Over the weekend, a friend of mine joked that an artist's
ultimate goal should be something like 1) making work that is awesome, 2) being famous or
having people appreciate your work so you can make a living doing it, and 3) doing
what you want--meaning you are your own master and no one else is driving your
creative bus or pigeon holing you. And then we both laughed...a little hysterically...because
that three-pronged goal is one that only a handful of artists are able to
achieve. The rest of us, if we are lucky, will secure one or two of those aims,
and it is compromise after compromise along the way.
|John Singer Sargent definitely "made it" with his portraiture.
Spanish Dancer, oil painting, 1880-81.
But one way that an artist has the best shot at "making it"
is for him or her to be in control of their part in the art business. In this
day and age that can mean learning how to sell art online so that you are
networking with your collectors directly and establishing yourself almost like
a standalone gallery of one.
|Melissa Wolcott adapts her painting skills to a miniature scale.
It might also mean specializing in a particular genre. Maybe
you are going to focus on becoming the
artist for your region, and even within that you can specialize in
corporate portraits or children's portraits. Or you could apply your skills and
sell your art by working in a noteworthy way--you could develop a clientele
interested in large scale drawings or miniatures.
The point is making the compromises about where to sell art
or what kind of art you will be making for yourself--don't let outside
influences lead you along a path you didn't choose but merely settled for. And
that means staying informed about what exactly you can do with the art you hold
so dear. The newest magazine from the editors of American Artist is Workshop for Professional Practices, a deluxe special
issue exploring the aspects of art-making and painting that can help us all put
a professional finish on the work we do.
You'll find practical tips and techniques, information about
how to strategize selling artwork, and advice on marketing art for exhibitions
and gallery shows. Workshop for Professional Practices
made me realize that there are so many avenues to explore and that the more we
do the better chance we have of reaching that pie in the sky dream of being awesome and famous while doing what you want. And it is a
definitely a dream worth reaching for!
What's your criteria for "making it?" And are you there yet? Leave a comment and let us know.