One of the biggest hallmarks of the beginning artist is inconsistent work. Inconsistent style, color schemes, quality, technique, etc. When you think about it this is entirely natural because an artist at this stage of their journey is very much experimenting and finding their direction and future path. It all makes sense.
Art buyers however rarely collect or value the work of beginning artists. That is an important sentence! So, don’t in any way position yourself or your work as “beginning” if you want to attract commercial success.
In our experience, art buyers start to become interested in an artist when they reach the “emerging” stage of their career. What that cryptic little word “emerging” really means is simply this: The artist has chosen the focus for their art career, shows talent, and takes himself or herself seriously as a saleable commodity.
“Choosing the focus for your art career” means literally that you have zeroed in on a specific style as the focus of your work and that you demonstrate consistency in your technique and medium and to some extent, your subject matter. It’s really no different to a student “emerging” from college with a degree and a specific specialty or major that becomes the focus of their career.
Since your art website is the primary place where most potential buyers and customers will see your work, it’s very important to show the consistency of style and technique that we mentioned above throughout the website. Simple techniques to achieve this are as follows:
- Only put your best work on the website – nothing you wouldn’t be 150% proud to show to a customer
- Limit the number of pieces you display on the website. Think of it as a showcase brochure – not an inventory of everything you’ve ever worked on.
- AllÂ artwork on your website, regardless of subject matter or medium, should show a consistent vision and style
- Consider separating work into 3-5 sub-galleries based on different media or subject matter to keep the presentation focused. For example, if you work with oil painting and collage you might have those as separate sub-galleries. When I’m inside a sub-gallery, everything should look consistent in some way.
These are simple suggestions but if you follow them they will make a powerful difference to your website and your art career.
Please join us again on Thursday for the final installment in this series, “Big Artist Website Mistake #1”. As always, we very much welcome and appreciate your comments on this article!
This is so interesting. I've been drawing since I was a child, but I got away from it for quite a while. I got back into it about a year ago and started working with a very gifted artist. I like what I'm doing, but I'm not interested in selling my work; I just want to learn and improve. So, I have been absolutely amazed at the local artists who are showing and "selling" work that is very inconsistent in quality. They don't seem to realize that while some of their work is good, some of it is not good at all. Yet, they throw it all together and display it in galleries. Amazing. Some of them are beginners, but some of them have actually been painting for years. I just don't understand how they can look at their work and think it is all equally worthwhile.
Great comment Anne – it's hard to understand I agree. In today's world it sometimes seems that becoming a fine artist is as simple as giving yourself the title of "artist" and getting started – just like you can start a corporation and call yourself a CEO. But we all know that the "true" artist title is something that has to be earned through hard work, talent, and inspiration over many years. You can see it almost immediately in the quality, consistency, and style of the work. It's great that you are pursuing the artist's journey in the way that you are. We wish you the best and look forward to hearing your comments again soon!
This is a very interesting article. I have decided on my foci (yes, there are more than one, but they are very precise) and for this reason I have both an Etsy shop and a 1000Markets shop as well as my website (which is in the process of reworking the selling/gallery pages. I started out by doing a complete overhaul switching from straight html to CSS and while researching and learning CSS decided to do a complete redesign of my site.
If anyone want to take a look you can visit me,Patricia C Vener and see what I mean.
Hi Patricia – nice job – the site showcases you well. Couple of things though. First one is that the category links are not working on my browser (Firefox for mac) so even though I want to see your work I can't! Very frustrating but I'm guessing you are working on this? Second one – and feel free to take it or leave it – but I think you could do more with the space to the right of the central image on your home page. Just my 2c worth.
Good for you for going for CSS – it is powerful and well worth the effort to make the switch.
Cheers ~ Daniel.