Art is an incredible outlet for self-expression, but also can connect with others and leave others with a sense of emotion. If you are a painter and have started to develop a passion for the medium, you might start to consider it as a viable career choice.
With social media and the internet, it has never been easier to capitalize on your ‘side hustle’ by showcasing your talents with an unlimited audience. To give you some practical steps on how you can start to turn your passion for painting into a career, cultural icon and artist, Discollins took the time to develop the following guide.
Focus on your Style
When you look at some of artistic icons of the past century, you may notice that they each have a unique style and aesthetic vision that makes their work easily recognizable to viewers. Whether you use encaustic, oil, acrylic, watercolor, or any other medium (or a mix of all the above), it is important to first develop a recognizable style under which you can explore endless subject matter.
For many artists, creating an individual style can seem like a restrictive variable, but it is essential in building a brand, social media presence, and instilling confidence in collectors and gallerists. Discollins highly suggests exploring everything in your formative years as an artist, discover what you do and do not like about various mediums, and define what issues, identities or subject matter resonate the most with you.
The next thing you will want to do once you have a definitive artistic style and brand identity, is to start marketing yourself on the platforms you have available. The first step is to create a website, where you can showcase a portfolio of your work and define your artistic vision and goals in an artist statement. If you have any exhibitions under your belt, this would be the place to showcase them. Try visiting other practicing artists websites to get ideas and inspiration for what is possible.
Once you’ve built your website, it is time to start developing a social media presence. Learning about the power of each platform on social media will give you an insight into which platforms to invest your time into, and how to best create user engagement. Some of the primary tools you will want to take advantage of are Instagram and Facebook. Discollins explains that you might want to consider sitting down and creating a social media plan, outlining the type of content you want to share with your audience. While you may want to only share finished paintings, you will want to ideally post once a day, and this will make you run out of content very quickly. Do not be afraid to show images of your studio, daily habits, and personal life to engage people with your art and brand.
Participate in Group Shows
Once you have developed a style, a brand and social media presence, it is time to start applying for ‘call for submissions’ to participate in group shows. Not only will this help you build up your CV and credibility, but it will generate a ton of content that you will be able to share on your website and social media. As you exhibit in your local art scene, you may start to gravitate towards a gallery, and can start to consider approaching them with your work and portfolio. Some galleries will be interested in emerging and mid-career artists, while others will focus on established artists — it is important to keep this in mind when you go ‘gallery shopping’. Lastly, some artists make their living on social media selling their artwork, and so it is crucial to choose a platform that works best for you.