The Daily Newb – What are the 3 most important priorities for an emerging artist?

Recently, well last week to be specific, I had the privilege of participating in the smARTist online Telesummit. Here’s a link to this fabulous course….http://smartist.com/live-telesummit/. This 7-day course provided a wealth of information….and I mean a WEALTH of information! Everything from starting a career as an artist to approaching galleries to making an income from art licensing and making art prints. I highly suggest anyone out there looking to advance their art careers to check out this course in 2011. Over the next year I will be applying what I have learned to my own art career and passing a few tips to my fellow “newbs” along the way. A good starting point for me was to figure out where I wanted to go with my career this year….and I started with this question – What are the 3 most important priorities for an emerging artist?

Well, depending on who you ask, I am sure you will get 3 different sets of answers. Everyone from gallery owners to artists to your collectors will have a different yet valuable opinion on this. From my perspective, being an emerging artist myself, these are the 3 that I came up with:

1.      HAVE A PLAN – develop a marketing or business plan. Be clear and concise on where you are starting and where you want to be. Be brutally honest about your skills and talent. Ask yourself: What do I bring to the table? What skills do I excel in? What skills am I lacking? Where can I go to get help to execute this plan? Do I need marketing help? What is your target audience? How will I reach them? Also, think about your lifestyle and personality – how much time am I willing to commit to this? Is it realistic?  Being that we are at the start of 2010, I am currently trying to develop and commit to a realistic plan for this year. I will be posting my own marketing/business plan in the upcoming month.

2.     HAVE A CONSISTENT BODY OF WORK – Well, what does this mean? Your body of work must be recognizable in style and be large enough to show a gallery – 20 to 30 pieces of art.  Here is a great article from Martha Marshall on building a body of art. http://painting.about.com/od/careerdevelopment/a/MMarshall_Work.htm. Also, consider working this into your “business/marketing plan” from above. How many pieces should I be making a week to build a consistent body of work? Do I need to increase my production? Building a consistent body of work is something I am working on for 2010. I am aiming for 2 new pieces a week. Below I have attached a series that I am working on.  

The Goddess Series – “A Goddess in Repose” & “A Goddess in Mourning” by Angella Goodon

3.     GET EXPOSED! – Yes, get exposure where ever you can. Join art groups, submit artwork to artshows/competitions (juried and non-juried), get a website, join a social networking site like facebook and twitter, volunteer for artist societies, hang paintings in doctors/dentist offices or the local coffee shops. Get your art out there…anywhere and everywhere. Currently, I have 17 paintings hanging at the District of Lake Country City Hall. Any wall can become your gallery! Getting exposure will not only build your customer base and hopefully get you sales but you will also be building your resume which is important when approaching a gallery.

There are so many more that I could add to the list. As an artist, emerging or experienced, what priorities/goals are you working on for 2010? Has these priorities/goals changed due to the economic climate or have they consistently stayed the same? What are your thoughts?

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One response to “The Daily Newb – What are the 3 most important priorities for an emerging artist?

  1. I think these are good priorities. I would say that the most important priorities for any artist is to continue pushing yourself in the areas of- Skill, Productivity, Exposure and Networking(being well-connected). I recently went through the realization that for years my priorities have been skewed. I have finally realized that being a college art professor and having the most expensive equipment and a beautiful studio are nothing compared to the artwork you make. Sometimes as an artist it is easy to get sidetracked because the path to success as an artist is one that you create yourself. There are rarely any official positions to hold as an artist that are in recognition of your artwork itself -what i mean is that its not like a job where your wage is increased when you work harder or you get a promotion. You may sell more artwork but selling is not always the best way to judge quality and skill. You set the parameters for what you are working towards and then its only you who will discipline yourself to actually do the work. I have been on the path since about 1987 , have a B.A. and an M.F.A. and am represented by a gallery and I feel like I have just now gotten to a place where I’ve got my work cut out for me. I appreciate this topic of conversation and look forward to reading more and seeing your business plan.

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