Have you had a chance to read Chris Guillebeau’s ebook The Unconventional Guide to Art and Money? This happens to be one of the best books I’ve read on the subject of art promotion… and I wish I had it years ago. Chris is the well admired author of The Art of Non-Conformity blog.
Chris says that there are many valid reasons for creating art. Not all artists want to make money with art. Some use art as a pass-time or hobby. But, there are a large group of artists who would like to support themselves and their family doing what they love.
The vast majority of artists coming out of art school have not learned how to promote themselves (I know because I was one of them!). Every year over 30,000 artists graduate from art colleges in the U.S. alone. But although they have talent, they are not trained in how to represent themselves or how to build connections.
Most end up giving up art altogether or working at daytime jobs unrelated to art. Those who continue in their art career have to learn by trial and error, or look to other resources, such as the Guide to Art & Money, to learn what it takes to market art.
Some artists would like to make money but they may have been discouraged with setbacks, disappointments and disheartening comments from others… or maybe they just do not know where to start.
According to the Unconventional Guide to Art & Money “artists are not destined to be poor. If you're an artist, you can actually make money from your art, feel good about it, and build up a following to support your independent career.”
Chris says that there is a clear divide behind the old way of marketing art and the way artists promote themselves today. One time artists only relied only on the favor of gatekeepers - sponsorships, patronage and art galleries. This system still works for some artists, but can be difficult to break into.
Fortunately, artists now have another alternative. These days with the internet and social networking, artists can take their art careers in their own hands. They can learn and use the techniques of online art promotion which are readily available from books like the Unconventional Guide to Art & Money.
The modern approach is a more personal one - artists build the connections and relationships, and the public can connect with them one on one. Artists can thereby sell their art directly to clients, and keep all the profit (instead of the typical 50/50 split with art galleries). The artist now has full control over the outcome of their art career.
The book gives encouragement for artists. Promoting art (as with promoting anything) can be an uphill battle and it is not an easy road. But, knowing this and having guidance at the outset will prepare artists for what they need to do to market themselves.
This is an overview of some of the topics covered in the Unconventional Guide to Art & Money:
- Why do so many artists fail in their quest to support themselves with their art?
- How to combine blogging and art
- How to bring traffic to an art website
- How to set the right prices for artworks
- Setting priorities and making a long term plan
- How to build and nurture a fanbase.
- Creating art that can be sold multiple times.
- Where to promote your art online. With the many options online, from portfolio services to social networks, this book shows how to choose places to promote that work for you.
- How to sell more of your art without selling out.
- PDF – 55 pages
- 5 MP3 interviews (plus PDF transcripts) with successful artists who are making money as an artist.
- Free email updates
- Interviews with artists. All practical information that artists can use. They say how much money they make, what works and doesn’t work for them, what they wish they had done differently, etc.
Chris emphasizes that this is an art marketing guide for artists. You will NOT learn how to use a certain media, or to paint in a certain way.
This guide is about what is missing from art schools – learning how to promote and market art.
Chris is a big believer in making slow, and steady improvements and advancements as an artist. That first step could very well be reading the Unconventional Guide to Art & Money, and putting the techniques into practice.