I often hear this phrase from artists or some variation thereof such as, “If I could Get Discovered, Then My Art Will Sell!” or “If I Could Only Get Discovered, Then I Will Become a Successful Artist”. I am sorry but I am here to tell you that this type of thinking could not be further from the truth and that waiting to be discovered is a sure road to discouragement, ruin and starvation! Staying in your studio and creating your art does not help you to get discovered, nor does it help you to sell your art.
Today, more than ever, in order for an artist to get “discovered” an artist needs to use every marketing and promotional resource available to them. In addition to the numerous media and marketing platforms, a concentrated and consistent effort needs to be employed by the artist to “get their art out there”. The competition is fierce for any artist who is trying to become successful and instead of waiting for people to come to you, the artist needs to go out and find them. They (Gallery Owners & Directors, Art Reps, Art Buyers & Collectors), are just not going to come and find (discover) you. Artists being discovered this way only happens in books, on television and in movies. If the artist is not prepared to put in the time and effort to market their art, then they should be resigned to the fact that their art will just become a fun hobby.
Several years ago I wrote an article post titled “Follow the 80/20 Rule to Succeed in the Art Business”. The premise of the article was that in order for an artist to become successful that they should devote 80% of their time marketing and promoting their art and the other 20% of their time creating art. The article assumed that their art was good but that the artist had been unsuccessful selling and marketing their art.
This article was quickly and severally panned by the “Art Establishment” as being absolutely unrealistic and an unworkable blueprint on how an artist can become successful. If your art is good and it is NOT selling then there must be a problem! I am the first to admit that unless you are some sort of “marketing junky” then the prospect of devoting 80% of your time marketing, promoting and selling is not very appealing or is it fun! But I am afraid that something close to what I just described or some sort of drastic action must be taken by the artist in order to become a successful and established artist.
I have a few questions to ask you about your present marketing efforts. Have you identified who your target audience is and analyzed how to reach them effectively? Do you have a website that is designed properly, displays and showcases your art correctly? Do you have an art Blog or an online art newsletter that helps to drive traffic to your website? Are you currently taking advantage of and using Social Media to make contacts, promote your art and building your brand? Do you have an email marketing campaign that exposes your work to your target audience? Are you using PR sites to promote your events, shows and sales? Are you promoting your work on Document sites, Bookmarking sites, related Blog sites, as well as on YouTube? Is your work designed to be found on Smart Phones and on iPads? None of this technology is expensive and most of it is free. It is only the artist investing their time, creativity and their effort in order to take advantage of these different media in order to promote their art work.
Yes, the effort that I described above does take time, hard work and persistence. The question is do you want to become a successful artist or are you just waiting to be discovered? If your answer is the former, rather than the later, then it is time to try spending the majority of your time marketing and branding your art. Over time, I believe that the artist will begin to see good results, more sales and that they will be on their way to becoming a “discovered” and a successful artist.