The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Reputation in The Art World

The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Reputation in The Art World
Photo by Alex Conradt on Unsplash

Whether you are an emerging artist or have already spent some time working on your reputation, being reminded of the fundamentals is always an excellent way to develop new strategies. The process of building a reputation can be broken down into three main parts — your works and how you present them; the way you engage with the community — both the audience and fellow artists; and last but not least, how you promote your work. To assist you in the best way possible, we have decided to cover these topics in a broader sense, breaking them down into parts that are most often seen or used. So, let us begin!

Presentation

First and foremost comes your work. From your portfolio — how your work looks — to your online presence — how you decide to present the work in question — presentation is one of the crucial steps to creating a good reputation in the art world.

Portfolio

Your portfolio should always represent the best of your work — that you are confident you can replicate at any given point in time. Therefore, all art you decide to include in your portfolio should communicate the following:

Quality of materials used to create the artwork: Your professional attitude is reflected in the quality of your work. For example — using cheaper materials in traditional, i.e., not digital, art styles can result in the artworks deteriorating quickly or not looking as good as possible. That, in turn, leads the potential buyer to think that you may not be as serious about your work as you present yourself to be.

Your vision: The art you create is unique, and it carries your message into the world. That is why you should carefully consider which pieces you will include in your portfolio, which is seen as a reflection of who you are. However, this does not mean that you should put all of your life on display — quite the contrary! You may still speak through your art while keeping your privacy. The important thing is to show your authentic self through your work.

Style consistency: Having both unique and consistent style can be one of the most critical factors, especially if your end goal is to build a reputation as a graphic designer,an illustrator or a fine artist. Moreover, if your style is recognizable, it can help you create a brand image for yourself, which should also be one of your priorities — regardless of the field of work you are aiming for.

Continuous growth: Bear in mind that this does not cancel out the style consistency. Contrary to what many may think, these two things are complimentary! Suppose you manage to keep your style consistent while improving your, for example, brushwork or anatomy knowledge. In that case, it shows serious dedication to the art, which is certain to draw people in. 

Website

How do you get your name out and build credibility? The advice you would get would be something along the lines — put yourself out there and become searchable. A more precise answer would be that you should ensure that, when a person Googles you, they see something that accurately represents you.

A great way to ensure that happens is by creating your own website. Having a website is an excellent choice due to the amount of control you can have over how you, as a professional, and your work is represented online. That being said, you do not need to make it too complicated or fret over updating it constantly. It should contain several crucial pieces of information, such as a CV, an about-you page, examples of your work, and contact information. Additionally, you could build in an email sign-up form so people can share their names and email addresses for you to build up a database of contacts. If you have never made a website from scratch before, software like Squarespace and WordPress is a great place to start.

However, do keep in mind that no matter how great your art might be, a poorly designed website can ruin many a first impression. To make sure buyers focus on your skill and not whether they should trust you, fill your site with high-quality photos and descriptions. Double-check whether all links on the site are working, proofread each piece of text you plan to post and keep your site up-to-date with your latest art business endeavors.

Image source: artisera.com

Social Media Platforms and Online Art Communities

If you do not feel comfortable building a website, social media may be an excellent place to start. For example, Twitter and Facebook can present a perfect opportunity to connect with other artists and research the target market and audience. Additionally, if you want more of a visual presentation on a social media website, Instagram is primarily image-focused, which could also be a great place to start!

However, social media is not all there is. Online art communities, such as ARTDEX, DeviantArt, or ArtStation, may provide some helpful insight into the way art could or should be presented, as well as with excellent connections to possible art buyers and fellow artists.

Do not be afraid to learn from others and keep on growing — that is how you will keep your audience engaged and your presentation at its peak.

Textual Descriptions

While people may think that art should speak for itself, different spaces and communities require different approaches. For example, a community of artists may appreciate your artwork for what it is — a piece of art — but, on the other hand, an average person on social media would prefer to connect to the person behind those art pieces rather than just see the art.

That is why having an artist statement or an about-me page is always good. Additionally, you could make a separate website page for a blog to post updates concerning your work or just your life. Moreover, you can connect your art to various parts of those more extensive texts about you, which could help you make a real connection between you and people interested in your art. This brings us to our next point:

Image source: pixabay.com

Relationships With Clients, Audience, and Fellow Artists

Knowing people and letting people know you will play a big part in building your reputation. As people tend to relate to other people, it is imperative to cultivate positive relationships with all kinds of people who will come in contact with your work. However, if you feel those relationships do not seem healthy — do not be afraid to take a step back!

Connecting With People

This is the first step to any relationship — professional ones included. There are several ways to achieve that, and for the best results, we recommend combining them.

Do not be afraid to share your story: First and foremost, your personality distinguishes you from other artists. It will shine through your work and your interactions with others, whether online or face to face. Therefore, do not try to be someone you are not — it can only hurt you in the long run.

