"Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art." - Andy Warhol
When I was in art school I earned straight As in art history. I was even a student tutor of art history. All the while I wondered why some artists made it into the art history books and some did not.
It’s simple. Artists are celebrated in history because there is a market for their work. That means that at some point each significant Artist delivered a unique value proposition that served a target
That means that at some point each significant artist delivered a unique value proposition that served a target market or an "artist target audience."
How do you define a target market for your art?
I’ve cracked the code. You just need to follow a four-part formula by answering these questions. Is it easy to answer these questions?
No. It demands emotional intelligence and deep honesty, your soul's truth. Is it worth it? Yes. It’s transforming.
- Why? What is your creative purpose? Why are you here? Hint. It’s not about your art.
- What? What problem do you believe is really worth solving? What are you doing about your why? Hint. It’s not about your art.
- How? How are you solving that problem? What is your unique value proposition UVP?
- Who? Who does your UVP serve, who is your target market? Who is not?
Successful artists know their creative purpose. They know why they are here and what they are here to do.
Successful artists dedicate their lives to a mission, to a problem that is really worth solving. They are aiming so much higher than just making art.
How are these artists fulfilling their mission, solving that problem? By creating value above and beyond their art.
Here’s what they are not doing. They are not just making “art for art’s sake.”
Whatever that means. I’ve never really understood what making “art for art’s sake” means or had much respect for the notion.
It sounds like a personal hobby. Not that there is anything wrong with a hobby. It's just that no one’s going to pay you just entertain yourself. Your art will only sell if adds value to the marketplace.
Successful artists are also abundantly clear about who has the problem that they are solving, and who doesn’t.
They know their tribe, they share the same culture, ceremonies, and values. Artists celebrate their tribe and their tribe celebrates them by buying their art.
You might be thinking. Great. That’s nice. I haven’t a clue what my creative purpose is. You can and you must learn. Andy Warhol and Thomas Kindcade provide us with excellent examples of artists with distinct target markets.
Listen to Kate here. She’s not reciting an artist’s statement. She’s not talking about her “special” creative process. She’s talking about her mission. Just like a taught her.
We have a strong sense of who Kate is and want she stands for, and who she’s not, and what she stands against.
Kate’s not selling children’s portrait paintings. She’s on a mission of emotion.
Can you feel it? BAM! Yes you can. You can feel in Kate and in her subject.
Here are Kate Bradley’s answers to the vital four-part formula. Note you must answer these questions in order. Yet artists want to immediately know the answer to #4. So that’s where they start and why the get really frustrated.
- Why? “The purpose of my art is to affirm the inherent value in every person that is not based on what they do or how others see them.”
- What? “The problem is that kids need to know they are loved and valued just they way they are.”
- How? “My UVP is portraits of kids that capture their unique beauty and personality and preserve a specific moment in their lives.”
- Who? The name of Kate’s ideal customer Avatar’s name is Lauren. “She’s an affluent, stay-at-home wife and mom. She goes to church, is a member of a country club, and attends charity functions. Her kids are between the ages of 2 and 6 and attend to private school.”
Bottom line. How can an artist discover their target market? They must first discover themselves.
What is your Why? What? How? And Who?
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WHERE TO START TO SELL YOUR ART
"Learn The 8-Part Road Map that I used to sell $103,246 of my art during my first year as an unknown artist, without feeling like a sell-out"
- Ann Rea, Artist Mentor