Life as a modern artist can be incredibly hard. Sometimes it can feel like an impossible challenge to gain the public’s attention and make some headway. These 5 tips should give you a nudge in the right direction, getting you out of the gutter and into a penthouse.
1. Don’t be afraid of the mainstream
Most Modern Artists spend their entire formative years attempting to ‘be something different’ or ‘fresh’. They have big, crazy ideas in Art School. Massive plans are formulated off the back of brain-storming sessions with half-starved fellow students – all committed to changing the world of Art. They talk of breaking new ground and smashing boundaries, but they don’t know the price that they will have to pay for their innovation.
My advice to any young artists reading this is: do not be afraid of conforming to the mainstream. Think on your future. Is it preferable to work on projects you believe in, that no one will ever see, over art that anyone can understand and will want to own? Do not underestimate the power of the mainstream.
2. Inject your work with Pop Culture
Following up on this first note, here’s a rock solid tip that will guarantee that your work sells in some capacity. Pop culture is everywhere, baked into the fabric of our conversation – both online and offline. When an average five minute conversation contains at least 2-3 pop cultural references, do you shrug off the pattern and continue to paint daffodils? Or do you switch on your TV, marathon all 9 seasons of The Big Bang Theory and start working on your superhero sketches?
Obviously, if you’re using images copyrighted by the biggest corporations on the planet, then you’re going to run into trouble. So, be smart. Leave out just enough detail to avoid litigation and cash in on the general public’s criminal lack of observation. A misplaced hyphen here, a palette swap there – suddenly you’re looking at a bonafide ‘Spiderm-aan’ print, in his rare pink and yellow outfit, that will make you at least £200 without causing a lawsuit.
3. Take your art to the streets
So many artists believe that if they make great work, then great success will follow. They spend months etching and painting, creating something worthwhile and then watch it slowly gather mould in their living room. The assumption that great art always finds a way to its audience is a myth. In order to make it big with your art you need to get noticed – and there’s only one proven method of doing this. Take it to the streets.
4. Invest in Internet Marketing
Once you’ve ejected your outdated paintings and canvases, you’ll be sitting on a bit of cash – with some real buzz going round your town about your work. Now is the time to capitalise on your brief modicum of notoriety. Set yourself up a website like this one (but not this one, otherwise I will find you) and get your name and brand out there as soon as possible. Right now, you’ve sold all your work and all you have is enough money to buy a domain, host a site and pay an internet marketing company.
5. Monetise and Merchandise
What’s the point in making art if you can’t make money from it? Now that your art appeals to a mainstream audience, is interspersed with cultural references and your brand is known locally and across the internet – its time to get off your backside and start making some real money! Now, if you’re still considering committing to three huge paintings a year that may or may not sell, think again. Take our ‘Spiderm-aan’ example, he’s resonating with your street consumers and now he’s making a splash online.
Would it be easier to smash out endless meticulous painted prints or would it be easier to pay a Chinese manufacturer a couple hundred quid to take your design and print it on pencil cases, lunch boxes, pillows or t-shirts? I know what you’re thinking:
“But I just spent my last £200 on electricity, Netflix and Deliveroo!”
Well that’s where borrowing money comes in. The old saying ‘You’ve got to spend money to make money’, is as true as ever. However, now it has an important prefix:
‘You’ve got to borrow money, to spend money, to make money.’
Don’t be afraid to go to your family or friends. They knew it would be like this at some point, you’re a struggling, passionate young artist who will be making a difference with every Spiderm-aan branded sock, tablet case and swimming bag sold.