Mastery and Quality
Element 3 of Art Marketing Circle II
Today’s members-only article is a continuation of our series, The Circles of Art Marketing, which is our unique art marketing framework that has proven itself to sell art, without all the grift and hype you normally see from art blogs, coaches and gurus. This framework has been developed over the 30 years I’ve been in the art business, as a gallery director, gallery owner, and, for over two decades, the founder of FASO Artist Websites, where we have seen what works and what doesn’t work in our dealings with well over 20,000 artists in that time. We are updating the framework in real time in 2023 with these articles.
If you would like to read everything we’ve covered so far, please visit the following page: The Circles of Art Marketing. (Please note - this framework is for premium members only. If you are a paid member, we kindly ask you do not share this information with anyone else.)
OK, with that out of the way, let’s get to today’s article….
When you decide you want to sell your art, everything changes.
Prior to that decision, you are creating solely because you have the insatiable hunger to create. You are feeding your soul. You are making the world better, from your perspective, because you are making yourself better, and your external world is a reflection of your internal world. As I have said before, an artist cannot serve two masters, so you must serve your soul first, before you sell your art, so that you have no inner conflict.
Once you decide to sell your art, however, you walk a fine line. You must, in short, turn your offering which consists of you, your art and the stories and context in which you talk about all of it into a saleable product, without losing your focus on your own vision and your own inspiration. We’ll talk about many of the product elements when we get to the next circle, Art Marketing Circle III: Products, but, to maximize your chances that your art will sell, there are several places you can give yourself a tailwind if you nail them in the art itself.
There are four elements that will make your art magical, unique, and something that captures people’s attention.
1. Your Inspiration
The art captures and transmits the ideas that inspired you in the first place
We covered this here.
2. Your Unique Vibe & Energy
this is what makes your art uniquely you - this is what we’ll cover today
We covered this last week and you can catch up here.
3. Mastery & Quality
Your mastery of your technique plays a huge role in how well you will sell.
There is something to your art that can work across time and space.
Nail these four elements and you will give yourself a huge tailwind when you start offering your art for sale.
Let’s take a deep dive into element three, Mastery & Quality….
Mastery & Quality
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Steve Martin
The minimum goal in mastery or competence is to get to the point you can transcend technique. This is a book about marketing your art in the 21st century, not a book about how to produce quality art. There are probably tons of books, workshops, classes and videos in your particular niche that you can turn to to improve the quality of your own artwork.
Quality is, however, in some respects, the most important element, after inspiration, you need to consider when you turn your art into a product you intend to market and sell. High quality work puts a huge tailwind behind all of your other marketing efforts. To put it bluntly, if you’re just plain better than the other guy, you usually win.
In the current “Sovereign Artist Era”, an era with no gatekeepers, quality is even more important than in the past. Since there are now no gatekeepers, you are essentially competing with everyone in the world.
Think about that for a moment. You're competing with the most skilled, most driven artists from every corner of earth, which holds more than 8 billion people. In addition, you aren’t protected from competition by a trademark, or a patent, or a gallery’s endorsement. It’s just you vs everyone else. So, yes, it’s easier than ever for you to get your work in front of people, but it’s easier for every other artist too. So you must bring real skill to the table, because collectors too can now connect with any artist and often they will want to purchase from the best ones they can find.
In the past, because artists generally had to get past some kind of gatekeeper to get their art in front of the public, it was important to encourage artists to learn to ignore the feelings of self doubt about their art. The gatekeepers controlled what the collecting world was allowed to see and they acted as curators, so it was in their best interest to see as much as possible, regardless of the insecurities of an individual artist.
But, in a world with no gatekeepers, in a world where everyone wants to share and sell their art online, in a world where everyone expects to be able to easily sell their art, the opposite has become important. In this modern age, perhaps it’s now important to reintroduce ourselves to a little self doubt. We must all learn to be more discerning about our own art and its potential market-readiness. Note - this self doubt should be ignored when producing work, but you must turn on the eye of the critic when it comes to releasing the work.
In short, we must each now be both the artist and gatekeeper. And we must be honest with ourselves in both roles. Let’s take a deeper look at this and consider some strategies….