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Wide Water, 5″ x 18″ by Robert Maniscalco

I’m considering a career in art, but I’m not sure where to start. I like to draw and paint but I’m not sure who would buy enough of my art to support my family. I have a lot of work, numerous series and have been told I’m very good.

So I read a book on marketing. It said I should start by sharing my art with my family and friends, that these would be among my most loyal collectors and advocates throughout my (hopefully!) long career.  The book says you should think of your work as a product and make a lot of work available, offering a wide variety of price points, so there is something for everyone. It also said you should write books and and sell a lot of instructional materials, catalogs and inexpensive reproductions so friends, family, students and colleagues would have the opportunity to personally “invest” as little as $10 or as much as $25,000 in your career.

He also warned that there may be economic ups and downs that may affect your career. The author suggests diversifying into related fields to make extra money during down times.

His latest book even gets into what happens when you get into the middle of your career and people start moving on to the newer, younger, cheaper versions of yourself.

His Point of Art, published in 2005, addressed what might happen when people discovered technologies that can produce on image of your work that looks almost as good as the original, which may impact demand. It even warned that with the push of a button, people might someday prefer to make their own photographs look like paintings in any media they choose.

In his blogs, the author warns of the emergence of an image driven society. He recommended adding value to your originals by making them into archaeological relics, investing in archival materials and creating legacy quality artworks that could only be truly appreciated in person.

He also mentions in his blogs that you should treat your art as a business and value yourself as a professional.

On second thought, maybe becoming a professional artist is just asking for trouble. I think I will just inherit a huge fortune instead. The book doesn’t mention how to do that, so I put it on my “shelf of good ideas that really aren’t.”

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