In the pursuit of some form of visibility there must be an assumption that your AUDIENCE is out there looking for YOU. They might not know who you are at the moment but within them is a passion most likely equal to yours. If we know that your audience exists right now it then becomes your part to be available to be found by them. You also are finding YOUR audience.
This collision of sorts is critical in the course of all careers. YOU need someone else to further both your creative juices as well as your financial potential. Isolation and closed thinking in general prevents amazing career boosting events. Artists tend to believe that a critical mass is required to define a successful career but in practice this can’t be further from the truth.
In the course of my career as a gallery owner we always saw an obvious truth that repeated itself over andis that the ‘opening’ was perceived as the most important element by the artist and the gallery for that matter. I have had openings where moving around in a 6000 square foot gallery was difficult because of the large attendance. I have also had openings where I could hear the echo of a penny dropped as there was only a handful of people attending. The feel good given is when a lot of people ‘show up’ and it makes you, the artist’ feel like you’re the best thing since Coca Cola.
The truth and irony of this situation is that almost without fail I always had more sales on low attendance events than I did when the crowds appeared. The great social event called ‘the opening’ and the smooze session of massive proportions tended to be just that, a social and modest income producing event in general where everyone came to eat the food and be seen. If adulation and ego stroking is your currency of choice then you will be easily gratified. But I will talk a bit about the financial realities of succeeding in an art career, namely selling your work.
If we still assume that YOUR audience is out there looking for you even though they might not know it yet, I will say that every astute collector of art has open eyes. They are innately always on the lookout for what satisfies something in their life. In regards to auctions or art fairs it might be a place to park some money even if they are not in love with the work they are acquiring. This is a reality in one aspect of the thing we call an art market. Then we have those who keep an open eye out for the extraordinary regardless of price or notoriety. Discovery is what floats their boat or yacht in many cases. One such person who crosses your path of creative pursuit can be enough to make an entire career. I have seen it. I have experienced it. It happens.
If we can say that your discovery is not about the masses but about the individual or the few who will find you then success will take on a whole other persona. Two collectors who support your effort can make a great career. As will 3 or 4 or 5. But you don’t need 100. Place yourself in positions of opportunity where converging with quality collectors can make a difference. Yeah its nice when the average human appreciates what you do and might even spring for a piece but repeatable, disposable income is really what makes an artist viable.
So it brings up the discussion of HOW to cross paths with those like that? It can happen in an assortment of ways. I hear the cry of self representation and I also hear the desire to show with the likes of Gagosian. In principle I could care less which way is taken. But I will have to say that I recently sold my house and never at one point did I think selling it myself would get me what I wanted from it. So I looked for the best agent to represent me and I accepted that ‘their’ market was far better than ‘my’ market and in reality it worked. They made the sale and they deserved every penny of that commission. I see zero difference between real estate and art when it comes to the process of sales and interested parties.Professionals just do the job best.
If you can actually self represent and your rubbing shoulders with the kind of client you want then go for it. But if you don’t have that within you then let it go and find the best possible representation you can muster for yourself. You won’t regret it. So when we put it all together your audience is already on the path to finding you. Learn how to put yourself in ‘their’ way . All roads do not lead there. Be seen significantly. Expend energy and effort wisely. If you can great things will occasionally come.