Gallerists & Curators understand investment. We write proposals constantly convincing sponsors why investment in the arts is so vital....
ARTISTS SHOULD UNDERSTAND THIS TOO!
The fable of the starving artist is overplayed. No one cares about your struggles and the works you create through your suffering as a starving artist. If you expect to make money from you profession as a "full time artist" then you need to take on the FULL RESPONSIBILITY that goes with it. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. If you're selling & making money, you need to start claiming taxes. Art is considered by some to be a potential money laundering business so cover all of your steps. Keep track of works sold, for how much, and to whom (also because you want to keep in contact with your patrons & have an updated inventory!).
2. When you have mastered #1, get a business license and insurance (very important if your works get damaged), and complete Doing Business As clauses. Every state/country is different. Take the time to inform yourself on your location's filings & their fees. It's extra work but it WILL pay off. Potential patrons will take you seriously and not question your prices if they know you have a legitimate business and work full time on your creative trade.
3. Invest in the visuals! Create a website & take the time to upload PROFESSIONAL photographs - no iphone snaps! Take the time to make sure you have a visual online portfolio that is cohesive with your aesthetic. While you're already investing in a photographer, have them take posing photos of you as well while working in your studio. You'll want to reuse all of these in your Instagram and other visual outlets.
4. Schedule the time to be online + in person! YES - you need to focus the majority of your time & energy on your craft, but you also need to CONNECT! Take the time to get on platforms like blogs and Instagram daily to connect with your local community as well as galleries, art fairs, interior designers & other artists. Second, take the time to go to local art openings. You don't have to go to every one but just make sure you get around and start meeting people in your local art scene. Evidence of you consistently being in your scene reminds people you know that you're serious about this lifestyle.
5. Invest in counseling! No curator or gallerist has free time to spare - they work with too many people for too little money, but they're CRUCIAL to your career! Ask them about their consultation services & book fast! Get your portfolio in front of them and learn to take criticism. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger & they'll definitely remember you more if they had a sit down with you and you respected their time and expertise. They won't remember the person that tried to stop them in the middle of the street or corner them at an exhibition opening.
6. INVEST IN YOUR MATERIALS & SKILL. Only painting in acrylic? TRY OIL. Only sketching? GET HIGH QUALITY PENS. Only self-taught? TAKE A CLASS OR TWO. Not all experience will take you where you want to go, but there is POWER in learning what you do.not.like and what you do.not.care.about. Flirt around until you can strongly say you gravitate to a certain style or medium AND WHY.