If you want an art CAREER, as opposed to an art hobby, you need people who love your art enough to buy it. Before these people can buy your art, they have to know it – and you – exist. You can paint 24/7 to cultivate your talent; you can meditate every day to tap into your muse. But for attracting actual paying customers, I haven't thought of a method that doesn't involve taking action in the real world outside your studio.
Remember the mantra: If you want to be successful, start by acting successful! Here are 3 ways to launch your successful A-C-T and win attention and customers for your artwork:
Assertiveness – Not aggressive – assertive. The Houston Chronicle article about my work (see yesterday’s blog) didn't appear by magic. First, I wrote a media release and sent it out. Then I followed up with an email, a phone call, another phone call, etc., until the section manager assigned the story to a reporter. Then the reporter and I played telephone tag for days, until we scheduled the interview. At any point, if I'd said to myself, "Well, they probably aren't interested in my story anyway," the article wouldn't have happened.
Consistency – Stay in regular communication with your future art collectors. This might mean starting a blog (as I've done!), becoming active on Facebook, creating a newsletter – whatever works for you and your schedule. Most of all, develop a PLAN for your communication. An occasional random Tweet or newsletter won't give you the consistent visibility you need. Of course, share your accomplishments (landing a solo exhibit, winning an award or a big commission, etc.). But don't just sell. Write about things that will intrigue your potential collectors – your art techniques, creative process or sources of inspiration. Keep the communication flowing to keep your target market captivated.
Thoughtfulness – Whenever anyone helps you, THANK THEM. Verbally if possible. In writing, absolutely, even via email. This will keep your mother happy. More importantly, it will surprise and delight those who've given your career a boost. People who are pleasantly surprised by your courtesy are far more likely to want to help you again. When I sent the Chronicle reporter, Kim Morgan, a thank-you email, here's how she responded:
"Oh my goodness, thank you SO much for taking the time to write. I appreciate it...and have shared it with my editors."
Her enthusiasm tells me that not too many people she writes about bother to thank her – and that my simple note might help her career as much as her article might help mine. How cool is that?
ACTing to expand your art career isn't always easy or convenient, but it is essential. Your career won't see any action unless YOU act first.