Back to the Business of Art

 Back to the Business of Art – The Not Quite So Starving Artist

back to the business of art cover image, toys character, toy business person,
Back to the Business of Art - The Not Quite So Starving Artist...

With a pandemic that has disrupted the way the world works and even now, still hangs around like a dark shadow, businesses around the world are having to become much more creative in their endeavours to stand out above the competition during a time when everyone is one-upping everyone else in the competition for eyes. This week we take a look at some of the simple things you can do to make sure that you become a thriving artist rather than a surviving artist.

A really mixed bag of a year…

The art business has really been a bit of a mixed bag throughout the pandemic to date. Some artists are recording their best-ever sales as more and more people decide to spruce up their homes after being inside them for so long, other artists have struggled, particularly as there have been fewer shows and exhibitions and many galleries were forced to close during lockdowns and a few may never reopen.

For some artists, the pandemic has meant a complete refocus of the way they do business and the art that they create. Some artists have transitioned from their decades-long staples and have moved in completely different directions, and there’s nothing at all wrong in doing that, an art business should be thriving, not merely surviving and there’s plenty of historical precedence to change direction completely. Many of the Old Masters did this, as have many more recent artists, Jackson Pollock is a great example.

I have written more than a few articles on preparing your art business for the future, and I know more than a few of my regular readers have taken heed and really developed their business models, but if you haven’t revisited your business practice for a little while, now’s the time to do it! This week is really all about sharing a few ideas and practical tips that you can easily add into the mix and shake your art business up for the better, and besides, sometimes we just need a reminder to do the things we ought to be doing rather than thinking, I’ll get around to doing that later.

1980s newsagent artwork by Mark Taylor shop window art,
The Newsagent - A blast back to the 80s when independent newsagents would be on every high street. My latest 80s inspired creation is available in my Pixels and Fine Art America store! Check out the detail in the store, there are more than a few easter eggs in this piece!

You did create that website didn’t you?

If it was important to have a real web presence beyond social media before the pandemic, it’s even more important today. Even a simple online affair is better than having nothing at all, and if finances are stretched, there are still a number of options that you could look at that are either free or very inexpensive for a basic presence.

A website lets people know you are there, an up to date website lets people know you are still there. I’m always surprised when I see beautiful websites that have been professionally created but never get updated. Your website is essentially a window directly into your world so it’s critical that when you do go down the website route that you keep it up to date, it should never become a distant reminder of your one time hopes and dreams.

You might also want to consider:

A custom URL – nothing screams I built this on the cheap louder than a website address that includes anything and everything other than who you are. The good news is that even the most inexpensive website hosting packages and some free ones allow you to change the URL to a custom domain name. They’re relatively pennies per year in the great scheme of things, but absolutely essential when you need to project a professional image.

Search Engine Optimisation – SEO has been in and out of vogue for a few years. Once you get your head around how search engines rank websites it becomes almost second nature to make sure that your SEO is in tip-top shape. There are some great resources on the internet, Google’s digital garage is a free resource and it offers a number of short courses straight from the proverbial horse's mouth!

Analytics – Make sure you have at least some analytics embedded in your website. Once you get a feel for the kind of person who is regularly visiting your website you can start to build content focussed on that kind of person. Google Analytics has recently had a much-needed facelift making it about the most simple analytics platform to use and it works with most websites, although it is worth checking that your hosting package supports it.

Embrace Fear…

Running a business is scary at the best of times and especially in the midst of a global pandemic. As a creative, there’s an opportunity for you to embrace the fear and drive your passion forward, but remember, art isn’t a race. Slow down, take your time and produce the best work that you can rather than producing work in a panicked rush. A slower approach can give you the time you need to reflect in between each work, it also helps to combat burnout, something that has grown to become a major problem throughout the course of the pandemic as people work longer and longer hours from home.

Paint what inspires you rather than what you think you ought to be painting. Art can quickly begin to feel like any other job if you’re not inspired. Every day should be filled with an excitement to create and if your art has begun to lose its sparkle because you’re producing the same thing over and over, it will be obvious to those who look at it and that’s a major headache when you want those who view it to also purchase it.

mountain, prayer flags, snow, artwork by Mark Taylor
Nearly There by Mark Taylor - available in my Pixels and Fine Art America stores!

Harvest Your Own Buyers…

Print on demand is a great resource for artists wishing to take away the headache of preparing work, shipping it and handling payments. Print-on-demand services really do take much of the hard work away apart from the obvious marketing you still need to do. But what print on demand doesn’t give you is the one thing that you really do need if you want to find any level of real commercial success as an artist, and that’s a direct relationship with your buyers.

Unless buyers specifically reach out to you there is just no way of ever finding out who has purchased your work. That makes it super difficult to plan your next work because apart from knowing which pieces are more popular, you won’t ever get to the point of knowing what else buyers are looking for. Not having that connection makes it next to impossible to develop your work into other areas, and that’s a risk because over time, your work could well end up becoming very samey.

A handful of loyal collectors are always going to bear more fruit than a dozen casual buyers, and being in a position where you can reach out to your buyers anytime you want and whenever you create new work, means that you are no longer reliant on borrowing buyers from a service where you are effectively doing as much, if not more work than you would if you were to find your own buyers.

Talking of which, what are you doing about email subscribers?

I know, we’ve all seen the desperate emails from major brands appearing in our inboxes approximately 72.6 times a day, I can’t recall a time when I have hit the unsubscribe button quite as often. But there are emails that I do genuinely look forward to receiving, usually, they’re from independent artists who are using email to stay in touch but who are not necessarily using every email as a direct sales pitch.

If you haven’t as yet managed to start growing a subscriber list, this really should be a focus, to add as an extra strategy in your toolbox. I say add as an extra strategy because an email marketing campaign has to be backed up with other strategies including a website that provides the value add to the reader.

