The New Year is a time for artists to look ahead to how they can grow and advance their art careers. Although 2020 is technically behind us, there are still some challenges to overcome as the world continues to work its way out of a terrible pandemic. This has been enormously difficult for everyone but artists and the arts community has been hit particularly hard. However, with the release of vaccines, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel and it is time for artists to look forward.
At the beginning of every New Year, we post an article with ideas and suggestions for how artists can to make plans for how to kick-start and best to tackle your art career goals in 2020.
Have you set up your art marketing goals for the New Year? If not, the following are 5 things you can do to kick start 2021 and improve your chances of success.
Many of these ideas have been offered up in previous “kick-start” posts but they are elementary and consistently implementing them is not. They are critical for artists if they are to market themselves and their art successfully.
Evaluate & Update Your Website
While the past year has given some artists the time and opportunity to either create or update their websites, for many it has been difficult to concentrate amid the worry of the ongoing pandemic. However, in today’s art world, particularly with all its changes, in order to be taken seriously, it is essential for artists to have a modern, professional, up-to-date website to display their art.
The annual cost to purchase or renew a website domain is typically less than $20. The cost of basic website hosting can be as low as $3-$4 per month. A website is an investment artists need to make a priority in order to be taken seriously.
For those of you who already have websites, if you haven’t reviewed it in a while, now is the time. When was the last time that you went page by page and link by link through it? We all need to do this to find broken links, pages that do not load quickly, graphics, images and other items that have moved, along with pages with misspelled words and similar issues.
The presentation of your art is as important as creating it. Take some time to review your site and make any necessary changes and corrections. Make sure all of the images on your website are sized properly and have a low resolution (a resolution of 72 helps your site load more quickly and protects your art from being copied by unscrupulous people). The images should also be color corrected if necessary, as some cameras and lighting do no always capture an artwork’s true colors. There are many free programs on the internet for this.
Also, do you have better images or graphics to replace what now exists on your website? Do you have new artwork that you just have not had time to photograph and add to your website? Do it.
While checking your images, make sure that they are labeled and tagged properly with good image descriptions. Search engines will only index your images if they have descriptions. By doing this, your images will show up in the image search results and when the images are viewed, viewers will be directed to your art website.
Rewrite/ Update your Artists Bio and Statement
A well-written biography and/or artist statement is also essential for artists and now is the time to review and update them. An artist does not have to be an accomplished writer to create a well-written biography and artist statement, but it is necessary for an artist to have at least one. It is also important to know the difference between a biography and artist statement as many artists mistake one for the other. Please read our article “Comparing an Artist’s Biography to an Artist’s Statement” for clarification.
Also, update your CV by adding any exhibitions, new publications or other pertinent information that has taken place since the last time it was updated.
Use Social Media
Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and is an important platform for all artists to employ in order to help market themselves and their art. Why is this? In our opinion, it is easy to identify and connect with the art community when using social media.
It is also an effective medium because it is a visual and simple way in which to present your art. Particularly now, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Instagram and even Twitter provide artists with opportunities (if targeted properly) to reach viewers who were previously unreachable.
Read our articles “Top 10 Reasons Why Artists Fail with Social Media”, “Using the 70-20-10 Rule to Succeed at Social Media Marketing” by guest blogger James Baxter, and “How to Write Social Media Posts That Sell Art” by guest blogger Frank Hamilton, along with various other social media articles on the LST website, for further advice and instruction on how best to use social media to grow your audience reach.
Press Release Marketing
Press release marketing is a low-cost way artists can market their artwork to a wider range of potential viewers. There are many “Free” press release websites, which take, publish and market an artist’s press release copy. One such site is PRLog.org. PRLog’s free press release submission includes a PDF version to send to your mailing list, a search engine optimized page, hyperlinks in the content, and the option to select location/industry and tag listings. In addition, companies like Star One Public Relations offers press release distribution services for as low as $10.00 for distribution to 70+ press outlets. Read our article “Successful Press Release Marketing for Artists” and 6 Benefits for Press Releases for Artists to help guide you in these efforts. Also check out our article “5 Ways Artists Can Promote Their Art Online” for more ideas.
Start a Blog
Artists should seriously consider starting an art blog as a way to attract and direct additional interested viewers to their art websites. An art blog is a great way to expand an artist’s target audience. It is also an effective platform to help artists market their art.
In 2021, we hope you will make at least some, if not all, of these suggestions part of your art marketing efforts. By implementing these recommendations, artists can experience increased traffic to their websites, find more people interested in their art and ultimately, sell more of their work.
