Mistakes Budding Artists Need to Avoid

20th Feb 2017

Art is more than just about making money. It is making your voice and heart heard through your choice of medium. That said, it takes some careful planning and business strategy to turn a passion into a career and so widen your reach as an artist.

However, the steps towards recognition as a respected artist can be blocked by some mistakes that are actually avoidable. Here are some of them:

  • No focused style. An artist will eventually be recognized by the distinctive style or voice that he uses. Although one’s art can be a journey and there will be changes in voice and style along the way, artists can attract more attention from would-be clients and galleries if there is a consistent voice that can be readily seen from your work.
  • Failing to continue learning and growing. Your artwork can and should evolve. Otherwise, your subsequent pieces will become predictable and stale. Commit yourself towards continuous learning – discovering more mediums that could work for you, masters that will influence your creations, and styles that you can experiment with. Set aside some time to learn something new that you can incorporate into your art.
  • Not seeing the work to the end. It can be easy to get distracted by the thousands of ideas and images that go through your mind. At times, it can be useful to pursue an idea that suddenly blazes its way through your mind. However, if your work remains half done, no one will get to see your work. Some artists need to work on two (or more) alternating pieces at any one time but make it a commitment to finish one work through before starting yet another project.
  • Using inferior materials. As a budding artist, it can be understandable that you are starting with more affordable art materials. However, if you want to create collectibles that will be enjoyed for years and years to come, do invest in quality art supplies. The same goes for your choice of picture frames. Choose a picture frame supplier that can provide you with quality yet highly affordable frames with a wide selection of styles and shapes (i.e. antique round picture frames, contemporary black picture frames, etc.) that can suit your artwork.
  • Poor presentation of the work. Remember, you are providing a visual experience for your clients. Everything that surrounds your work should highlight that work. If you take a lot of thought in how you design your lighting, how the canvas is mounted, which frame to use (modern vs. vintage picture frame), this speaks a lot about your passion for your art. Mount your artworks using well-selected frames that complement the work and that can provide adequate protection (i.e. UV protection, acid-free materials, etc.). This actually adds value to your piece and can justify your asking price.
  • Failing to maximize your “brand” with each piece. First, be sure to sign your full name on the work, rather than just placing a symbol or signing your initials. Give each piece a title. Choose a name that is a straightforward title for your work. Consider this, between “Untitled” and “Daybreak at Lake Eerie,” the latter is more appealing, especially to potential buyers. The latter title also denotes a level of professionalism, especially if it comes with the artist’s full signature.
  • Not keeping records of your pieces and who bought them. Be sure to have a professional digital copy for each work. Then, as you sell each work, update your records to note down who bought the piece, where and when, as well as the client’s contact details. Also, having professional digital reproduction can also enable you to create prints of your work. Your digital copies will also be useful in building your portfolio or a profile on your website.
  • Failing to capitalize on the Internet and social media. Social media is a highly affordable marketing tool. So is having your own website and blog. This makes you more easily found using search engines and provides an image to potential online clients.
  • Trying to do everything yourself. As a starting artist, you may have to do a lot of things by yourself, such as getting a gallery to say yes to your exhibit, setting up the display and other marketing tasks.But it doesn’t hurt to ask help or delegate. Talk to establishments and shops that may be willing to display your arts. Ask your suppliers if they can provide discounts for bulk orders. Consider hiring a team to help you with the set-up of your exhibit.