The poor tortured artist is a myth: there’s no glory in dying penniless, and there’s no shame in chasing wealth! Key to making a profit as an artist is promoting your work. Neither fame nor glory waters down your artistic credibility or merit. Don’t believe me? Four artists below prove the point that making strides on promoting your work can make all the difference. A wide selection of artists ranging classical art through to today made big money in their lifetimes as a result of their efforts to promote their work. Whether it’s learning how to identify likely collectors of your work to negotiating the best price for your artworks, taking the lead in analyzing and promoting your work to the right audience can make all the difference – as our four examples demonstrate! Each artist has valuable lessons in promotion and sales to bulk up your bank account, so get ready to take notes.
Classical Art: Make connections like Michelangelo
Michelangelo created some of the most enduring pieces of art. Statues, painting, architecture, and poems. His best known piece is the Sistine Chapel, which attracts 25,000 people everyday. Michelangelo also died filthy rich. Among the connections in his inner circle he could list princes, popes, and wealthy businessmen. He received gifts from all sorts of patrons – Pope Julius once gave him 500 ducats for hitting him with his staff! He even accepted money for projects he never finished, such as the council wall in Florence. What did Michelangelo do with all the money he made? He saved it. Living a life of “monk-like chastity,” the richer he got the more he saved – to the point that the fortune he left behind would be worth $57 million today!
Learn from the Renaissance genius and build your own connections. How can you do this? Take a look around at available resources, such as this networking video, to gain more insights.
Modern Art: Picasso – Start studying soon
Ask yourself this: when did you start learning to be an artist? Pablo Picasso began studying under his father before he was 10. He then started at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts when he was 13. Before he could drink, smoke, or even get married, he was on his way to perfecting his craft. Was he any good? You bet. Have a look at some of his early work for proof. Picasso lacked discipline as a student but he definitely got the most from his lessons. When Picasso passed away he left behind an estate worth around $50 million.
Take the example of the Cubist master on board by starting your studies as soon as possible. Don’t worry if you’re over 13, age isn’t a barrier to your studies! If you’re older it than Picasso, make sure to be more disciplined than him. There’s a range of project tools you can use to help you, such as Trello to help you visualize your study plan or Harvest can help you record the time spent. Make sure you stay dedicated to your practice, and don’t lose sight of your end goal of unlocking your inner potential!
Modern Art: Keep it simple like Warhol
Whatever your thoughts on Andy Warhol as an artist, he was very successful. His radiant Marilyn Monroe prints and Campbell’s soup can silkscreens made him a star: a very wealthy star. He achieved this by learning from Henry Ford and applying his key tenet: mass production of a simple idea.
Warhol was out of art school for over 10 years when he achieved fame. He had achieved another level of success immediately after graduating, however, when he began working as a graphic designer and commercial illustrator. His clients included fashion houses, shoe companies, and other glamorous industries. During this time he also developed his production line delegation approach. He farmed out parts of the process at coloring parties. The result of this was his world-renowned Pop art – oh, and lots of money. When Warhol died he was worth $228 million.
Not into the idea of becoming a production line artist? Fine, you can still learn from Warhol. Get to the raw foundation of your art. Think now: “what sums up my art?” Arrive at one big idea. Then break down every stage of your process. Simplify it by sharpening off the edges. The result might be a less grandiose piece, and that’s OK. Because you’ll have a more refined and repeatable process. This means you can produce work better and more quickly. More art means more products to sell and a chance at earning larger profits.
Contemporary Art: Damien Hirst – Spread your investments
In 1991 Kurt Cobain ripped pop music apart and became an icon for a new era. That same year Damien Hirst’s first solo exhibition took place, giving the art world a new start. Both geniuses achieved their respective fame despite failing high school. Like Cobain, Hirst did his time in menial jobs. Cobain was a janitor. Hirst worked on building sites, slugging brick.
Failure and drudgery taught Hirst a valuable lesson: that life exists outside your work. Being the most successful artist in the world makes you rich. Investing sensibly alongside this makes you big money. Hirst chose the food industry as his side hustle. He invested in the Quo Vadis restaurant with Marco Pierre White, and 11 The Quay eatery. His investments have added to his $300 million fortune. Learn from one of art’s iconic figures by getting your own side hustle. Find a listing with a range of businesses to invest in. ID a business with long-term potential and low day-to-day involvement. Or invest in the stock market. Another option is property: Damien Hirst has a long-term business adviser to help him make financial decisions.
You could do the same!
Some artists are rich. Some artists are poor. If you want to make big money from your art you need to work at it, like any other trade. You may think one of these 4 lessons gives you the quickest route to riches. But don’t cut down your options. Try each of them and see which one works: with luck they all will and you’ll make BIG money!
Have any tips and tricks that you’ve used to build up your art audience through savvy art promotion? Share them with us in the comments below!