7 Ways Burgeoning Artists Can Make Their Mark in 2021

artist looking at art

Photo Credit: Godisable Jacob/Pexels

Choosing a career as an artist can be a daunting move, but Violet Baldwin is here to help you follow your creative dreams. In 2012, Baldwin started a business in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to help artists like herself. Since then, Baldwin’s Dirty Little People Gallery has provided a consultancy service and a space for local artists to bring their visions to life.

“My business assists artists and artisans to show and sell their work through a number of different services,” Baldwin tells CircleAround. These include gallery opportunities, help with pricing estimates, marketing assistance, and more. “The knowledge of knowing that I am helping others who need it, and the excitement artists show when they make sales for work they love doing, is the biggest reward,” she adds.

CircleAround asked Baldwin for some tips on how people make their mark as artists in 2021. Here are some of her suggestions.

1. Create a Website

“This should be the highest priority,” Baldwin explains. Most sales for her clients took place online in 2020, and she sees that continuing into the new year. “Things were headed this way prior to COVID-19 — the virus just pushed it along faster.”

Web hosting sites, such as SquareSpace, Weebly, Wix, and even Tumblr, offer free trials and are great for burgeoning artists wanting to have an online presence.

2. Make Sure the Site Has a Shopping Cart

If you want to sell your art, it’s not enough to just have your work on a website. Artists need to be able to have e-commerce options, as well, so visitors can make purchases. “Creating a website simply for exposure, or to use as an online portfolio, is great, but having the ability for customers to buy directly from the artist is even better.”

Many websites offer e-commerce tools as additional add-ons. Artists can also use services like Shopify to expand their business.

3. Create “Shippable” Art

Once you’ve gained experience setting up your purchasing options online, think about ways you can better serve your clients. Baldwin says creating artwork with packaging and shipping costs in mind could help boost sales for online buyers. “A 4’x6’ piece may not appeal to a buyer due to high shipping costs,” she says. If you have clients in mind and know your audience, new fans will be able to better connect with your brand before making a larger purchase.

4. Take Advantage of Social Media

“With so many different platforms to use, find a couple that work best for you and master them. There’s no need to utilize them all, but it’s absolutely necessary to use at least one or two,” says Baldwin.

Instagram is often the best place to start, as it’s a visual platform and allows you to link to your website. Consider Facebook for built-in e-commerce options, or TikTok for posting behind-the-scenes videos and connecting with a younger demographic.

5. Work with Galleries Doing Virtual Shows

The pandemic has changed the way people interact with art, and while hosting a gallery show is different, it’s still an effective way to gain exposure. “While we’re used to in-person openings with crowds with food and wine being available, that is not where some galleries will head in the coming months. Virtual shows can be just as effective, if not more so, in reaching the target audience and driving sales,” says Baldwin.

Connect with local galleries to see if they are hosting any events. You can also try connecting with other artists who have experience hosting virtual shows so you can learn to do it yourself.

6. Offer Online Classes

“Online learning is a great way to bring in additional revenue for artists,” says Baldwin. “Whatever you are great at, others will want to learn as well.” She suggests offering “seats” at certain price points for classes and workshops you teach. This provides another great way for artists to add a stream of income.

7. Network

In-person networking events may be on hold, but Baldwin has had a lot of luck using Zoom calls and other online forums to keep connected with the art world.

“Joining networking groups online or even creating your own FB group can help keep an artist top-of-mind for others,” she adds. “When they need some new art or know someone else who does, you’ll be their ‘go to’.”

This post is part of a month-long January CircleAround series in which we asked writers to explore the topic "New Year, New You." After an extremely challenging year like no other, if you had to reinvent yourself in one specific way in 2021 based on what you learned in the pandemic, what would you do? Think of it as a New Year’s resolution on steroids. To see all the posts in the series, visit here. And if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to info@circlearound.com or post on our "2021 Vibes Wall."

CircleAround is operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA. The site serves adult women nationwide by providing content that is uplifting, thought-provoking, and useful. We make revenue distributions back to GSUSA so they can further their mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

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