I frequently hear from students how quickly they’re earning back their investment in The MAKING Art Making MONEY Semester.
I can’t, so I won’t offer any guarantees but here’s a recent example.
Hey, working on Course 8, Profiting, and just took a look at my expenditures and income to date, compared to last year.
By eliminating fees for juried shows and art organization membership dues this year, I have paid for my semester tuition already. Yes, siree! Show me the money!!!
-Marilyn Rose, Artist, Lincoln, California.
Here’s the real kicker. I asked Marilyn, “Approximately how many years you have been entering contests and paying dues to these organizations?”
15 years or more. And I can remember only two of my paintings selling during a juried show.
Conservatively, that’s over $30,000! $2000 times 15 years. Marilyn detailed her experience with art contests for us.
The average annual dues for a national organization is probably $75. To enter a show you have to be a member, and the entry fee varies, but for three entries the fee might $45.
More for OPA and they only allow two entries. Then only one painting usually is accepted, shipping and handling can run up to $150, and you have to pay for return shipping in advance.
If the painting sells they reimburse you if you paid in advance. So to become a Signature Member you have to be accepted into three national juried shows. (That’s called pay to play.)
I became a Signature Member of American Impressionist Society in 2009 I think, but since then the competition has become so heavy that I haven’t been juried into their shows since then.
I’m not renewing my memberships in any national art organizations because they are all establishment entities, red oceans.*
* What Marilyn is referring to is swimming with the sharks, in an ocean of blood, for one little fish versus creating clear value above and beyond your art in service to a target market. That’s what she is learning inThe MAKING Art Making MONEY Semester.
To Marilyn’s credit, I have seen her self-confidence and focus increase dramatically from the time she joined us. Because she’s stopped asking for permission to show her art and subjecting herself to irrelevant rejection. She focused on selling her art.
Selling your art versus showing your art is a very different intention and that yields very different results.
Because Marilyn shows up as a supportive and positive to her fellow students, her global community of artists has her back too.
I’ve been surprised to learn how many of my students entered art contests, one booked a phone consult with me on Monday.
I didn’t join artist organizations because frankly, I found that too many of the artists operated with a scarcity mentality, making them overly competitive and jealous.
I think competing with other artists is a futile and egotistical exercise, and I see jealousy as an ugly trait rooted in deep insecurity.
The fact is art judges don’t typically buy art; art contests are political, and the outcome is often decided in advance.
But I can see how these art contest organizations play off of artists’ insecurities and how they prey on artists’ hopes.
This is making a profitable enterprise for the organizers and the art judges, the only winners in this equation.
Most artists would love to sell their art but they don’t have a solid written plan. If you don’t have a plan, then all you have is hope. That hope is false hope because:
And a plan to sell art without a plan is a plan to sell no art.
You can hope that you’re going to “be discovered” while real and solid opportunities, not to mention the years, pass by.
Stop competing with other artists, instead:
- create clear value above and beyond your art
- serve a target market
- don’t hope, plan to sell your art
Save yourself valuable time, money, and self-respect.