Do you dream of having an audience for your art?
You know you want your art to be noticed by the right people, but have no idea how to start.
Despite all the advice for artists out there, you sense that nothing is working for you.
What you need is an engaged audience.
Getting your art noticed not only validates what you are doing but also increases your sales and revenue.
The increased income gives you the freedom to pursue your creative dreams.
- It gives you the freedom to make a living doing what you love to do.
- It gives you the freedom to quit the job you are not passionate about.
- It gives you the freedom to live your dream.
I used to struggle making an income from my art.
I was stuck in a 9-5 job which sapped away my creative juices.
It left me worrying if I would ever “make it” as an artist.
I was wondering why some artists get amazing sales while commanding 10 or even 100 times more than some artists who are far more talented?
What is the difference between being a premium artist and an artist having to beg people to view their work?
Most people have it in their heads: these artists are better than me, or that getting an audience for your work and making a living as an artist is not feasible.
Now, I know that after a certain point, talent is not the #1 reason, they are getting more exposure for their art.
I also know that with dedication and a commitment to succeed you too can grow your audience substantially.
This Guide Will Show You What Needs To Be Done To Get Your Art Noticed.
Most artists don’t know how to kick start their career at the beginning.
It’s safe to say that many full-time artists have tried out different things and learned what works best along the way.
It’s a journey.
The biggest mistake you can make?
Failing to take action.
Because failing to take action will not change your current situation.
Failing to take action will not increase your audience.
Your Four Pillars Of Strenght
It is imperative to believe that it IS possible to transition your art from a part-time passion into a full-time career. Limiting beliefs are a huge obstacle in an artist’s career.
So, first of all, we need to break them down. By doing this you‘re able to create a solid foundation to allow your artwork to shine.
Your foundation is made up of four overlapping attributes:
Each attribute plays an important role, so let’s look at them more closely.
1. Confidence in yourself and your work
You can only reach your goals if you believe they are possible. Having tons of confidence in your work helps you stay strong when criticism tries to reduce you into a weeping pile of self-pity.
2. Motivation to move toward your goal relentlessly
Take control, you are the only one responsible for your art. Taking a passive approach such as waiting for an art dealer, collector or gallery to pluck you from obscurity ain’t gonna cut it. Nobody will buy your art let alone view it if it does not leave the studio. You need to find your audience and make sure they get to know you. You must take a proactive approach, nobody else can do this for you.
3. Discipline to keep striving and creating over the long haul
When the going gets tough – and trust me it will – the disciplined keep going. They push beyond their comfort zone and keep moving forward. Getting your artwork seen by as many as possible requires tons of effort and little luck. Focus on what you can control and let the forces beyond your control take care of the luck.
4. An interest to view your work as a business.
Embrace this concept, it’s a huge hurdle for many artists. Plan your career goals and define your objectives.
Shine the spotlight on your message
Let’s look at your message because a strong foundation is nothing without a strong message. Your message, values and how you talk about your art and yourself are important. Make it strong, otherwise, it will fall apart at the first hurdle and you’ll not be able to reach your goal.
With so much noise competing for the attention, you need to make sure your message is meaningful and that it captures the interest of your audience.
Whether you are networking or preparing promotional material, make sure you explain your art in detail.
When talking about your art include the following:
- Why you are you creating art
- Why you are pursuing it
- How you are executing it
You want to be able to comfortably articulate your ideas, your creative process and your work.
Many artists believe that art speaks for itself, I am sorry to disappoint you, but this is not the case.
So, make sure you get this right.
Drive The Conversation With Your Purpose Statement
Most people do enjoy talking about themselves.
But there are also people—like me—who don’t love it so much. Given the choice, I’d always choose to be on the asking side of the question.
However, to create exposure for your art, you must embrace an equal mix of online and offline marketing techniques. This means getting out of the studio and into the public eye.
When you’re out networking one question you will hear often is:
“What do you do?”
I found it such a great help to prepare an answer to this common question.
Aim to intrigue your listener by creating a purpose statement. This is a one-sentence statement that explains what you do, for whom and why.
Shine The Spotlight On Your Values
These days technology gives everyone with a dream the capabilities and tools to reach incredible amounts of people.
But how do you differentiate yourself from others in the field?
You stand out by communicating your values and your message in a concise and interesting way.
Ask yourself this: Is your message relevant to your audience?
The aim of your message is to:
- sell the benefit of your work
- evoke feelings
- challenge the intellect
Think Mount Everest
Now that your foundation is in place you want to get clear about your goals.
- How big do you want your audience to be?
- Which gallery do you want to work with?
- How much money do you want to make?
Be as specific about your goal as possible.
I totally understand that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by big goals and the enormity they represent.
However, keep in mind that big goals get achieved by breaking them down into small manageable tasks and start doing them one by one.
