While we artists all LOVE the quiet time creating our masterpieces, if we want to make a living at it, we must also approach the business of being an artist […]
While we artists all LOVE the quiet time creating our masterpieces, if we want to make a living at it, we must also approach the business of being an artist with equal enthusiasm.
Of course, this is for artists who want to make a (great!) living off their art. If making art is something you do for fun, or only occasionally, or only when you feel super inspired, it’s a hobby. But if making art is like breathing to you too, it’s time to take the strategy and sales of it seriously as the making of it. Or at the very least, partner with someone to do that for you!
In coming to this realization for myself, I started looking around for resources and role models. Time to abolish the “starving artist” story! Who is out there making a great living off their artwork AND having fun doing it?!
The fun part is essential, because like anything else, if we’re not enjoying even the most mundane aspects of our chosen profession, it’s time to find another one. The joy we have (or don’t have) will bleed thru in everything we do, so make sure it’s true.
But I digress. Sort of. One of the best role models I found was the surf and sacred geometry artist Drew Brophy. He’s combined his passion for surfing with his passion for painting to create a successful artistic career.
By “successful”, I mean that Drew is supporting himself (and his family) with his artwork (while he is alive) AND that he has created a new genre / technique of art. Not only was Drew a great role model for me to keep in mind as I fashion my own fine art career, but BONUS: his beautiful wife Maria Brophy is his manager extraordinaire, has a thriving art consulting practice in her own right and has written a book about how the rest of us can do it too!
I started with her book (get yours today: it’s available on Amazon) and when the opportunity arose to attend her live workshop in the Brophy’s San Clemente Art Gallery and Studio, I jumped at the chance (especially since I was already out in SoCal anyway, isn’t it amazing when the Universe conspires to bring things together so perfectly?!)
Maria’s workshop was titled “Quantum Leap Your Art Sales”, a particularly appropriate moniker considering not just the content she delivered, but the environment: we were surrounded by an energetically aligned space, not the least of which was Drew’s sacred geometry artwork, as you can see in these pics, but also including many more subtle yet important touches too.
Her workshop promise was to:
* discuss how having a niche will increase our art sales
* discuss case studies to demonstrate how others are doing it
* brainstorm our own niches
* come up with a plan to quantum leap our sales in 2018 by utilizing larger organizations who also market to the same niche
She delivered on this via a well-orchestrated combination of references both from the Brophy’s many years of experience as well as other thriving artists, and a set of specific exercises for us to complete in class together.
By planning into the workshop a series of 4 specific exercises with worksheets for us to write down (yes, writing it down by hand on paper is key!), Maria empowered us each to leave with clarity around the theme / message of our own artwork, possible niche(s) into which our artwork would naturally fit, the profile of our right buyer, and non-conventional ways to reach our right buyers.
During the entire event, we were encouraged to ask questions of Maria, which she (and Drew, who was also there) answered thoroughly. It’s so important to get down to the logistics of how things happened when we are learning if we are to go out and replicate their success with our twist based on our own opportunities.
One of the examples they shared was Drew’s successful shift from surf artist to sacred geometry artist. He currently does both, because the surf art is still an important part of Drew’s self-expression, but the point was how to be successful in more than one area (whether it’s the topic, medium, etc of the artwork) and to be able to grow and expand our art businesses as we personally grow and expand ourselves.
In fact, I’m now re-inspired to review the notes I made that day and develop them further! So cool that one of the benefits of writing about something to share it with you drives in me a deeper dive into the experience and outcomes.
Writing is also something Maria does well and is actively pursuing: I highly recommend not only her book, but her email newsletters too! There are many times I’ve been inspired to some action by a perfectly-timed email from Maria arriving in my inbox, so check out her website for more on these topics – and more!
Maria could easily expand her 1.5 hour workshop into a 1/2 day with just the content she already had, and I hope she considers it: while we all took the time to jot down a few ideas on our worksheets, to have a little more time to work thru some ideas into a complete strategic action plan would be ideal. That said, it was a great start that kicked me into thinking differently about how to best bring my artwork out into the world more effectively, and I look forward to building on that momentum.
Speaking of which, check out my portfolio for recent works, and follow me on social media (Instagram, Twitter for more real-time works in progress, or email me today if you would like to commission something new just for you!
And as always, feedback is welcome:
** Are you successfully making art sales in a specific niche market?
** Or have you purchased fine art for your collection from a savvy artist marketing in a niche specific to you?
Let us know in a blog comment below!
PS – Next time you’re in Southern California, be sure to visit the Brophy’s Art Gallery and Studio (139 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, CA 92672 but make sure to call ahead: 949-678-8133
PPS – In rereading this post, it seems really quite effusive. So just to be clear: no, I’m not getting any kind of kickback from Maria or Drew haha. Just the sheer joy of sharing my experience with you with the intention that you’ll find it inherently inspirational and/or informative, that the work Maria herself is doing in the world is shared far and wide, and that you too might benefit from using her knowledge and services.