Are you an art lover? Then let me tell you the realities facing the artist today. Full-time artists devote a lot of time creating their art, as well as, marketing it if they are serious about their profession. As a full-time, acrylic/mixed media, painter I spend 50-60 hours/week researching materials and techniques, educating myself on social media, painting, marketing in print and online and the 100’s of other chores necessary today for an artist to be successful.
At one time, all you did was create your work and show your work in exhibitions and galleries. There are fewer galleries today to show our work and some of those galleries are inferior just like in any business. They just open their doors and hope someone walks in. The job of an artist today has become so cumbersome with so little results that one has to wonder where it will end for both the admirer and the artist.
I know many artists question whether it is working or whether it will ever be worth their time because the buyers are an elusive bunch of people we can’t seem to find. There is a lot of talk lately about finding your “tribe” or people who like your style or type of work. It threw me for a loop recently, when I talked to several very good artists at different events, and they said they were thinking about just throwing in the towel. Their canvases were piling up, they spent too much time and money they don’t have on their creations and trying to find customers on social media just wasn’t working out. With the only people showing up at opening night exhibitions were other artists and their friends (even with all the advertising), artists are beginning to feel deserted and not getting the feedback they need to keep going. And statistics show that very few people are commenting and liking on social media for most things.
1. The Good Artists Are Starting to Question The Job
In the near future, if more artists feel that it is just not worth it, and they cannot make a living selling their art at a fair price, you may find it more difficult to find high quality art. Believe me, the less desirable art will still be around but the artists who give it their “ALL” and devote their time to creating a unique piece of art will not be around. They will find other ways to express themselves.
2. You Are Not Supporting Their Work
Very few of you are showing up at exhibitions to view their work. Very few of you are sending them confirmation or comments about their work whether by social media, email or in person. And because the economy hasn’t fully recovered, very few of you are purchasing original art. Even if you can’t afford the work or have nowhere to place it, it would help the artist if you would give validation to an artist’s work that you feel is good. Ask for the artist’s contact information or business card and let them know how you feel about their work. Give them leads if you know of someone else who might appreciate their work. If you see their work on social media and like it, leave a comment. Or if you have a suggestion, let them know.
3. We Don’t Know Where You Are
Because very few are taking the time to comment or like our work and show up to view the work at exhibitions, we don’t know where you are, what you like or how to keep you informed. Think of it as a 2-way street, we need to have some information if we are to continue to make things that you might like and purchase in the future. If we don’t have feedback, we are floundering in space and don’t know if we are going in the right direction. So please come out of hiding and make yourself known. We promise we won’t harass you, we just want to keep you informed and get feedback. We can’t afford big, expensive marketing campaigns and expensive webinar series to try to find you (believe me, they are out there in full force trying to get artists to sign up). Just let yourself be known and let us know what you like and don’t like. We can take the criticism.
4. We Waste Many Good Hours Trying To Find You
We waste countless hours on learning social media tips on how to find you. We are told you have to write a blog and write something everyday to attract you to our work. We have to be on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and post to our blog interesting articles that will make you flock to our sides. Do you know how much time it takes out of our day, week, month, year that we could be using to create something spectacular? And statistics show that only 5% or less purchase art on the internet. Why are we doing this? Because we can’t find you! And marketers say that is what we must do to find you!
5. It Makes Us Question: Are There Really That Many Buyers Out There Anymore Who Appreciate Original Art?
Of course, there will always be art collectors at the top, investors who look for art and can afford to collect art from Sotheby’s and those well-known artists of the past (before 1990). But what about us emerging artists? The signals say to us, that you don’t want to be found or don’t want to buy art or don’t appreciate our best efforts at creating unique art. You need to let us know so we can stop this time-consuming job of trying to vie for your attention. I am sure that most people, including yourself, doesn’t like wasting your time on research and educating yourself on techniques that don’t work, so I am sure you understand the artist’s plight.
I hope that you understand that the point of my article was not to admonish you in any way but to inform you on the artist’s plight since the 2007 downturn and the increase in social media marketing and the toll it takes on our creativity time, etc. We need the feedback, we need the connection to the outside world, and we need the connection to the people who appreciate our work. Even if you are not ready to buy or could possibly be a buyer in the future or won’t be a buyer but appreciate our work, we need to have a connection to you. Help us stay motivated in this fast, changing world of ours, so that we know that there are people out there that are truly interested in what we are doing. Comment on our posts, like our pages, and email us how you feel about our work.
What about you? Are you giving artists some feedback? And if not, why not? We would be interested in your views on this issue.
Thank your for your continued support and while you are here, if you would add your name to my mailing list so I can keep you informed, I would greatly appreciate it.