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Artists and artisans typically work alone. They can have a hard time connecting with the buying public.
Painters, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, weavers and others produce works that sell in the right venue. Different venues, however, attract different people. And there's the rub.
High end galleries still show high end works by artists and artisans. Particular galleries have homed in on a particular market segment and serves clients with works deemed appropriate.
These days, however, many galleries have morphed into high-end gift shops, serving more of a second tier market. Customers who frequent these shops are likely to be well-heeled with disposable income. But they are not usually knowledgeable buyers of art. They are more likely to be looking for handmade gifts.
The Internet offers another market for artists and artisans. With a website, artists and artisans can reach a public much wider than that offered by either a gallery or gift shop. Artists and artisans can also drive potential buyers to the website using various social media, e. g., Facebook and others.
Example: Ella paints realistic pictures in oils and acrylics. She has exhibited in galleries, attended up-scale shows, and has taken some private commissions, including portraits. She supplements her income by teaching. Her classes are popular--with beginners as well as advanced students. She has found that she gets real enjoyment teaching young people. Her studio is in a converted garage, and she convenes classes there. She runs several multi-class sessions during the year.
Example: Travis is a sculptor. Primarily, he works in bronze, and it is a tough market to conquer. To bring in income, he made arrangements with other sculptors to produce their bronze castings. He works also with museums and galleries to produce fine reproductions. Recently, he has begun selling fine reproductions to gift shops and decorators. He uses Facebook to drive interest to his website.
Example: MaeAnn is a weaver and designer. She turns out small rugs and wall hangings. She has a website and is on social media. All this activity keeps her busy with projects that come from decorators, collectors, high income individuals, and galleries. She does a show twice each year where regulars seek her out and she meets new people. With her artist's eye, her knowledge of fibers, and her weaving skills, she has tapped into a new market segment. She produces woven pictures of people and animals, working from photographs. Private commissions are coming in.
Artists and artisans have more opportunities today than ever before. Social media is rapidly expanding the possibilities for selling things handmade, hand painted, hand woven, hand carved and more. There is a real market out there for whatever you do. And various opportunities are available to supplement your income.
Your website is your store. Use social media to drive people to you. Or, use sites like Etsy to display and sell the things you make. Artists and artisans no longer starve in the garret. They reach out to the buying public.
Many more examples of successful artists and artisans are scattered throughout these write-ups. Artists and artisans can starve if they don't sell what they produce. Never forget that you are running a business, and that means you must sell what you create.