How to Become a Rich and Famous Artist
How to Become a Rich and Famous Artist
Author: Jerome Lawrence
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Realize that love truly makes the world go ‘round, but the lack of income can bring it to a grinding halt! Almost everything we do, every place we stand, and certainly any place we choose to live is costing someone somewhere some money. Whether you love or hate money, you must realize by now the prudent use of it can solve a lot of problems. The trick is to acquire it honorably and legally. It is not enough to just acquire it even in a large sum; money must “stream” into your life. Your goal is to develop several income streams from diverse origins. But first you must make a habit of managing the money you already have in an efficient manner so that this habit will carry over to monies generated by the new income streams. This means cutting expenses now, this very minute. Write down your expenses and seek to cut everywhere that you can. Every monthly expense is a lead weight pulling you down and keeping your head from rising above water. I’m talking about those extra services on your phone, snacks you buy while pumping gas at the convenience mart, premium packages when the standard will do, buying new things when the old works just fine. If you’ve ever bought something that you haven’t used in awhile, just think, those items that you’ve conveniently stored in your closet for two or so years could have been stored at the market while you increase your income by making wise investments with that money until the time comes for you to make use of those items, if it ever does.
Now that we’ve cut everywhere that we can, let’s think about how we will spend money. The nature of success is to keep money flowing. Cast your line to catch and deep freeze enough money in an interest bearing account to see you through emergencies if needed. Most people suggest an amount equal to about eight months of your normal expenses or comparably an amount equal to six months of your normal income. While you are slashing, sacrificing and saving, spend your time researching the business of art. Talk to everyone you come across who is in the business. Send email to websites about art. Don’t forget to talk to people who are in art related businesses, such as furniture stores, gift shops, design companies, auction houses, print makers and distributors, etc. Record what you have learned and try to organize and make sense of it in relation to you and your art. Also this is the time to build up your inventory of artwork, sharpen your craftsmanship, become an expert at what you do, and let people know that your services and products will soon become available. Collect a lot of business cards from potential clients especially email addresses because email is much more cost effective than postal mailings. You should only move to postal mailing if your email campaigns are not sufficient.
The very first expense you should have after this is a monthly payment to yourself. Set aside an amount from your normal income for the express purpose of fulfilling your dreams. The bigger your dream the more you will need to set aside. Supplement this purse of money from time to time by doing things such as skipping a meal when you are not hungry, networking at church and civic events where food is served instead of buying food at a restaurant, clipping coupons, recycling printer ink cartridges for a store credit, buying necessary household items in bulk when possible, etc. But remember, the money you save must go into your dream account and not toward an additional expense.
The aim is to sacrifice with a smile on your face, because now that you have a growing account to work with it is time to develop your first income stream aside from your full or part-time job. The plan is to spend money on things that will make more money for you. To do this you must learn the difference between consuming and investing. To efficiently maximize the growth of your money you must also learn the difference between doing business and gambling.
Buying an item for single use is the average type of consumption. An ice-cream cone purchased from a street vendor is a handy example. Once the item is purchased it is used once and you are left with nothing to show for the money spent. A box of ice-cream purchased from the grocery store for nearly the same price but allows for several scoops of ice-cream to be enjoyed over several days is a slight improvement on basic consumption, but we haven’t become an investor until we purchase an ice-cream maker that gives us countless numbers of ice-cream scoops to enjoy over countless years, and also the ability to sell scoops to those who are willing to pay for the taste of homemade ice-cream!
As an artist, I’ve acquired a great amount of skill at great expense of time and effort. Coupled with some degree of talent, I’ve gained advantage over others but have nothing marketable until I put pen to paper or brush to canvas, so to speak. The time and effort I put into a painting would be wasted if I placed my art on inferior materials. Quality canvas goes on sale at Blick Art Supplies twice a year. Unless a special size is needed for a commissioned work, I buy all of my canvases during these sales and pass the savings on to my clients. In this way I’m able to supply my clients with a quality product on quality materials at a lower cost. Buying quality items in bulk and on sale while having canvases and other supplies stored at my home studio saves me time, gasoline and wear and tear on my automobile from traveling back and forth to art supply stores. There is also the advantage in that when the inspiration strikes, I have canvases on hand to mark the moment!
