What’s Your Artist Myth?

Have you ever bought into the myth of the starving artist? Perhaps you have convinced yourself of some of these other common myths. Let’s put that to rest.


Starving Artist Myth


MYTH:  My art speaks for itself. I don’t need to promote it.

Truth: In the process of an art sale, there are two parties. Half of the equation is the artist who creates the work. The other half is the collector who makes the purchase. A transaction takes place when both parties are satisfied, comfortable and willing to make it. The collector must feel that the value of the artwork he buys is worth more than the money he is paying for it. That collector needs the experience to work for him; what you have to say is a big part of that.

Silence is not your friend when selling artwork. Perhaps your art speaks to you, but the truth is that you must speak to the collector – and probably more than once. Connect with them in your marketing materials, perhaps in person, and through regular communications. You need that buyer to know, like and trust you. In order to do that, it takes time and skill in talking about your art and yourself as the artist.

Are expensive works of art bought on first sight? Hardly. It takes a while to cultivate buyers. Most people will not remember you unless you have reached out to them on multiple occasions. Hone your skills in communication, and promotion. This is what builds successful art businesses.

MYTH:  The market is saturated and there is no room for me.

Truth: It can seem a bit overwhelming to throw yourself and your artwork out there in the world. Art is a very personal thing, and artists may feel quite vulnerable. So it’s easy to say that there is simply too much competition. That means you don’t even have to try.

The truth is that the marketplace for art and handmade goods is huge, and it’s global. With hundreds of online venues to help you sell, it’s also easy to get involved. Yes, that means that many people are taking advantage of this, and offering work for sale. That doesn’t mean that you cannot succeed.

Do you want a piece of the multi-billion dollar market in art and handmade goods? Stake your claim. Build a compelling collection of work, price it profitably, present it to the world professionally and work persistently. Learn from your mistakes, make adjustments and don’t give up. You will get traction, and start to build sales and collectors. There is an enormous demand out there, and plenty of room for you as an artist. Overcome this myth and jump in.

MYTH:  Artists never make much money anyway.

Truth: There are people in every type of business in the world who make money, and those who don’t. Buying in to the myth that you need to be a poor and struggling as an artist is a self-defeating attitude that won’t attract business for you.

How can you start earning from sales of your work? First, you need to set a vision and goals for your creative business. And create a plan to reach them step-by-step. It takes discipline, organization and hard work. There are artists who make very good money. Chances are that you know who they are, because they have worked long and hard to become known.

No matter your medium or technique, opportunities are available. You can build a business selling what you make. Turn around this negative myth and see where it takes you!



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  1. I got raised on a different myth, handed down to me when I announced that I was going to major in journalism, by my mother, a world-renown physician and the author of numerous deadly dull textbooks: “You’re going to art school; writers don’t make any money.”

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