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How to be a professional artist - 4 steps to boost your art career.

Updated on January 5, 2012

You're an artist, now what?

Okay, so you've been making art for your entire life and you're great at it. All of your friends tell you that you've got what it takes to be a professional artist, but how do you get your foot in the door? Becoming an Art Pro is no easy task. The art market is highly competitive and it takes a lot of work to set yourself apart from the crowd of starving artists. Here are four steps that you can take to help boost your art career and perhaps even help to transform your art hobby into a professional art career.

Step One: Live ART everyday!

If you want to be something in life, there is only one way to get it done-- you have to do it. Try to work on some form of artwork every single day. Keep multiple projects going at once to avoid burn out. If you are feeling overwhelmed with one piece, take a break and move to another project for a while. If you can't work on art everyday, you can still read about it in books and magazines, think about it or try to keep a sketchbook to store ideas, talk about it with friends and like minded people or you can even watch videos about it on YouTube. The point is to keep yourself busy exercising your creative energy as much as possible.

Pursue your own happiness.

Step Two: Submit to Everything

Take positive risks by entering your work into art shows. You can often find shows by looking on or by searching Google for "call for entries" with the name of your city. Some Galleries rent out wall space for high prices, some charge a small jury or hanging fee, and other venues may even exhibit your art for free. Find the shows that fit your budget and enter as many as you can reasonably take on. Don't worry if you get rejected from the first couple of shows you enter, just learn your lessons, work on improving your presentation and keep trying. Some of the greatest artists of all time were rejected repeatedly before finally succeeding. Remember, you won't get a show if you don't try.

MurMur: An Ear Full of Art, Denver, CO 2011
MurMur: An Ear Full of Art, Denver, CO 2011 | Source

Step Three: Mingle in the Scene

No matter what city you live in, there is probably a tight-knit art community that is not necessarily easy to infiltrate. Keep your eye out for art events posted in local newspapers or on the web and go to them. Talk with the people you meet there, share and accept invitations to attend other art events and always be supportive of your art community in any way that you can. Hand out business cards with your contact information but don't ever be rude, forceful or in anyway try to overshadow the art in the gallery or venue which you are visiting. Develop meaningful relationships with members of the art community by showing interest and being friendly and it will surely open up a world of opportunities to you.

Step Four: Exercise Your Voice

Finally, as an artist you need to be heard. In addition to maintaining a website with current event information and professional photos of your work, it is also important to develop a following on networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and blog sites such as Wordpress, etc. Keep your content art related, professional and limit personal posts to personal accounts. Keep things fresh, and have a regular posting schedule so that your fans know when to check your pages for new information. Use your voice not only to promote or discuss your own work, but also to support and promote other artists, galleries and venues-- Third party promotion is a powerful marketing tool and the best way to get others talking about your work is to talk about theirs first.


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    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 6 years ago

      Great article. Very informative!