Five Myths Hindering Art Careers

What words or phrases came to mind in your decision to be a Visual Artist Fun, Simple, Lots of Customers, Lots of money?

by Robert Currie on May 1, 2013

The purpose of this article is to offer an objective assessment of often used myths.  There are two sides to every coin. You can have lots of fun creating art as a hobby or you can create art as a full-fledged business. No matter which side of the coin is right for you, it’s time to dispel some myths about the business and put them to bed for good.

1. Creating a lot of "Art" is the road to making a living - If this were true there would be more high-earning artists. Spending an endless amount of time in the studio is not the solution to making a living, it is the creating of inventory. This myth is related to the Base Ball Field analogy- " Build it and they will come." For any artist to earn money they must either sell their art or their talent. This take getting out of the studio or hiring someone to develop your concept for selling your art. This takes dictating time and resources to promote the value of work.

"97% of artists are unsuccessful."
2. Good art will sell itself? This myth is dispelled by the numbers - more than half of college graduates opt out of pursuing a full-time art career. What also evident is the number of artists struggling to earn a living in the retail market. Knowing how to sell art is a process of developing a convincing narrative. Narrative is what attracts people out, creates interest,  develop value and entice someone to pay the price an artist offers.  A strong narrative transform the thought into a value.

3. All you have to do is get your art out there. This myth is one of the most notorious and self-centered.  The part of this sentence that is factual "get your art out there." however the parts which are missing - in front of whom, where are they, what to say and how much to charge ...etc. It takes research, comparison and visiting events to find the venue for the work you've create. Putting your art in a gallery because they have art shows is a bad strategic decision.  A skillful advisor such as an agent can facilitate the selection of appropriate venues.  Put it this way -"don't display nude paintings at a Catholic art festival." put you art where it support your objective.

4. Customers will buy because it's beautiful. This myth is better recognized as the "Field of Dreams quote " You create it, they will buy it." People who purchase art are no different than people who buy cars, homes or luxury products. It is the marketer tasks to uncover the reasons their art fit the needs of the buyer and pitch offer those points to the onlooker. People buy for a reason that fit their interest, perception, status and what they can afford.
Esthetic is not the primary people buy art.

5. Advice is free of charge. Free advice don't mean it is credible, current or usable. The contributor sees little worth other than to gain favor. An independent study of advice offered by artists to other artists, on social media sites such as LinkedIn's Art Professional Group, has been found to be given by people with little or no experience in the field.  More than 90% is considered not to be credible.

Making a living as a Visual Artist isn't as easy mainly due to artists chosen the most difficult route. Many artists have fallen for the myths and meager success stories. Look how many have demonized trade and claimed trade corrupt art.

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GAN is recognized as an authority in marketing visual art, managing artist careers, and a leader in retail consulting.  GAN staff  authored "Art Business for Independent Artist",  "How To Rejuvenate an Art District" and "Marketing Strategies for Art Galleries". If you're looking for honest, experienced, knowledgeable provider of services to help your business? Give us a call or email us at Global Art Network


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