Five things any kind of artist should know
As an artist today, it’s getting easier and easier to reach a bigger audience. Just post your stuff on Etsy, put your trailer on Youtube, post your poster on Facebook, and you’re reaching your fans and getting new followers. However, there is just a slight disadvantage: There are just so many artists today. I know it sounds lame but now the problem is how to get your work out there despite the noise. Is there even a chance you’d succeed? Should you just abandon this futile endeavor altogether?
Here are some things every artist should remember:
- Art is still valuable even if it doesn’t sell. Remember Van Gogh? He only sold one painting in his lifetime. Let that sink in. It’s important to define the purpose of what you’re doing and to draw the line between art and commerce. A book is different from a book deal, an album is different from a record label contract, a film is different from a film grant. The one that you’re trying to create with your heart and soul is your art, the whole business of getting attention is selling is commerce. It is a big challenge for all of us to stick to our initial goal as artists (which is hopefully to just create something beautiful and true) that’s why we need to remind ourselves of this often. You need this when you get your 50th rejection letter, you need this when only two people show up at your concert or film screening. This is the basic requirement if you want to be an artist. Ask yourself this: Will you still do what you do even if no one pays attention? Even if you won’t get a single dime from it? Then that’s the only time you’re ready.
- But, let’s face it, we need money. Who doesn’t? That’s why we shouldn’t quit our day job until we don’t need it anymore. Do not expect people to pay for your talent on the first two years, do not go bitching about how hard your life is as a struggling artist. You know why? Because that’s the challenge of the path that you’ve taken. Just keep doing what you’re doing and the money will follow…eventually.
- It’s not enough that you’re talented. The modern-day artist should not only make art but do a hundred other things like Tweeting, posting on Pinterest, designing merch, setting up an online store, accounting, and a hundred other things.
- It’s the people you know, most of the time. Unless you’re a genius, actually even if you’re a genius, you really have to know the right people who can help you reach the right people. You don’t have to be a kiss-ass because most of them find it annoying. Just reach out and and ask for help. You will be amazed how many people are willing to help you. And once you know the right people, the next tips is be kind and try to give back. If you’re shy, here are some networking tips for artists who hate networking.
- Marketing yourself isn’t being a sell-out, it’s called survival. Print out business cards, create a stunning website, Tweet, make awesome merch. Sell yourself and sell your stuff! As mentioned in #1 above, it’s the joy of creating art that matters most of all, but you have to learn how to sell yourself because if you want to turn your art into a full-time career, you need a tribe of supporters.
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