Marketing yourself, are you really ready?

Ok, Marketing yourself starts here with some tough questions.  After some serious study and reading of my reference materials, I realize something really big.  I am not ready!

You say, what?  But it's true. In promoting your art, there are several things that have got to be done first!  I'm gonna list them all below, then you tell me where my shortcomings are.

Lets go through a complete list of questions you have to ask yourself before you can begin:

First off, throw out the romantic notion right now that being an artist you’ll easily be discovered and only have to worry about what you’re gonna have with your afternoon tea, and what to paint next!  It aien’t gonna happen!

The successful artist you hear about and read about usually did a significant amount of work to bring their craft to a level that caught the eye of someone with great influence.  


They went about promoting and marketing themselves in a manner that was persistent and successful due to rules of the trade and business practices!

Like any skilled craft or trade, you must get into the mindset to treat your art like a business.  Then treat a business like a business, you will be rewarded like a business and at the same time you’ll be doing something you love, creating your art!

Here's a quick tip in marketing yourself.

Marketing yourself, the list to check by

Lets go through a complete list of questions you have to ask yourself:

  1. Lets take a very close look at your work first:

    Is your work technically sound? Have you had someone you can trust give you their honest opinion? (Don’t set yourself up for failure here, get multiple opinions) ask the question of your friend, “Would you pay money for this art work?” Not, “do you like it?” There is a subtle but significant difference.
    • One can be answered to stroke your ego, the other gets more personal and requires the person to dig a little deeper. Why? Your next question would be. How much? If they give you an answer that is pleasing, open your hand, palm up and look them in the eye without saying a thing. Watch them squirm just a bit, then let them off the hook. Who knows, they might just reach into their purse and pull out some of that green stuff, and you’ll have a sale you really hadn’t expected!
  2. Have you sold pieces at art fairs or craft shows, or other non-gallery settings?
  3. Have you found your voice or a recognizable style?
  4. Do you have a cohesive body of work ready to display? 20 to 30 pieces? Why so many? I’ll explain below.
  5. Concerning time, do you have the time to produce work to fulfill supply and demand should your works begin to fly off the gallery walls?
  6. Do you have a website or blog to show case your art and information about your work to potential customers, gallery owners, and dealers? For marketing yourself from?
  7. Have you an updated portfolio/resume/bio/CV to give to a potential gallery?
  8. Have you an updated artist statement to give and show with your body of work?

Concerning galleries, not only do you have to convince or sell your work as being “saleable” but you have to sell yourself as well. You see, a gallery arrangement is like a marriage, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it, and the gallery must be satisfied that you can provide the work over the long haul.

If you can’t answer with an affirmative to all of these questions, well, you’re probably not really ready.

I know I’m not ready!


The 1st  problem:  In having enough work to show.  I’ve had this problem before when, as the new artist in the gallery, you sometimes get special attention.  Before you know it, the five pieces you left have sold and they need more.  Not in 1 week, or 2 weeks, but now! 

You’d better have a stock pile of work or you can have a problem that can really hurt your reputation and that of the galleries! Art collectors can be an inpatient lot, and once a spurned customer you have, you may never be able to repair the damage.  

Make sure you’ve got 20 to 30 pieces ready before seriously marketing yourself.

So off to the easel I go, …………..must paint…………must paint!

On a 2nd note: It’s been over 5 years since I’ve even bothered to look at my portfolio/bio/resume.  This is gonna be a lot of work, but, it’s a necessary part of being an artist, and marketing yourself.

I’ll be going over these items in the next issue, so till next time….

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