You might think becoming rich as an artist is a rather vain goal but with money comes power, influence and additional resources (including people, environments, etc.) – so who’s to say really?!
I’m in touch with a number of “famous” and very wealthy artists and one thing I know for sure is that they think differently than the mainstream crowd. That’s a secret right there you may want to ponder.
But if you do want to become a wealthy artist, or heck, just to experience it for a while, what might you do to manifest that? When you really begin to dive deeper into that question you will begin to realize there ARE certain tactics/strategies you can begin to implement to make substantial profit from your work.
You may not like them but that doesn’t mean they won’t work. It may not even be a matter of liking them just the fact they are so foreign and seemingly “not us” (more about that later) So let’s begin. What are some of the strategies you might begin to entertain if you wanted to become a wealthy artist?
Well, the first thing I would do is find a number of “models of success.” What does that mean? That means I would find a number of artists who are ALREADY wealthy and figure out what they are doing differently than you. Not only strategically but tactically as well. Your gonna find a lot of gaps – but that’s ok.
Now that you have “profiled” a handful of successful and wealthy artists I would come up with a kind of diagram that highlights certain common denominators, like: style of work, price of work, medium, do they have teams, work alone, how is their work shown, who shows it, how is it distributed, etc.etc. etc.
I think there are a few books out there now that do this for writers. They kinda put all the most popular literary conventions into one master plan – which has PROVEN to be successful – time after time. Your doing the same thing.
Another thing you’ll notice is that they’re *almost all* master marketers. They know that mastering marketing (and sales) is the key to the kingdom and they spend hour upon hour contemplating distribution systems for their work. Want to make substantial money? Get better at marketing.
What else? most (not all) of the obscenely rich artists I know have built mini-conglomerates. They have more than just their art. They have created a brand that allows them to license their work to other entities, such as vineyards, restaurants, housewares and other related products.
They use their creativity to look beyond their mainstream business to the “business within their business” – they look at “What other businesses or ventures or relationships would be synchronistic or complementary to what I’m already doing?” This one question alone can bring you an entirely new, surprising and possibly very lucrative ventures (or adventures!)
Of course, this might sound “pie-in-the-sky” for a lot of you reading this but, taste aside, you can begin to “re-invent” yourself as a widely popular (and rich) artist. Don’t think for one second you are “stuck” with some kind of permanent personality. “I’m a sculptor and do X kind of work” – That’s what you’ve done. It’s not a curse that you have to live with if you don’t want to or if it’s (or your lifestyle) not energizing you
It’s all invented anyway. Made up. So create a personality, brand, persona and have fun with it. Re-invent yourself as wildly, successful and wealthy artist. It’s yours for the taking.
© Gerhard Richter, 2009
Oil on canvas