Money, the Art Market and You

    Fact: Global art market sales reached 63.8 Billion in 2015 continuing the general trend of growth.  We even visualised this data in an infographic. We already know that traditional art sells but what about digital art? Turns out the TEFAF Art Market Report tells us that there's a  20% increase in online sales too each year.  I personally  have paid 6 different creative professionals in the past 3 months. I'm currently looking to hire someone fulltime for some side projects I have. The industry is strong.

    money-with-art

    You are an Entrepreneur

    Even if you're working for Disney you should make sure that you have some side-income. That it's easier for you to replace your employer than it is for your employer to replace you. Be in a position to fire your clients.

    How?
    Don't just sell prints of your artwork. Try to make t-shirt designs, cup pictures. High end traditional paintings. Commissions and try to scale up your price. More bang per buck per hour. Observe trends and capitalize. I've also compiled a list of various creative business models you could follow. Don't just sell art. Build your own brand.

    Think of social media as the Internet. I can't think of anyone betting against the Internet in 2012.

    Gary Vaynerchuk
    Entrepreneur, investor, author and public speaker

    The Steps in The Traditional Path vs. Social Media

    In the pre-internet era an artist would ideally have a path. Which depended a lot on other people giving you permission and a chance to be seen. With modern internet you have the opportunity and responsibility to find your own audience.

    Old

    1. School
    2. Group Show
    3. Solo Show
    4. Museums
    5. Installations
    6. Success

    New

    1. Make Awesome Art
    2. Social Media
    3. Success

    Common Mistakes and Wrong Assumptions

    Mistake #1 

     "Hey, I made a facebook artist page, I shared my stuff with my close circle of friends for a few days and nothing happened. Therefor I conclude that Facebook doesn't work." Social Media works based on meritocracy. Meaning your art needs to be good and you need to work hard. You will not get into the news feed without networking or consistent production of work. Which brings us to mistake number 2.

    Mistake #2

    Lack of consistency. Ever followed a daily vlogger even though they are bland and nothing special? I have. Because it's an easier alternative than living my own life. This is why consistency works. Additionally social networks reward active accounts over inactive accounts.

    Mistake #3

    Lack of investing into your art. There are artists who pay for advertising. They might not even be particularly more skillful than you but this is something they have learned to get more eyeballs on their art. 

    Mistake #4

    First you need to realise it's a numbers game and all number games boil down to persistence and hard work. Instead of days, think months to see results.  Check out how Natasha made $50 000 selling art on Facebook.

    What should I do?

    Good art sells itself but it also helps to market yourself the artist

    If you had the money to buy an old master piece with a name attached such as Titian? Would you take that or something that you know is great but nameless?  But what if I'm camera shy?  Do what Sia does. Cover yourself, create a persona! I pretend to be someone else all the time. Create a persona on each social platform.

    Social profiles and your own site

    Create a Facebook page. Do the same for Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Share your story and process consistently. 

    Network - Join communities of artists and art lovers

    I've received small favours from millionaires just by being engaged in certain communities. Now imagine if you became friends with someone who could help you be seen? First you establish yourself in the community, then you try to connect with people on a personal level.

    Social Media Crash Course

    For the time being I do not have the time nor the full expertise for this. So I would refer you to Cory at The Abundant Artist. Suggest you read all his articles and guest posts about social media and search engines. Another guy worth checking out is Michael Cuffe from the Warholian he keeps it real and tells you what you need to know.

    Submit Your Art 

    1. Boom
    2. Koikoikoi
    3. Emptyeasel
    4. Eatsleepdraw
    5. Riseart
    6. Creativeboom
    7. ThisisColosal
    8. Juxtapoz
    9. ContemporaryArtDaily
    10. Nonsensesociety
    11. MuseumofImpact
    12. LightSpaceTime
    13. AantRenton
    14. Pancakezandbooz

    Portfolio Sites

    Once you have a body of work you should make accounts on all of these platforms. Go where the audience is. 

    • ArtStation -  The network for the media & entertainment visual arts industry, that enables you to showcase your images, videos & models in a slick way.
    • DeviantArt - The world's largest art site ranging from digital art to poetry and beyond. Work from all levels and talents can be found here.
    • IT'S ART This site offers a wide range of art related content such as interviews, tutorials, inspiration and much more!
    • Polycount - A great art forum focusing almost exclusively on 3D art.
    • ZBrushCentral The official ZBrush forum showcasing stunning 3D sculpting work.
    • CGSociety - A large online organization for digital artists featuring portfolios, workshops, forums and more.
    • Behance Adobe's online portfolio platform for all forms of digital art.
    • Tumblr
    • Youtube
    • Reddit/r/art
    • Flickr

    Conclusion

    If you have the technical skill and have a decent work ethic the hard work is already done. All you need to do is market yourself better than other artists who don't. Most artists don't really market themselves.

    About the author

    John Thatch

    John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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