Below is a list of basic steps that, from my observation, have helped bring success to a wide range of artists. I cover these issues, and many others, in considerable depth throughout the book. But for now, I want you to have this checklist to go back and review periodically as you develop your career. I wrote it, and the book overall, as something of a roadmap for realizing your dreams.
1. Is Your Work Ready? Have you reached some level of mastery yet, and have you had qualified critics honestly asses your work to confirm as much? If so, then it’s nearly time to go after the collectors and galleries.
2. Photography: Before presenting to the public, make sure your work is well-photographed, so that it always looks exceptional on websites and printed materials.
3. Resumes, Bios and Artists’ Statements: Have you drafted at least one of these so that it reads easily, briefly, and comprehensively? After writing one, or all three, you might have a friend with editing talents help you tighten each document.
4. Your Website: Before you begin holding public exhibitions and submitting to galleries, you must have a website. If you’re not sure of how to build one, hire an inexpensive designer who can assist, customizing a template to suit your needs. Just make sure the site is easy to navigate and update, and is sophisticated in design.
5. Social Media Site: Because of their popularity, it’s essential that you have one of these, and regularly update it to drives traffic to your website. This will help you announce new achievements to friends, acquaintances—and potential collectors.
6. Establishing Goals/Setting Deadlines: We all have goals, but for artists this can be a nebulous area, as it is with most people who are self-employed. I suggest listing the goals you wish to achieve over a ten-year period, assigning a deadline to each. The section I’ve written on this provides a sample goal-sheet.
7. Business Cards and Postcards: It’s important that you have at least one of these, if not both. They tell people at a glance that you’re a pro, whether you’re showing your work in your own studio or are approaching a gallery.
8. Pricing Your Work: Naturally you should know how to price your art before you begin selling it. I cover how to determine pricing that is fair to both you and collectors.
9. Arranging a Public Exhibition: If you’re not in a gallery yet, and haven’t had any public exhibitions, then it’s time. Refer to this section of the book in arranging it. I list multiple venues where this is not only possible, but welcome.
10. Juried Shows, Art Fairs: Whether you’re a conceptual artist, landscape painter, or glass artist, there are venues in your region—and others—where your work will be welcomed. I cover the importance of submitting to these in building up your resume, and also explain how to learn about them.