Things I’ve Learned

By no means do I have all the answers, or even my fair share of them. That said, here are a few things I’ve figured out since I began taking the production and marketing of my art seriously.

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ON MONEY

You may have to pay to show your work.

You may have to pay someone to sell it.

Even though most artists don’t make much money, there are people who make money off of artists.

ON VALIDATION

Rejection letters come with the territory. Try not to take it personally, because it really isn’t.

It’s okay to never win an award or grant.

It’s okay to sell very little, or nothing at all.

Don’t be jealous of others success. Be happy for them, and focus on your own work.

ON CRITICISM

Be open to it.

People will offer it whether you ask for it or not.

Don’t take offense. Think about it, then decide if you’d like to implement it or not.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

ON BEING GENUINE

Your art should be a reflection of you and your personality, not a current trend.

People who know you should be able to see ‘you’ in your work.

Make the work you want to make even if it means you’ll never be represented by a gallery, or able to make a living off of it.

You can’t control how your work will be received, so stay true to yourself, and let the chips fall where they may.

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Advice for First Time Art Buyers

Despite what you may have heard, buying art for the first time is surprisingly easy and affordable. For those about to take the plunge, here are a few pointers.

 

A few things to keep in mind when looking to buy art for the first time:

Artists have many costs beyond the making of their art. Juries charge a small fee whether they’re accepted to a show or not, then another one once in. Outdoor shows require tent and grid rentals in addition to an exhibition fee. Galleries often charge for space, or take a percentage (up to 50%) of the sale. An artist must pay for the opportunity to show you their work, and that factors into their prices.

Most artists produce work in a wide range of price points. This is done specifically for first time buyers. If a piece is less than $100, then chances are, they aren’t really making much off the sale. They’re doing it to be accessible.

Original, one-of-a-kind art can often be bought for the same price as an IKEA print, or dinner for two.

Being an artist is EXTREMELY tough. Even when buying their cheapest piece, you are making a HUGE difference in their lives.

If a price point is beyond your immediate means, an artist will almost always allow you pay in installments. All you have to do is ask.

While you can always ask about paying in installments, NEVER ask for a discount. Artists put a lot of thought into their prices, and (as discussed above) they have a ton of costs beyond labor and materials – which are also expensive.

Art is valuable even if there’s no financial return on your investment. Buy it because you love it. Buy it because you support small businesses.

Do’s & Don’t s for the Artist

It’s nearly impossible to predict who will, or won’t be a successful artist, but the following list of do’s and don’t s may help.

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ABOVE: David McDonough, Black & White, digital photograph

DO

Attend art openings and support other artists.

Build an online presence (website, blog and social media).

Have an interest in the art world (locally, nationally and internationally).

Be nice.

DON’T

Take rejection personally.

Ignore feedback, or worse, take offense.

Make excuses for the lack of your success.

Set unrealistic goals.

Set no goals.

Give up.