Like many creatives, you want to become a full-time professional artist one day. Isn’t that the dream?
But the path to becoming a professional artist isn’t clear. They don’t teach entrepreneurial skills in art school. There’s a ton of conflicting information on the internet. And it sometimes feels like the blind leading the blind.
For me – experience has been my greatest teacher. My first job out of art school was selling art for a studio and gallery. I had to figure this stuff out on my own.
I reached out to a lot of successful people for help and guidance. And over the course of my art career, I’ve sold millions of dollars of art. But it took time to learn how to unlock success.
Now it’s my mission to share these lessons with you. I want you to find success as a professional artist a little more easily and gracefully than I did.
Developing a professional art career is no different from developing a work of art
What I’ve learned over the years is that curating a career as a professional artist is no different from creating a new work of art. There’s a process to it.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.
There are milestones to hit, thresholds to break through and everybody’s path will be a little different.
The blank canvas: Claiming your birthright as an artist
The first and most fundamental step to becoming a professional artist is to acknowledge and give voice to your dream. It’s time to start calling yourself an artist…out loud.
This might be frightening at first, especially if you’ve been hiding in the shadows because of a lack of support from your spouse, friends or family.
Listen, those niggling thoughts that tell you ‘this is what I’m meant to do’ aren’t false. And they only get more insistent over time… no matter how hard you try to suppress them. And if you don’t listen, they sometimes turn into sadness, jealousy, or even illness.
So say it out loud: “I am an artist! I am committed to supporting my art!”
Say it again: “I am an artist! I am committed to supporting my art!”
Your life will begin to shift in magical ways, trust me.
Get the art supplies out: It’s time to develop your practice
The second step to becoming a professional artist is to develop a consistent practice. Forget about exhibitions, marketing, or trying to make money for now. Just make good art.
Nothing else will happen until you’re making art on a regular basis.
This is the step where you’ll develop your craft and your voice as an artist. Be patient with the process. It’s important to take all of the steps if you want to be a professional artist.
Exhibit your artwork: professional artists get their work seen
Now that you’ve got a body of work to show people, it’s time to exhibit it.
Showing your work in an art exhibition for the first time is a terribly exciting yet nerve-racking experience. It’s normal to feel all kinds of emotions. Stay calm!
Yes, you’re yearning for other people to recognize your talent and vision. But I want you to pay close attention to those people who respond most positively to your art. Ask them questions. Find out what it is they’re responding to most in the work.
Ask questions. Ask tons of questions. Don’t be creepy, be curious.
What do they have in common?
Who are they?
Where do they hang out online and off?
These people will become the basis of your ideal audience. Once you know who they are, every other decision you make on your way to becoming a professional artist becomes a whole lot easier.
Selling your art: Let’s get taken seriously as a professional artist
You’ve developed your craft and your voice. You’re showing your work to the world. You’re learning who your ideal audience is…now’s the time to start charging what you’re worth.
You’ll need to let go of any old money stories or negative beliefs about selling your art. Let go of the ‘starving artist’ mentality and declare yourself a professional artist that isn’t afraid to create abundance.
Now to sell, you’re going to need professional artist marketing materials too; a website, CV, an Artist Statement and bio. If you don’t have these yet, may I suggest my online training The Working Artist Masterclass?
Getting Support: Join an artist community
The fastest way I know to build succes as a professional artist is to join an artist community. You’ll find no better cheerleaders, supporters, and mentors than other artists.
Other artists are not your competition. Other artists are your colleagues. And most professional artists love other artists. So why not be supported by people who understand you and have already walked the path you’re on? We’ve got your back.
I can go on and on for days about how to work as a professional artist. And if you’d like professional guidance and support on your journey, I’d love to help.
Check out my program: The Working Artist Masterclass. It’s everything they didn’t teach you in art school. And so much more….
Would you like to SHOW + SELL MORE ART? I’ve helped thousands of artists and I can help you too.
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