Self-Represented Artist and the Marketplace

You decided you wanted to be a self-represented artist. So the buck stops with you, not a dealer, gallery owner or the marketplace.

Selling your artwork begins and ends with understanding the marketplace. That means all the entities which make-up your marketplace.  For decades artists have fail into the trap of denial resulting in them struggling throughout most of their career.  

Many artists have attempted to hang on to a failing ideology to point they have disappeared from the active art scene. The truth is in the details emerging from market reports and studies done on status of visual artist around the world.
   We live in an age of information, knowledge tells us over and over again what's going on in the art world.  What has happen and in many cases it was not what we thought. To go beyond mere survival to a self-represented artist during this time of innovation must be prepared to go beyond the comforts of traditional artist 'ideology.' The artist must become provocative managers or seek such capabilities to respond to the new and ever changing face of art's.

Art market information is for those artists who want to earn a living as a professional fine art artist (27-1013) and are willing to act on it. This type of information is the basis upon which to build an intelligent response to the multi-segmented Arts marketplace. Today's environment demands that participants act rather than react to the challenges of the fast-pace twenty-first century consumers.
          The job of an artist is to create artwork when they are employees or working on a project.  The job of a self-represented artist is all the above and then ten times more.  Especially anyone who’s trying to sell his own work is categorically different than an artists working for an employer.  You are the creator, marketer, salesperson, accountant, legal adviser etc. which the natural course of being self-represented.

When an artist complains about having time to create artwork, you know that artist is not committed. Why do we say that?  Because creating artwork is a part of being an artist.  A self-represented artist must transition from one stage of ownership to the next and devote time to understand the market as an environment. First by figuring out what it takes -
- To resonate with certain groups of buyers an artist must:
•Investigate what those groups consider value.
•What art related products they bought
•Why they bought them
Those are not easy questions to find answers to nor is the information readily available. Therefore the self-represented artist must devote time to this task.  However, once he has the information he is on his way to earning a living.

Selling artwork consistently has moved beyond demographics into psychographics and lifestyle studies. Yes, the make-up of art buyers have changed and the full-time artists have learned that change comes along being a self-represented artist.

    Looking at the differences between art buyers and the general consumer and identify the common interests of art buyers by region.
      Mass promotion is an aspect of many promotional strategies, however, is dangerous to rely on this aspect entirely:
◦no longer as efficient or cost-effective
◦the marketplace is changing
◦society has moved from a manufacturing-driven to a consumer-driven economy
◦mass media itself is fragmenting
◦ethnic and social diversity
Any artist planning to introduce a new body of work needs to know to whom and how he is going to sell that product. Studies proved posting alone does not improve exposure or sales opportunities.

                   - Many purchasers today are largely discretionary – No one needs to buy an original when a print can be purchased from a local department store like Michael's Art and Craft for less and backed by a return policy.  So the issue understands potential customers – who they are, how they are changing and how best to reach them.

When an artist understands differences in culture, history, attitudes, values, and preferences.  He will be able to promote to those differences. Creating value that attracts more buyers.

We followed fifty artists from ten countries and the artists who struggle, were also the ones who had little to no knowledge of what they were dealing with. The job a self-represented artist is to do everything.


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