Mistakes Most Artist Make

 

Quite a number of unrepresented artists believe they can succeed in the 'Art Market' without devoting any time to understand how the marketplace operates. The state of unrepresented visual artists across the globe indicates they are making a critical mistake!

To ascertain real world data our team examined several online and off-line channels. In our view, online platforms (social media sites, bulletin boards, and chat rooms) were invaluable in retrieving unfiltered comments from the artist's community and ascertain a consensus. Online channels offered a sample size of a million artists globally making comments on various discussion boards. Based on a collaborative effort, we're able to ascertained real time unscripted comments. For this article we’ve provided a summary of a few of the findings .

The general impression of the artist’s community- there's a large population which have a different perception about the role of the Art Market.  Many artists believe -based on the comments by tenure and emerging artists- the marketplace is there to feature their work above the wants and needs of art buyers. Furthermore, in their view, their career growth is not associated with the premise of basic business fundamentals. 
This erroneous belief has cause artists  to exclude the need to understand the dynamics of the different sectors; the organizational structure of the innumerable sub-sectors; the role of the many business entities and how the countless businesses operates.

Even though there are reports indicating many artist career struggles are exacerbated because they chose not to allocate time; to determine what's required to compete as  market participant;  nor analyze the requisite to advance their aspirations; identify and centralize the resources essential to achieve their aspirations - financially and mentally.  In short - what's necessary to overcome the barriers of an extremely dynamic trade profession?   
      
This study revealed among the various sub-groups in the artist's community, unrepresented visual artists repeat mistakes made by their predecessors. The most impacted notion is the belief their ability to sell their artwork to the public is 'not bound' by the application of retail management. They constantly marginalized key marketplace fundamentals; production acumen, marketing process, promotional capacity, or the petition of sales as a function in their decision making process.  Reviewing the comments, it is abundantly obvious artist who struggle are driven by the mythological lure of art history and indoctrinated by misinformation.

Based on comments we reviewed, many unrepresented artists are under the belief business fundamentals are not pertinent to their situation.  These artists do not embrace the need to properly employ business fundamentals even when plotting their career path or making market decisions. 
 In their view there are other dimensions at work;
         Ellen Benfatti  I believe it's that feeling, the of the act of creating, that attracts the collector. Whether the collector is purchasing a million dollar painting or a 100 dollar painting the excitement we have about our craft as artists is transferred to our pieces. It's that energy that the collector, gallery, and agent, craves to be a part of. We must never lose site of this fact. When someone chooses to purchase a piece from an artist they are 100% doing it because they want to be a part of the magic of being an artist. When we focus more on this and not the money I believe we attract the collectors/supporters to us and the value of our work is greatly impacted. This has been my experience over the decade.
The sense that business fundamentals are considered irrelevant is also evident by the attitude many artists have towards the marketplace. Their view of market value is not in line with the parameters of the principles of a free market system.  There are artist who adamant believers the value of artwork is based on the “meaning behind the work” and “the time” it took to consummate the object. When we scrutinized the belief it is clear their assumptions are countered to criteria of free trade.  Furthermore, unrepresented artists when in the role as a seller, marketer or salesperson, believe they are not bound by the rules of value and fundamentals of trade. In their ideology, their work is worth more because it was created by a process beyond the comprehension of non-artist. They dismissed buyer’s preferences as meager guidelines.  It’s apparent the basis for this mindset is linked to the belief artwork they're offering to the marketplace is somehow immune to "customer value requirements."

When it comes to addressing the task of building a sustainable volume of patrons. Some artists have the tendency to ignore buyer's preferences year after year. Based on comments, many visual artists repeat the mistake of believing all art buyers’ interest, value, and selection processes have no relevancy to how they conduct postproduction business.  Many wrote they outright ignore buyer's interest all together. 

On the other side of the spectrum, the thought some artwork is purchase for investment or other trade purposes, repulsed some ideologues. The idea someone would considered artwork as an investment defile the meaning of art in their view.  Some artists considered it a betrayal by art buyers, if they resell the work at a later date.

