Great Artists will always be discovered, won’t they?

©2009 Cathy Read - Order in chaos - 35x25cm Mixed Media on paper
©2009 Cathy Read - Order in chaos - 35x25cm Mixed Media on paper

Should artists be promoting themselves or just concentrate on creating?

Being an artist involves creating art and nothing else, right?

Such was my thinking as I dreamed about an art career. All I need do is produce the pictures and the buyers will snap them up, such was my talent. (Such modesty)

Naive I know, but hey, I was young!

My early efforts at marketing consisted of buying the Artist’s Yearbook which includes lists of all the UK galleries. Perusing the chapters and sending out masses of emails.

I had 2 replies.

Quoting from the first, “we looked at you work with great interest.”


for about 2 seconds until I realise it must be a form letter.

Watching the art market and seeing who’s successful makes me think that talent is irrelevant! A significant Paradigm shift.

Ability alone is not enough.

I must promote myself as well. But I need guidance!

Sometimes it seems like I stumble blindly through Hampton Court Palace Maze without a map or guide shouting directions.

However, in stumbling I found a useful website called Art  reading “How not to succeed in the Art World.” The underlying theme? “Networking is the key!” Blind approaches to galleries will be ignored.

You have to work smarter but where, how when? It’s not easy!

You must take initial steps, and those steps are usually faultering. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re learning. And there’s why you must review and things take shape.

Revisiting this topic after first discussing it 2 years ago. I notice some distinct progress.

I’ve found more sources of advice Making a mark, Artsy Shark and Fine Art Tips

Time teaches us and reflecting on one’s past thoughts offers amazing incites as we recognise growth.

And I have “grown” for want of a better word. I now realise

  • some steps are wrong for me. E.g. I don’t use the etsy shop anymore.
  • Some steps are the beginning of a ladder or staircase. Like approaching a gallery for the first time leading to other approaches. Early small exhibitions building my confidence to approach larger groups and even get solo exhibitions. There’s a long way to travel yet!
  • Other steps I avoid and figuring out why is important. I may instinctively know they are wrong for me. Or fear and uncertainty could be holding me back.

You have to work out your own path to success, but help is available, seek it out.

And there’s a constant struggle achieve the right balance. You must create and promote- both are important.

So, solitary creative or marketing guru, which are you? Are you getting the balance yet?

And now it’s time to create!

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The Master of Masking and the Sultan of Splash Manchester born artist, Cathy S R Read draws with masking fluid to create distinctive mixed media paintings inspired by urban architecture. Much of her work is of Manchester and London. She is a published author and her book, "The Milton Keynes Project" is available on Amazon

2 thoughts on “Great Artists will always be discovered, won’t they?”

  1. Thank you for the mention in such good company, Cathy.

    I love this: “some steps are wrong for me.”

    We have to filter what we read. From time to time I remind artists that I’m just here to give ideas in my blog posts and newsletter. They have to decide what is right for them at this moment in time. And they can’t possibly do it all!

  2. Some days I feel all my time is spent marketing, and am I successful at that? – hmm I’m not sure.

    Then I look at the work I am producing now, and I know all my time is not marketing, but is it balanced? sometimes.

Comments welcome