As a member of the mid-life group hoping to emerge successfully into the art world I am faced with all of the daunting forces every artist has at the start, how do I market my art, do I try and land my art in a gallery, am I better with an online presence to introduce my art around and work at getting my art into shows and competitions? And of course all the questions of how do I finally price my work when I have it complete, am I too high or too low, will my customers perceive my work as an actual item of worth to spend money on?
This says it all, doesn't it? Galleries? Online? Shows? Can we do it all? Should we do it all? At the same time? Conquer one at a time? I would love to hear more input from others on this but I do have a few thoughts.
For me, I picked one of the above. It's so daunting, especially for someone unestablished, unknown, and inexperienced! There was no way in heck I could have walked into a gallery 5 years ago looking for representation!! Here's my true story, and go ahead and laugh, I do!:
After I had done enough practice pieces that I felt reasonably sure I could pull of a commission, I made up cards and took my Brutus the boxer on the chair portrait that was nicely framed around to vets and pet stores in my area. Now, what you don't know about me unless you know me in real life is that I'm very outgoing. I love talking to strangers, have always dealt with "big shots" in my real life jobs, have no difficulty at all getting up to give a speech, etc.
But that day, whoa boy! I sat out in the truck with my dogs (who came for the ride) with butterflies like crazy!!! Finally I talked myself into going into my first place with my cards, a pet shop. I walked in, showed the kid behind the counter my portrait, said, "I'm a pet artist, and I was hoping I could leave some cards here" in a too loud/too high/too fast voice.
"Sure, ma'am. Leave them here on the counter," he squeaked, sounding like the burger flippin' counterboy in a Simpson's episode, his voice changing.
What was I so afraid of? That he'd say, "NO! You are no artist! You're an imposter!!"????
For many of us, it takes some dipping the toe in the water to get over that fear and to feel like yeah, I'm an artist.
So where to start getting your work out there? I'm glad I did commissions first, but that's a skill to learn too. There is SO MUCH to learn about promoting your work in any fashion, and the first thing? You need lots of pieces. IMHO!