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  • Fantasies Artists Have About

    How the Art World Works



    Many artists have fantasies about how the art world works, believing that someday their wildest dreams will come true and they'll live fabulously happily ever after. Perhaps they will, but the only way any artist ever accomplishes that goal is to work really hard, persevere regardless of adversity, make the best art they possibly can, and understand the realities of what being a successful artist is all about.

    Keep in mind that the following list of artist fantasies has nothing to do with your inspirations or creative process-- that's sacred ground. You can have all the fantasies you want while hard at work in your studio, and in fact you should. But once your art is complete and ready to debut to the world, fantasies can really trip you up. Here are some of the more common ones that can potentially put a crimp in your artistic life...

    * All I have to do is wait for inspiration; then I can start making art.

    * All I have to do is make art and the business part will take care of itself.

    * All I have to do is make art, not worry about publicizing or showing it, and sooner or later someone will discover me.

    * All I have to do is get my art in front of the "right" people.

    * All I have to do is find a gallery or agent so I can spend all my time in the studio making art.

    * The only way to get known is for a gallery to represent me.

    * Artists should never show their art anywhere that's not a gallery.

    * All I have to do is get my art into a gallery and someone will buy it.

    * All I need is a solo show at a good gallery and I'll be successful.

    * There is a perfect gallery or dealer out there who will see my art, instantly love it and give me a show.

    * I won't show my art at just any gallery, only good galleries.

    * Regardless of my resume or experience, my art is good enough to show at the best galleries in the world.

    * All I have to do is get my work reviewed in (name of major art website or critic's blog or art magazine) and I'll be famous.

    * All I need are names of collectors so I can start making sales.

    * All I need are names and contact information of galleries so I can start getting shows.

    * Asking complete strangers for names and numbers of galleries, dealers, agents, representatives or other art world professionals who might be able to help you in your art career is a good idea.

    * Asking people for names and numbers of galleries, dealers, agents, representatives or other art world professionals so you can call them about your art is how to advance in your art career.

    * All I have to do is introduce myself to influential curators, critics, gallery owners or collectors, give them my contact information, and they'll call me.

    * I have a great idea for a show; now I can start contacting galleries about having it. I'll make the art when I get the show.

    * Even though I only have (put a small number here) finished pieces of art, I'm ready to start contacting multiple galleries for shows.

    * All I have to do is email major art websites, blogs, publications or writers and they'll write about me.

    * All I have to do is show my art to (name of influential art person), and they'll realize how good I am and make me famous.

    * I can find a patron or benefactor who will support me so I can make whatever art I want to make whenever I want to make it.

    * Someone will come to my studio and buy all of my work.

    * Real artists (aka true artists) never market or promote their own art.

    * True artists (aka real artists) don't do social networking.

    * Having an online profile is bad for my art career.

    * Cultivating an online following is a waste of time.

    * No one shops for art online.

    * No serious collectors look for art online.

    * No galleries look for art or artists online.

    * No one buys expensive art online.

    * No one buys art online.

    * My art will sell itself.

    * I should never have to sell my art. Other people should sell it for me.

    * My art is worth whatever price I put on it.

    * The higher I price my art, the more people will respect it.

    * Selling my art is not important.

    * Everyone should know who I am.

    * Everyone should know what my art looks like.

    * Everyone should know what my art is about.

    * I should never have to explain my art.

    * The harder my art is to understand, the more people will respect it.

    * People who don't understand my art are stupid.

    * People who don't like my art are idiots.

    * My art stands on its own; I don't have to answer any questions about it.

    * My art speaks for itself; I don't have to say a thing.

    * My art has something important to say regardless of what anyone else thinks.

    * My art will change the world.

    * I'm better than (put name of famous artist here).

    * (Put name of famous artist here) sucks!

    * There's no art scene where I live; I have to show somewhere else.

    * There's no art scene where I live; I have to move somewhere else.

    * I'd be more productive if I had more money and a studio.

    * I'd be more productive if I had a gallery representing me.

    * I'd be more productive if (put favorite excuse here).

    * I can't find the time to make art because (put favorite excuse here).

    * I can't be successful because I'm too old.

    * I can't be successful because I'm not a white male.

    * I can't be successful because I didn't go to art school.

    * I can't be successful because I don't have an MFA (Master of Fine Arts).

    * I can't be succesful because (put favorite excuse here).

    * Artists can do whatever they want whenever they feel like it.

    * The more difficult I am to be around, the more people will respect me.

    * The worse I behave, the more famous I'll get.

    * Real artists (aka true artists) are condemned to lives of poverty, sacrifice and being misunderstood.

    * Artists who are highly successful and make lots of money are sellouts.

    * Tons of sex all the time.

    * Drugs... and plenty of 'em.

    * I'm way ahead of my time; the world just hasn't caught up yet.

    * Artists only get famous after they die.

    ***

    Reality isn't always pretty, but it does tend to work when applied properly. So go for it! And best wishes for success in your art career...

    ***

    Contact the author, Alan Bamberger

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