Finding Your Market

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Finding your market” could almost be another way of saying “understanding your art”. The ability to clearly articulate the processes and concepts at work in your art and to situate them within the broader narratives of art history and contemporary art contexts, is an invaluable tool. With this knowledge you will be able to begin mapping the ways in which your art relates to the work of others, and the functions it serves in the social contexts for which it is intended. This understanding will not only give you the confidence to speak about your work to curators and potential clients, but will help you know who of these people will most likely be receptive of your work. Understanding your work in this way may sound intimidating, but take heart, it is an ongoing process only mastered over time.


Listed below are a number of helpful ways for you to begin “understanding” your art within a market context:

– Seek out opportunities to talk with other artists about their art, your art, and the work of others (contemporary and historical). Make a note of frequently used terms and ways of articulating concepts that seem particularly relevant or enlightening to you.

– Step back from your work and look for similarities with other artist’s work. What have these artists said about their inspiration, process, or motivations?

– What inspires you? Can you detect any previously unnoticed themes in your older work now that you’ve had some time away from it?

– When you feel as though you have a sense of the themes that inspire your work, imagine yourself in a variety of contexts. Does the work of those around you compliment or clash with your art? Are the values and goals of the exhibition venue in concert with those of your art? Who do you believe would be most interested in the themes you explore in your art? Does the exhibition possibility cater to those people?

– When you have found “your market” make sure that you become involved in it! Collaborate with other artists, attend art openings, keep up-to-date business cards on hand, and have a promotion package ready that can, with a few tweaks, be swiftly addressed to interested parties.

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