Other artists make the mistake of insulting and belittling art buyers especially the wealthy. There are comments like below;
 ulrich de balbian : painter, curator, critic, writer, philosopher
The Art World Is Corrupt

a) It’s managed completely by the rich as a plaything.

b) It likes to appear concerned with the poor, social problems, etc., but is not and usually acts against social interests.

c) Many ‘prestige’ institutions, museums, galleries, etc., are really around in order to increase the value of paintings for the private gain of collectors, investors, and sometimes, artists.

d) Many of the rich, society people who control things have no real background in art, or anything else, the picture of superficiality and ‘good’ manners.

e) The ‘auction houses,’ again run by the banks, really, and staffed by wise-ass society girls, otherwise unemployable, overeducated, and flunkie art historians.
 They disparage buyers purchasing decisions and criticize their selections.   We can only assume to elevate themselves as a fighter for the struggling artist. They reflect from the fact most unrepresented artists have little to no understanding of what sales and customer relations entail.  The study exposed many artist revel in vilifying the wealthy, art dealers and gallery owners.  Their disdain for people of wealth is extreme and misguided.  During a discussion thread entitled “Why Don't 'Art Buyers' purchase directly from artists?" an artist offered this comment"


When it comes to the business of selling artwork, most people realize marketing is essential. The study indicated many artists chose to forego the correct marketing process.  They believe the marketing process does little for selling.  Therefore, they ignore important customer's information and market realities that could’ve improve their outcome.  Based on online conversations, they viewed the main premise of marketing as posting images on the internet. This inaccurate perspective of marketing is based on the presumption - the more people who see their post the greater chance their work will be purchase.

Another interesting finding from this study many struggling artists believe they know how to build a sustainable career even though they've consistently struggled to maintain a steady volume of transactions, build a significant marketplace presence; or secure reliable number of yearly opportunities. They reject they're challenges in career management and the acumen to make marketplace decisions.  One thing that is clear, they are diehard believers that time will help them in the long run.
We finished with the contempt some artists have for the marketplace, market professional, art buyers and most non-artist.   Among a certain segment of the artist's community, there is a sense everyone takes advantage of artists. There is a scam around every corner, especially, if the service requires them to pay a fee.   Some artists do not consider  professional advice or career service a worthwhile expense they want to pay for furthermore believe experience, skills and aptitude professionals obtained is somehow readily available on the internet.  The majority of the sentiments are based on conjecture from theoretical ideology of the arts industry passed down over the decades by those people who've struggled in the past or failed building a sustainable career.
The illusory perspective by some artist that buyers are intellectually challenged and are hypnotized by the optics of art is made in many references.  
            Ellen Benfatti  I believe it's that feeling, the of the act of creating, that attracts the collector. Whether the collector is purchasing a million dollar painting or a 100 dollar painting the excitement we have about our craft as artists is transferred to our pieces. It's that energy that the collector, gallery, and agent, craves to be a part of. We must never lose site of this fact. When someone chooses to purchase a piece from an artist they are 100% doing it because they want to be a part of the magic of being an artist. When we focus more on this and not the money I believe we attract the collectors/supporters to us and the value of our work is greatly impacted. This has been my experience over the decade.
       The influence of these mistakes/beliefs we've summarized is evident by the approach many artists are using to engage the marketplace.  In retrospect they find their efforts regrettably outdated, and the failures are echoed in the comments of frustration and vilification of the art marketplace.

Many art professors and scholars echo spiritual connection and academic theorization to a degree many young artists believe the academic ideology rolls over to the world of consumerism.  There is a belief by some artists that their artwork is the essence of culture. Comments such as, without visual artists the world is doom', or collectors buy artwork because they wanted to be an artist," are just a few of the utterance you will read on many platforms. Even though the spiritual process is a valuable creative notion, unfortunately, when applied as a business philosophy is where the conjecture loses its validity.
There is a history between the academic avant-garde and the art's industry which is well documented. The marketplace continuously rejects the scholarly perception of the role of artwork in the modern economy. Even though the evidence is overwhelming the scholarly concepts are not compatible to the marketplace. The avant-garde will continue to peruse a perspective that is no longer valid. 


Global Art Network U.S.A. (GAN) is a business strategy and consulting firm in the professional arts sector.  GAN is organized with six (6) specialized business units, which provide business solutions, resources, and capital generating expertise since 2010.  Visual artists, gallery owners, and legacy art collectors from around the globe value our reliability, expertise and global presence.  Our clients received the industry most current and results-oriented assistance in the art industry today. You can connect with GAN at our website or on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest or email us.
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