Why Some Artists Will Almost Certainly Prosper in the New Economy


“Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world."  - Tennyson

There is revolution in the air.

Unless you have spent the last few months or so on Mars you can’t have missed the restless loss of direction of the western world as it has struggled to make sense of the momentous economic catastrophes unraveling all around.

Security, certainty and jobs have been sucked into a wild vortex of global meltdown.

Why some artists will almost certainly prosper in the new economy
It is in shifting, uncertain times like these that revolutions happen… Rules can be rewritten, systems can be changed. Paradigms shift… Revolutions can create positive new opportunities…

The times they are a changing…

Seth Godin, in a recent post, talked about the fact that the jobs, as we know them, aren’t coming back…


“Job creation is a false idol. The future is about gigs and assets and art and an ever-shifting series of partnerships and projects. It will change the fabric of our society along the way. No one is demanding that we like the change, but the sooner we see it and set out to become an irreplaceable linchpin, the faster the pain will fade, as we get down to the work that needs to be (and now can be) done.” – Seth Godin

It’s not about waiting for the old jobs to come back.

That isn't going to happen.

It is about taking things into your own hands and creating the work that you want to do… and as artists and artisans, we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this change…

The artists who will prosper will do these things…

  • They will seek out successful mentors, experts and teachers who will educate them in specific business skills such as marketing and selling
  • They will surround themselves with a community of like-minded others who will inspire them and keep them highly motivated
  • They will continue to read, study and learn all that they can about the business of art
  • They will continue to hone their presentation and closing skills
  • They will create a marketing plan with a time deadline and begin executing it
  • They will pick up the phone and make the necessary phone calls to gallery owners and directors

But revolutions are not always bloodless…

Anyone who has ever laid in bed at night wondering how they were going to feed the kids or pay the mortgage or stop the car from being repossessed knows that a revolution is a terrifying time… I have been there.

Opportunities for change are balanced by loss. Dreams of a new start are often founded from the stomach churning nightmare of disaster. How can we move forward without being paralyzed by fear of what the future holds?

The revolution of the mind starts here…

“When everyone has a laptop and connection to the world, then everyone owns a factory. Instead of coming together physically, we have the ability to come together virtually, to earn attention, to connect labor and resources, to deliver value.”Seth Godin

Artists and creative people have always had the kind of skills needed to survive in the art world. Self motivation, Pro-activity, focus, passion and a burning desire to create something wonderful. These skills now stand you in good stead.

The difference between the past and now is that you don’t need anyone else to sell or promote or make things for you. The tools available today offer the ability to connect and reach all over the world. We are in unprecedented times.

Don’t sit and wait for someone else to create a job for you. Create your OWN.

You CAN break out of the system.

Think laterally.

So how can you push forward?

The failing economy has meant that it has become harder for artists to sell some kinds of work. Buyers cut back on non-essential purchases, meaning that they might not buy a painting they wouldn’t have thought twice about purchasing three years ago. Art sales are lower in some areas and it may seem like an uphill battle to find a place in the new economy.

What can you do?

The answer is to think laterally and find a place where your creative skills and a NEED come together. Look around. What do people or businesses really need {not just want} and how can you help them with that?

When you find the intersection between what you love creating, and a need, then you will have found the sweet spot that will  create opportunity for you. Creating, solving people's problems and getting paid for it. Perfect.

Focus on flexibility and improving your business skills.

Understand how things work in business so that you can ride the wave rather than getting swept along by it. Start to create multiple income streams from your skills all of which can contribute to your household income and offer protection against market fluctuations.

Maybe, in time you will be able to create opportunities for others who are less well equipped for the journey…

Brave New World.

The world is changing and this can be disconcerting and frightening. Every revolution shakes up the system and often what comes after is much better.

The jobs aren’t coming back anytime soon and the shape of the new recovery will not be the same as the old way. It’s not an easy road by any means, but surely it’s time to reform the economic landscape to be more humane.

