Once you knew you were passionate about art, it was probably only a matter of time before you decided that a career as an artist would be right for you. However, the journey to artistic success – at least in a commercial sense – can be long and treacherous.
So, you could especially appreciate reading the following pearls of wisdom from artists who have already been there and done that – and can now save you a lot of trial and error.
Work on your art every day
As artist Akash Bhatt urges in an article published by the London-based Bankside Gallery: “Draw, draw and draw. Always carry a sketchbook, be headstrong and keep going!”
What if you always seem too short of time? As another artist, Lubaina Himid, says in a piece posted by another London-based art institution, the Royal Academy of Arts: “Rather than thinking ‘I’ll start this when I retire, or I’ll do this at the weekend’, just do a little bit each day.”
Establish an active presence on social media
Yes, social media can potentially be an unproductive drain on an artist’s time – but that doesn’t so much have to be the case if you set up Instagram and Facebook accounts just for promoting your work.
Populate those social pages with high-quality images that clearly show the best fruits of your labours on the artistic front. You want to make it easier for people to stumble across your work online, take a closer look at it and then learn more about the person originally responsible for it.
Get into the habit of speaking about your work
You might not feel like it’s your forte, at least at first – but, sooner or later, a gallery might invite you to speak at its opening event. Therefore, you should plan ahead by practising talking about your artistic self and your creative work now so that you will be more comfortable with pouncing on marketing opportunities later.
One good idea could be for you to create a ‘vlog’ – a video blog – where you can chat away without yet having to worry about the initially uncomfortable sensation of an audience looking right at you as you do it.
Decide whether you truly need a studio
The Royal Academy’s current President, Rebecca Salter, insists: “You can work in a telephone box if you really, really want to make art.” Nonetheless, she acknowledges that, clearly, “it’s better if you can have your own space and lock the door and all the rest of it”.
Meanwhile, sculptor Eva Rothschild says: “My advice for younger sculptors would be make sure you have a reliable studio space.”
Don’t give up on your artistic endeavours
It’s natural for an artist to sometimes feel dispirited about their work. Rejection and ‘failure’ – though arguably a more appropriate word would be ‘setback’ – are inevitable aspects of an artist’s career journey.
Ultimately, if you genuinely enjoy what you do, that enthusiasm will shine through – and could even draw notice from influential figures like the art collector Charles Saatchi.