My smart, creative artist friend posted some good practical information today, all about the business of how to sell your art work. I have blogged about this topic a number of times because it is a pressing ongoing concern of the working artist, because usually, most of us never make enough to support ourselves through our art, and end up having to get the proverbial 'real job'. Not that there is anything wrong with this, certainly not. Artists need to be resourceful, flexible, and adaptable, otherwise you're dead in the water. But this is not the point.
I said to my artist friend, many business types don't understand art or artists, in that they may very well think you are really on a dead end road financially, and why would you do that. I'd say a good majority, right out of the gate artists, like those coming out of art school, don't understand the business of art, in terms of marketing, promoting themselves and all that the business of art entails.
Many of us are almost apologetic for thinking we should get a decent wage for our artistic effort. The all to often reality is, many artists do live well below the poverty line, myself included. Oh I do get a some timely and much needed caches that are greatly appreciated, but this is not the norm regularly, but it has improved for me over the years.
What baffles me, is why this issue is not addressed in University Fine Art Degree programs. There is very little offered in the way of art students learning how to run your own 'art business'. If it is, it is very limited and I don't really understand why. I suspect it has to do with the historical development of the artist within culture and society, and how it has changed sociology, economically and politically.
There is a fair amount online about this matter of artists and business, but there is a desperate need to have this information accessible in University Fine Art Degree programs. For that matter, schools need to have this topic included in the school curriculum.There are so many things that no one tells you about being an artist and this needs to change, and it is why a fair amount of my blog posts are on this topic, which I have linked to in this post.
It is my experience you have to work consistently hard at promoting your own work, being your very own best advocate, manager, agent, accountant, and friend. Sure, if you can afford a hire a good agent, well that's great, make sure it is a good one, and good luck with that exceptional opportunity.
I've heard it said, the art world is no longer, now it is the art business. This leaves a bad taste for many people, and they are just not going to op in, because you can make a deal with the devil, end up losing your integrity in one way or another, and kissing a lot of bad butt.
In North America art and creativity are not seen as an essential service, like a doctor, mechanic, plumber and the like. It is not a priority, considered as one of the basics to education, like English and Math. As Sir Ken Robinson talks about, we need a paradigm shift, and it needs to happen now.