Monday, February 02, 2009

The business of being an artist

Most people think an artist's life is nothing but painting and enjoying doing what you love. While it is true we must paint often to have work available, and it is our passion, it is not all that is involved in the business of being an artist.

I would venture to say that most people would be suprised at the amount of other work that is involved. Just this week I have been catching up on some of these things. I show in only two galleries at the present, so I have less paperwork than most artists who are full time, but there is work that must be done. This consists of not only creating the work, but pricing, making inventories of items in the studio and items at galleries. I also have to keep sales records of sold work, new work must be photographed before it leaves the studio so I have a record of my work and hi-res images down the road if I want to make prints, postcards, etc. I must maintain my website and blogs and keep them updated in order to keep marketing my work.
It's not always as easy as making a work available and then it automatically sells. An artist has to constantly study to improve their skill set, and constantly market their work to collectors. Some gallery reps will do this for you, but it is important for you to get in the habit of marketing your work.
Pricing is not always an easy task either. I still hold a full time job in addition to my painting sales, so my work is really affordable at present, but many people wonder why artists price work the way they do. Being an artist gets really expensive, especially when you use archival and quality materials and framing. Then there are marketing costs, website costs, taxes, and many other expenses. If you sell through a dealer, they may take anywhere from 30% - 50% of your sale price, then your expenses come out of what is left. So when you see a price you think is high, just remember - it is a one of a kind original, and artists don't sell paintings everday, and they need to put food on the table as well.

Anyway, just a rambling post today, but I thought some insight into the life of an artist's business, might be of interest to some. I will have some more paintings posted for you here soon!

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