Navigating the Vast Art World – One Artists Experiences

As a painter and someone who wishes to sell paintings I have been trying various arenas to get my work out there. There is so much to chose from: cafes, online platforms, markets, special events, dare I say….galleries? The list goes on…..

When I first began painting professionally a few years ago I started with Facebook. This was marvelous as people who new me instantly started following me. I tried branching out and began to hang my artwork in cafe’s around Vancouver. I had some success but often had to lower my prices. Then I jumped on the Instagram wagon. I can’t say I have enjoyed it. I started to notice that for some successful IG artists its not about the quality of the work, but more about an image or brand or buying followers. Moreover, pretty young girls posing beside their paintings got more attention than a beautiful painting on its own. Artist’s who paint the same theme or concept repetitively also get more attention. Although I’m sure its nice to paint landscapes or beaches or anyone one subject for your whole life (sarcasm)….that’s not really me. I want variety and an ever-changing focus on life around me. The other thing that has happened with IG is popular pages wanting to feature you…there is always a catch. The IG page will ask you to email them some images and then bang, they hit you with the pricing to get featured. So here I am, trying to make a little money off my efforts and people all over social media are wanting you to pay them for crummy shares or fake followers….no thanks

A couple of years ago I decided to reach out to Vancouver Galleries, not interested in applying so much as what they thought about my work. Guess what? Not. One. Reply. I don’t feel so concerned that the Galleries haven’t taken an interest in me. I know my work has come a long way since I reached out to them but what happens when your work goes into a gallery? They want a 40% commission fee, along with wanting to jack your price up. I mean, to be honest most the people in Vancouver are broke from renting, especially the fun loving ones who like to buy my art. (love you guys, you know who you are!)

Last summer I decided to try more outdoor markets. This worked pretty well as I was making decent returns on my artwork. The thing that I found with outdoor markets is that most people aren’t willing to pay a lot for large original paintings. I had to start compromising on how I made my paintings to meet my new buyers expectations. What I started doing was making much smaller paintings that patrons could afford. Aside from the artwork itself it is a huge undertaking to attend these markets. The amount of display gear being packed back and forth from my little car kept me in shape! The markets were work but I made some great connections. I started getting more followers on FB and IG and had a Surrey Art Gallery rep. reach out to me after seeing my work. From these connections I have begun getting involved in different art leasing programs. If interested you can go to the Surrey Art Gallery or North Vancouver Community Arts to see work to rent or buy! (links below)

I have also learned the importance of keeping a good social network when being an active artist. It is easy to become consumed with making a beautiful craft but not promoting your character in social settings. I think all artists need to take a day or two out of their week to meet other people, because you never know what can happen. People can also feel a stronger sense of the artist’s work when they come to know the artist. Paintings have been described as little pieces of the artist, so if you’re an artist get out there and make those connections! If you want to buy a beautiful painting, go talk to the maker!

So here I am, continuing through the gauntlet that is the art world. I am no longer interested in showing my artwork in cafes or restaurants. Even some art calls I have little interest as they do little to grow my audience or help with sales. My current aim is to show bodies of work at shows, both collaborative and solo. I have four art shows coming up. If interested you can find me Jan 25 @celebrities. My solo show will be March 2-3/2018 @163 W Pender Vancouver, I will do a blog post soon about the details πŸ™‚ I am attending Vancouver’s only international art show Art!Vancouver (April 19-22) and will have my works up in the Fort Langley Centennial Museum (late April to March). I have some new and great works I want to show everyone but the only way to see my newest pieces is to come to the shows! Thanks for reading!

Surrey Art Gallery Leasing Program :http://www.surreyartgalleryassociation.org/art-rental/
North Vancouver :https://nvartscouncil.ca/items/art-rentals/page/7/
Art!Vancouver: http://artvancouver.net/about/

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