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Author Topic: Next Steps as an Artist?  (Read 32524 times)

ThirstyDursty

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Next Steps as an Artist?
« on: July 12, 2015, 07:44:31 am »

In the past 3 months, I've taken a personal hobby and externalized it.

I've entered 3 Art & Photo Shows and won best Photo in 2 shows and sold works in all as well. And got really encouraging feedback from a professional photographer who was a judge.

I've made a Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/durstphoto )...partly not to spam all my friends with photos in they don't care and grow an audience beyond my friends.

I've set-up a website (www.adurst.photo) using Zenfolio...although it still needs work.  Originally, I did this on 500px, but found it lacked the options I really wanted, but still post there hoping my images might get purchased on Prime.

I'm considering options as how to advance this hobby further into the professional realm.

1) more local art shows?
2) local markets?
3) stock sites?
4) fineartamerica and other sites similar?
5) private galleries?

Not sure what to do.

I'd like it to grow to the point the hobby is self funding. All expenses (travel, gear). Maybe even a small profit.

What should I or do I need to do...to make this work?

I should add...I only have an interest in creating art....not doing weddings or portraits or other commercial/commissioned work.

But I am of course open to feedback on my art, for it/me to grow and mature..

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PeterAit

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 05:52:27 pm »

Keep your day job.
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ThirstyDursty

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2015, 07:10:59 pm »

Hi Pete...that's a given. I'm not thinking I can do this as a full time job. Just a maturing hobby...I love creating art and really enjoy it when others like it enough to want to take it into their homes.

I want it to grow and I don't want to hemorrhage money or time into avenues/pursuits that don't make sense.


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drmike

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 03:01:05 am »

i... I want it to grow and I don't want to hemorrhage money or time into avenues/pursuits that don't make sense. ...'

or don't make money?

A hobby makes sense just in itself and can eat money.

I get annoyed when people say 'you could make money selling these'. Firstly they are almost certainly wrong and if that's their measure of success the conversation is over :)

That said good luck and I hope you both enjoy the art fairs and stuff and you at least break even!
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ThirstyDursty

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 05:40:52 am »

Lol...yes the hobby already eats lots of money ;)

Camera, lens, computer, software...lots of sunk costs at this point.

And I won't stop the hobby, if it doesn't make money.

I want my skills and the quality of art to mature. That is the main objective.

The secondary objective is to share publicly and hopefully find audiences that enjoy my art.  And use these experiences as inspiration to continue exploring and developing. Both the audience, but also the artist communities.

Third Objective is to have the hobby partially self fund.

Doesn't need to be significant, or even break even.

But I can only justify spending so much of my children's inheritance on workshops, entry fees, printing costs etc.

And as a final note...I have sold a few. 1 print from each show, plus two award prizes. Which paid for the shows and the prints that didn't sell...now hanging in my house.

What I was hoping for was some ideas and insights into what might be worthwhile directions to go next. Ideally ones with some potential to contribute back into the kitty, and further public display and sale of my art.


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NancyP

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2015, 10:58:49 am »

Really good photos of local scenes, intended for local markets, is how I would start.
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DeanChriss

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 04:58:01 pm »

It seems you are talking about starting a business without really saying so. Turning something you are passionate about into a business might not be a good way to maintain your passion or grow as an artist. Selling your work is sales and marketing, not photography. Advancing "further into the professional realm" will give you less time for photography because it takes a lot of time to market your work and deal with the ancillary business issues. None of that is a photographic or artistic skill, and doing all of it plus the photography is not very compatible with a typical day job.

Assuming you can get by on 4-6 hours of sleep, have a lot of vacation time, and creating art becomes a business, will you continue photographing what you are passionate about regardless of sales, or will sales control what you photograph? If the latter happens is it still "your art" or is it the market's art? If the market controls what you photograph, how is that different than any the commercial/commissioned work that you are not interested in doing? What if people don't buy what you create in large enough volume to sustain the business?

I'm playing devil's advocate because it seems you are not seeing the whole picture, so to speak. There are many ways to advance your art without going into business. For instance, most communities have arts groups and their members often range from professional to rank amateur. There are also various public shows and competitions that you already seem to know about. OTOH if you really do want to start a business then do it, but realize what you are in for. Creating a basic business plan might be a good first step, because doing so may clarify your thoughts.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 05:01:55 pm by DeanChriss »
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ThirstyDursty

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2015, 05:51:50 pm »

Thanks Nacy...that has been a big learning...the pictures that sold had local context and emotional connection. Really nice photos from a overseas vacation won the prize...but didn't sell.

Dean, I appreciate your input...those are exactly some of my own thoughts. I'm a little torn on all this...I think maybe in someway...I do just want it to stay a hobby...but want to cover some of the expenses of creating the art and in some ways a "clearing house/route" for finished works ;) I only have so much wall space and storage. And others seem to enjoy it and want it at the right price.