Unsure what needs to be done to accomplish your goal?
There are many ways to figure this out, for example:
- Ask fellow artists, what did they do to get their art noticed?
- Consult with industry experts who have already gone through this process
- Network, ask questions on industry-specific forums
- Purchase a book or search online for a guide or manual
Be open to learning new tasks and skills if needed and keep in mind that it’s impossible to know everything. Keep researching and until you can create a realistic action plan.
Once you have a plan of action in place your toolbox will help you to reach your goal. Pick a few tools which will help you reach the people you want to reach.
In this guide we look at the following tools in more detail:
- Online marketplaces
- Mailing list
- Press releases
- Social media
- Public opportunities
- Public opportunities
- Art organizations
- TV and Film
- Art Shows and Exhibitions
- Art Fairs
- Business Cards
- Flyers & Posters
Create An Irresistible Online Presence With Your Website
There is no way around – you must have a website.
Most art world professionals and art buyers consider it unacceptable not to have one. Galleries, curators, collectors and press rely on your websites to quickly find accurate, up-to-date information.
Whether you’re networking, applying for a project, or submitting your work for an art competition, it’s important to have a place where you can direct people to see your work.
A basic website is easy to put together, cheap to maintain and a great way to make your work accessible to a wider audience. Apart from your studio, it’s one of the only places where you have total control over how people view your art.
Curate Your Work
It can be tempting to show off all your work online but be selective when choosing what to include.
If your website includes too many examples of your work, visitors are less likely to view them all. Some of your best pieces may never get seen!
Or, if you include pieces that don’t represent your best work, they can distract potential clients from the rest—and make your entire body of work seem weaker overall.
Turn Your About Page Into A Masterpiece
Make sure your website has an artist statement and an about page. Your about page is a very important tool. It’s where you tell your story. As mentioned before, your story is important and helps sells your art.
Your story allows potential clients to get to know the artist behind the art.
More important, the right people will connect with your story and you can start building your audience – one person at the time.
An artist statement describes how you work and what your art means.
You’ll need your statement available on your website and also when you to submit your work to art competitions. It’s a cornerstone of creating your brand identity as an artist.
Make Online Art Market Places Work For You
Online Art Galleries
Many artists offer their work for sale through a wide range of online marketplaces, print-on-demands sites and galleries. Some well-known sites attract a huge audience and can generate sales worldwide. The challenge is ensuring that your work is visible on platforms that are used by so many artists.
Some online galleries are open to any artist who pays a monthly or yearly fee while others are by invitation only. Terms and conditions vary greatly so make sure you read them before signing up.
Print on demand
There are sites that hold a database of artist images that they print on demand in different formats and sizes and on different products. The site takes care of printing, production and dispatch. However, the same as with all the marketplaces, there is no guarantee that a sale will be made.
Skyrocket Your Mailing List
One of the most valuable business assets that you can create as an artist is a list of people who are interested in your work or have bought from you in the past.
Once you have your audience’ email address, you can let them know you have new art for sale.
Having a list of customers makes it easier for you to generate new revenue and create a buzz about new work. It is much easier to sell to collectors who are already familiar with your work then attracting new buyers.
In addition, having a list of interested collectors can help you get you into existing brick and mortar galleries.
So, focus on gaining e-mail subscribers. Start by collecting names, email address and physical addresses.
Encourage your website visitors to sign up to your mailing list. You need to have a mailing list sign up option on your website. This is where visitors sign up to your mailing list electronically. The email marketing service you decide to use will usually have tools such as a sign-up box for your website to help you grow your list.
Can you offer a discount or free delivery for everybody who signs up to your mailing list?
Perhaps you can give away some valuable information in exchange for an email address. Put in the extra work to build your mailing list. It will be worth it in the long run.
Use Your Blog To Build A Buzz Around Your Art
Adding a blog to your website is a great way for a potential customer to find out more about you. Let your readers know what matters to you.
Blog posts also offer a chance to show off your value as an artist. Whether you’re giving a behind-the-scenes look at your process, or providing some tips for your fellow artists.
Info-packed blog posts give an insight into what makes you tick and what you care about. Furthermore, they demonstrate your wealth of knowledge and position you as an industry leader.
Rock Social Media And Get Your Work Noticed Around The Globe
Social media is a great tool for growing the audience for your art.
Think about what you would like to achieve through social media.
As mentioned before, have a goal.
Having a goal makes it easier to track your progress and identify areas which need more work.
Start by creating a social media strategy based on your goals.
Consider the following when planning your strategy:
- What do you want to get out of your artist promotion campaign?
- What type of audience do you want to target?
- Which platforms you are going to use?
