“How the heck am I going to make a living off my art?”
Every artist wants to make work that people care about. After all, the whole point of this is that you want to communicate with your audience.
As American realist painter Edward Hopper said: “if I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint”
So. You’ve created that piece that you’re FINALLY happy with, and you’re risking putting something you intensely care about out into the big wide world, ready for that someone who is so deeply moved by it and needs to have it in their lives, hanging prominently for all to admire.
But here’s the rub: your art has a price tag on it.
And if you are worth your salt, a hefty one.
But that price tag represents something. Value. All those hours you’ve spent honing your craft; practicing, learning, innovating, failing and practicing again..
You’ve sacrificed for this: time, finances, social life, even relationships have been on the line for this thing that drives you from you innermost being-you just HAVE to create because, well -you value it!
But jeez it’s not so easy to get your original works in front of eyes…
…and even less so, finding a tribe of admirers with pockets deep enough to keep your coffee and smashed-avo habit flowing, much less the tools of your trade which don’t come cheap: because YOU’RE not -and take it from us, we KNOW that quality art takes quality materials -am I right?
But look, it’s not like you don’t have the creativity to think outside the box and hack your way into making a profit from your art, whilst producing something your growing fan-base loves.
But how to get it out there?
As nice as it would be in our ideal fantasy world, it’s fairly unlikely that you have a stash of trusty philanthropic donors like Thankyou to help grab the attention of potential customers with helicopter banners, or the sheer sassiocity of Banksy to disrupt the artworld, make headlines and spread the word about your creative genius.
But whether you’re an early career artist or established in your craft, you want to keep growing, right?
No true artist is happy with the status quo.
So, do you stick with keeping your art as a side hustle, producing as many high impact works as you can and waiting for the right buyer, doing what you can to appeal to collectors with the right budget for each of your works -rinse and repeat-?
Or is it time to pursue other avenues, opening the door to an art-loving audience you didn’t previously have access to? Expanding your reach and getting your work out there en-masse by exploring digital reproduction (and making a regular living off your art while you’re at it)? It’s kinda a nice thought hey, the sheer number of your followers who’d jump at the chance to have a massive print of your work on their wall (ehemm.. us, for starters! Our gallery walls are just waiting for that fresh new piece you’re thinking about printing).
So how do you decide? What’s at play here? How are you ever going to truly understand what options are before you if you don’t plunge adventurously into the great unknown and dig into the plethora of choice that awaits you?
And hey, knowledge is power – grasping a concept and then blue skying into something totally original is oxygen for us artists. So, how can you push yourself and your craft along to get to that new territory? What are the pros and cons of upholding the integrity of original artwork vs diving into the world of digital reproduction?
- Maintain integrity of original art pieces and sense of exclusivity that propels art owners
- Unique ‘aura’ and rarity that comes from only selling originals
- Having your work represented in a gallery takes the ‘hard sell’ out of your job
- Selling your original artworks online helps you to be ‘found’ by a larger audience
- Pushes you as an artist to produce a higher number of original works
- Less ‘eyes’ on original works = less impact
- Need to produce more original works to maintain income
- Art galleries have a limited audience
- Buying original art (due to price + shipping factors) online is very challenging.
- There isn’t currently a high demand in the market for original artworks
- Art reproductions make your work available to consumers who love your work but don’t have the funds to purchase an original. “Champagne aesthetics, beer budget”
- Low up-front setup fees allow you to have more images in production to create more exposure, accessibility and sales
- Reproduce art multiple times and only order what you need, when you need it
- Small batch and larger run printing available
- Large format sizes that maintain quality and integrity of originals
- Some elements i.e. dimensionality of brushstrokes, markings and texture can be lost in the reproduction process.
- Confusion about the process involved in digitisation and reproduction… where to even start?
- How to ensure consistent nuances of quality and colour mood when ordering to demand?
- Potential higher cost for small batch printing
- Will larger reproduction print or canvas cost about as much as my originals?
There’s so much to consider here,
But let’s be honest…
what’s wrong with having your gluten-free cake and eating it too?
Double up on the exposure for your art by appealing to both arts collectors who are in the market for your original work, and at the same time extend your creative process by getting quality digital reproduction of your art that truly captures the emotional essence of the original work and make it more accessible to the less elite (but no less worthy) of our species.
Maximum enjoyment for the masses. Now, to get it out there..
Do you have any questions about promoting your art, or want to talk about how other artists we work with promote themselves? Get in touch.