Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.Andy Warhol
“But do you make money?”
Spending time in my studio has become my job and I love it! Most late afternoons and evenings I am happily locked in my studio for 4 hours or more at a stretch. Right now I am working on creating a portfolio centered around portraits. I think I have found a series of work that may keep me busy for a year or more.
At some point in time I will have a new pile of work.
The process of making a body of work is step one on a path. The next step is to share that work. Sharing work is not as difficult as it seems. Friends and community make getting your work out there much easier.
As a member of a local art gallery I have already been booked as an artist of the month next spring. A friend and fellow artist, Linda Laird; and I are putting together a show of our art quilts. We researching venues along the front range of Colorado and beyond. Our goal is to each have 10 – 20 pieces in a show very soon!
As a SAQA member I have multiple opportunities to enter my work into regional, national and international juried shows. The upcoming show for my region “Above and Beyond” is an opportunity I am going to pursue. After looking over the calls for entry on the SAQA site, I have found four national or international shows coming up in the next several months that have sparked my interest.
Right now I have enough on plate to keep me busy and I am making real progress as an artist. At some point I may want to expand my horizons, so I have been doing a little investigation and found a world of information about building an art business.
There are books like Lisa Congdon’s “Art Inc.” that outlines the many possibilities for generating income. Lisa has build an art empire that includes a line of successful adult coloring books. She has online classes, has licensing deals, prints and a marketable persona.
I follow Lisa’s blog and instagram. Her work, like her online personality is playful. While I enjoy what she does, her work and her business is not what I am inspired to do in my own life as an artist.
Looking for someone a little closer to home, I signed up to take a free online video series from Art Biz Coach Lisa Stanfield. Lisa lives in Colorado. I was made aware of Lisa’s business after recieved an email offer from my own web design company ArtBiz. There is a link on her company website which offers a set of free introductory presentations on building an art business.
I viewed the six three minute videos in a link provided in a series of emails. Here is a summary of the series.
- Studio Practice – Artists need to schedule studio time and to be accountable for that time.
- Share Your Art – Reframe the notion of “selling”. After making work an artist needs to share the work they produced to get valuable feedback.
- Teach – Just like sharing your work, teaching is a way for an artist to connect with an audience. It also is a potential stream of income and builds the artist’s confidence.
- Write – Every artists needs to include writing in their skill set, whether it’s artist statement, blogs, magazine articles or books. Writing is a must.
- Exhibit – Going beyond just sharing work, the artist needs to find places to show work to potential buyers.
- Marketing – Keep a marketing schedule. Once a week, an hour a day, or several days a month need to be devoted to marketing. Tasks can include updating mailing lists, blogs, contacting venues, entering shows, writing grants, etc….
The series contained the elements I found in most books and on websites about generating revenue from art. If an artist wants to make money, they have to be disciplined and hard working. Creating a revenue stream from your art is similar creating a revenue stream from any other business. You will need products and customers to sell them to through a marketing strategy.
Making art your business is a very different step from making art seriously for art’s sake.
In a previous post I wrote briefly about the french impressionist artist and patron Gustave Caillebotte. I admire his art and I am drawn to the story of this artist.
Because of his wealth, Caillebotte was able create important work without being tethered to whims of the marketplace. He worked very hard to promote the artists that were challenging the art establishment. As time went on he was able to take a long breaks from the studio and embrace other interests.
He modeled what I value: commitment to serious work, a passion to help other artists and an ability to lead a healthy life.
The answer to question “Do you make money?” is NO!
I don’t want to make money.
I just want to make art and see where that takes me.
Until next time……