Here are some tips for successful artists today:
1. Get involved in the community. This will help you to find an audience for your work, build relationships with other artists, and find opportunities that you may not have otherwise found.
2. Produce quality work. Make sure that the artwork reflects your values and makes a difference in people’s lives. It’s important to have a portfolio of pieces that are high-quality enough to choose from when presenting them to galleries or collectors before ‘hitting it big.
3. Understand what you need to sell work. If you are presenting art to an organization, gallery, or collector, it is important to understand what they are looking for before submitting artwork. It is also good to do research beforehand to find out if they have a preference for a certain medium, style, or format.
4. Promote yourself. Many artists feel that promoting themselves is obnoxious and tacky, but it is important in today’s world to get your work seen by many people. Self-promotion can do a lot of good when you are trying to sell your work, but it’s important to know what you’re doing before getting too involved in the promotion.
5. Don’t wait, create! If you are trying to showcase your work or sell it to an organization or gallery, then chances are that there is a long line ahead of you trying to do just that as well. So if you want a chance at success, don’t wait in line – create the opportunity. Get out there and network with people who can connect you to opportunities or get your work seen by someone important rather than sitting back and waiting for an opportunity to come up.
6. Improve your business acumen. The artworld is similar to many other industries in that it is what you know, not who you know. Brush up on your business skills like negotiating, sales, and budgeting to help navigate the often-treacherous art industry.
7. Don’t think that your degree will take care of all your problems for you. Your education can be a big asset if used correctly but it is up to you to stay on top of your career and business.
8. Realize that rejection is a normal part of the process. Rejection can be hard to take, but it’s important to see it as a natural part of achieving success as an artist in today’s world – everyone goes through it!
9. Realize that success is very much in the eye of the beholder. Success is not always defined by awards, big exhibitions, or lots of money. Sometimes success is having a good body of work that you are proud of and connect with emotionally or helping people through your art in some way. It can be easy to get up into an artist’s head when they are pursuing big dreams and think that they need to achieve a specific level of success, but it is more important for artists to be happy and successful than famous.
10. Remember that your education doesn’t stop at graduation! You can always improve your skills or learn new ones, so don’t wait until you’re done with school before doing everything you can to help yourself.
11. Don’t be intimidated by the big names in the field. If you are new to this field, it can be intimidating to see people with all sorts of awards, degrees, publications, etc., other artists who are successful can make you feel like there is no room for you because there are already so many ‘big names in the industry. However, there is plenty of room for everyone – be confident in your abilities and understand that you just need some more time and opportunities to get yourself to their level.
12. Remember: You don’t have to be a starving artist! Becoming an artist can seem like it means giving up material comforts and luxuries, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many ways you can make money as an artist – don’t feel like your only option is to sell your artwork or give up altogether.
13. Take criticism on the chin and adapt if necessary! If you keep getting negative feedback about your art, figure out why people aren’t connecting with your work and how you can change their minds. If you are told that something about your style is off, then maybe it’s time to at least try working in a different way for a while or ask yourself if there is some truth to what they are saying.
14. Figure out what type of artist you want to be – it’s important to know where you are going. It can be easy to get excited about art when you are in school, but it’s essential that once your education is over, you have a clear purpose for why doing art and what you want to achieve with it – this will give shape to your career and help guide the direction in which you’ll go.
15. Become part of the community in your area – whether it is an art community, food community, social justice community, etc… Find out where like-minded people are gathering and connect with them!
16. Keep up to date with current trends – even if you don’t follow them constantly or use them constantly in your work, just being aware of them will help you have a better understanding of the field in general.
17. Have fun! Take breaks, go out with friends, relax for a while – chances are that if you aren’t having fun while pursuing your art, then something is wrong. Don’t be afraid to take risks because it’s impossible to have any sort of success if you aren’t putting yourself out there.
18. Don’t get so caught up in your creative endeavors that you forget to take care of your personal life! It can be easy to put off normal activities like sleeping, eating well, exercising, etc., but neglecting unhealthy habits for too long will contribute to an overall sense of imbalance in your life.
19. Don’t let rejection get you down! Even the most successful artists have been rejected numerous times, it’s no reflection on your talent or future potential to be turned down for a job, a show, a residency – there is always going to be someone or something that doesn’t want what you have to offer and you’ll never convince them if they aren’t interested in the first place.
20. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it! If you are struggling with a project or your career, don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to someone about what is going on – a mentor, a teacher, a colleague, a friend – whatever you need, someone out there is willing to help.