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Now I want to describe where quality and quantity come in.
Quality is the proper response to perfectionism
You can’t define perfection (or even achieve it, usually!) but you can describe the degree to which your art has reached your standards. Once you’ve written down the specific qualities of work that meets your standards, you can decide when to release it from your studio and begin marketing it.
Over time, your standards will evolve, and you’ll develop a signature style that will become familiar with your viewers. This is when viewers turn into buyers. The more you exhibit your art, the more you’ll discover your perfect audience and the best venues to sell to them.
I can’t stress this enough, though—the quality of your original vision will set the course of your career.
Holding yourself to high standards in your art, in your marketing plan, and in your work habits is key. After that, you just need to pick up your creative tools and get to work.
Quantity is the ideal companion to quality
Most of us make a lot of art that never leaves the studio before we feel ready to sell. So get into the studio as often as possible—then squeeze in a few extra hours. Once you’ve reached that level of quality you defined earlier, it’s time to create a large enough body of signature work so that individual buyers have choices (and so gallery or artist representative can offer that choice to their clients as well).
A dream isn’t enough; you also need to create written goals. How many works will you complete, and by when? Attach dates and numbers, so you won’t be at the mercy of your whims. Take the time to plan out exactly what you’ll need to meet your goal: art supplies, money, time, energy. Then mark your calendar and show up for work.
Art sales are (at least in part) a numbers game. You need to create enough work to meet the demands of people who will buy it. Without quality, those buyers will be scarce. Without quantity, those buyers will go elsewhere to find their art.
How are you faring on quality and quantity?
Try this quick self-assessment to see how you’re doing. Answer yes or no to each statement:
1. I have a strong body of finished signature work ready to market and display.
2. I have enough work to generate the income I need to cover my art business costs, pay for daily life, and (maybe) set some aside for a rainy day.
3. I have a clearly defined audience that appreciates my work, comes to my events, and tells others about their appreciation.
4. I exhibit my work in venues that showcase my work well and where my audience likes to view art.
5. I have a solid pricing strategy and art purchase policy that takes the guesswork out of sales and breeds confidence in my buyers that my art is of value.
6. I have a clear vision of my career that I have translated into actionable and measurable goals.
7. I have efficient business systems and effective work habits that help me meet the goals I have set.
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, check your degree of internal satisfaction on each statement. Can you do better? How? When?
If you answered “no” to any or all of these questions, take some time to seriously reflect. Is there something you need to do more of, do less of, or stop doing altogether to turn that no into a yes?
You’re in charge of your own artwork quality. This means YOU decide whether or not you’ve met your own standards. You’re also the master of how much art you need to produce (and how you’re going to market it) to support your art business and your life.
Like life, your art career is a work in progress. You are the curator. Stay creative; revise your plans when needed, and carry on towards your goals.
Follow the links below to read more articles in “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z: