What You Need to Know to Keep Maturing as an Artist

Do you consider yourself a romantic or a realist?

Are you an artist that believes your talent is all you need to achieve your goal of making a living with your art, or do you think tireless hard work is necessary?

Myths are hard to let go of. We like them because it gives us something to believe in and strive for.

Every profession has its mythical story; the musician that becomes a famous rock star after being discovered in a dingy bar; the actor tirelessly working away at small parts & commercials, believing a big break will come soon; or the athlete that works long hours pushing physical boundaries for the one chance at a gold medal.

These are all wonderful stories. Who wouldn’t want to believe in triumph prevailing, it’s a natural instinct.

The truth is we’re all learning as we go along.


If you’re stuck on your path as an artist and not sure what to do next, you need to start looking at the story you created for yourself and ask if it’s still working for you.

Maybe you need to create a new story, because the old one is a shirt that is worn from wear and tear and past its due date.

In his book Outliers , Malcom Gladwell talks about many conditions that contribute to the brightest and most famous, but none of the brightest and most famous got to where they ended up without putting in the hours necessary to learn and perfect their craft.

We create our stories as we go along and our stories change. Going from one point to another is never a straight line. There are all kinds of diversions, twists and turns.


Facing FearsAre your fears keeping you back?

Whenever you reach a point where you face a fear you can be sure that is where you need to push to go beyond your walls.

If it’s easy, you’re not growing, and you need to grow, not just as a creative person but as the bright, savvy business person that you are.

Check out Julien Smith’s Kindle download The Flinch (it’s free!!) to learn about the responses we have when were confronted by our own fears.

There’s a saying that I like – sometimes the wrong door leads us to the right place – I like it because I’m a hopeless romantic and quotes push that button, but also because it hits close to home. I just went through my wrong door not too long ago.

Boy was it the wrong door, but I wouldn’t be here right now if I hadn’t taken it, and I believe I’m right where I need to be to learn what I need to learn to move forward.

Whatever you need to do to grow into the artist that is you, do it. Keep looking. Keep pushing. Keep striving.


I have a list of questions that just might help you look through some doors. Maybe one of them is your wrong door because its your wall, or it may be the door you need to go through.

Basic Elements

  1. Do you have a unified body of work?
  2. Are you happy with the direction your work is taking?
  3. Where are you in your career compared to where you want to be?
  4. Where do you want to be in a year?
  5. What is your mission as an artist?
  6. How do you want to achieve your mission?
  7. What makes you unique from others in the same field, using the same medium, covering the same topics?

Your Reputation

  1. Do you have values that you apply to everything you do (how you represent yourself)?
  2. What is the overall message you wish to portray when interacting with others?
  3. Are you consistent?
  4. Are you reliable?

Promoting Yourself

  1. Do you have a blog/website?
  2. Have you done a good job of promoting yourself?
  3. Do you make it clear in your promotional material how you want to be contacted ?
  4. Do you sell directly from your studio?
  5. Do you sell online through an artist site?
  6. Are you involved in local fairs/shows/causes
  7. Do you promote your work on Facebook, Twitter or Google+?
  8. Do you post on YouTube?
  9. Do you have an email list which you use to update others on what you’re up to?
  10. How do people learn about you and your product?

The Media and Advertising

  1. Do you know what your unique story is?
  2. Do you know how to pitch to the media?
  3. Do you know how to get your press release in the local paper?
  4. Have you been successful in the past pitching to papers about your events?
  5. What methods are you using now to promote your work – off and online?

Your Website

  1. Do your readers know what to do when they visit each page of your website?
  2. Do you know about SEO, design and content development?
  3. Do you use Google analytics and Web tools to monitor your website?
  4. Is the information on your site well organized and easy to navigate?
  5. Do you have a website that is keyword, phrase and SEO friendly?

Your Customer

  1. Do you have a good idea of who your customers are?
  2. Do you know why they buy your work, or would want to buy your work?
  3. What is your strategy for selling your work?
  4. Do you have an idea of the age range, income level, & educational level of your customer?
  5. Who is your product not for? (income level, gender, single, retired, etc.)
  6. What information do you make available to clients when they buy your work?
  7. Do you have a customer feedback system in place?
  8. Who are your loyal customers and how do you show your appreciation for their loyalty?

Your Product

  1. What is your central product?
  2. Do you have a low, mid and high range product?
  3. Have you given a demonstration of a technique or a tutorial?
  4. Have you given a workshop?
  5. What is the average sale amount of a purchasing customer?


Distribution of Product

  1. Are you represented in any gallery shops or commercial galleries?
  2. Do you donate your work as a prize to your members or for a cause?
  3. Do you sell locally, nationally, internationally?
  4. What is your distribution method?

Do you find yourself struggling with any of the topics listed above?


9 thoughts on “What You Need to Know to Keep Maturing as an Artist

  1. […] I offer my first post on a 4 part series that elaborates on What You Need to Know to Keep Maturing as an Artist. With optimism, these articles offer you new ideas and avenues to explore while embarking on a […]

  2. […] Your Story As An Artist, Is It Working? This entry was posted on August 8, 2012, in art business, branding, marketing & promotions, planning, productivity, Solopreneurs. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment Just the other day a fellow blogger gave some valuable feedback. He suggested I expand on the post, What You Need to Know to Keep Maturing as an Artist. […]

  3. Great, great, post! I have bookmarked it!

  4. Reblogged this on Ian Goldsmith – Artist and commented:
    This is such a great post that I’m reblogging it. Well done Filio!

  5. This is a brilliant post Filio! Have you ever thought of doing a series answering some of the questions you pose, giving advice and examples? I know I’ve been really blessed by this and your previous posts.
    Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for the feedback, Ian. You have helped me tremendously in your suggestion.

      I’m not always sure what kind of information is helpful to others and in fact, I am trying to plan a series of themes for the next five months.

      Your suggestion has set me on a path for a series. Keep your brilliant suggestions coming.

      Much appreciation.

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