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04/15/2008

Art Business Is Important Even Though 97% Of Artists Have Other Jobs

Although most artists do not consider themselves entrepreneurs, art is still a business. And while most painters, photographers, or sculptors will not see Picasso-size deals in their lifetime, they can still find ways to boost sales of their work.

A main problem is that most artists learn art, but not how to make a career out of it. A young artist will have no idea about the business side of art. None of the students at art school are encouraged to ask questions about how to sell art. It isn�t even discussed. So although most artists aren�t wired for accounting, they should take some business classes.

Visibility has always been crucial for artists to get their work out to buyers. Today, with the Internet, resourceful artists can get their work noticed by creating web sites or establishing a presence in online communities. These serve as a virtual portfolio.

Off-line matters, too. Keep abreast of the galleries and stores that might carry your work and try to forge a relationship with those gatekeepers. At the same time, experts suggest, do your homework.

Many dealers say that artists walk in and say: �Will you show my art?� (And the dealer only deals in abstraction while the artist is a realist painter.)

Artists should also know those they are dealing with, and keep rigorous records of any transactions. Use Ronald Reagan�s thinking, �Trust, but verify.� This includes never leaving artwork on consignment without getting something in writing.

It's essential to be professional and prepared at all times. In other words, always have your r�sum�, artist statement, and bio updated and ready. Make postcards for your shows, keep your work in prospective buyers� or exhibitors� minds. Have business cards, a web site, and anticipate what works and what does not.

Although it may seem obvious, artists should be able to explain their work. Writing about your art is very important, because it lets people know what you do, who you are, and why you do it. A good impression will go a long way.

Barter Is Just As Important As Your Art

If you cannot write a good artist statement, barter with a writer who can. In fact, all artists need to be just as good barterers as they are painters or sculptors. Artwork can be traded for many services...from therapy sessions to web design, graphic work, and anything else one may need that others can provide. They receive paintings, and the artist gets more exposure.

 


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