The most important thing to realize at this level is that making a living in the visual arts is very, very, very difficult. If you’re having a hard time succeeding it’s because it’s really, really, really difficult to succeed as a visual artist. Very. The only things you have any control over are: 1) your work ethic, and 2) how you treat others.
Luckily, these are things you’ve had your entire life to practice. All the adults around you while you were growing up told you to work hard and to be nice to others. If this is something you’ve been practicing your whole life than you’ve got a shot at being a success. If not, then, well, you’ve got a huge task ahead of you.
To succeed as a painter, you need to create amazing pieces of art and build relationships with people. Remember that you live on a planet full of people. You actually need to impress these people to get exhibitions. Again, you’ve had every single day of your life to work on your people skills. Today’s a great day to get started on that. Also, check out the link on the previous page that talks about why formal training is crucial in the visual arts. You need to start taking some classes.
As you’ve seen on the previous page, many artists work 40, 50, 60, 70, even 80 hour workweeks for years and years before they achieve success. That’s what it takes. Lots of sacrifices. When you’re watching tv, they’re painting. While you’re watching Netflix, they’re painting. While you got to lunch with your friends, they’re painting. While you’re checking your social media, they’re painting. While you’re on a nice stroll in the forest, they’re painting, etc., etc.
Meanwhile, here’s some advice: knowing who is here to help you and who is here to bend over backwards for you helps. It’s especially crucial to learn who is NOT here to help you. No need to waste your time bothering them as they’re busy serving other people.
Who’s here to help you?
- People you know well – your friends and family (if you’ve been good to them).
- Teachers – if you take a class from them.
Who will bend over backwards to help you?
- People you know very well whom you’ve done a lot of things for.
- People you’ve built a great relationship with by being amazing all the time and thinking of them and their needs, not your needs.
Who’s NOT here to help you?
- People you’ve never met.
- People you don’t know.
Where do you get to exhibit?
- There may be a coffee shop or wine bar that wants to show you if you’re putting lots in of effort in and getting great results.
- Terrain is an excellent event, but you need to apply and be accepted to make it in. If you’re chosen, you don’t become a star overnight. You still need to build and build your career over many years.
- Spokane Arts sometimes has opportunities arise, but they aren’t responsible to completely turning your career around for you. Only you can do that.
- Artist Trust is another organization that can help, but again, you won’t be turned into a rockstar overnight. Be realistic in your expectations.
Where do you NOT get to exhibit?
- Many coffee shops.
- Many wine bars.
- Most art galleries.
- Fine art galleries.
- Award-winning fine art galleries.
- The Smithsonian
Things You Can Do To Move Your Art Career To The Next Stage
- Be nice to everyone.
- Eat some vegetables.
- Draw and paint as much as you can.
- Take as many art classes as you can.
- Work hard to get good grades in these classes.
- Work hard to get good grades in other classes, too, especially communication classes. Artists need to know how to communicate clearly in writing and in conversation to succeed.
- Start researching art. There’s lots of great stuff on the web.
- Watch some cool movies about art and artists.
- Choose a favorite artist and learn more about them.
- Get out of the house.
- You should be attending all First Fridays, period. It’s a great way to get to know the scene: the spaces, the artists, etc.
- Buy a piece of art in a local gallery – if it’s a First Friday then you can also ask the artist questions. All artists looove to answer questions from people who actually purchase their work.
- Exercise regularly.
- Be super nice to everyone.
- Have fun, but also realize that this is a career choice that requires a lot of hard work as well as time spent developing your “people skills”.
These articles are absolutely packed with essential info that nobody has ever told you : Absolutely Essential Artist Tips. We suggest you read this article very, very carefully: What Galleries Look For In Artists then follow it’s many suggestions. And don’t miss this one: Common Misconceptions About Galleries. All three of these articles were written by a highly successful arts advisor in California with decades upon decades of experience in the art world.
Lastly, as you can tell from the info above, there’s no need to contact us. You’re not ready and won’t be for quite awhile.