Friday, September 23, 2011

Art as business

I am an artist. My largest body of work is watercolor landscapes. I stopped marketing my art years ago because it was just too hard. This was before the Internet, which meant poring through art magazines and shipping slides off to juries for shows, fairs and galleries. While I was working as a freelance scenic artist, I concentrated on trying to get income from my paintings. I was a little successful. And I learned a lot about art as a business.

It's hard.

Art is subjective. There is no way to predict an audience. A painting that I might be especially proud of can be interpreted in any number of ways. Once I did a bold, loose painting of a sunset over the Kansas plains. It was a bit abstract in that it was just blocks of color. My sister said it made her think of car accidents. I did a pastel of a mother peeking into a room on a sleeping child and many people see it as the moment before a murder. Who'd want to put that on their wall?

Very subjective.

Writing is the same way. There is a ton of Urban Fantasy out there right now. And I'd probably tell you I never read it, but I love the Dresden Files.

Totally subjective.

So now I am back to learning the business of art, in this case writing. I have all the financial stuff down - I come from a family of accountants. Not that it is an issue, since I have no income from art right now. It's the marketing and prep for sales that will be the biggest learning curve. Here I had hoped I was getting into an industry where I could just be creative. Ha.

There's a lot of information out there on how to be successful, but it's a slow slog thru that stuff. A lot of it won't make sense until I get there. I'm more of a hands-on kind of person. Don't give me the details until I can put them to use or they just clutter my brain and confuse me.

I'm building in time for research every day, but some days it just overwhelms me and I end up not writing. Which is a bad thing. Got to go one step at a time. Finish the book, then worry about how to sell it.

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