After I lost my job in early 2016 I decided that becoming an artist would be a great move. After all, I’ve had a talent for it ever since I can remember. So I started drawing, buying equipment and began the new life working for myself (no easy thing as any self-employed person can vouch) (I didn’t realise this at the time, naturally..)
I am 55. It’s not terribly young and it’s not terribly old either, thankfully. That’s just a personal opinion, of course, but “wisdom with age” is a great adage and entirely true, so I am going to use this blog thing to share my experiences (maybe even wisdom) of “how to” be an artist professionally. There’s not going to be a particular structure to it, I’m just going to say how I spent the past few years getting to where I am now. This will be written in segments as and when, like an on-going diary perhaps; it’ll develop and form as I go, much like my art! Oh, and for the record, this is the first time I have ever written a “blog” so that’s another first.
I knew nothing about business, that’s a dead cert. Having had paid employment for so long I was simply not in a place where I understood “business”. In my simple world, I was going to draw and magically all the money would somehow find me. This, of course, is never a good assumption because money doesn’t have a brain (or legs) so it can’t make any decisions about finding Guy Chapman Art’s bank account and live there for the rest of its life, growing as fat as you like and making said Guy Chapman a financial success. No, all that sort of thing actually involves boring stuff like searching the internet for exhibitions, galleries, cheap places to buy stock, sourcing a local printer and framer etc.
In fact there are a good deal of things to go on that list, may of which will constantly need attention. I am always looking for great venues, for example, and these have to be good ones because you reputation will be affected by where people see your work. It stands to reason, therefore, that displaying a £500 piece of art in the local village hall at a crafts afternoon is not going to get the attention you want, and is likely not going to do anything for your reputation as a professional artist. Village halls have their place, I hardly need to say it, but they are not wise venues for the aspiring professional artist, especially if you want your work to be taken seriously. Sorry if that sounds unkind, it isn’t meant to be, but it’s just true.