Many people make their living as an artist, or at least aspire to do so, and, as with any other job, you have to put yourself out there and say why you’re the best and why people should pay attention to you. The chances that someone is just going to stumble across you is pretty remote, so do what you can to get your name out there and get your work in front of people.
Here are just a few ways for artists to outreach their masterpieces, and we’ve also spoken to very talented artist, Sarah Graham, about her thought and tips…
Sarah is an oil painter based in Hitchin, UK. She specialises in ‘photo-real painting of sweets, toys & kitsch & colourful stuff.’ The 2nd picture in this post is not a photograph, but a paint of Sarah’s. Read more about her at the bottom of this page.
Work out what you want to achieve
Before you start advertising yourself, you need to work out what you want to achieve. Are you exclusively online? Should you host gallery events? Can you work for yourself or is the stress of a commissioned deadline more your style? These are all the kinds of questions that will help shape how you go about promoting yourself.
Create an online portfolio
Online portfolios are the equivalent of having your own little art gallery on the internet and it’s, therefore, an absolute necessity that you set one up. There are various online portfolios available, including deviantART and visual.ly and even Flickr, all of which are simple to use. However, you can also set up your own online portfolio website, which might take more work and cost you more but you have more control over the site and make it easier to sell your art through the site.
Sarah: ‘Having your own patch on the internet is vital, it helps form your identity, and when I signed with my publishers, I made sure I was able to retain that.’
Speak to other artists online
If you have a website showcasing your talents, you should go and check what other artists are up to and get chatting to them. Comment on their work and strike up discussions. Doing this will ensure a much higher chance they will come over and look at your produce, which is the first step to getting noticed.
Sarah: ‘Try to realise the value in what you do, and sometimes that can be traded for other people’s skills who are also starting out. I guess it’s combining creative forces for the greater good.’
Speak to other artists in ‘real life’
Check out artist exhibitions in your local town or even further afield. If you can get to an opening night that’s even better as the artist will more than likely be there. Try and steal a few minutes with them.
Talk about their work. If you get the chance, pick their brains about getting your artwork noticed. Referrals can be the tipping point in the art world, so, if an established artist likes and recommends your work to someone it can help massively.
Art Fund has lots of information about exhibitions around the UK. Some are of older art but there are some modern artists on there too.
You might think that your art is good enough already and that you don’t need to do any workshops, but there are always new techniques to learn, and you might just get some inspiration to create something unique. Workshops are also a great way to network and meet other like-minded artists. There might be a little competitive edge in the air to start with but you never know who someone else knows who might be able to help. The artist running the workshop may also have several other contacts or even be an established artist themselves. Again, referrals are the thing you’re after.
Enter art competitions
There are hundreds of art competitions every year throughout the country and probably even more online, and they’re a great way of getting your art in front people. If you win then obviously that’s great publicity, but even if you don’t, your art could still pique the interest of the right person at the right time. You have nothing to lose.
It can sometimes be demoralising if you’re not getting noticed but it’s important you don’t give up. Keep creating and doing your best to get it out there and in front of people and eventually someone will take notice, and if you really love what you’re doing then you won’t want to give up anyway.
Sarah: ‘Ultimately, nothing beats seeing an original painting in real life, and for years I simply told myself all that mattered was to actually make the work exist, then stuff will inevitably happen to it!’
You can see Sarah’s amazing photorealistic art at www.sarahgraham.info and follow her on Twitter here. We have much more from Sarah that we will be putting into a longer article in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for that.