To work in ways that are FOR people, rather than AGAINST them. You have the creative skills and mindset to be at the forefront of this revolutionary new landscape.

Time to be brave and grasp the opportunity of a new paradigm.

Please let us know in the comments below how you are managing to take the bull by the horns and create your own way in this brave new world.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Yef im

    Hi Gary I have read you block and find it interesting I have to add to be sucsessful in sell your art it not exactly mean that you truly good artist it mean in your blog that you good seller.

    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      Thanks and I look forward to hearing more from you.

  2. Scott Branden

    Great post Gary! These points you listed here are very interesting to me because I have completed a 30 week training course that covers these point i.e. “The artists who will prosper will do these things…” It’s called the Key Person of Influence and artists can find it on-line. Daniel Priestley and Glen Carlson run this amazing adventure that has helped my work as an artist with these five essential elements, and they are; Develop a Perfect Pitch, Publish your ideas, Productize your value, Promote your self and your art, Partner with those who can help you succeed. In essence it can help package your value as an artist and fits well with those points you listed Gary. There is the book too with the same title, worth a read by all artists and all of us who now find ourselves at the beginning of the Entrepreneur Revolution. Again, a great post, thanks Gary.

    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      Thanks for you comments. Let us know more about the marketing techniques you are using and how they are working out.

      1. Scott Branden

        Hi Garry, A few of the marketing techniques I am using are based around those five key focus points above, i.e. Pitch, Publish, Productize, Promote, and Partner.

        So I will outline them here in more general terms for your readers / artists rather than bang on about myself.

        Pitch: By spending time to really get clear on just what the artists pitch is will help artists cut through the noise and have prospective customers, galleries etc ‘get’ your message and what your art is about so customers will want to know more. This is the most difficult stage and can take many weeks to develop just a few sentences that work! No kidding! Then you need to test, test, test by trying out your perfect pitch on anyone and everyone to discover what works best. When they get it and ask you for more rather than just saying something lame like “oh, thats nice” and then talking about the weather, then you know you’ve got it. You also need to break this down into a 10 second Elevator Pitch, a 30 second Lobby Pitch, and short few minutes Stage Pitch. Heres an example of a 10 second elevator pitch; Schwarzenegger, Devito, Twins! heres my example of my 10 second Elevator Pitch: I design and produce Insanely Cool Science Fiction Machines and Lighting Objects for astute art collector who love SCi-FI and who appreciate great quality! Find me at Science Fiction Machines dot com.

        Publish: By publishing either on-line in a blog or via Kindle, paper books etc, the artist can become a thought leader and an authority in their art niche hence the term author, not just another painter or sculptor etc.

        Productize: By developing a sales funnel that starts with quality free stuff, prospects can gain access to the artists world and become involved in it. It takes around 7 to 12 hours of free contact for a prospect to become ‘hooked’. The free stuff can be the artist actually in the gallery talking to visitors, not selling, just being their to shoot the breeze. Or maybe freely downloadable screen desktop backgrounds of some of their major works. The artist needs a P4P product too before customers buy their main art product. This P4P or ‘Pay For Product’ can be their book ( personally signed ), or a print of one of the artists major works, even higher quality images that can be downloaded and printed, or maybe what I call the ‘hats and tee shits’ product so the potential customers can become walking ads and show they are a part of the ‘Club’. e.g. DEUS Motorcycles.

        Profile: This is about promotion and developing your Art as a Brand and an building an asset and a email list via Aweber etc. Basically the artist needs to get ‘Web Famous’ when someone Googles them! They want to find you on-line, download your ideas and become part of your world. Record videos of your ideas, your art production methods, you in your studio, maybe a studio tour, get on camera and discuss your ideas. Remember Ideas are worthless unless shared. No point being a legend in your own studio if you’re the only one in it!

        Partner: Who can you call right now who can change your world? Imagine if you swapped places with Richard Branson for a year, what would your world / studio be like when you came back? No, really, I think you need to stop and consider this. If you have a new art work that you want to sell, don’t ask ‘How am I going to sell this” ask instead ” Who do I need to call” By partnering with those who can help you gain leverage you can fast track you plan. BTW do you have a plan for your life as an Artist?

