The starving artist myth needs to vanish.
Starving artist beliefs stop many artists from succeeding. Unfortunately, the term “starving artist” has become synonymous with art.
Let's talk about some of the common myths you might face.
I faced these exact myths, believed them at first, but then after creating a business in art online for a while, learned these myths were just those myths.
Here are three common myths about selling your art online:
MYTH 01: Only cheap art sells online
The truth is, it’s easier to sell art that is affordable (around $50 – $100) than it is to sell more expensive originals and prints. This is also true for selling your art anywhere – face to face or in a gallery.
It’s possible to sell art online at higher prices, but you have to build-up to it – it’s a process.
Luckily it’s a process that can be automated, but you have to understand two things:
- Art sales happen on your art newsletter
Very rarely will someone come to your website for the first time and purchase your art. It's only after they've signed up for your art newsletter and have gotten to know more about you and your work will they purchase your work. Even then, you have to use art launching strategies for selling art in a way that's predictable.
- You'll make most of your sales from past collectors
When someone purchases an affordable print or original work from you, they’re more likely to purchase a more expensive original or other types of product from your later. These affordable first purchases are a great way to bring your collectors further into your creative world.
This is what's called a collectors list.
Essentially, you’re ONLY inviting people who've taken an interest in your work. Either by signing up for your newsletter or have purchased something from you before. To collect your work through launch strategies. (More on launch strategies later)
MYTH 02: You have to be “famous” in order to sell your art online
One of the biggest myths about being a career artist is that you have to be “famous” or have THOUSANDS of followers on social media in order to sell your art online.
The truth is, you can make art sales from your art without the holy blessing of the “art world”, the “general public”, or being “famous”.
Personally, I don’t sell through galleries, dealers, go to art fairs, or even spend much time on social media.
You won’t see write-ups on me in Vanity Fair about my new show at the LACMA.
You won’t hear about one of my drawings generating millions in bidding war at Sotheby’s.
I barely spend any time on social media.
Because I focus on establishing relationships with my future art collectors first. Sharing my creative process and behind-the-scenes of my sketchbook to those who sign up for my email art newsletter.
Then every so often, I’ll invite my art newsletter subscribers to collect my art. But only after they’ve become more familiar with who I am and what my art is about.
I use ConvertKit to run my art newsletter. Read my ConvertKit Review.
MYTH 03: I don’t have time
In all honesty, there’s no such thing as setting up any sort of business that requires zero investment of time.
However, I don’t spend more than 8-12 hours a month in front of my computer. This includes updating my website, replying to emails, helping students, writing a few articles a month for teaching art, managing my artist website, sharing my work in targeted groups and communities online.
The rest of my time is spent making art, working on illustration commissions, and living life.
Most of the marketing-related work you do for your art can be front-loaded and scheduled to go out later.
Knowing what to work on and what NOT to work on. Being specific so you aren’t wasting time second-guessing yourself when you finally sit down to work on something.
For example, why would you spend 2 hours a week being active on social media when you know 99% of your art sales happen after writing 5 launch emails and sending them out to your art newsletter.
But knowing what does and doesn't work can take weeks, months, and even years of experimenting with to finally understand.