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Looking for art books or to improve your techniques, learn about other artists? Plenty of recommendations and links in the Art Book Store

In this world we fine artists have a problem.  Art has been long considered as nothing more than a pastime by most adults.  So why should a pastime have a business side.  Because it isn't a pastime for an artist, it is a profession. The other problem:  Original fine art cannot be sold in Wal Mart, or Sams Club.  It cannot be mass marketed. It is still sold either from the creator or a specialty middle man. When I think of art sales, I think of 18th century type marketing. One maker, one seller, a select few collectors (buyers)  "Every original has only one owner". How do you find him?


How to become a successful artist: 101

Create a body of work.  A body is at least ten to 20 fine art pieces that relate to each other. A body (get it? – body) is a group that sticks together as a group.   

Start keeping records of your work.  With digital camera so cheap now, get one a take a photo of each piece you create.  Print it out and start a note book.  List the title, date finished, size, medium, any awards it got, and who bought it if sold 

Get a business card printed.  You can get one with a photo of your work on it at a lot of online printers now, very inexpensive. It should have your name, and under it "Painter" "Sculptor"  etc. 

Start a resume. Now you are ready to begin.


Get known in your own area - Start at home.

Join any and all art organizations within a reasonable driving distance from where you are now living.  (What?  You say you are not ready?  Anyone can join most art organizations, even if they are not artists, as for groups that require you to be juried into- if you are worried about it don’t do it, or just do it anyway- all they can say is ‘no’.

Volunteer for museums, arts councils, school art programs..  another words, get out there get to know as many local artists people connected with the arts as you can- go to art openings.  Keep your ears open, start conversations with artists etc. 

In any community artists tend to find each other- they know each other, they know each others work.  It takes time to get to know them, but it is time well spent.  Local artists know what’s happening in the community.  They can help you find your way.


Once you have a body of work, look for someplace to show.  Every community has something to offer the visual artist, from libraries to coffee shops, to hospital walls, businesses, banks; sometimes a local art council can be of help for a budding artist offering show space, or suggestions on where he or she can find exhibit space.

  Enter juried competitions- this is chancy. The volume of artists entering shows makes it difficult to get your piece hung.  Many books I have read list this as a way to get funds… for some maybe, but it is often like winning a lottery, judges are subjective. What they pick for shows varies so much; no one can count on juried shows anymore for funds, let alone getting there work out there.  But do it anyway.  If you get in, it’s one more line for the resume. 

Name recognition is what you are after.  Your name is your brand, just like ‘coke-cola’ is the brand for a soft drink.  Your name is your ‘brand’.  Get it out there.  If you get an exhibition at any venue “coffee shop’ hospital’ be sure to drop a press release to the local newspaper.  And every time you do, they will put your name in the paper.  Even if it is just a short line in what’s happening in the community, your name is out there. 

Places to sell

As you begin to show, start adding things to your resume.  Having a resume can give you help getting into a gallery.  Galleries are a great place to sell work, if you find the right one.  Many books have been written on this subject. But you know enough now, to find other venues other than galleries one book suggestion I have is the Artist's Guide to New Markets


and DON'T GIVE UP!!!!

Books on the Subject

How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, 5th ed.: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul

2008 Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market

I'd Rather Be in the Studio!

Art Marketing 101, Third Edition: A Handbook for the Fine Artist (Art Marketing 101: A Handbook for the Fine Artist)

Breaking into the Art World: How to Start Making a Living As an Artist

Photographers Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business

Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your Goals

How to Start a Faux Painting or Mural Business: A Guide to Making Money in the Decorative Arts

Licensing Art 101, Third Edition: Publishing and Licensing Artwork for Profit (Licensing Art 101)

Selling Art Without Galleries: Toward Making a Living from Your Art

The Artist's Marketing and Action Plan Workbook

Art Office, Second Edition: 80+ business forms, charts, sample letters, legal documents and business plans (Art Office: 80+ Business Forms, Charts, Sample Letters, Legal)

The Savvy Crafters Guide To Success: Turn Your Crafts Into A Career

The Artist's Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions

Fine Art Publicity, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide for Artists, Galleries, and Museums (Business and Legal Forms)

How to Profit from the Art Print Market

Self-Promotion for the Creative Person: Get the Word Out About Who You Are and What You Do

The Artist-Gallery Partnership: A Practical Guide to Consigning Art

Guide to Getting Arts Grants

Art That Pays: The Emerging Artist's Guide to Making a Living

Living the Artist's Life


Business of Art: 101