This all started with my being asked one simple question– “How do I survive as an artist?” I instantly realized that I had been challenged to put together all the major aspects of what being an artist in this day and age is about, and to combine them into one unified approach. In other words, my task was to figure out what has to be in place in your or any artist’s creative life in order for you to not only survive, but also to thrive as an artist.
Now of course your art comes first, we all know that, but this is not about what to make or how to make it; that’s your business and yours alone. And your creative process– the magic that happens in the studio– that’s all you as well, and no one else. As I’m fond of saying, “What happens in the studio stays in the studio.” This is about what to do after you make your art, once it’s completed and ready to be presented to the public, in front the vast and fabulous art world and all those who populate it.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize more and more that succeeding as an artist is all about keeping people in the game, about making sure they understand what you’re up to at every step along the way– from first contact with your art right on through to final purchase. The key is to make yourself accessible, available, and to welcome everyone to your art no matter what the circumstances. You want to make sure that everybody understands what you’re doing, what your purpose is and what you’re trying to communicate through your work. Doing that job well will definitely increase your chances of success.
You can’t simply put your art out there, and then with little or no effort on your part, expect people to somehow get up to speed entirely on their own about its significance, figure out how to contact you, what to ask or what to say or how to say it, how to find out prices, and basically advance all the way to buying something without any assistance on your part. That’s way too much to ask. You have to be actively involved in guiding them through that process, to make sure they don’t get lost or confused at any point along the way.
You have to make people comfortable around your art and slow them down long enough to take that all-important longer look. You are the one responsible for giving them reasons not only to spend time looking at your art and understanding your purpose in creating it, but also for convincing them to hopefully add it to their collections, or give you shows or exposure, represent your work, or whatever else you may be looking for. And you do this by presenting yourself in a way that reaches out and deepens and enriches their experience of both you and your art. Alan Bamberger, is an art consultant, advisor, author, and independent appraiser specializing in research, appraisal, and all business and market aspects of original works of art, artist manuscript materials, art-related documents, and art reference books.