Creation is so personal…and business is business. It’s hard to reconcile the two. Pulling a number out of the air, let’s say 2% as the number of people who are actually interested in art and purchasing original artwork. Then take that 2%, and (pulling another number at random), take the 10% of those who would be interested in your particular style. That makes two people out of every thousand who are potential buyers. That also means that 998 will reject your work. Again, I’m an artist, not a mathematician, and I have no idea if there are statistics about this and what they would be. My point is simply that artists face a lot of rejection, and this deters a lot of artists from pursuing marketing in any form. There are some incredible artists whose work has never left their basements.
There comes a time to put on the thick skin of a salesman. Believe in what you do, be passionate about it, but understand that not everyone is going to like (or even care about) your work. It’s funny, because as artists, we see things that no one else sees, but in art marketing, we have to be selectively blind. Look too long at the apathy of the majority and you might stop believing in yourself.
Apathy. I joined the Apathy Society, but no one showed up for the meetings. Seriously, I would rather have my work hated by art lovers than ignored entirely. I had half a dozen friends over last week and I was excited to have company because I had a new painting hanging in my dining room that no one had seen yet. When everyone was leaving a couple of hours later, I finally pointed it out and the single comment I got was “That’s cute.” CUTE? You can’t fight apathy, cause no one fights back.
I always end my “believe in yourself” posts with a reminder that it is important to heed criticism. I appreciate the recent gentle criticisms I’ve received from artists Jerry Lebo and Paul Cato, and I will work on improving my technique without erasing my style.