Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Artist - Entrepreneaur? Marketer? or Both?

I have said before that artists must also be entrepreneurs and to some degree I think this is not a wholly accurate statement. 

It may be more appropriate to say that an artist must be a creative marketer of their work...or perhaps it would be best to say that artists must also be entrepreneurial marketers to be successful in the marketplace.

Creating a startup as an entrepreneur means - well, a lot of things but for now let's just agree the definition is: to develop a new product or service or to fundamentally improve on an existing product or service in such a way as to disrupt a certain marketplace that has become complacent or an industry that has lacked innovation for too long a time.

For artists, I think the elephant in the room is marketing.  Artists do what they've always done.  They create, depending upon the artist, what they create.  The "marketplace for art" is what it is.  

What each artists needs is a "marketplace for the specific art they create."  Although the artist him or herself may not be the most suitable nominee for this task, anything we do would be more than that elephant in the room could ever do.
Like these elephants, you may need help marketing your art - and that's okay.  The two most important things are to: no matter what, keep creating - and then to market it somehow, in every way you can think of that is appropriate...do it!

Here is a reprint of portions from an very long article courtesy of Alan Bamberger's Artbusiness.com blog.  I have divided it up for the next few posts so we can think about the individual sections together. 

This is the revised and updated text of a talk originally given to artists at the Indianapolis Art Center and to art students at the Herron School of Art at Purdue University and the first piece of sage advise that we have for today from this talk is simply this:
The most important first step towards becoming a full-time artist is to keep making art. Being an artist is never easy and the temptation put your art career on hold and apply yourself instead to other interests can sometimes be overwhelming. You might be thinking about giving art up until the kids are grown, about focusing only on your non-art job for a few years, or about closing down the studio for a while because sales are slow. My advice is simple: Don't do it.
For example, I recall a reasonably well-known artist who decided to quit painting at a relative high point of his early career and proceeded to make hardly any art for a number of years following. When he decided to take up painting again, his new work looked like little more than derivative rehashes of what he was doing when he stopped. He was totally out of practice and had lost his creative edge. To this point, he's managed to reestablish himself as a respectable artist, but he'll never again be the creative, cutting-edge force that he once was.
From a financial standpoint, he can't charge as much per painting as he would have been able to had he kept working. Collectors tend to approach his art with caution and buy conservatively because they're not sure whether he'll stop again. They know that if he does stop, he'll again negatively impact the market for his art. Even though he's now supporting himself as an artist, he has and will continue to have a credibility problem with both dealers and collectors.
So continue creating art no matter how difficult the process becomes. Continue even though you're not selling anything. Continue even if you're dissatisfied with what you're producing. Persevere, work through the tough times and you'll be glad you did.
And don't just keep producing art because it will keep or increase the value of your work but you'll be glad you did simply because it's good for your soul and spirit and general over-all well being.

It's time for me to go into the studio and do just that...create.
Wishing you a day of creativity too!

'Til tomorrow -