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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Art is the easy part

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

For some people, art may be the hard part. Finding a subject. Deciding on a medium. Spending hours creating, only to be unsatisfied with the result.

For others, ideas come easy, and the process is quick. Enjoyable.

Regardless, once the art is created, what then? If you are an artist who paints for themselves then you don't care what happens next. You've had your fun.

What if you want to sell your art? How would you do that? Is it easy or hard? Can you expect to make a lot of money? Well, the answers are not very simple, and neither is the job of selling your art. Before looking into those questions, let's consider the path you need to take to get there.

Showing your art

Showing your art can be a scary thing. If you have never shown your art to friends or family, showing it to the public can be even more daunting. A few things to remember. Sometimes, people can be brutally honest when it comes to their opinion about your work. And sometimes, you will not get an honest response because your friend or relative is trying to spare your feelings.

Ask for constructive criticism when it comes to friends and family. Constructive praise is even better! Either way, know that ultimately if you can't stand being under the microscope, then don't get under the microscope! It is your art that is being scrutinized, but you will feel it personally, trust me. If you don't, then, hey, good for you! Your skin is thicker than mine.

Be prepared to do the work. I don't mean the artwork, but the setting up, taking down, planning and prep work that goes with selling the artwork. You can save yourself some time by utilizing what others have already done.

  1. Join an art group. Most art groups, large or small, display their work somewhere. Frequently, there are places that the group has a contract with, to show and sell art. The members themselves may have ideas about how you could show and ultimately sell your art. Even if it leads nowhere, joining a group of other artists can be inspirational.

  2. Apply for markets. Big and small, all markets love variety. Any market I have inquired about has always been excited to have an artist on board. Markets are great because they tend to have a following of people. They are scheduled regularly, and you will probably have a selection of dates. All the advertising is done for you. Of course, you will want to use your social media skills (if you have any) and do some advertising of your own. Keep in mind that those who attend markets are often there for the vegetables and fruit.

  3. Be on the lookout for art specific events. Art Walks are a growing concern! You can search online and find them most summer months and many in the winter as well. Art walks are a bit more work. They tend to be outside and in areas where you need to haul your stuff a bit of a distance. Careful planning and forethought are needed to be successful at an art walk. There is also more competition at an art walk. So much variety in styles, sizes and prices. You may see a lot of art go by in the hands of customers. It may not be yours.

Get your name out there. Get known.

How does that happen? It takes time. The more you show your work, the more likely it is for someone to recognize your name. Recently, I have had several people tell me they recognize my name or have seen my art in this or that venue. I can't tell you how great that feels! It seems like such a small thing to get excited about but it means that your art has made an impression on someone. Enough, that they stopped to note your name. It has taken a few years for that to happen.

Get some business cards made. It's important to carry them with you. And put some thought into what you want to say with your card. How much information will you put on it?

You want your card to stand out from others. Or maybe you want it to be more subdued. I guess it just depends on what kind of artist you are. If you paint low key, subdued themes you wouldn't want a crazy, wild business card.

My card is a bit more eye-popping. Not too crazy, but I think it is recognizable.

Have a banner or large sign. If you want to draw attention to your table or tent at a market or art walk, have a nice big banner out front. In the least, you need to have something posted that has your name, business name (if you have one) and a website or some way of contacting you. I have seen booths that have no signage at all. How are your customers supposed to direct others to you? Vistaprint has a large variety of banners and signage that you can have printed. You design it. I have a banner that fits on the front of a 6-foot table.

I've been using this banner for a few years. I decided in 2022 to make a sign for myself. My intention is to eventually install it at the end of our driveway at home. I found a cupboard door at the re-store center ($5) and bought the letters at the dollar store ($1.25 each). Painted and varnished using out-door varnish. It's heavy, but I used it at my art shows this summer. I like it alot!

Another great advertising gimmick is a business card car magnet. I've used it several times. I should probably use it more! This came from Vistaprint as well.

Create your own event

If you are really ambitious, create your own event! I did this 2 years ago. Art In My Backyard. It has been a lot of work. I lost my tent to a strong wind. Replaced the tent. Cancelled several dates because of bad weather. I baked in the sun. Great success and total duds. Ultimately, it's your attitude and fortitude that keep you trudging on.

I had road signs made, advertised in the local newsletter and put handbills in local businesses. Wanting this to be an out of doors event, it therefore is dependent on weather. People did come. I'm going to stick with it. I figure I need to establish it as an annual thing.

Stay positive

As an artist, you may not make a lot of money. You may just sell a few pieces. No matter what, try to stay focused on why you do it. Only a small percentage of artists can make a living at it. If you do, then you are probably working harder than someone at a regular job.

So, that's why I titled this "Art is the Easy Part", because, really, it is. Unless it's not. haha


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