, a lot has changed in the way artists share and sell their work, and every year there is a new platform to showcase (and compete) with other artists. You need to stay abreast of industry trends. You need to know how to price your work, who to network with, who to talk to, who to submit work to, and how to keep tabs on your expenses. My book can help you do all of this, but so can annual conferences. By attending business conferences, you stay in the game. You make the right connections, and you learn what you need to know to keep your business in the black, year after year.
4. Create a Signature Style as an Artist
Most artists cringe when I mention social media, blogging, marketing, and advertising. I’ve seen many-an-eye-roll in my day. “Oh, I don’t have time for that, Litsa! I’m an artist!” Well, then, eventually you’ll have all the time in the world, because no one is going to be able to find, let alone buy your work if you don’t make time for it. You need to work on your brand. Yes, your artwork is essentially your “signature” and calling card, but you and a million other artists have one too. You need a plan and a strategy to execute that brand and put that message and your art out there.
5. Surround Yourself with Positivity
I am not kidding. This is not an empty platitude. I could not have made it without the support and help of my peers, mentors, team members, family, and the entire artist community. No one can make it in the art world and business world alone. Let me assure you. You need to reach out. You need to network. You need to make time each year to get away from the studio, get inspired, learn new things, and hear from others that you’re doing great. I know it’s not easy. That’s why I’ve created the Success Summit so artists like you can do just this—you can all come together, inspire each other, learn with and from each other, not to mention industry leaders, and yes, even put on a little sparkle on and celebrate all your amazing achievements.
To learn more about how you can do what you love—better, click here to join us this June 9th-10th at our annual Success Summit.