Visual artists, like many creative professionals, face the challenge of making their works known and creating a steady following of patrons and clients. Exposure is especially important for artists who make a living solely from their artwork. Talent and vision matter in visual arts; however, the sheer number of artists means competition is fierce. Visual artists must make their work stand out and appeal to a broad market. With the proper professional networking, social connections and marketing opportunities, visual artists can increase exposure and clientele for their works.
Compose a statement of your artistic goals and objectives. This statement should include your credentials, past work, artistic genre and media, as well as future aspirations. Rehearse and memorize your statement so you can deliver it in a relaxed, conversational way. It will be your 30-second pitch to advertise your career to connections you might make.
Research other visual artists who work a similar genre or medium as you and are at a career level you aspire to. You can search artist profiles online or follow up on a personal reference or connection. Visit their galleries or shows and arrange to meet these artists in person to gain insight on their success. You are trying to enhance your own career, so write down the tips they give you. Always thank them for their time and insight at the end of the meeting.
Make a business card featuring yourself as a visual artist. Include a small graphic of your original work as a decoration, and indicate your specific genre and media. Distribute them to anyone who expresses interest in your work or in art in general. Always carry your cards with you for the chance encounters you might have at the grocery store or in school.
Create a dynamic web presence. Make sure your website has a distinctive name and print the links on your business card. Be sure to feature your works in full color and indicate their sale status and prices. Unless you are also a web designer, hire a professional to craft your website for optimum results. A strong web presence is critical to establishing a sound reputation as a visual artist.
Obtain an entry-level job in the genre and medium of your choice, if available, to gain professional experience, skill, connections and a stronger web presence. Opportunities in design, advertising, painting and film production also offer a more steady stream of income that can help to offset start-up costs as you launch an independent visual arts career.
Gain exposure needed to sell your art work. Check local newspapers, community centers, universities and galleries for exhibition opportunities, including art shows, contests, fairs and even flea markets, to sell your work. Have a stack of business cards available to hand out. Also, register with online artist and gallery networks like Gallery-Link or the Art Retail Network to display your work and connect with galleries, art dealers and potential customers worldwide.
- Your professional network can include friends, colleagues, classmates and family members, as well as other artists. You never know who can connect you to potential employers, customers or patrons who can help to launch your career.
- Getting a steady entry-level art job is often very competitive and requires a comprehensive portfolio of freelance works and impeccable references. It is imperative to build your portfolio and network ardently prior to applying for a full-time artist job with an established company.
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