        A couple more things: Focus and GSD.

        Focus is essential, because allowing yourself to become distracted by the thousands of things going on i.e. FaceBook, will dilute your power to GSD. So what is GSD? Get Stuff Done! or Get Sh_t Done. Work one one thing at once, get it DONE and fix it up later. For example if you have produced a brochure and I recommend you do, and one that includes your sales form so you can close a sale or take a deposit, don’t put it aside just because there is a spelling mistake on page three. You can hand correct it and this will ad a personal touch to your brochure, sounds mad but people love the personal touch, it connect them with your ideas and your ‘Thing’ your Brand, and remember they will want to be part of your club.

        I trust this will be of some help to those artists who charge peanuts for their fabulous work and want to do better. Has all this helped my work, well yes. After no exhibition since 2003 I now have two this year, one in Sept. and one in Dec. Cool! Oh, and I have hardly started get my web sites build properly, so do not wait for perfect to happen either, just a thought. Scott.

        1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

          Hi Scott,
          Thanks for the informative comments. Looks like a very intensive and thorough class. There is always a ton to do with the business side of your art career. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing more from you.

  3. Arthur Morehead

    Hi Gary, of course once again you are spot on. This subject I have posted on several times in the past myself. Artists seem to not realize the versatility that they actually hold in the palm of their own hands. Most are uncomfortable about stepping outside of their comfort zones to explore new art forms. I for one crave it and love how much more creative freedom I have and am able to express in many ways. I for one am always outside of the proverbial box and have an equal balance of right and left brain way of thinking. Most creative thinkers start off that way, but once they hit that comfort zone the analytic side of thinking takes over and slams the door shut via way of self inflicted doubt.

    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      Hi Arthur,

      Good to hear from you again. I think it is very important for artists to realize that they have all the skills they need to pursue a creative lifestyle. It all comes down to imagination. Thanks for your comments

  4. Karen Longden-Sarron

    What an insightful and inspiring post Gary! Thanks for sharing these ideas. As this strange world works, one always finds just what you are looking for when you need it! I guess we artists are all in the same boat in this economy and that’s the reason too, which prompts writers like you to create posts on these issues! Very timely and I am grateful!
    I love Seth Godin’s talks and wise words and agree we all have to find ways to change how we work or sell in this climate. I am particularly inspired by “The answer is to think laterally and find a place where your creative skills and a NEED come together.” This is exactly what I am wracking my brains on at the moment!! I SHALL find the answer of where best to project my abundant creative energy! The ‘need’ is a loaded question for sure, but this, I believe, is the artist’s duty.
    Thanks again Gary, I always look forward to your blog’s arrival in my inbox!

    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      Hello Karen,
      Good to hear from you again. I am always glad to see your smiling face in my comments. I love Seth Godin’s talks as well. I’ve learned a lot from listening to him.
      Thanks again.

  5. Jeanne LaRae

    Thank you for your inspiring and encouraging words. I had a great niche that was a need in the art world and these last 3 years have been devastating….. I am now seeking to find new path and galleries who may have a need for all of my talents and past experience. I know I am valuable and that my efforts will pay off. Thanks for the shot of energy.

    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      Hello Jeanne,
      Thanks for you kind words about my writing. And good luck finding galleries to show your work.

  6. Dolores Jablonski

    I signed up for you free e class. I am learning about marketing on the internet, having a business blog and how google works. There is a lot to understand, you just can’t put up a website without working to be seen. So true about picking up the phone and finding places to sell your work. Thank you for sharing!


    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      Hi Dolores,

      Thanks for commenting. You make a good point that people think you can just put up a website and the traffic will come. That’s just not true. It’s a process with a lot of work to get traffic to your site. Thanks again.

