There are so many things happening in the art world. At times it can be a bit intimidating especially for newcomers. There is a need to cope with the realities of the ever-changing era of this vast art industry. Life of an artist is a bittersweet mix of an infinite sea of uncertain arrangements, profitable demands, and aggressive competitiveness.
And while there are so many artists who made a big name in the industry, there are also heaps more that did not. This might be because some had exceptional techniques, opportunities, knew the right people or pure luck. For others, they just knew what to do, worked hard and achieved their goals. For the better part, you can always look for ways and means to improve your craft and gradually climb the ladder of success.
If you are a newcomer struggling to cope up with the demands of the art industry and trying hard to make it, here are some tips I’ve listed to help you get through and get going:
1. Be yourself and make the most of the potential you have.
This might sound cliché and redundant but for artists, it is the best and most appropriate advice to give. It is the most important factor for success because your career should be based on what you love and want to do. Don’t try putting on a persona that is far from being you especially when promoting yourself. People will notice if you are being insincere. Find your strengths and emphasize them well. Find your weakness and go all-out to improve them. Remember that the most successful are not those that are the most gifted, but those who know how to make the most of their gifts.
2. Be honest and success will come naturally.
As an artist, our main goal is always to create art because we love it and not to make profit and get a name. Of course, getting money and becoming famous is incredible but working without love and passion will not give you the accomplishment you desire. People will see through you because they respect honesty.
3. Don’t be deceived by the idea of commercial success.
The achievement of arts is not confined to the boundaries set by museums, art fairs and galleries. Sometimes, having the right people around and getting in the right place will give you opportunities that are worthy. Personally, aside from the commercial value, I consider my work successful if I get a lot of questions about it. It means that it has been noticed and has stirred up interest.
4. Keep learning.
Don’t be too confident with your knowledge. In order to cope up with the changing industry, you have to learn a lot. The most successful people in this industry are those who are open to keep on learning and rely on each other’s perception to keep moving forward. No matter how much you have achieved in life, you still have a lot to learn. Always remember to listen to others – even the criticisms.
5. Build relationships.
Whether they are your colleagues, customers, clients, mentors and collectors, you should nurture your relationships with these people. The art industry is a world filled with significant people that are possible sources of opportunities and success.
6. Develop a simple business plan.
Business plans might not be an artist’s expertise but if you want to have a clear vision on where you want to be five years from now, and then you should start creating one, right now. Creating specific goals will help you stay focused in the long run. Your plan should include answers to significant questions such as what do you expect to earn in the next year; in what months will money come in; what strategies you’ll work in order to sell and meet profit goals; how will you manage during the times when money isn’t coming in?
7. Create comprehensive marketing materials.
This should include an array of magnificent materials such as business cards, brochures, letterheads and website that can attract and inspire people to hire and buy from you. Remember the adage “a picture says a thousand words” so ensure your photos and visuals are top shelf. Aside from the appeal, make sure that it matches your personality and works well. It might be an investment on your part, but it is an expense in yourself and it will pay off down the road. In addition, find a reliable agent.
8. Keep growing as an artist because it is a lifelong pursuit.
Even when you have reached your goal of fame and money, you will still want to look forward to something beyond that. Continue to learn and invent and focus on the future. When your style develops and changes, all of your old work will become as valuable as well. Your audience will be interested in the entire history of your life’s works.
There is no singular rule for success. Every successful artist has gone through different paths. And each has a lot of hard work to put up. Creating a personal style, developing an audience, looking for locations, establishing connections and being creative to details are all important tasks of the artists but you cannot follow an easy formula to overcome all of this. It will be your own trials and tribulations, mistakes and experiences that will lead you to the right path and define success for you.
Wishing you every success!