If you’re using your personal social media accounts to promote your art online, consider creating business accounts across all platforms you’re using. This will make you look more professional. It will also give you access to more analytics tools to enhance your social media marketing strategy.
Get Your Followers To Promote You
Peer-to-peer promotion should be part of your social media strategy. Get creative and find ways to get your followers to promote your work.
One way to do that is with contests. For instance, some companies offer free products as prizes and ask participants to enter the contest by making a post that mentions the company or product.
For example, you could ask the participants to create a post about their favourite piece from your website and offer one of your artworks as a prize. This way, you’ll have participants showing off your work to the people in their networks.
Cross-Promote With Other Artists
There are lots of artists out there in the same position as you: they’re also looking for ways to promote their work.
So, one easy way to get some free artist promotion is to agree to cross-promote with another artist. It can be as simple as creating posts that highlight the artist’s work and what you like about it, with an agreement that they will do the same.
It’s an art marketing win-win situation: you’ll both get more ‘eyes’ on your work. Since everyone’s taste in art is different, you can cross-promote without worrying about sending potential clients to a competitor.
Your Press release
A press release can be a cost-effective way of creating a buzz around your artwork. A press release in a magazine or digital media gives you credibility. It enhances your reputation and for some buyers seeing your work in a magazine might give them the confidence to buy it.
Raise Your Profile With Art Competitions
An art competition can be excellent in raising your profile. If you manage to win, not only will you earn attention for your art, but it also shapes your reputation as a great artist.
Even if you don’t win the competition, entries are often shared by the organisers on social media, and many competitions will show off runner-ups and mention recently submitted entries.
Apply For Grants
Getting awarded an art grant gets your art noticed and raises your reputation as an artist. Selected artists can benefit from media coverage, and organizations that give art grants like to promote the artwork they’ve supported.
There are many art grants available. Look for ones that are the best fit for your artwork and get started on writing that winning application.
Check Out Public Funded Opportunities
Stay in touch with local council and galleries. It’s a great way to learn more about their art policies and information about local arts funding.
Furthermore, they can provide exhibition opportunities in publicly owned galleries and spaces which are partially funded by public money.
The selection process and what theses galleries offer vary greatly.
It may include:
- Grants for specific projects.
- Subsidised studio space.
- Exhibitions and exhibitions space.
- Showing art in public buildings.
- Employing artist to work with schools.
Thrive With The Support Of An Artist Organizations
Besides offering tons of networking opportunities, artist organizations can provide workshops, artist promotion and advocacy, resources, and more.
There are many different artist organizations available. Check out what is on offer in your local area and look for any organizations you might like to join.
Get Involved in Your Community
This is a great way to get your name out there and help fellow artists at the same time. Some ideas include providing artwork for charity auctions, participating in community art projects like murals or volunteering to teach at community centres.
New to the city? There are still lots of ways to be part of the community, start building that network and get your art out there.
Show How It’s Done
Teaching and carrying out demonstrations can build an audience for your work and help establish you as an expert. Furthermore, it can give you additional income.
Teaching can entail a wide range of formats and venues. You can tutor a small group of students in your studio, lead workshops at art fairs, carry out painting demos in art material shops or run plein air painting courses.
Promoting your courses helps generate interest in your artwork and gives you something to write about in your blog too.
Place Your Art in Film and TV Projects
Some artists make a living creating art that appears in films and TV.
The artwork required for this is very varied. It can be a painting hanging in the background of a business logo or a storefront.
If your art is in a movie or TV show, your work will get lots of extra exposure.
In addition, your work and your name will be listed in the project’s credits.
Get started by contacting local production companies and studios. You can also reach out to film and TV students in your area. Having your work in a student production might not catapult you into stardom, but it demonstrates your ability to meet the requirements of film and TV productions.
Throw Your Own Art Shows
Organizing your own art show is a great way to learn about art marketing —and it is easier than you think.
Getting your work shown is not difficult.
The challenging is getting your work into an exhibition space that will help move you towards your goal.
There are a variety of venues available to target but try to be selective and realistic at the same time.
Consider making it a group show.
More artists provide more art marketing for the show! Each artist will be able to put the word out to their friends and fans, increasing the reach of your artist promotion.
Don’t stick to the traditional venues. Sure, if it’s in your budget, renting a formal gallery is great. But any place that is open and accessible could work.
The question is where do you start? Where are you on the career ladder? Accept your current level of experience and determine your targets accordingly.
Some non-traditional venues
- Coffee shop
- Office buildings
- Empty Shops
- Your Studio
- Your Home
- Wine bars
- Storefront windows
- Hotel lobbies
Attend Art Exhibitions and Fairs
At art fairs, you can meet lots of art lovers, professional artists, and industry pros like gallery owners and agents. Making contacts with industry insiders is extremely important. They can keep you in the loop about new opportunities—like which art galleries are looking for submissions.
