Here are the remaining 5 tips on surviving as an artist. I’m sure there are many other ideas that come to mind. Let us know if you have anything to add!
6. Identify your market. Who are you painting for? How can you best connect with the clientele that can become your patrons? Recognize “who” can purchase your work. Contribute to auctions that you know are supported by influential people. Contribute work to elite private school auctions, hang a portrait in an expensive children’s clothing shop, propose your work to a successful and well placed gallery, speak and share your work with local business clubs. Offer to paint a portrait for FREE for a highly respected local figure, and request an unveiling event. These are just a few of many ways to help identify your clientele.
7. Fair pricing. Your goal is to have your work seen and to earn enough money to cover your expenses. Price your work fairly and reasonably. when starting the life of an artist, the more work you are completing (even for a modest sum of money) can create excitement and motivation by you and your client.
8. Diversification. Don’t just become a portrait painter! If I had not painted fruit and landscapes along with portraits when I began, I would not still be a full time artist today. Not only does this diversification help you grow as an artist, but it provides other opportunities for you to show your work and advertise your name. Not to mention, providing alternative income! Teaching can also be a profitable experience for you and your students. Not only as an additional source of revenue, but it can also connect you to other artists and potential clientele.
9. Dependability. You are a business as an artist. Go the extra mile and remain dependable at all costs. Be responsive and provide the best customer service possible. Unfortunately artists are not known for keeping schedules, arriving on time for appointments, or generally running their affairs in an orderly and responsive manner. Show your clientele that you respect them, appreciate the opportunity to work for them, and take your work seriously. Always do more than what is expected of you!
10. Develop a support system. Develop relationships with other artists and friends you can trust. Share your work in progress with them. Share problems you are facing or new ideas… get their feedback. These relationships will help you in your life as an artist, making the experience richer and more rewarding.