However, as with any marketing program, it is important to focus your efforts. All artists should view the marketing of their art to be as important as the creation of it and an art-marketing plan needs to be well planned and performed consistently in order to be successful. Check out our article “5 Tips for Creating an Effective Art Marketing Strategy” by guest blogger Wendy Dessler, for more suggestions.
Good luck and have a creative, successful and prosperous 2021!
“When an artist no longer cares how the world sees their art, they are free to become truly successful.” – John R. Math
My journey as an artist has been an interesting adventure. When I first decided I wanted to be considered as a serious artist, I thought that this meant I had to get my art into galleries and sell it. Once I had accomplished that, I went on to have several art reps sell my art for me as well.
In both cases, I came to realize that I was creating art to please someone else (the gallery or the art rep) and that I had given up my power and my creativity, in the process.
Had I become an “art whore” whose main purpose was to create for other people and entities, instead of myself? Was this what a successful artist does or who they become? Always in the back of my mind were the questions - Was I just creating art in order to sell it? Did I enjoy creating that piece? Did it resonant with my soul?
Has my art journey been unique, strange or similar to other artists? Do other artists have the same anxious thoughts and doubts about themselves and their art? How did I end up in such a place? It was not supposed to be like this!
Over a period of time I realized that in order to gain acceptance and have my art validated by someone else, I had created what I thought someone else would like or would buy. It was not a money thing, it was an acceptance thing! If a gallery wanted to show my art or someone wanted to buy my art, I was a successful artist.
Once I identified the trap I had created for myself, I realized I needed to return to my original reason for being an artist. Creating art satisfies something deep within me. I am not sure what that is, but it exists and I must do it for myself otherwise the art neither fulfills nor satisfies the need within me.
When I returned to the real reason for creating my art, looking only to myself for validation, I began to enjoy the creative process again.
This is my own unique story but I hope it may help other artists to get back to creating their art for the “right” reasons. Artists may be considered to be successful by others but we are not truly successful until we create our art for ourselves and no one else. Create art first to fulfill that artist inside you.
We receive emails from artists who are very talented but they have become disillusioned and disappointed with the “art business”. Everyone tells them that their art is great and that they should be very successful, but their dream of being a full-time artist is slipping away and they have become totally frustrated.
When we delve into and inquire about their situation more deeply, several common things will come up that indicates that the artist is not committed to their art in the manner that they need to be. The following are “must have” characteristics and traits that a successful artist must possess;
Having a Passion for Their Art:
An artist must have a passion for their art, along with everything that is associated with being an artist. Why is this? It is because there will be problems, barriers, and challenges to being an artist. However, if the artist is passionate about what they do, these difficulties will be perceived only as detours to success, rather than “problems” that derail the artist.
Being Focused on Their Commitment to their Art:
Successful artists are not distracted from their commitment to achieving their artistic goals. To be successful at most things in this life, it requires a focus and a “singleness of purpose”. Successful artists have this focus, as their art has become a priority in their life.
Having a Vision of Their Artistic Success:
Artists who are successful have a vision and they see themselves achieving great things in their chosen profession. Despite roadblocks, problems or defeats, their vision keeps them working through any problems and towards their goal.
Artists who have achieved their goals will generate new artistic goals and this new vision will then need to be achieved. Thus, the artist is motivated, engaged in and determined to achieve those new goals.
The Artist Must be Persistent When Facing Hardships:
Most people in the face of adversity quit. People who are successful get past adversity and do so because they persisted on towards their goal despite any challenges. Persistence is the difference between a successful artist and an artist who quits. The quitter loses focus and their vision. The winner will see a problem as an opportunity to learn more, to grow stronger and become more knowledgeable.
A Successful Artist will Maximize All Opportunities:
A successful artist is prepared and ready to maximize and leverage any opportunities that may come their way. Whether it is to fill in quickly for another artist at a gallery, ready to give an interview, write an article for a blog or to give a speech to a group, a successful artist sees that as an opportunity to network, promote and brand their artwork.
Unsuccessful artists see those not as opportunities but rather something that interrupts what they were doing! The artist who is engaged and ready to capitalize on opportunities when they come along is already or will eventually become successful in their art world.
Successful Artists Understand that Art is a Business:
Successful artists see themselves not only as artists but also as business people. They also understand that other people who they are connected within the art world are also business people and that they must conduct themselves in a like manner, in order to become successful.
Today’s art marketplace it is undeniably a business. Art is a competitive business and an artist will learn how to successfully operate within this atmosphere or they will eventually fail. Just being an artist is not enough.
There are other habits and traits of successful artists beyond what I have outlined above. But, if an artist is talented but frustrated and is willing to apply these outlined qualities to their art, they will soon become or they will stay motivated and successful.