One of the biggest myths out there in the art world seems to be that a true artist should do nothing but create their art and perfect their craft. This is known as the “Field of Dreams” art marketing theory where if you build it, the customers and financial reward will eventually come.
For whatever reason we have this misguided idea in our head that great art will somehow sell itself. As artists we are told that if we create a great product or service we can simply sit back and watch the money roll in. On the other hand if we make any effort to actually market our work, we are ”selling out” and we are somehow unworthy of the title of true artist.
Is this true? Are all of the great artists simply discovered through no effort of their own? Think about it for a moment, think about the artists who’s work you studied in school or some the artists you may try to emulate in some way. Were they really as pure as you were led to beleive?
The most seductive thing about art is the personality of the artist himself.
Some of the most popular artists of the modern era (Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Dali, Madonna, Warhol, Versace, Leibovitz, Dylan, Haring, Banksy, etc…) are masters of their art, but they were/are also masters of drawing attention to their art as well. In other words, they all made great art, but they also managed to create a very specific image of themselves as an artist.
Here’s another little secret in art marketing, most people buy the artist and not the artwork. In his later years there is a famous story about how Picasso could scribble on a napkin and people were willing to buy it. Why? Not because it was necessarily the best drawing ever, but because it was a frickin “Picasso”! In other words, he had created such a reputation for himself by that point in his career that he could sell anything he wanted on his reputation alone.
Now obviously Picasso created great art, but he also created a great image for himself which ended up selling that art. In other words all of these phenomenally successful artists listed above understood the importance of being both an artist and a marketer. The difference is that they weren’t trying to sell their artwork, but they were selling an image of themselves as an artist.
How many artists, maybe even you, might be masters at their craft but are still struggling to get their artwork noticed by others? That is what Skinny Artist is all about, finding ways to not only getting your artwork out there, but to also help you create an image of yourself as an artist. It doesn’t matter if you are a singer, composer, painter, juggler, writer, photographer, or whatever your passion is; you need to create great art, but you also need to create yourself as a great artist.
What is the image that you are creating for yourself with your art?
Writer, teacher, and head custodian of the Skinny Artist community. His book "Getting Creative: Developing Creative Habits that Work" is all about finding the time (and energy) to live a more creative life.