A few months ago we began our investigation into life as a professional artist by debunking some basic stereotypes. This time around we’re going to lay out the basics of how the world of art works and how to deal with people within it.
Don’t expect miracles
The first thing to understand is that whether you are just out of art school or you have been producing art for decades, there are no shortcuts to success. It will take time and experience. There is no foolproof route that we can advise you to take, but one general rule does hold true: work outwards. Despite the internet, success almost always begins locally.
It is imperative that you establish yourself on the local arts scene first, which is precisely why we at Art eXposed have created a range of services that build connections between you and your local arts community. We link you up with local businesses, represent you at local arts shows, sponsor events and even organize entire shows to increase your visibility and boost your reputation in the community.
Dealing with people in the art industry
If you are an Art eXposed subscriber then a lot of the hard work in building a reputation in the local community is already done for you, but there is one thing that we can only provide advice on: dealing with people. The art world is all about people, and the more you talk to, the more success will come your way.
If you make an effort to attend local arts shows and events, you will no doubt meet gallery owners, dealers, buyers, critics and others who can help you in your career, but you must be prudent. These people are bombarded each day with new artists seeking the limelight, so you’ll do well to follow a few simple rules that will help you to gain their favour.
Do not annoy them
To begin with, accept that for the most part these people are far busier than you. If you are not of a genuine interest to them then you are a nuisance. Therefore, always hesitate before approaching anyone in the industry. Do not just walk up to them and introduce yourself as an artist looking to further your career.
Instead, you should talk to them about art. They got into this industry because they love art. Talk to them passionately and sincerely about art. Don’t be afraid to disagree with them, but do so without vitriol. Say that you just never understood a particular artist they admire, or that you don’t have much experience of them. Turn it around by asking what it is they like about them. If you are someone who doesn’t like any modern art, then consider that you might be in the wrong profession.
Understand their position
These people make money from art, and they need to know how you can make them money. This doesn’t mean you should boast about your latest sale, but that you must make it clear that you are not a mere dilettante. More than anything, they must see potential in you.
They make money by taking risks
Understand that if they take a chance on you it is a real risk for them. Even if no money is involved, their reputation is at stake. No-one wants to have a loose cannon on their hands that causes them embarrassment, so you must show that you are capable of having a long term professional relationship with them.
Remember, it will take time. Do not dream of overnight success because it simply will not happen. Learn about your local arts scene, utilise the Art eXposed services, and talk to other artists about what route they have taken to get where they are. Keep a constant lookout for new opportunities and when you see them, grab them. Finally, have no fear of rejection: you will not find a successful artist who has not experienced rejection.