Very frequently a number of people enjoy the image I’ve created, but there can be only one, as a second painting will have its own feel and energy though it may look similar. I am but one artist but my work can get into the hands and homes of many people through art prints. Consider your original paintings as one income stream with prints as an additional income source with the painting’s image as its root. Not only will your painting need to be of high quality (don’t even think about doing less than your best), but your digital image of the work must be of a quality equal to its value as the root of several income streams. I prefer digital scanning over photography because higher resolutions are easier to obtain and with scanning there is a consistent light source from top to bottom of large pieces whereas some photographers let a corner or two of the artwork fade ever so slightly into shadow. There are many uses for the art image such as cover designs, advertisements, desktop publishing, selling or leasing the copyrights in whole or in part i.e. printing rights in North America, printing rights in Europe or Southeast Asia, the rights to print T-shirts as opposed to the rights to print posters or greeting cards. Consider also that each image can be cropped and resized to create a number of different images to be marketed individually or in sets. So does doing ever so much more such as this with the time and effort spent on a single painting give you other ideas on growing and efficiently managing your investment dollars?
As mentioned earlier, it is important to draw a distinction between doing business and gambling. When you trade something of value for something of approximately equal value, you are doing business. Taking money to the store and coming home with groceries is an example. When an artist pays a fee to enter a festival he/she is not doing business. The festival organizers are doing business because they actually deposit money in the bank after the transaction. Artists are paying for the opportunity to sell their art, and in essence hoping and praying they will sell at least enough to afford the expense of showing. This is called gambling. After they hand over their entry fee, they have put nothing in the bank; they still have to devote time and labor to the act of selling their product for an amount over and above the time, labor and materials that went into creating their art, plus, make enough to afford the entry fee and set up costs not to mention putting their art at risk of damage and wear. And, like any gambler, they have to make up the money they lost on the last fee for opportunity gambit. It would be the same as if you went to the store with money and came home with a lottery ticket for a chance at winning some groceries instead of walking out with the groceries in hand. I am not opposed to gambling when the odds are in your favor, such as when you have a tested product assured to bring an amount well above your expenses. But I have seen too many artists shelling out festival fees with hopes of selling their art only to find that people were only browsing and not buying or that another more popular vendor had mesmerized the few people who were spending money on that day. Not selling enough art is a real loss because you have spent money to be there and have worked the entire day. It is not an efficient use of your money or the money of your friends, supporters and investors to place it at high risk of loss through gambling. Unless you are giving to a charitable organization, please always do business and pull the reins on gambling. When you give something of value, make sure you are getting something you can put in the bank!
The pattern of trade is that we seek the best deal possible. Knowing this less reputable dealers will offer much more than we can get elsewhere for the same amount of money, we find later the quality to have been misrepresented or something has gone wrong to cause the value to be worth less than what we have paid. It has become habit to put forth extra effort to get much more in trade than what we are giving. This practice makes us susceptible to scams and puts the efficiency of a plan to generate income streams at risk. Buying low and selling high invariably takes unfair advantage of the person you bought from and denies the person you sold to an opportunity to profit from his purchase in the same way. The buyer, having bought high to begin with, will find the market for selling even higher dubious at best. Having sold low, the seller is undoubtedly troubled and without adequate income from his sales, his position as a reliable source to you of certain products is doubtful. You have made a profit but at what cost. You have not earned respect nor made friends of your trading partners and since they gained little from dealing with you, they will be reluctant to deal with you again.
Do not think in terms of making money so much as you think of moving money along a stream that flows continually to you. You must pay your suppliers enough for their products that they stay in business and are happy to supply you with quality products at a fair price. You must sell your art at a price that allows others to deal and market it if desired at a reasonable gain. If others make money off of your products, I guarantee they will return for more. By dealing fairly, you will turn the small gain of individual transactions into a transaction machine - generating for you a number of income streams.
Last Updated (Friday, 13 November 2009 21:13)