The Business of Being an Artist

I am lucky to live the life many artist dream about; I travel, show and live off my art.  Sounds glamorous, believe me it has its perks and poops;)  We are currently in Palm Springs doing Village Fest, but just today I spent a few hours applying to new shows around LA, we are ready to move on… Also applied to a couple galleries; haven’t done that in years, well we will see if anything comes of it… its nice to not be so dependent on that.

I get a lot of questions from other artist asking me what they need to do to make a living off there work…  I answer them the best way I know how, or at least suggest things I have done… With my ne blog, Im gonna hopefully point some folks in the right direction by sharing my successes as well as things I may have done differently…

The Question I am emailed once a week by other artist is “HOW DO I SELL MY WORK AND MOVE MY CAREER AS AN ARTIST TO THE NEXT STEP?”

If it were only that easy… This is a question I as myself daily.  Well, what I would say is first ask yourself, “Do I have something that will sell to the mass public?

One of my early paintings

When I first began painting I did paintings literal work of how I was feeling at the time… depressed, confused, and still in love with my new medium… Oils. I painted non-stop… which meant I started to have painting piling up!  I sold a few here and there for basically what I had into the materials, traded some too.   Then someone said something to me; they said that my work wasnt very marketable… after stewing for a month of two I opened my eyes… The world is FULL of imagery, we are bumbarded with advertisements, television, and of courese “ART?”  I already had a strong style,( thats important too)…  I then tried to do some paintings I thought would be marketable-  but thats not enough either, not if your an artist!  I then painted a mermaid, I was 23 and had just moved from Amsterdam to New Orleans… I found it!

My first mermaid

At the time I thought I was only gonna paint mermaids for the rest of my life; if you know my work you know I have branced out;)  What worked for me was, I was able to put myself into my paintings… At the time I felt very alone, yet very confident that I was going to succeed as an artist- somehow.  All of my work is like this for me, each one a self portrait; not a likeness, but a way for me to look back on my life and see where I was at.  So to make this question really easy, imagine your work on a wall clock, t-shirt, and a signed print.  Now, my age group that buys my work is from 13-35.  I know that if  I had a group of ten strangers in my demegraphic off the street, at least one out of ten will want one of those items with my work on them… If you cant honestly say that, start your brooding now to get it over with.  If you are having trouble selling what you are making- try rethinking it.

If you are unsure, or lack the honesty- here are two places you can see how your images may look on mercendise. 

http://www.cafepress.com/

and

http://www.zazzle.com/

Here is some of the merchendise that works well for me

exfull-curtain.jpgarabella.jpgBothShowerNL.jpgIMG_2980.JPG

 

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5 Comments

  1. Aubrey February 5, 2016 at 12:04 am #

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the book in iit or something. I think that you could do with some
    pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that,
    this is great blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

  2. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog witth mmy myspace group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  3. Robert April 15, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Wow, Thank you!!! Talk about a long reply;) I just saw this… still new to this wordpress website;) Anyway, things work in mysterious ways, because- well I just needed to hear this now. Thanks, I love being an artist, but like anything its tough at times- but while I haven’t been working on my website I’ve been painting, and now am excited about sharing;) Forward!

  4. Megan August 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Wow, you truly are a remarkable person! I love how you operate, and your style. It keeps things “you”, ya know! Original. I love where you have taken your work, and I can see how you have grown just from reading your story on here. I am also very fascinated w/ your animal hybrids, they stood out to me the most I think! It’s like the biblical references, with a new school swag. Very creative! I’ve never seen anyone else’s work like your’s. It’s truly inspiring! Makes me want to pick up a paint brush and start! It’s that energy you have! You share it with others through your work, and not even a thousand miles could separate your energy from your art. Even through a computer screen, it remains in the Art you show. That’s beautiful! I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to meet you and get to know just a little bit about you. I hope you keep up the good work, stay strong, and always keep moving forward! Your an amazing person and very deep! Thank you so much for sharing! ~Oh and keep the dreads! ; )

  5. Mom March 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    The people who follow this blog will get a wealth of information, especially Artist,I have watched throughout the years and have been amazed at your dedication at learning the computer and the marketing of your art, You learned through mistakes and successes,I seen your greatest resource being the public library,your self taught ,not a easy thing,You always have new goals and are constantly working towards them,I think the dedication towards your art is a real asset, Your talent is amazing,You have a wealth of information and those that choose to follow you will definitely benefit from what you have learned thru trial and error .Great Job

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