      1. Arthur Morehead

        Absolutely, there is much to be said about getting traffic and it isn’t that difficult. However, getting the right kind of traffic is what’s important. There is a ton to learn that never ends because of the consistent changes within Google and it’s updates that you and/or your webmaster must be on top of at all times. Knowing just the basics of SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) can put you light years ahead when it comes to being found on the search engines.

        1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

          Hello again Arthur,
          Thanks for the great input. You are right, they seem to change the rules so often that no one can keep up. Any tips you have for my readers would be appreciated here. Thanks again.

  7. Arthur Morehead

    Thanks Gary, I suppose one of the biggest tips would be to do what you have done already. Starting a free WordPress. com blog and become familiar with the very basics in understanding how a CMS (content management site) works. With WordPress you have access to all the help and guidance you need with easy step by step videos, content and even forums. The forum moderators all volunteer their time and love assisting those who have problems but most times you can find your answers in the FAQ sections or searching the archives and/or even Google for answers to your questions. One thing that is important is knowing how to optimize your settings in WordPress. It’s vital to know and understand each one of your “Settings” and what each one does because this is what’s going to determine how your URL’s will appear in the searches. Read and research these BEFORE making your site live. Reason being is once you start creating posts that get indexed in the search engines the URL’s (links) can not be changed without breaking the links and creating “404 errors page not found” which is bad from an SEO stand point. You must learn the basic “lingo” of running a blog before attempting to fully understand SEO. Just starting up a blog and deciding “ok, I’m ready to learn SEO now and get on page one!” is everybody’s wish of course and I wish it was that simple but if you don’t understand how to use an “html editor” or what is WYSIWYG or the term “everything but the kitchen sink” means, how are you going to understand basic SEO? It isn’t hard to get your blog posts to page one and I do help others achieve this but only if they do the tasks that I ask them to do. The very first task is the one above and believe it or not is the hardest because most of us have a hard time accepting change and learning new things, especially us old timers who are not familiar with internet marketing and branding yourself and/or your business on and off line. If an individual is not willing to do this or even try then they need to pay my price to do it for them, because at that point they are just wasting my time trying to teach them. In the very near future I will begin holding seminars in “real time” with very limited seating discussing everything on how to optimize and reach top listings in the searches but Gary this is your blog and I would not feel right about saying anything more. after all this is a huge and never ending subject.

    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      Good to hear from you again Arthur. You make a lot of really good points here. SEO is very important and I will be working on those issues as time goes on. I belong to a SEO Marketing group that meets monthly in Manhattan. I’m learning a lot there. Thanks again.

  8. brenda

    Thanks Gary… great post. I am a ceramic artist working art shows full time for 17 years. After the slowdown I began a campaign of ‘developing relationships’ with clients..all of which lead to sales. Each interaction is a seed planted. Some sprout quickly, others take years, but a good art farmer waters the seeds and attends to the garden. The love & appreciation is there, the money follows, only more slowly. With that, strong personal attention to clients in a time where everything is fast & impersonal has worked miraculous for me. As my coaching & sales person sister always tells me, selling is all about developing relationships…if people are attracted to your way….the release occurs and all are satisfied. Marketing, in a personal way, is a huge part of that. thanks again!

  9. Walter Paul Bebirian

    are we actually seeing a revolution or an evolution of the entire human race –

  10. walterpaulbebirian

    the only thing that I can see to do – at least at this present moment – is to continue to create – and to me that includes my “Doubling Project” with which I have so far sold everything that I have ever sold till this point in time –

    1. Gary Bolyer

      Hi Walter,
      Good to hear from you again. Sounds like you’re having some good things happen in your career. Keep it up and let us know how it turns out.

  11. Spot on! I love Seth Godin too – he has such clarity of thought! Solving problems for people and answering their needs is a basic rule of marketing but many artists want to be ‘discovered’ or think that marketing is akin to prostitution! Do what you love and find the people that love what you do is the key to success and fulfillment as an artist.

    1. Gary Bolyer

      Thanks for your comments Sara. I think you are absolutely right about finding a support group of like minded people. It’s important to find that emotional support from people who want to see you win. Thanks again.