They can also help you in marketing your art, whether it’s sharing your art show on their social feeds or suggesting popular artists you could collaborate with.
Don’t forget to bring your business cards, and hand them out to everyone you meet! It sounds like a small thing, but a well-designed card can really help with artist promotion.
Work With Publishers
This may not appeal to all of you but as well as selling your original work you can profit from reproductions of your art.
The fine-art publishing industry which includes prints and posters is thriving and competitive. It is common for artists to sell licences to greetings-card companies, ceramics manufacturers or makers of stationery.
Selling licences and working with publishers can be an important part of many artists’ incomes, but few could survive on this income alone.
Artists often work with publishers for the publicity and extra exposure rather than the money they make from it.
Approach Brick and Mortar Galleries
Artists who are proactive in developing their own reputations and client’s lists can be an asset to galleries and publishers.
It’s so much easier to approach a gallery if they are already familiar with your work.
Being part of an artistic community helps.
Be active in it. Meet people.
Always have your phone on you with a small sample of your work.
Do your homework and know which galleries would take your work.
Is your portfolio ready?
It should consist of a body of work that shows consistency in ability and style.
The galleries interest, or bottom line, is to present work which is saleable to collectors and with the expectation that if collectors do buy, they can find similar works in the future.
Be A Busy Networking Bee
When it comes to learning how to promote your art, one of the main skills to master is networking!
Many artists don’t like the idea of self-promoting. But if you want to get on, you must make the right connections with the right people.
Engage with the art world. Give it your all and stand out from the crowd. Otherwise you’ll contiune making tiny amounts of money and waste your time sending newsletters to a non-existing mailing list.
Be informed and stay in the loop of what is going on in the art world. Listen to the art talk via newspapers, magazines, e-zines, gallery newsletters, blog, and social media networking sites.
- Connect with like-minded people by joining a group, forum, conversation or debate.
- Attend art talks and industry events.
- Talk to other artists.
- Talk to artists who are where you want to be and ask them how they have made it.
- Ask successful artists to be your mentor. If they decline, ask somebody else.
- Go to gallery openings.
Attending private views is a key element for making contacts and building a network that will support your career. Look at private views as very important networking events.
It is where you can meet like-minded spirits and bond with new founds friends over a common love of art.
After a while you will notice that attending private views is like being part of a tribe, you will see the same people over and over again. People will start recognizing you. And eventually, people will know your name and what you do. Going to private views gets your face known and makes galleries more sympathetic when you approach them at a later stage.
Collaborate on an Art Project
Finding other artists to collaborate with is a great artist promotion strategy. Having another artist involved means more people will be aware of your work.
Finding other artists who work in the same medium as you is a good place to start. However, if you think outside the box, the opportunities are endless. For example, you could find a band that needs artwork for their next album promotional material.
The visual elements of your venture show your image and your brand to the world. Depending on your needs you may choose some of the following offline printed collateral.
Business cards help people remember your name and where to find your work online. Your card can be the size of a traditional business card or the size of a postcard.
I love collecting business cards of the work I like at open studios or end of year shows. I then review the collection at a later point and look up the artists online. A business card with a name and image on makes this process lot easier.
Flyers and posters
Posters used to be a lot more effective in the days before social media. Back then turning bus stops or lampposts into public bulletin boards was a great way to get promote your event. However, posters still have their place, post them on public bulletin boards or other public places with a good footfall.
I find that local business are usually very supportive when it comes to creating publicity for a creative event or art show.
Postcards can make a great impact. They are also affordable and collectable. They can be used for many different purposes and in many different sizes. You can download suitable templates from the website of the online printing service you are using. They also provide a complete guideline for text placement, bleed area, trim and much more.
The primary reason to use postcards is to promote the opening of your show. For this reason, you want to make sure to include the Who, What When and Where.
Have you considered using branded promotional items that feature images of your work? I know this is difficult to consider for all my fine artist friends out there, but it might be an option for anyone whose work contains a sense of fun. There are several websites devoted to print on demand products.
Pursuing a career in art is a long-term commitment. In addition, continuously getting your art noticed by the right people is an ongoing process.
It’s a marathon.
I see many people – artists and business owners alike – who apply a few marketing techniques, only to throw in the towel if they don’t’ see immediate results.
Don’t be one of them!
After reading this guide, you may feel a bit overwhelmed.
There is no need to implement all the strategies.
If you put just half of these methods into practice, you’ll find your reputation growing and new opportunities arising.
Keep in mind that this is about YOUR dreams and YOUR passion.
Stick to your beliefs and create art which is a true expression of your being.
Follow your goal with all your passion, all your efforts, all your talent, and skills.
Stick to it and you will see your audience grow and the career you have dreamt of unfold.
What are you waiting for?