How do people actually make money off their art?
I was looking for the answer to this question and stumbled upon this gem, ART MONEY SUCCESS by Maria Brophy, where she poses insightful ideas about how to actually make a living as an artist.
I'm only a few chapters into the book but so far I have found it very useful for shifting my perspective, and thinking about my art in ways I've never considered before.
The most eye-opening idea I've gotten so far is to find a niche, a specialty, a specific style or type of art that I'd like to focus on exclusively so that I may attract a specific group of people, versus trying to appeal to everyone and their mother.
This idea resonated with me because I have always been proud of how I can paint anything in any style for any client. I thought that what made my art special is how versatile it is. Instead I realized that this versatility may be great for me as a graphic designer in my design business, but hinders me when it comes to being recognized or remembered for my art.
I took a long hard look at my artwork and found that it's all over the place in terms of style, medium, subject matter, technique, and sometimes even color palette. I am pleased with the quality of my paintings individually, but when looking at all of them together they look like works that have been completed by a multitude of different artists. My art as a collection doesn't immediately suggest "oh yes, that's definitely a work of art by Jasleni", and now I see why that may make it more difficult to sell my work.
I have been a full time freelance graphic designer and artist for years, but if I am being honest, the majority of my income comes from graphic design, not my art. Perhaps what I've been missing is exactly what Maria Brophy discusses in her book, a niche, a voice, something that is undeniably and recognizably ME in all of my paintings.
With this in mind, I've been doing a lot of soul searching about what my style should be, and what makes the most sense based on my skills and interests. I'm enthusiastic to share that after obsessing over this question for nearly a week, I've figured out the direction I'd like to take my art in, what I want to be remembered for. And so I go to work right away.
I started off by creating this website to separate my fine art from my graphic design, and give my paintings the proper space to evolve and ultimately blossom. Next I laid out my paints and brushes and started working on a piece that somehow feels familiar and yet entirely new; the beginning of something special. A spiritual journey of sorts.
As of right now I am describing my niche as witchy, caribbean, colorful portraits. If you're curious what that means exactly, then stick around. Follow me on instagram and subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the website to see how my art evolves from "all over the place" to uniquely me.
I'll admit I am really excited!
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