Selling Your Art is Not Selling Out

Photo by Ari He on Unsplash

You don’t need to suffer to be a true artist. So stop whinging about your lot in life and put your money where your mouth is.

Yes, I am talking about all those people who say that they want to do something, be something, achieve greatness, but never actually take any action. If you are one of those people, read on… oh lost them already!

The thing is, we are all really good at saying things like, I’m going to be the next J K Rowling, or Andy Warhol. But then we are also really good at saying, I have far more talent, integrity blah blah than that person so I deserve to be ‘discovered’.

While it may be true, you may be more talented than God, I don’t know, but nothing is going to get handed to you on a silver platter. The days of being discovered are non existent quite frankly. If you are an artist (in this I include writers etc), then you need to get off your butt and sell your shit.

If your studio is the only place that has ever seen your paintings, then what makes you so special that you are going to have the Tate gallery call you out of the blue and say they want to exhibit your work?

Oh wait, you can’t sell your art because that is selling out… bullshit. Let me ask you this, do you need to eat? Do you need to wear clothes? Do you need to buy art supplies, have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in… see where I am going with this?

You can keep your integrity and still make money. Money is not evil. Selling your stuff and being successful is not selling out. Gone are the days where being a starving artist makes you windswept and interesting, now it just makes you a bad business person. Yes, I said it. Why would you go to the trouble of creating something, whether a book, a painting or sculpture and then do nothing to get it out into the world?

If you have a novel sitting on your laptop, self publish. There is no shame in publishing your own work. Publishing houses and agents are inundated with submissions, the chances of you being picked up are slim to none. Not because you suck as a writer, although you may, but because you are lost in a mass of other writers works.

Artist who paint, isn’t it better to have your paintings on display for sale? Take pictures, create a website and social media sites. Show off your work and for gods sake price it. Stop waiting for the right audience, the right display, the right time and the right venue. There is not right time or place except here and now. Sell your art, make money, live life.

Unless of course it is all just a hobby. If you are not consumed with the desire to be a successful artist, if creating isn’t the only thing you can do, if you can walk away from your work and not feel like someone has cut off your right arm, then yeah, leave it. Your desire to create should only ever be outweighed by your passion for your art.

If you don’t know how to sell your own stuff, then find a group, a mentor, a coach who will help you to get your act together and learn how to market yourself and your work. Stop waiting to be discovered, take action.

With thanks to my mentor Leigh Shenton for inspiring this article today.

Creator of fantastical worlds, mum and part time superhero. Changing the world one word at a time.

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