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Eureka: Advice for artists
by Joseph Gatt
2018-06-30 08:06:42
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I've met thousands (literally thousands) of artists in my lifetime. From electronic cello players to quartet members, from painters to sculptors to designers to playwrights to writers to poets to what not. All have one thing in common. It's hard to make a living! So here are my two cents, which I hope will be the keys to your success. The article is made up of dos and don'ts in no particular order.

arty0001_400-Don't buy the myth that you have to be white, caucasian, blond, or Jewish to succeeed. To be successful you have to appeal to rich people, often producers but also VIP art consumers who make or break artists. It's true that a lot of them are white, caucasian, blond or Jewish and that some of them are indeed, I must say, racist. But if you keep insisting and trying to break into their circle, you can make a living out of art.

-Don't assume that you have to sleep your way to success. I know a lot of sluts who sleep with producers and VIPs and who get nothing in exchange. A lot of men and women are prudes and keep their pants on at all times, yet manage to win the hearts of the art scene. Keep your pants on, focus on the quality of your artistic product, and you're on your way to success.

-Do network your way up to success. Picasso and Dali were as brilliant in their art as in their interaction with producers and art scene VIPs. Let me clarify something here. Indeed, there is a VIP scene in the art world, that is a group of people, who change frequently, but who make the bulk of the art scene. It used to be British, French and American billionaires who were willing to pay millions for a painting or a recording, now a lot of them are from Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and some are from all over the world. So you need as much social skills as you need artistic skills.

-Do start local before networking global. One mistake I see artists do is just because one guy from say Kuwait buys their work of art they start jet setting like never before looking for clients in weird places around the world. Be famous locally first, and when you have more than enough money to travel and meet people around the world, then you can meet people around the world.

-Do dominate the art of small talk. Networking means being great at small talk, having a good repertoire of jokes and knowing what to say and when to say it. If you're socially awkward, practice the art of conversation until it becomes second nature. Broken English won't be your enemy, a lot of people think accents are “cute.” But if you awkwardly wait for people to come talk to you, no one will come talk to you and your art won't sell.

-Before your art goes viral, try your luck with a few art residencies. Art residencies help you meet fellow artists, also help you get the much needed cash to start art projects. You will have time to work on your art while getting help from other artists. Some make great use of art residencies, others fail to produce anything significant.

-Do know the art audience. First know the VIPs, then know what the average person likes to buy. In the art world the billionaires are the VIPs and the millionaires are the average person. Millionaires can be doctors, lawyers, businessmen or your average fellow artist. Average people will buy the 10 dollar painting, and they will get free paintings if they can.

-Don't go shopping for luxury items. It's true that your audience will be millionaires and billionaires, but Picasso and Dali were not masters at fashion and accessories, nor should you be. The artist is the guy or girl who gets dressed in simple but elegant fashion.

-Don't play the victim card. The art scene VIPs hate it when artists complain about not selling because they are gay, transgender, African American, Asian, Latino, Blasian or what have you. Good art sells regardless of your background.

-Do come up with artistic products that have some universality to them. If you're recording music that only speaks to yourself, or sculpting or painting things that only you can relate to, the VIPs won't be interested. There's nothing VIPs hate more than the narcissistic artist. To impress VIPs, your art has to speak to almost every soul regardless where they may be located or what they may be doing.

-And finally, do catch up with the news, intellectual trends, artistic trends, business trends, sports trends and what have you. Not only will that be vital to your ability to make small talk, it will also be vital for your artistic creations.

-And finally finally, keep whatever day job you have. When I meet student artists, I tend to recommend that they follow a teaching career. Pay may be low, but you will teach art, get a retirement pension scheme, get the kind of pay that can help your survive, and lots of free time to work on your art. Teaching art in your free time can also help you make extra cash. It usually takes years to find the kind of network that will help you thrive and not merely survive in the art scene.

-And finally finally finally, the art world if full of gangsters and drug addicts. You want your morals to be kind of clean, otherwise you may end up like Jean Michel Basquiat, dead at 27, and other people making money from your art.

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