You’re a really talented artist but you are clueless how to make a decent living at your craft, right? You find it’s embarrassing to promote yourself. You absolutely suck as an entrepreneur. Does that about sum it up? I thought so. Well, get over it. Grab yourself by the short hairs and start acting like you have a pair. If what you produce is as good as you think it is, then your job should be easier than you think. That doesn’t mean it’ll be a cakewalk. It just means that you have a chance at success.
One thing that the self-employed all have in common is commitment. Ditch your hobbies, toss out those romance novels, stop watching TV before dark; you have a job to do and it’ll be 24/7/365 until further notice! That’s right, even in your dreams, Goldilocks, even in your dreams. Every waking moment you need to breathe your craft. Let it take over your life, or get a real job working for some dork. Not an option? See, you’re in the right frame of mind already.
If you’re identifying with this scenario you’re probably not yet a listed artist. You need to work toward changing that. What’s a listed artist, you ask? A listed artist is any artist that appears in the on-line databases that feature auction results. Databases such as AskArt, ArtPrice, P4A, ArtFact, ArtNet, etc., have symbiotic relationships with auction houses. The auction houses report results to the databases. The databases broadcast the results (advertise) and collect subscriptions from anyone that searches their data. Why would anyone search their data? To find out what something is worth, silly. Dealers, appraisers, curators, and collectors mine the databases to determine value, prominence, market trends, artists’ biographies, etc. If you’re not in there, you’re invisible in the marketplace. You need to be visible globally, not just in Hollow Stump, Arkansas. Becoming a listed artist is a fundamental step.
Check out the on-line databases. Figure out where paintings like yours sell most frequently. Choose an auction house nearest to where you are that co-operates with the databases. Sell one or more of your pieces at auction and provide a biography (just the facts, jack) to accompany the consignment. The after-auction results will find its way to the databases, presto! You’re listed. Presto, you’re visible world-wide. As a listed artist, you can modify or submit updates to your biography in the databases as you earn accolades, win awards, or present your collections in shows. It’s a bit like carrying around your portfolio, only much more convenient.
Cautionary Note: Fine art by unknown contemporary artists typically does not do well at auction. A $1200 gallery piece might only bring $300 at auction. Don’t slit your wrists, yet. Remember, you’re a nobody. Getting listed is the first step in the process of the metamorphosis your seek, becoming somebody. Once you’re listed, collectors in Kathmandu can log-on and read your biography. Over time interest will build. You need to be prolific, paint or sculpt daily; the more you pump into the market, the greater the likelihood of your success. That’s why you need to toss the romance novels and ditch the TV. Until you’re counting paintbrushes instead of sheep as you lie awake, you ain’t there yet.