  12. s. baptist

    I hear you! you are right on it….loved ” Dreams of a new start are often founded from the stomach churning nightmare of disaster. ” since that is where i am.. Suddenly fired after 13 years …no warning…it is time to look forward, dream big and not look back. I’v subscribed to your smart marketing. look forward to learning how to make a living making art which is what i’d LOVE to do !

    Keep pushing us to push ourselves!

    1. Gary Bolyer

      Thanks for your comments and inspiration. I always love to hear from my readers, especially when they have such a positive attitude as you do. Keep us updated on your bright new future. Would love to hear all about it.

  13. Ulysses

    I do not have a website and my art appears in no galleries, yet I crowd funded a project and raised $3,500 in 29 days.
    Crowdfunding allows artist to build a tribe of Micro-Patrons. Given enough time, this new patronage system will change the art world.

    1. Gary Bolyer

      Thanks for your comments. I totally agree. Good to hear about your success with crowdfunding.

  14. Adriana Garces

    Hi Gary: I’ve enjoyed learning here so far & appreciate the lessons greatly. Over a year ago,I began using Twitter & Facebook as my 1st intro to self marketing. In the process, I’ve managed to learn so much more than I’d expected. Most recently I joined an Artists Collective where I feel continually inspired to keep producing, exhibiting & promoting myself, as well as, others I admire. This month, I have 3 events in close proximity of time. I’m excited, yet nervous! Looking forward to more knowledge! Luckily, I also love the acts of learning, reading as the first necessity. 🙂 Thank you Gary!

    1. Gary Bolyer

      Thanks for your comments Adriana. Good luck on your upcoming exhibitions and keep us updated.

      1. Adriana J. Garces

        You’re very welcome Gary! The 1st. exhibition opening was a great turnout & excellent networking event. My piece can be seen along with the other members at ConArtist Collective Gallery in New York City, through May 7th. The other one where my work is situated is at Funny Sheesh Productions, also in New York City. They produce plays and just had the opening event this April 26th. Look them up if you’re around…they’re both recommended to please a discerning taste for excellence in the Arts! Until next time, be well and thank you infinitely! ^_~

  15. daveblinder

    Terrific and astute article Gary. Thanks very much for taking the time to write this. My personal artistic focus is on nature photography, but I also have the equipment and know-how to photograph portraiture, product advertising, and am gradually teaching myself video editing. The more lines we cast, the more fish we can reel in 🙂

  16. Jon

    Thanks for the article. Very encouraging. For me personally I am the number 3 of a small pest control business. I am in charge of certain marketing strategies, training new employees and creating training guides for our new trainees. This year, however, has been the year where I am actually taking my artwork seriously. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook a and instagram @projectdezign to view my work. Since I have this full time job I can only spend about 25-35 hours a week planning business and marketing strategies for my work. I will open an online store start of 2016. Meanwhile, I am learning about local art festivals, local marketing, internet marketing, and website development as well as perfecting my craft. I also plan on importing upsell opportunities in my website. I have also been watching the garyvee show on YouTube which helps with business advice from entrepreneur GaryVaynerchuk. It is alot of work and someti es overwhelming but every day I learn something new. Everyday is nothing but productive and I can’t wait to see what happens the next few years.

  17. akalu

    i’m really see it as interesting coarse and i want apperciate gary,some sort of my questions is answersed by zs course.
    thx gary

  18. Emma Carter Brooks

    Thanks Gary. I’m glad to be apart of the blog. Thanks for inviting me. Some of the information is helpful and encouraging.

  19. Leonida Arte

    I really enjoyed in your art marketing review. You have great talent for presentation of art marketing. I graduated at College of Fine and Applied Arts, and also at Faculty of Architecture. I know so much about History of art, but I didn’t hear anything about art marketing. I like your writing about art marketing, its so refreshing,interesting and you are very good writer. Have a nice day.

  20. Ida

    I like your writing style and your thoughts. I find them useful for myself. Thank you very much for your positive!

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