Are you wondering whether you should niche down as an artist? The short answer is yes, you should! Here are some reasons why you should find your niche in your art business and why it’s important. I’m also going to give you three tips in order to to be able to do that, so grab a cuppa and let’s dive in!
A lot of artists get really hung up on the idea or thought of having to niche down and get a little bit more specific. Naturally, we’re creative and we want to explore a whole range of subjects and lots and lots of different mediums. The idea of sticking with what people perceive to be one thing can seem really uninspiring, and it doesn’t pull us in at all.
The reality is that with niching down, we don’t have to focus on just one thing! The most important thing is to stop jumping around from one thing to another. By that, I mean doing a watercolor floral one day and then a very bright abstract the next day, and then maybe an oil figurative or a pencil sketch of something.
Can you see those are very different mediums and very different subjects, and there’s no kind of cohesive thread that ties them together? Working this way makes the customer or the viewer a little bit kind of nervous and uncertain because they don’t know what to expect from you. One minute they’re drawn to your watercolour floral art and think, “oh, I like this artist. I’m going to follow him or her”. When you create something completely different and go to the total polar opposite, they think “hang on a minute. I don’t like that as much as this. What is this artist about? They’re confusing me”.
If you confuse people, then you lose them.
The first tip is know that by niching down, you don’t have to focus on just one subject matter like seascapes or figurative, and you don’t have to concentrate on one medium. So you may think “hang on a minute, Amanda. How can I niche down?” As long as there is a common thread that ties everything together, you’re absolutely fine.
As an example, it may be that you are really moved by expression and movement and energy. If you have those as your kind of base point, then whatever you paint, whether it’s seascapes, landscapes, figurative, still lifes – it’s always going to have a common thread running through it because you’re going to paint it or photograph it or create your piece of work in a way that is energetic and has movement and that kind of feel to it.
Remember, you don’t have to just paint seascapes or you don’t have to just stick to oils!
You can explore lots of different mediums, as long as there’s some kind of anchor common thread that pulls your work altogether.
And if you look at different artists, ones that may be further ahead, they always have something that’s recognizable. It’s either the way they use colour, or it might be the brush marks in their pieces are very energetic or very calm and still, or it may be that they are a seascape painter. Like I said, it doesn’t matter about the medium and it doesn’t matter about the subject. What it is is just having that commonality.
So that’s tip number one, don’t get confused with thinking that it has to be one type of thing. It doesn’t. It just has to be an underlying thing that pulls it together.
My second tip on finding your niche is to create a body of work exploring an idea. So again, rather than flipping around from one thing to the other focus on one idea. Say you decide to explore contrast, for example. You can do that in so many different mediums, and you can do it in lots of different subjects. But the thing that pins it all together is contrast. If you create a body of work, rather than just one piece, exploring contrast, several things happen.
One, you start to push your ideas and push your boundaries. And several pieces in, you suddenly start to come up with things that you could never have imagined from just the first piece, because you really start to push ideas and evaluate your work, finding out what worked well or what you don’t like. You can hone your collection. You’ll find what happens is, when you have a body of work, you get less precious about one individual painting as well. So as an artist, not only do you develop further and you explore and get more innovative, but also you end up with this whole body of work because they all feed into each other.
From a collector’s point of view, that’s great! Now they have a collection to choose from as opposed to just one piece. So several benefits there to actually taking a single idea and exploring it and pushing it as far as you can. And you’ll find within that body of work your pieces will all have that similar thread, that niche commonality that upholds them all together.
A body of work means that you end up niching down naturally.
The final tip to help find your niche is to come back to your why – what inspires you, what drives you? What is that thing that makes you really passionate? Because that is the anchor point for your work, regardless of whether you explore different subjects and mediums. Your anchor, your why is kind of like your signature style, your voice. Using that example I wrote before about movement, energy, expression. Even if you painted a still life and you came at it from the things that you’re passionate about, that expression and that movement it would be a totally different still life to somebody who had a different why.
So just to recap on the tips on how to find your niche as an artist:
I hope these tips on finding your niche were helpful! Let me know in the comments below. You can also follow me on Instagram to stay in touch!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog for more tips on how to start your art business, or business tips for artists, but you can also get access to my free masterclass to discover my 4 simple steps to making regular art sales.