The first few years of my university art education were spent thinking that if I could not sell or show my work in a gallery, then I could not be an artist of worth, nor able to earn an income. My future seemed inextricably tied to a particular community which I never felt that I fit into, being primarily a fantasy artist. Angels and elves never quite fit right next to abstract expressionism and moody landscapes. Fantasy was not ‘fine art’ nor ‘classical’ and was therefore unworthy of being shown in galleries (though this is thankfully changing in recent times!)
It seemed foolish and hopeless to think that an artist could be worthwhile or make a living any other way. A worthless dreamer was I who could not find a place in a gallery without tearing up bits of journals pages and pretending some kind of political or personal agenda was imbued into each piece of work. This sort of work has its place, but I did not feel that it was mine. I reserve my emotions for other means of expression.
Years passed. I started moving in different circles. Research began for my MA thesis on e-marketing for artists. My field of vision began to widen as I found more and more cases of artists such as Valentina Trevino, more commonly known as Val of ValsArtDiary.
A relatively young artist in her 20’s, Val was like many artists who come out of school feeling hopeless, unable to find gallery representation, and working meaningless jobs to pay the bills. She became independently successful after setting up her own website and marketing herself via social media. She is most well known for her videos on YouTube that showcase her painting process. Each video ends with a link to an eBay auction where one can purchase her paintings. Within 2 years, she had had found success and sold every single one of her original paintings.
It is with Val’s example in mind that I am hopeful in pursuing my own path outside the Gallery market. My Thesis research revealed a myriad of options from art licensing to selling face to face at art fairs to video and online marketing a la Val’s strategy. All of which I hope to talk more about here as I prepare to do some ‘field research’ for my own art career.
Welcome to the outer limits of the art world, my friend! I hope to stay awhile.