Feel free to show both the good and bad sides of being an artist: Yes, you should share your successes — but you should also share your doubts, fears, and vulnerabilities. It will remind people that you are still a human being, just like them. This will, in turn, ensure that people are interested in your work beyond the eye candy aspect — and that will give you space to create without feeling like you need to put out a fully finished piece of art every day to engage your audience or peers.

Engage with other artists: No matter the platform or space, communicating with other artists can provide you with helpful insight and maybe blossom into great interpersonal relationships. Speaking from a strictly professional perspective, though, networking with people in your niche is a great way to get your name out there and known — as well as to gain valuable information on the way things work in that particular circle.

Presence on Online Platforms

Considering the current situation in the world, maintaining an online presence should be a priority. As people have already primarily shifted towards online content, you should keep up with the trends and ensure you are visible worldwide.

Creating a space for yourself and your works of art allows people to stop by and visit you. Whether it is a social media page, a personal profile on an art community site, or your website, you should make it be uniquely yours. Moreover, you should bear in mind that this will be the very foundation on which your future reputation in the art world will be based.

It is good to keep in mind that you do not need to constantly create new art to keep an online presence. All you need is to give your visitors a reason to stop by now and then. For example, you could make a how-to tutorial or a speedpaint, recommend your favorite tools or resources to use, and so on. Additionally, you would want to encourage interaction, whether between you and visitors or visitors themselves. To that end, you can run polls, create social media content that makes them ponder upon its meaning, or ask some questions in captions of your posts.

Exceptional Customer Service

This would mean being up-to-date on all inquiries, maintaining professional and polite conduct, as well as being punctual, regardless of the channel your visitors are using to reach out to you. The impression you leave upon your art buyers can provide you with a great source of free advertisement — word of mouth. If they find your services satisfactory or otherwise excellent, they will be more inclined to relay your information to other people. But, the same goes for the negative impressions people might have. 

That is why providing excellent customer service is a priority, with a professional demeanor and respecting deadlines taking significant precedence over all other matters. That will signify that you appreciate your client’s time which, in turn, will make their impression of you better.

Visitors to Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Frieze London 2017 Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze | Image source: theartnewspaper.com

Marketing

Word of mouth should not be the only way you promote your work. Successful marketing strategies rely on much more than that, and here are a few possible ways you could promote your work:

Art Community Networking

Networking provides the perfect opportunity to market yourself. Moreover, it is invaluable as it provides links to individuals and organizations who may help you build your reputation in the art world. Furthermore, when you are just starting, many of the people who visit your exhibitions or web page will be other artists, just like you. Take those opportunities and forge connections for the future – both yours and theirs!

An online equivalent of another artist visiting the gallery to see your exhibition and then telling their friends about it would be commenting and sharing their content. That is why engaging with people who are not potential art buyers is equally as important — and there are specific ways you can help each other in an online environment.

Another way to network is to get involved with the community. To be more precise — this is the method people use most often. You should find out where local artists spend time together or research the internet to find out where artists with similar interests are. Art community sites such as ARTDEX, DeviantArt, and RedBubble are some examples of those online places.

Online Promotion

Online promotion can be divided into two separate, distinct categories: free and paid. 

Paid promotion is pretty simple. After you research the market and competition and set up your page or website, you use that information as target parameters for the website you’re using for promotion. After a certain amount of people sees or clicks on your advertisement, the ad stops running, and you have to pay again.

However, not everyone has money for paid advertisements. That is where ‘free’ online promotion comes into play. Free is under quotation marks because this promotion requires patience and is, more often than not, time-consuming and tedious. However, it is accessible to anyone, regardless of their financial status, making it the first choice for many.

Some of the options for free promotion we have mentioned above — making connections with other artists, sharing their work and them sharing it in return, word of mouth, and so on. Additionally, an excellent way to promote your work, especially if you are getting overwhelmingly positive feedback, is to encourage art buyers to provide testimonials you can post on either your website or your social media or art community profiles. The more people can see that you have satisfied clients, the better your reputation will be.

Local Events

These events may include meetups at galleries and art fairs, or exhibitions, local art markets, art auctions, and many more. Many factors come into play when this is the primary platform for your reputation. For example — people may factor in the reputation of the galleries or other venues where your artwork is exhibited. Going further, the galleries that represent you will impact on your reputation via association. Therefore, it pays off to think carefully about the venues you associate yourself with.

The other two things that are especially prominent when promoting your work face to face are — how you present yourself and how you interact with others. The first one is a statement that will decide the first impression — so you will need to factor in for that too. Think about the verbal and non-verbal messages you may make when presenting yourself and prevent any mixed messages that are not consistent with what you are trying to achieve in your career.

On the other hand, how you interact with others falls under the spectrum of connecting with people — being true to yourself and as approachable as that lets you be is the best way to go. Additionally, keeping a professional and polite demeanor is a given in these situations, especially if you have encountered a potential client.

If you are looking for a place to begin building your reputation in the art world, ARTDEX is the perfect place to start. It is a place for artists, art collectors, and art dealers to connect and manage their collections online. Not only will you find a community of like-minded artists there, but you will also be able to promote your work and find innovative ways to build your art reputation!

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