Many artists are producing visual art of one sort or another. It is a straightforward matter of supply and demand that not all of these people will be able to make money from their efforts. It is therefore the case that if you want to be one of the relatively few who do make sufficient money from your efforts, you must prove the exception. Here are five more tips for proving the exception, in addition to the five I provided last week:


It is one thing to make a sensible plan for your art life and another thing to follow through on all the steps required to turn any plan into a successful experience. You will come up against innumerable obstacles as you endeavor to prove the exception, from unreturned emails and phone calls to technological glitches to rude, off-handed criticism to deals falling through to contracts not being honored. Persevere; follow through; keep at it!


You could act as if relating in the marketplace is tremendously burdensome and make yourself only grudgingly available or you could invite such interactions, make dates for coffee, accept any and all invitations to speak or be interviewed, and otherwise become really and readily available. Become a recluse after you are famous, not before. Yes, you need studio time; yes, you need time for all of the rest of life, including time for your day job; and yet you must still find the time and the wherewithal to make yourself really available.


Occasional stunts may be necessary. A stunt is an event created to produce publicity. It might be you shredding your unwanted paintings in a public place with the press alerted, it might be you attending your opening nude rather than dressed, it might be you marrying and divorcing another artist in a ceremony the two of you design to advertise your “marriage doesn’t work” suite of paintings. Most artists hate stunts. It is nevertheless worth your while to calmly think through your relationships to stunts. Who knows?—you may actually have a stunt or two right up your sleeve without knowing it!


Convince a friendly gallery owner not to hang one or two of your paintings but to give you a whole show. Use your rhetorical skills and powers of persuasion to angle for this bigger outcome. Ask a friendly collector not only to take a look at your new body of work but also to throw an event in support of it. Use your charm and smarts to angle for this bigger outcome. Each time you think about attempting something, ask yourself, “What bigger outcome could I angle for with exactly the same amount of effort?”


It is wonderful to be represented by the gallery down the street but it is unlikely, verging on impossible, that you can prove the exception if your field of vision is limited to your immediate neighborhood. What if the galleries most likely to be interested in you are scattered all over the world? Then you must search them out and reach out to them. It is excellent to fashion and maintain local relationships but to prove the exception you will need to make the world your oyster.

Use these ten tips (from this week and last week) to stand out from the crowd. Your career will benefit from the effort!


Don’t miss Eric Maisel’s 5 audio classes, including YOUR BEST LIFE IN THE ARTS:


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