In today’s blog post we’re going to talk about where to start as an artist, because it’s one of the things I get asked quite often. Whether you’re looking to take the first steps to starting an art business, or you’re further along but don’t know what to focus on to grow your art business, here are some tips to help you on your journey.
The first thing to do is take a step back and have an honest look at where you are. And by that, I mean, are you making the kind of work that you absolutely love making, or are you making the kind of work that you think will sell or that somebody else thinks will sell or you should do? Because there’s a very big difference between the two. Go right back to the basics and ask yourself “am I making the kind of work that really lights me up, kind of gets a fire going inside my tummy?”.
If that’s the case, brilliant. The next thing you want to ask yourself is “do I have work that could sit together nicely or is it all over the place?” Is it all very different in terms of style and medium and colour so that it almost looks like it’s been done by lots of different artists? If you can, get a few pieces together that have a similar look and feel.
Alternatively, you can just decide what you want to focus on for the next, say, three to six months and explore that direction, whether it is landscapes in mixed media or portraits in mixed media and watercolour. Just make sure there’s one common thread for a period of time that ties your work together. You may hear this referred to as a collection or a series, but don’t get too hung up on that word. You’re just taking an idea and you’re exploring it in more detail, rather than doing one piece and leaving it and changing direction, and doing another piece and leaving it.
You’re exploring a body of work and you can do that as a very, very beginner. It doesn’t have to be something that is only done when you get further down the line.
If you want to start to grow a business, ask yourself what you want to be making in terms of products and services. A lot of this will depend on your personality and how much you like dealing with the public or speaking to people in person, or whether you’re quite introvert and want to stay hidden behind closed doors or you want a mixture of the both. So do you want to focus on just commissions? Do you want to put your artwork onto products and do print-on-demand? What kind of thing can you envisage yourself being really excited about in 6 or12 months time?
Choose one (or possibly two at most) and focus on getting that created and sorted. Once you have that laser focus, things will get easier. Don’t get distracted by too many things at once!
You could look into print-on-demand where you have an original painting and you want to get more out of that by having prints made too. If you want to go down this route you’re going to have to find a print-on-demand company and take some really good shots of the artwork. You can read more about how to get started with print-on-demand here. You’ll then need to market your work to your customers.
Once you’ve got that decided, the next thing to help you with starting an art business is somewhere to show your work, whether that’s a website or social media account. You can start with a social media account at first, but don’t rely on that in the long term to sell. There are many reasons why, and I’ll cover those in another blog post. You can always start off selling on social media, but eventually you do want your own website.
And finally, when you list your work and you tell people about it on social media or on your website, you really want to involve them in the inspiration behind it. What was the motivation behind the piece? How is it going to connect with them? Sell the BENEFITS not the FEATURES. The benefits may be a burst of colour to uplift their home, the features are 18×22″ mixed media on canvas. People buy the former, not the latter!
One thing which is super important is how to present your work. Make sure it’s presented absolutely beautifully. Don’t take a crappy photograph of it on the desk with a coffee cup and a half-eaten chocolate bar. Really present it beautifully in a frame or in an art room mock-up, if you don’t want to go out and buy a physical frame, or just style it in a way that customers can be inspired and think “oh my gosh, that would look gorgeous in my living room”, or “oh my gosh, that would look beautiful in my office”. You’re not asking them to imagine what it’s going to look like on the wall. You’re giving them that visual representation of how good it’s going to look.
So as a starting point, that would be my advice on starting an art business. And like I said, people will be at different stages on that timeline, but just check all of those things because if you’ve got a lot of those things in place, you should be starting to see sales coming in. If you’re not, one of those things isn’t in place properly.
If you need support to help you take your art business to the next level, check out the Passion Into Profit programme, where you can get a step-by-step blueprint (with support) that helps you make consistent sales YOUR way.
If you liked this why not check out my free masterclass here on how you can make those consistent, profitable sales : https://ta-bs.com/Masterclass