|Diversity in my art practise - Homewares and greeting cards printed with my photography, leaf prints on scarves, prints and greeting cards, paper flower making.|
If you are a working, professional artist you probably spend the majority of your time on your art, but you need to work on the business side of your art practise too. If we want to survive as an artist we need to make some money to pay the bills. Many artists juggle their time between doing their art and working a full or part time job in order to survive.
You need to ask yourself what do you want from your art. Is it a passion that you have to do regardless of the returns, or are you trying to live off your earnings. It wasn't until I retired that I could spend more time on my art, and I still don't make a full time income from it. But it is something I enjoy, and it makes me enough that if I want to buy something for my photography, like a new lens or camera, I use the money I've earned from my business.
On the weekend I went to a workshop, 'Art and Business', conducted by artist Andrew Frazer, who is the founder and creative director of the Bunbury street art project Six Two Three Zero. I had been to a couple of Andrew's hand lettering workshops in the past and I knew he was a very enthusiastic presenter. So I looked forward to meeting up with him again.
** There is always someone out there doing something better than you. Celebrate your individual craft and don't give up! Create something unique and take a risk.
|Experimenting with leaf-prints on paper|
** Balance your time. Don't forget those around you while you are pursuing your dreams. Your family are an important part of your life, and so spend quality time with them.
** Be focused when you are working on your craft. Being focused will lead to productivity.
** Schedule regular breaks and give yourself time to breathe, reflect and refresh. Go for a walk!
** The customer is valuable, but they might not know how to connect with you. Take a risk and put yourself out there. (I entered one of my leaf-prints in an art competition in May, and unexpectedly won the "emerging artist award")
** Look everywhere for inspiration, not just within your field of art.
** Always carry a notebook or sketch book or camera to put down ideas and inspiration.
** Your portfolio or website or blog is a visual representation of your work. Make it as professional and the best that you can. You might have diversity in your work, but you need a thread that binds it all together. Keep your CV on file, and update it regularly. Document your work.
** Which artists do you admire? What were they doing 5, 10, 20, 30 years ago? Just looking at their current work can be disheartening. At one time they were just starting out too, just like you.
** See the bigger picture. Seek out people who have a similar ethos to you. Develop partnerships and relationships. Don't see these people as competition. Find opportunities to work with other artists.
** If a project doesn't seem to be a good fit for you, it is ok to say no, and refer them to someone who you think might be able to do the job better. (I have done this a couple of times).
** What are galleries and agents offering? Is it worth the commission they will take from your sales? What is the evidence of the benefits of exhibiting with them? An agent can generate/source work for you at a cost.
** Don't say yes to every 'work for free' offer in return for 'exposure' that comes your way. Only commit to those projects you are passionate about. Limit the number you do. You cannot pay your rent with 'exposure'.
** Get out and make connections with potential clients. Be on the look out for projects. Connect with businesses you like. Showing your work in context is valuable.
I exhibited at an art trail early this year, and it was a very valuable day for me, both from sales and exposure.
** Be open to opportunities when they come along and spread your potential opportunities. Link into tenders.
** Expand your business and diversify - workshops, artist talks, posters, prints, greeting cards, TShirts, homewares. (I do this through Red Bubble). Diversifying will help make your business sustainable.
** If a project is not working, walk away and come back later. Don't self-sabotage yourself. Just because you are having a bad day doesn't mean your whole life is going to be like this.
** Don't overshare and don't be a slave to social media. Go in, look, comment, and then get out of there!Yes, you need to connect with your followers, but be careful of how much time you spend on social media, as it is sucking up productive time.
** Pricing is difficult, find a balance. Time is difficult to charge, but don't undercut yourself, and don't go cheap on materials you purchase.
** Everyone is busy, so do follow up on quotes you have given. Don't overspend on marketing, schedule your time, support local and build relationships.
And in the meantime, keep the pot of inspiration brewing.
Thank you so much for stopping by. If you are an artist, I hope you have found something valuable in these little hints. Is there something you do that has worked well for your art business? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments.
I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.
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Life in Reflection
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