I want to clear up a popular misconception, not started by me, that I am retired. I quit working at the local college to pursue my art career full-time. It was a mutual agreement between me and the administration. They weren’t going to give me any more classes and I wasn’t going to wait around in case they overbooked and needed another hand.
I had been trying to leave for about 5 years, but never had that final motivation to jump off the cliff. The new procedures and guidelines at the college pushed me over the edge. I jumped off and haven’t looked back. I have already made mistakes and wasted time and money by the wheelbarrow load, but I am committing to this endeavor full blast and full-time. I have much to learn about the art business and everything is happening so fast that I wonder if what I am learning now will be out of date soon.
The Internet seems to be the platform for people who want to connect with others without going through the gatekeepers. Since artists have had to enter the marketplace, we have needed places to show and sell our work and some need someone to represent them. Here is where the gatekeepers came in: the curators, gallerists, agents and others came in and said,
“We will represent you to the outside world. We will help you show your work for a percentage. We will talk to the public and tell them about you and your work and how much they would gain from collecting your art. We will help you decide what to make and how big it should be. We will speak for you. We will gather the names of people who would be interested in your work. We will contact them for you and will sell your work to them. You don’t even need to know their names. We will take care of all that for you. And we want half of the money that we get from selling your work. You just stay in your studio and make wonderful art.”
And for a long time that system worked. But so many people began to make art in the modern world that they couldn’t all be represented. So a smaller number of people had representation and a larger number were faced with the daunting task of making and marketing their art on their own.
So I have jumped off the cliff and become a professional artist making and selling art. I have partnered with three others in my family to support and encourage each other in our divergent creative acts. We established a website (craigarthouse.com) to display our works and reach out to people who might be interested in our work.
This public offering acquaints anyone who finds us of the variety of creative expressions that we make.
The internet has helped to level the playing field. We no longer have to depend on the curators, critics and gallerists to promote our efforts. We will not only have to improve in our expression, but also learn how to market independently. As the art coach Corey Huff writes in his book, How to Sell Your Art Online, “We have control of how our art is perceived by the world.”
So I am really still working; this time for myself and the family.