Artists: Be Your Own DIY Network


Originally posted on  www.smokemirrorsart.com, reposted from www.makebigart.com.

Three Reasons Artists Need to be More DIY

(do it yourself)

Jeb Matulich

Art by Jeb Matulich

1) DIY means Community

When artists work together they can create amazing events, exhibitions, and opportunities to promote their work. When my friend and fellow artist dreamed up the idea for opening our own gallery and producing our own events, we knew we would need help—so we turned to our other artist friends for help.

Other artists aren’t your competition. They are your greatest allies. Doing it yourself, doesn’t mean going it alone.

Working alone in your studio can be a lonely task. When you finally come up for air you’ll need the support of people who understand exactly why you do what you do. Every artist can benefit from being part of a network of friends and colleagues that truly understands the obstacles and concerns that other artists face.

Your network, your group of creative peers, are your greatest resource for finding and getting the information and support you need. Artists thrive in communities. Being a part of a community of artists means having a built in support system.

Barbara J. Mason

Art by Barbara J. Mason

 2) DIY means More Money

Let’s do what I like to call “art math”. Let’s say you have a gallery exhibition of 30 artworks, each priced at $3000. The gallery does a great job of marketing and selling the work for you and the show is a smash hit! In fact you sell every artwork in the exhibition. That means $90,000 in sales. YAY!

But wait. Subtract the gallery’s 50% fee they earned for working their butts off to sell your work. That leaves you with $45,000. Oh but wait. Subtract another 15% for taxes. And another 20% for expenses. That leaves you with around $30,000. And then remember that you only have a solo exhibition once every 3 years in that gallery, so divide that by 3. That leaves you $10,000 a year to live on until your next solo exhibition. Congratulations!

Clearly you need to have other avenues of income if you’re going to survive. You can’t rely on one gallery, or even 3 for that matter, to bring in all of your income. If you really want a fatter bank account, you’ll have to do a pretty big share of the heavy lifting yourself–Especially in the beginning of your career.

A. Eilene Carver

Art by A. Eilene Carver

 3) DIY means Freedom and Opportunity

If you’re the one at the reigns of your career, that means you have complete control over what you make, how often you make it and when and where to show it. Isn’t that the goal?

Sure, it’s great when you find a gallery to sell your new work. But what if you aren’t working with a gallery? Or what if the gallery’s jam-packed exhibition schedule doesn’t have room for your work until 2014? Or worse yet, what if after waiting 2 years for your first solo exhibition, the gallery goes out of business a month before your exhibition is set to open?

Becoming more DIY means embracing the many new avenues that are available to exhibit and promote your art rather than relying one possibility.

Ultimately, when artists embrace the DIY mentality, it means they stop waiting to be “discovered”. It means that instead of waiting for opportunities, they go out and create opportunities for themselves.

Link to original post:  http://www.makebigart.com/2011/07/three-reasons-artists-need-to-be-more-diy/

** Note from artseen:  We’re planning on the 2nd annual artseen studio tour this October, so start getting your studios ready, artists!  Last year we had a great turnout, with many art sales.  This is an easy way to DIY!

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