Understanding the 3 stages of your art career.

Let us start from the beginning and point out that your art career is not dependant on your age and certainly not dependant on your natural ability to make art. Understanding the 3 stages of your art career goes much further than simply producing a few paintings and expecting the recognition to follow. So if you are wondering. Why it’s taking so long for you to achieve the success you are dreaming of as an artist? then here are a few key points that may help you define where you are now and the things you might want to consider to get where you want to be.

There are 3 key milestones that can serve as guidelines when identifying your current positioning as a local or international artist.

  1. Emerging Artist
  2. Mid-Career Artist
  3. Established Artist

All 3 stages have there time and place when it comes to developing your career. They often overlap each other while blurring the boundaries which makes it sometimes difficult and confusing, at times even frustrating.

Being aware of where you are will make your journey less stressful and allow you to focus on the important tasks ahead while letting go of the frustrations. That being said let’s look at each stage with a broader perspective.

Emerging Artist

These artists are typically seen as evolving, growing and dynamic creatives, constantly questioning the next move. One body of work can differ from the other. And that’s ok. There is no defined culture or boundary that sets these artists in a category or genre. Many artists will spend most of their careers in this very phase. Leaving options open for change and experimentation.

Identifying yourself as an emerging artist does not have to mean that you cannot sell and promote your work. There exists a market for collectors and art enthusiasts who enjoy the diversity of work that comes from emerging artists. More often than not, it is the platform that best describes how artists end up making a name for themselves. The trial and error process is essential to reaching a certain maturity as an artist. If you are an emerging artist you are more likely to be focused on art-making rather than art marketing.

Mid-Career Artist

I like to call this the grey zone between emerging and established. The mid-career artists have reached a certain level of credibility within a local or international community. This acknowledgment tends to occur naturally when an artist decides to shift their focus to more marketing and as a result less making. Now, this does not necessarily convert into more revenue, it simply means that you are now moving your attention towards sharing your work with the wider community as a way of establishing your place in the art market and generating more interest to sell your work.

A mid Career artist will start to look at participating in regular group exhibitions. Potentially investigating a body of work for a solo exhibition as well as take more consideration towards what they share and don’t share with the public. If you are a mid-career artist, there is a good chance that you are on your way to having an honest go at making a full time living off your art.

If this seems like a familiar place then you will most probably have a website, possibly your online gallery, some form of social media platform and maybe a part-time or full-time representation in a gallery. You possibly have a few collectors that are supporting your journey and therefore the confidence to pour more time into your art as a business rather than an experiment or hobby.

Established Artist

Although the word “established” seems self-explanatory. There are a few key factors to consider when striving for stability in your art career.

  1. Recognition of your art by the public generally results in a higher demand for your product. In most cases, the demand is dominated by one particular style that has stemmed from or matured from your experiences as an emerging artist.
  2. If you are established as an artist, then you are able to develop solid business models with multiple levels of income. Your inventory is substantial enabling you to be present in multiple shows and galleries. The established artist is able to build a brand around what they love doing.
  3. The established artist understands pricing and utilizes the right tools to promote themselves while being connected with a local and international community.

Here are 5 Goals to consider if you want to position yourself as an established artist.

  1. Aim at small goals with an eye on the big picture.
  2. Start, finish or update your marketing tools.
  3. Be creative with your potential revenue streams.
  4. Produce more of your highest quality work.
  5. Be proactive and don’t give up. Know one said it was easy.

I hope that you found this information has helped in understanding the 3 stages of your art career. If you would like to add other information or share your experiences. Leave a comment and most importantly keep having fun with art and experimentation. Be patient, stay persistent and shoot for gold. You too can be a successful artist. We all have something to share. So what is your story?

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