Brush(strokes) with Success
November 13, 2018 / Mary Kee
Part II – An Art Business Model
I’ve known many artists who earn a living practicing the work they love. There’s much to learn about the business of art before achieving the level of comfort that they seem to have perfected. This week’s blog takes a deeper look at the basic approach of professional artists’ in creating an ‘art-filled’ business plan.
Possibly the first step, even before you decide to hunt for a sales venue, is to plan a pricing system that’s realistic and competitive to your location. A well-defined sales plan can lead to many future prospects and set you apart as an art presence in your community.
Art Guide shares a few important guidelines to help eliminate the guess work in art sales:
- Begin by defining your unique work and plan for success. Try to be very thorough about your vision and introduction of works.
- Find other successful business models that fit your same style of work, a popular gallery or art fair can have much to offer.
- Use the internet, many art institute’s offer alumni networks and interviews to explain their process.
- Don’t be afraid to visit with a gallery manager or business owner to discuss their experience and ideas about your work.
- Plan a realistic pricing plan for your art work. Creating sell-able work can take days or even years of experience and learning. Decide on the approximate hours it took to create a specific piece. For an analytic reference point, consider the US Dept. of Labor hourly rate for “Fine Artist” wages of $25.67 per hour and multiply by your work hours.
- Add to your hourly rate the cost for materials, size of the work and possibly even utilities used during the development. Pottery and glasswork can have a very hefty production cost.
- Keep the price that you decide on the same in both studio and gallery, it adds a distinct professionalism to your method that buyers respect.
- Last, take emotion out of the above equation and have the confidence to stand by your set price. If you don’t have conviction in your work and pricing method, buyers will quickly move on.
Define Your Art Style for Success
Each artists’ definition of success is as varied and unique as the artwork that they create. For many it’s having a significant presence in a local gallery. For others, it’s selling work through a website or seeing their works in a public forum. Regardless of your definition, professional artists understand that a pragmatic strategy is key to selling their work. What many artists often overlook is the most important tool, money. ‘Some are convinced that binding money to the creative process will strangle artistic integrity, they are misguided, just the opposite is true.’ With financial stability comes proper materials, a level of acceptance and sense of comfort about the work, which can free the artist to focus on creative expression.
Planning a business approach in the art market is much easier today than in past years. We can now consider a variety of options and art venues that have never before been available to artists. A very easy first step is to take advantage of online marketing that reaches a larger audiences and why settle on just one venue. Test the waters of multiple website marketplaces, some sites do not require a fee until a work is sold. Many local art communities will share member’s images in social media that can increase your visibility and enlist an immediate response to your work. At a very small annual fee, Art Guide also offers Feature Gallery and Artist listings that are viewed by thousands daily and most importantly, the entire commission goes directly to you, we do not get involved in any sales.
Art Guide is here to help test the art market waters with free listings of requests for art in your community and around the country. Our Calls for Entry focus on intermediate and professional art works for galleries, business organizations and permanent town displays. Listings are updated hourly, so be sure to browse the Calls for your location.
Contributing Editor, Helen Kachur
Don’t miss next week’s blog, we take a look at specific locations for creating a public and interest in your work or gallery event!