Artists looking to turn their passion into a career have many obstacles to overcome in order to achieve their dreams. The art world can be considerably difficult to break into because of competition, trends, and the time dedication required to be successful. However, as Henry Moore said – “There’s no retirement for an artist, it’s your way of living so there’s no end to it”. As all artists know, art is a way of life, and well-worth the struggle required to become successful.
General Information on a Career in Art
There are many options when it comes to a career in art. Whether your specialty is painting, drawing, cartooning, pottery, digital art and beyond, one of the necessary keys to success is finding a way to get your work out to the people who want it. Traditional options include art galleries and exhibitions as well as modern-day online possibilities such as websites, e-commerce stores and more. Some artists even choose to stretch the boundaries of their field with moving installations and pieces built directly into natural or urban environments. Discovering your niche and market will be the first step to a career in art. Unfortunately, almost all artists face common hurdles of criticism, creative blocks and lack of resources. Here are some resources to help artists succeed in their challenging industry.
- Education and Grants – In the beginning of your art career, it will be necessary to take time to develop your skills through education and time devoted to your art. The National Art Education Association offers places to find scholarships, grants and other funding opportunities so you can focus on your work.
- Communities – Some artists benefit from surrounding themselves in a supportive environment of other artists to truly develop their work. The Alliance of Artists Communities offers lodging and residency options for ambitious artists.
- Networking – Spending time developing your art is important to your career, but so is networking. The National Guild for Community Arts Education offers online tools, chapter meetings, conferences, special interest groups and other ways for aspiring artists to meet people who will help them develop skills and do business.
- Choosing an Art Outlet – From coffee shops to grand exhibition halls, there is a wide range of places for you to try to present and sell your art. The New York Foundation for the Arts offers a comprehensive collection of articles on finding the best outlet for your work.
- Creating a Contract – Once you’ve found a gallery who will represent your work, it is important to create a contract. Although it’s easy just to trust people, a contract will protect your work and your income.
- Preparing for an Exhibition – Congratulations! You’ve booked an exhibition, now it is time to prepare. The key thing to remember is that this exhibition is the perfect opportunity for you to promote your work, so be ready to network and spread the word about your art with business cards and more. Also, invite as many people as you know who like your style, as well as collectors and gallery owners who you may want to work with in the future.
- Post- Exhibition Blues – Even if your exhibition goes brilliantly, you still may suffer from post-exhibition blues. After years pouring your heart and soul into a collection that is presented to the public in the matter of hours or months, it can be difficult to cope with next steps. This site offers practical advice on dealing with emotions after an exhibition.
- Taxes – Although most art types don’t love math, paying less in taxes is very helpful for aspiring artists. If you are making a profit off of your art, there may be deductions and other tax concepts you should know about.
- Legalize – Copyrights, protecting your work and ideas are all critical to your career. Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts offer countless publications, resources and advice specifically for artists and their legal needs.
- When Art Meets Tech – In today’s wired world, it will be no surprise to any artist that an online presence is almost required for success. Technology in the Arts has a range of resources to help you create a website or online portfolio and spread the word about your art.