Tips for Starting Your Art Career | Artist’s Network University

by Beth Samek, Online Education Manager at Artist’s Network University

If you’ve ever wanted to pick the brain of a professional artist, now is your chance! Building on my blog post from last week focusing on making the move to full-time artist, this week you can hear even more about the process of making art your career. You might just find the inspiration to take that first step yourself!

As Joe Cibere said, a piece of advice that is great no matter your career, “Commitment, commitment, commitment…and whatever you do, plan and execute the necessary MARKETING or find someone to do it for you!”

Debora Stewart, a new instructor at Artist’s Network University had a non-traditional path to professional painting, “I came to this decision much later than many having worked my entire life in education and counseling. Since I had another career in addition to my art I had to make a commitment to my art. I decided I needed to create the best work possible and not be concerned about selling. That was one of the benefits of having another career. I devoted a space in my home to my work and I developed regular working habits.” Check out a great abstract pastel selection from Debora, featured here!

“I became committed to working abstractly with pastel. I learned as much about the business aspects of being an artist that I could. I entered competitions and juried exhibits. I gained gallery representation and began to gain some regional recognition. I broadened my reach through my blog, website and Facebook. Developing my art and gaining a certain amount of recognition took years of work. I told myself I would leave my career when I could no longer handle doing both. That came this past year. I am currently very busy with my art, teaching and beginning to write a book for Northlight. My advice is to have a vision of where you want to go, do the best work possible and never give up!” said Debora.

Mano Sotelo provides these works of advice, when asked why he became an artist full-time he responded, “I had to do it. Meaning, I realized that the act of making art was an essential component of my life. It provided additional purpose, making art made me happy, it provided a “visual” voice for me, and I had something meaningful to say. I also saw the importance of teaching art to others. Visual intelligence and visual expression can make a significant impact on one’s life; especially one that lives within a visually saturated culture such as ours” he said.
“My advice for someone that wants to make art a full-time career is to ‘make art that matters every day’ and then make sure it gets seen. Meaning:

1. In the practice of consistently making art, you will find your confidence, creativity and skill improve.

2. Making ‘it matter’ means that the work is meaningful to you. Most times, if the work is authentically meaningful, it will resonate with someone else and you will find an audience for it.

3. Once you have the work produced, you need to get it seen. The following are a good place to start: galleries, museums, arts organizations / memberships, call to artists, contests, publications, artist grants, residencies and public art opportunities.

4. Finally, keep at it and be persistent. On average, it takes some companies years to turn a profit; so the practice of making art a full-time career may take some time. But what fun you’ll have in the meantime!”

Get guidance in developing your own art career with our upcoming course, Developing an Viable, Active & Successful Art Career with Paul Dorrell starting on September 24th. Find our full course calendar at Artist’s Network University here!

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