How to become an artist in 7 easy steps...

The below points are based on my own experience and observations of being an artist over the past number of years. It is my hope that you will disagree with most of them. Enjoy.

1. Sell your work. If you don't make money from your art, you won't be making art for very long. Artists are simultaneously brilliant at making art and terrible at selling it. People buy art. Lots of it. Don't overprice your work. Price your work as if you were buying it. Don't be getting notions about yourself. Making art is easy, selling it is the creative part.

We had a market stall back in the day. Art, scarfs and headbands. Absolute disaster of a business.Tremendous craic.

2. Build a website. If you can't build a website in this day and age, you must be a bit daft. You don't have to be Mark Zuckerberg to drag and drop or copy and paste. If you can do this you can build a site. We all carry a computer in our pockets - use it. A website gives you an online gallery open 24/7. Selling your work is hard; it's even harder without a website. No one needs to buy your work, you have to convince them to want to; and when they want to you have to make it easy for them to do so.

If you have a product you need to sell it. Whether it's a tee, a pencil or art. Online store fronts never close and a surprising amount of people buy art in the middle of the night. 

3. Get a studio. Do not work out of your house. You want to be an artist, not a hermit. Yes your parents love you but they could do without the paints and turps fumigating the house. Your housemates might be supportive but that support will dry up, just like your paintbrushes when you leave them in the toothbrush holder. Join a studio or a workshop, they give you a chance to meet other artists. People are great, artists are better. 

You will need somewhere to create your work. It can be a messy business. Don't make your dining room table your creative space.

4. Social media. You don't have to be swinging your paintbrush around in every post but you need to have a presence. Instagram sells more art than Christie's. Social media was built to connect people, connect people so you can sell them stuff. Lots of stuff and it does a tremendous job. Find your niche, gather information on your demographic and get posting.

Click to buy. Instagram is incredible for selling art work. Make it, snap it, post it, sell it.

5. Read. You should know your subject inside out, or at least enough to carry a conversation over of a glass of red wine with an exhibition attendee whose hair is more interesting than the art on display. Talk about art with your mates, parents, strangers, enemies, teachers and shopkeepers. Disagree, agree and disagree some more. You should have thoughts and opinions. If you don't, you haven't read enough.

Reading on the street is highly recommended. 

6. Enter exhibitions. Do not pay to display. By doing so you feed a parasitic system that survives at your expense. Mingle with the art crowd. They're good people. The best people. If you're putting on your own exhibition, make money, don't lose it. Do the math before you make the art. Charge people to get in if you have to. The Tate Modern charges people £25 to see a Picasso exhibition - the prick's dead nearly 50 years and he's still making more money than you. 

This is from my first solo exhibition. I didn't sell any art. Not one piece. Nothing. Great night though.

7. Make art. All of the above are not applicable if you don't put in the work. The more provocative the better. We have enough paintings of sunsets and seashores (and lighthouses, boats, fishes and cats). Nowhere near enough rats. Show up everyday and create. Chuck Close once said inspiration is for amateurs. Don't wait for that inspiring sunset or eureka moment, the apple didn't just fall on Newton's head. The poor chap was slapping apples off his forehead for years before the gravity penny dropped. If you're a creative you are so lucky. If you have the confidence to practice that creativity, you're even luckier. Don't take it for granted. In this post pandemic world, creativity will flourish or perish. Funding will be at risk, opportunities slim. Your talents are needed more than ever. Give it socks mate. 

Leave a comment below if you have any advice or points that you would add to the list. Do you agree or disagree with the above points? If you need some art for that newly painted Covid wall you can check out my work down below. The website is still operating normally during the pandemic. Orders seem to be arriving in good time. Shout out to An Post. 


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