How can you make more money with your artwork? I’m often asked this question. The real artists know it is a long road, and the most successful artists are willing to keep taking steps down that road, even if there is no immediate payoff. We have a destiny to bring beauty and emotion into the world—any step along that journey can be satisfying.
As Zig Ziglar says, “You can have anything in the world you want, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.” Consider the following suggestions to be my effort in helping you turn your dreams into a financial reward.
1. Get rid of your old work. If you have paintings that are gathering dust, sell some of them at cost or give them away to a friend or charity. You can improve only through practice—sometimes ancient work needs to go out the door to make room for the new.
2. Make bad art. If you hit a patch of no inspiration, pull out a brush and make something truly bad. It can release you from the need to make a masterpiece each time.
3. Attend art events. Good ones will inspire you, bad ones will show you what not to do. Events are important for networking purposes; after all, people sometimes buy from people they like.
4. Post your work online. If it is bad art, post it anyway. How are you going to improve if you can’t be vulnerable? Besides, it’s not for you to judge your art; that is everyone else’s job.
5. Pick a piece of someone else’s art that you like and use it to inspire your own. There is a reason you are drawn to certain art. A crucial element of success is developing your own style, but that often emerges piecemeal from all the things you like in other art with your own twist thrown in. The only way to get there is one brush stroke at a time.
6. Remember the thought that your first 1,000 paintings are your worst and get that arbitrary number of works out of the way.
7. Enter art shows, because visibility is key. If you do not think you are good enough, enter anyway. Let the criticism and rejection—or, more positively, the praise—fuel your journey.
8. Pick up the phone and have a chat with another artist. You will learn so much from others who have already overcome some of the obstacles you face.
9. Listen to podcasts while you paint or draw. Here are two good ones: Your Art Sucks and Creative Pep Talk.
10. Remember, we artists are old pals with depression, addiction, and mental illness. Overcoming and battling those things will be your fuel cells if you let them.
Here is the bottom line: if you make good art, you will sell it. The list above is focused a lot on improving as an artist, a key to selling more, and also being seen.
Do not be ashamed of your style or content. Ask not what art the world needs; ask what art makes you come alive, and you’ll find your true answer. Just keep going. When in doubt, paint. Do not, at any cost, die with the art inside of you.
Asaph Maurer is a Windsor-based visual artist who has been a professional artist for two years. He is deeply involved in the arts community in the city and his mission is to help each artist grow by coaching the new global talent forward. www.asaphmaurer.com