I agree about the "ruining a hobby, by making it a job".

Trying to find a middle ground that maybe doesn't exist ;)

That said, I know a few painters that seem to have found it...they are the ones that encouraged me into these shows to start with. But brushes are decidedly less expensive then a Epson P800


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Iluvmycam

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2015, 06:31:26 pm »

I looked at your portfolio. Nice, pretty work.

Sure, keep doing what you have been doing and expand your scope.

Good luck!
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louoates

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2015, 09:12:33 pm »

Thirsty,
Some very nice images on your site, although I'd edit out the near-duplicates.

You seem to be stuck between the artsy side of photography and the business side. If I read you right in that you don't really need to make money off your passion but really enjoy seeing others appreciate and value your work, I hear you! I was in the same place. I don't need the money and I dread the thought of setting up a commercially successful business.

What really works for me is to make my images available to a local charity that runs a very large thrift store. I serve as an art "expert" to pick through donated art of all kinds, mostly framed pictures, and select those that are salable in their store. If the artwork is damaged, poorly done, or unsuited for sale, I tear out the artwork, print a suitable image from my portfolio that is suitable for that frame, price it, and put in on the shelf for sale. The charity gets far more money than it would have with the original art. Plus I get fantastic satisfaction in seeing my work sold and great feedback from shoppers who are looking for nice affordable art. This will be my third season doing this and I can't tell you how much more satisfying this is than shlepping my work to art shows and galleries.
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ThirstyDursty

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2015, 10:35:25 pm »

Great Ideas and thank you.

Yes...don't need to make money...but see some potential expansions of the hobby which are investments beyond what I can justify as "just for fun".

Printing/Printmaking
Framing
Better equipment or different equipment that enable new avenues (macro or lighting for example).

I've really just started and feel so much for potential for growth and maturing of my skills and art.

I've really only been doing this for ~1year after my wife bought me an oly OMD em10 for my birthday.

That said I was pretty serious 15 years ago...went I was in high school...had a darkroom in the basement...all set even to go to Ryerson for Photography.

When my dad suggested the passion as a job was a good way to kill the passion...and he's right...I wouldn't enjoy doing weddings and corporate portraits etc to pay the mortgage.

But essential 15 years with a P&S or iPhone as my only camera...till now and the fire is burning strong.

I actually feel I need mentoring to grow and refine the art...but not even sure how to do that.

I've looked at the camera clubs here....mostly frightening old men that want to take pictures young women in bikinis or cars or both


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the_marshall_101

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 05:19:23 pm »

Slight OT but your website (nice shots BTW) is displaying images in pretty poor quality - I'm talking about the rotating large backdrop pics.  They're blown up too far and look quite blurry.  I'm sure it's Zenfolio not you, but just thought I'd say!
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ThirstyDursty

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 06:49:44 pm »

Slight OT but your website (nice shots BTW) is displaying images in pretty poor quality - I'm talking about the rotating large backdrop pics.  They're blown up too far and look quite blurry.  I'm sure it's Zenfolio not you, but just thought I'd say!

Thanks for the heads up.

I need to get on to the website. Been the least of my worries. But getting towards critical. Most oft the he images are now slight dated and my techniques have improved...some images need to go and new better ones in.

That said, I've been hammering FB and Twitter and that has resulted in a request for an exhibition for Oct and a "mall" retail gallery picking up my work (botanicals and B&W).

So I bought a P800 to produce for the exhibition and store. So I've been learning to print. I'm buying premade frames and doing the final bit of framing myself.

So in 4 weeks I've produced
- 6 40cm x 1.8m panoramics for the show along with 8 A2 and am in various stages of framing.

Plus for the retail gallery (delivered two days ago to them)
- 8 30x30cm square botanicals that can picked and mixed for wall clusters and framed in white shadow box frames
- 5 30x40cm B&W and framed traditional black frame double mat of off-white and inner pin stripe of black.
- 50 artists cards

I'm working on a physical portfolios and specific "collections"/themes

My interactions with galleries has been overwhelming for them and not focused enough..."hey I've got 100 print ready images and release a new ones constantly" isn't helpful for them or me.

I'm feeling little stressed with all the action...but is all good stuff ;)
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MoreOrLess

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Re: Next Steps as an Artist?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2015, 01:51:25 am »

Really good photos of local scenes, intended for local markets, is how I would start.

Definitely, take the kind of pictures that interest you if its still going to mostly be a hobby but focus on prints of local scenes or at least locations that most people in the area or tourists will have visited.

Look for a cheap stall or maybe some kind of artists co-op, don't print too much early on.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 02:06:50 am by MoreOrLess »
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