Being a professional artist means a number of things, a most important one being that you are able to make at least part of your living from the sales of your art. So how is that working out for you at this time on Planet Earth? Is the art market rewarding you with abundance in Summer 2010? (Apologies to our Southern Hemisphere readers – we know that you’re shivering right now!)
We’ve seen lots of commentary lately on the state of the art market and it varies all over the map – from super-optimistic tweets and posts on twitter and facebook that sales are up or even better than before, to art industry news reporting a variety of successes and failures, to calls we’ve had ourselves from artists reporting patchy results.
So how is the art market really – for you??
Our experience with the artists we connect with has been that well established pros are doing OK and in some cases are really prospering. While some are report flat or slightly declining sales the business is still there.
The artists who appear to be having more difficulty are those who are entering the market, particularly if they are selling original works with substantial price-tags. Establishing your presence and success in a new market is always a challenge in any sphere of business, but the way is always made easier when that market has expendable income – and that is not so much the case today compared with 10 years ago.
The path of the artist is a unique one though. Many businesses look first to the market to find a problem to solve and then develop and deliver a product to solve that problem. However artists, by their nature, tend to look inward, bring out something original, and then look for a market that will support and appreciate their vision. It’s a risky business but when it works it’s a beautiful thing and a beautiful life for the artist and their patrons. A wonderful counter-balance to the anarchy of just “letting market forces rule”.
To sell art in the current economy you have to put a system in place and work it even harder than you might normally. You can’t just do things on a wing and a prayer – you need a plan and a system as well. So “on a wing and a prayer and a plan and a system” you might say! We have written frequently on using systems to market art. If you’re interested in this you can research our articles or check out our “7 Steps To Sell Your Art Online” report over at Espresso Artist Websites.
A couple of practical suggestions though to build into your system:
Think Small – If you normally create large pieces that sell for $thousands, try adding some very small pieces to your body of work that sell for hundreds. You don’t have to sell out your artistic vision – just put that vision on a smaller canvas! This is important in a challenged economy because you want to create low-risk entry points for new collectors.
Think BIG – There is always a luxury market segment that has significant expendable income. There are still swags of people spending $5,000 or more per night to stay in luxury hotels and villas all over the world – and those are the cheap rooms! Those folks have available cash flow to buy art – so how could you find a place selling your work there? First, you will definitely need a great plan! What if you decided that you were absolutely going to do this and that failure was not an option. What would you do?
Think on that!
Art Calendar recently ran a series on the Luxury market – you might want to check into that too.