Art is the business of sharing worldview, but it’s also the business of artist sales in the face of stiff competition. No business would attempt to compete without a strategy, and without a business-minded plan, both artist sales and the impact of your art suffer.
Promoting art is about promoting yourself, not in a crass, “see how wonderful I am” way, but in a way that promotes your vision, the core of what makes you…well, you. It takes courage, promoting art and putting yourself out there for public inspection, but so does creating art that tells your private truth.
If your work is made of found objects and recycled materials, is it rubbish – and subject to rubbish art pricing? Or is it a work whose value far transcends that of which it is made? When it comes to art pricing and an audience’s willingness to value your art, education makes all the difference.
A lot of artist help has to do with technique, but what about self worth, the sense that your art is worth making – not to mention selling – in the first place? Surprisingly, the best source of this most valuable form of artist help that I’ve found comes not from the art community but from a nuclear power plant repair specialist.
For some artists, creative arts marketing is a sort of accidental pursuit, a byproduct of the real work of making art. But in my case, an accident helped me see byproducts as art and brought a new dimension to my creative arts marketing at the same time.
My personal story reads like a book of artist tips. One of my favourite artist tips is that although you really do need to wait for inspiration to wash up, to grab hold of it you must first make your way to the shore. If you’re willing to meet inspiration halfway, you could catch a wave so big that you need help carrying it all back to the studio.
The necessity of selling art can lead creative expansion to a dead end. “If I head in a new direction,” we ask, “will my audience follow?” My experience, though, is that striking out for largely unmapped territories is what makes the resulting art appealing to so many. And it’s what makes selling art so rewarding – in both financial and spiritual terms.
Art marketing doesn’t have to be a one-way communication from artist to audience, yet another “buy now” in a world flooded with them. Instead, the best art marketing is a give-and-take sharing of ideas, motivations, and passions.
Fine art help often comes directly from an artist’s surroundings. My passion for environmental art, for instance, might never have burned so brightly – or ignited at all – had I not unconsciously asked for fine art help from the cool waters of the sea.
Some artists believe that their ambitions, particularly when it comes to marketing in the arts, are best served by moving to a large city. If that’s what inspires you, great. But for those of us who prefer a quieter, maybe even idyllic setting, technology and easy travel make global marketing in the arts possible from anywhere.
The best fine art tip for any artist, is to look within, find the small shining truth at your centre, and never, ever let it go. My core truth – my ultimate fine art tip – is that there is no separation between artist and environment. And that insight has led to some of the finest art I’ve ever created.
Success in art can mean 100 different things to 100 different people. But for me, a large part of what makes me feel success in art lies in turning environmental blight into a colourful message of future beauty and sustainability.
An arts marketing plan – especially when you work it yourself – benefits from the same sense of balance you’d bring to any creative composition. Equal parts personal and public, creating and selling, inhaling beauty and then exhaling it make for an arts marketing plan that tips the scales in an artist’s favour.
With arts marketing, a common question asked of me has been did I market my art work as “environmental” in the beginning?
Art helps you to transform. I’ve gone through several distinct phases in my career, creating a diverse body of work. The following factors are what led me to change my approach.
Art helps, in part, by building bridges to expanded consciousness. But art helps also when it destroys that to which you cling too tightly. And art helps most when it burns you right down to the bones, as it did to me.
A primary form of my art and marketing is to spend a significant amount of time giving lectures about my work.
For creative types, art and marketing go together about as well as oil and water. But really, marketing can be an art in its own right, a performing art that amplifies the message you whisper through your physical creations.
Promoting art isn’t so much about the art itself as the issue or feeling the art speaks to. So what drives you to create art? For me, it’s often oneness with humanity and ecological concerns. For you it may be different, but whatever gets you going is the key to exciting audiences and successfully promoting your art.
Often, an artist’s help doesn’t look like artist’s help at all. In fact, it sometimes looks like disaster. Selling problems, creative integrity slips, even having your studio reduced to smoking cinders – whatever the setback, it can be an outward reminder to turn inward and rise from the ashes in a spectacular new way.
To me, “artist help” means two things: inspiration for the artist and inspiration from the artist. And the older and, it’s hoped, wiser I get, the more I realize that the latter – artist help defined as service to humanity at large – is the best way to get the former.
What does art success mean? Fame? Fortune? Or does it go deeper than that? It depends on who you are and what you want as an artist, but I think true art success is more than finances and face-time – and I learned that from a three year-old.