The reputation of the "starving artist," can lead talented artists to abandon their dream, believing it is not a sustainable career field. With proper marketing and using multiple avenues to earn income, you can turn your passion into life-long career.
Build Your Online Persona
Many artists partially or completely abandoned the traditional methods of being an artist, such as trying to be featured in a gallery and hoping to sell original pieces. Be your own gallery by having a website and taking the time to brand and market yourself. Start with building a professional website using ecommerce website design services that showcases your experience and talent. You should have a gallery of different pieces you have created in addition to ones that are currently for sale. Also, use your website as a way to engage your audience, even if they are not purchasing items. The novice artist is always looking for information on different mediums, techniques, and materials. Incorporate this information into blog posts so you frequently have new content on your website beyond displaying your pieces.
Teach Rather Than Tell
Use the online environment and traditional modalities to teach people, rather than simply telling them about your art. Social media is one of the best platforms for providing instruction to people who want to learn more about your techniques or how they can become better artists. If you want to take online instruction to the next level, consider creating art courses that can be marketed through a third-party or your own website. You might choose a simple project and walk students through the entire process, from conceptualization to the finishing touches. Be sure to include skills that students can use on other pieces and throughout their art journey. Although you may be focused on keeping your art business online, do not neglect opportunities to teach within your own community. Teaching classes through your local community center, continuing education departments, or art stores, is also a way to increase your brand recognition.
Do Not Rely On Original Pieces
If you only rely on selling original artwork, you are missing out on major income streams and ways to earn more money for the same amount of effort. When you consider the price of original artwork (assuming you price your work appropriately), it might be impractical to purchase for many people in your audience. You want to have wide appeal so people of many different financial situations can afford your artwork.
Each of your original pieces should be sold as prints, or take it a step further and have your artwork printed onto t-shirts, tote bags, or phone cases. Generally, this is done through a third-party who will be linked on your website. You will upload a high-resolution photograph of the finished piece so customers can have artwork printed on an item of their choice. These items are typically printed on-demand, which reduces the cost associated with offering this service.
The idea that being an artist is not a realistic career option is a myth. How successful you are as an artist is heavily influenced by using the opportunities available to market yourself.