Contemporary Artist and the 3 Possible Outcomes

 – success, struggle or failure--


The globalization of the Art Market has increased the number of artists and expanded the competitive landscape of the contemporary artist’s community. But yet the unrepresented artists do not recognize the threat globalization pose to their livelihood, and future opportunities.  In today's environment, an artist in another country can impact a local artist opportunity to sell his or her work. Buyers have the option to purchase valuable works of art through reputable intermediaries using the internet. The development of the smartphones has compel buyers, who normally would purchase artwork locally, to consider alternative producers to fill their artistic collection. Unlike acting, dance and other forms of artistic expression, a visual artwork is a tangible object that is extremely abundant and readily duplicated.   
  
Even though more artwork is being acquired by an increasing population of new buyers, art professionals and institutions around the world many 'unknown artist' are overwhelmed by the management aptitude needed to tap into the free market. There can be tremendous turmoil facing less recognized artists at the mid-level and below if they lack the knowledge of interworkings of the marketplace.  Numerous studies indicate many unrepresented artists are feeling the pressure of self-management and influx of a changing industry. They find themselves struggling to meet the demands set forth by a buyer's market who demand value and prestige.

   According to follow-up interviews with artists whom ended the pursuit of a career, stated they could not deal with the market demand. In reality of the marketplace, people want more than an aesthetically pleasing work of art. The logical questions - what must new and existing artists understand about the marketplace to succeed? and what must artist do to compete in a marketplace that has such an infinite reach?


 Today more professionals are analyzing successful practices and businesses to ascertain the truth, determine possibilities and create the framework to help people succeed.  The more the industry inter-workings are exposed; observers are learning an artist's knowledge of how the Arts marketplace operates is tied to the artist's level of success.
Since the last half of the 20th century, the art market has completely changed from a highly opaque sector to an evolving transparent economic engine. The diminishing of restricted access has revealed a lot of myths were conceived by misinformed or disenfranchised artists to cover-up their lack of achievements.
In a globalized art world, an artist opportunity to have a sustainable career weighs heavy on two factors; 1) what degree the artist knows about “how the marketplace operates; 2) how to position themselves in the market? These two facts are the only two marketplace kinship that has a significant impact on the future of an artist career.

  The marketplace operates as an equalizer for determining an object's value in a specific place and time. Allowing items for sale to be scrutinized by the basis of the free market principles. All items will sell or not sell based on the capacity of the communicator/marketer to articulate value. From a buyer's perspective, the venue determines credibility and legitimacy of competing offerings and orchestrates the exchange.  Let's take for example international art fairs. There are an estimated 200 art fairs and 150 biennials worldwide. Galleries from around the globe purchase stand (cost of $10,000 USDs) to showcase their inventory to visitors from around the globe who flock to these events to absorb the currency of modern and contemporary art.  What that should tell any serious artist if a gallery is willing to pay thousands of dollars to showcase a work of art, the investment in that opportunity to exhibit is a valid activity.
   The international art fair model illustrates how the art's market operates as a magnet for buyers - more artists are getting their work purchased - more visitors see international fairs as the place offering them the opportunity to experience art from around the globe in person. The point being marketplace function as a conduit for value-added trade activity and its sustainability is based on value perception of visitors not on an inclination of artists.
   The issue lies in 'how artists find their place in the marketplace' which depends mainly on what the artist knows about the various sectors, how to penetrate the chosen sector and the make-up (people) of the market segment. The latter is the ability to create the framework for the correlation between the market and the artist's career.
   Understanding the kinetics is where the marketplace cognition is so critical.   What does that mean, quite simply, if the artist does not understand how the marketplace functions the thought leads to -
•how can the artist express what he's offering?
•or determine current situation or future outlook?
When rationalized, if an artist does not know the corresponding value of the binomial relationship of the marketplace and his aspirations, that artist cannot sustain his or her career. Which is the current state of many unrepresented artists today?
   What is apparently clear, without the correlativity the artist is another person with an unfounded opinion.  The equation “Knowledge + Work = Sustainability” is a logical formula when articulating career sustainability and is the paradigm playing out in the global art market. 
 One thing is evident the art world is changing and the normative claims of the avant-garde hold little leverage in the free market.  Creative also need to understand, the life cycle of an artist career is interdependent on the knowledge the artist have on the specific sector, people, and marketplace.  An artist that understands the marketplace does better than an artist who takes the market and its dynamics for granted, hence we J. Koons and then there are thousand of artists who continue to struggle due to their own decisions.
   The 2015 Seattle, Washington public project debate is a good illustration of the consequence of the lack of knowledge when it comes to branding. The local artists were up-in-arms an out of state artist received a lucrative public art contract in their city. The out of state artist build an international persona which many artists disparage. The artist also conducted a comprehensive marketplace study of the Seattle market.  His foresight on the importance of building a solid public persona, position him for multi-million dollar opportunities and is a valuable example of understanding the art world.  Unfortunately, the local artists lack similar foresight or straight out rejected the factors of market values resulted in local artists not being considered for the major public project.
   Putting this writing into contexts, an artist will succeed given the nuance and complexity of the Arts market based on simple context - the more artists know 'how the marketplace operates' their career is logically and conveniently linked to a more sustainable career.
   The correlation between knowledge and career aspirations facilitates the navigational map needed to sustain a career as a visual artist. For example, knowing how to reach the level of a prominent, most-in-demand or sought-after artist, starts with cultivating a professional record of inextricably linked to prestige events.  The more an artist comprehends “how the art market operates” the artist will be able to influence the volume of work going into the marketplace and identify prestigious intermediaries to help sustain his or her career.
   In the modern contemporary art marketplace, there are only three possible outcomes – success, struggle or failure. The artist must align his or her aspirations with the functionality of the art marketplace.

GAN specialized in providing career and business solutions to participants at all levels and business operation within the art industry. Our extensive international experience is supported by a global footprint.
  Global Art Network is a Louisiana based enterprise with offices in Baltimore MD, Cleveland OH, Boston MA, Seattle WA, Orlando FL and San Diego CA. GAN operate in 100 art metro areas and 31 countries. No matter which ever continent you are on we can assist you in reaching realistic goals.
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