Growing a list today isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago when everyone would sign up for everything. We have become so desensitised to the message within emails that they really do run the risk of becoming little more than noise, that is unless you can bring some of that all-important relatability into your marketing campaigns that we covered in my previous post on telling your art story, which if you missed it, you can find right here

I have covered the usual email campaign management systems many times, but services such as Mail Chimp are great, and often better than some of the stock email services you get with some print on demand and gallery based services which often get diverted by email clients into spam folders.

If you are a member of the Fine Art America premium service, there’s a useful email campaign manager built-in with your annual fee, yet I know very few who use it to its full potential, perhaps because it’s down to the artist to supply the contacts. That’s something that you would need to do with any email service though, and as this comes bundled with your membership, it’s a real value add that you might want to take advantage of. To be honest, it’s perhaps worth the cost of the premium membership on its own.

 The problem with some of these services, although I haven’t noticed it via Fine Art America which tells you all you need to know about it, is that your emails might never get seen. If you are already sending out emails via an email campaign service, always check with a number of subscribers and ask if they are receiving your emails in their inboxes. If they’re not, but they are finding them in spam folders, it will either be because your content is overly spammy, or the email service you are using is known by mail clients to be a sender of mass marketing and spam. 

Emails are scanned by email clients for known spam triggers, if they’re full of links and pitches, they usually end up in the sin bin we call the spam folder. It could also be that the users own settings are preventing your emails from appearing. In my experience, it’s usually one of the first two issues that stop emails from arriving in the inbox. If no one sees them, you’re kind of wasting time, no one really checks their spam folder, ever.

The one question many small business owners have is whether or not email campaigns are still as relevant as they once were. There’s a lot that has been written on the subject over the past year or two, many seem to suggest that email campaigns have had their day, but an email is still the most direct way to get your message in front of eyes. If you make an email relevant, provide added value in the form of providing useful information, and maybe even add a touch of humour, email is still one of the best ways of getting in front of your audience.

beach, deckchairs on beach, artwork, seagulls, ocean,
A Perfect Day by Mark Taylor - Available now from my Pixels and Fine Art America stores. I so need a vacation or sun, just some sun would be fine!

Don’t fall into the, when I feel like it, marketing trap…

I mentioned that email marketing campaigns are a useful tool to have in the toolbox, but they’re not the only tool. They should complement the other marketing strategies that you have but should never become the sole marketing strategy that you have.

It’s the same thing with social media. It’s a tool, it can be useful, but it’s not some kind of golden panacea that will pave a path to your work that clients will line up on. The one thing I constantly hear from artists is just how poorly their social channels perform, even when they think they’re putting out the best content ever. Sure, great content is critical, but if it’s not finding the right audience, it can be epic, great, good, or bad, it really doesn’t matter what you put out there or how much work you put in if it’s not sticking to an audience. Content needs to be swathed in a layer of Velcro and superglue.

I mentioned in my last article that eyes buy art, and you need a lot of them to view the art before any of them decide to buy it. There are three things combined that generate sales, the right audience (eyes), the product itself, bearing in mind that even bad art can sell if the marketing campaign resonates and sticks, and ultimately, the pitch, which is essentially your story.

The one thing that will attract their eyes is the story, which should be the number one area that you really do have to spend some time focussing on. It’s the story that will build the engagement and with it a community. At that point, the community can continue to tell the story to other people, but you first have to set the scene and provide the talking points.

Any one of these things when done in a silo will never be enough to turn those eyes into buyers, there’s an interdependency, each having a symbiotic relationship with the other. Neither will any one of the tools such as email campaigns and social media work in a silo, it has to be a combination of everything with the foundations firmly set in conveying a compelling story.

The hard part in all of this is getting past the thinking that any single marketing tool will do all of the work when it comes to selling your art. If your thinking is along the lines of your art will sell itself, or a periodic post on Instagram or any number of the other social platforms will be enough, that won’t provide a compelling enough reason for people to engage beyond a reaction, a love, a like, or a wow. How popular you are should never become the measuring stick of success.   

When we begin to break down what that means, we begin to realise that having thirty engaged followers who make a purchase is always better than having a million who never make a purchase or engage. The numbers become meaningless if they’re not converting, they only become meaningful if you place more currency on participating in a popularity contest and think this is more important than selling your work.

To find your people, you have to give them a reason to also find you. That means that you have to produce compelling reasons to come back, produce great content that tells an episodic story, rather than content that is little more than sales pitch after sales pitch, you have to provide the next seed that will keep people interested. The sales pitch after sales pitch approach might work for selling widgets, but each piece of art is unique, and the messaging it needs has to be just as unique. Here’s the reason I created it, here’s where we’re heading, not here’s my latest artwork, like or share, neither of those is asking the viewer to do the one thing you want them to do and that’s to buy the work.

If you treat your email and social media tools as little more than something that could exist on a piece of paper pushed through the letterbox, there is then no compelling reason for people to engage. If you use those tools instead to produce rich multimedia experiences that people enjoy and that they can engage with and talk about, that’s the point when you begin to provide the real hook. It is only at this point that you are giving them a compelling reason to care about what you do, we’re selling unique works whereas widgets are rarely if ever, unique.

sunset over the ocean, boat, neon sky,
Adrift Under A Neon Sky by Mark Taylor - available now from my stores. One of my all-time favourite artworks!

Turn up…

They say that the biggest task for an artist is actually turning up. That doesn’t just mean in physical spaces, it means being everywhere and anywhere, online or in physical spaces such as galleries and shows.

With lockdowns beginning to lift, there are more and more creative opportunities for artists to be seen in their own communities, art walks, and local exhibitions are great ways to get some local visibility but you do have to turn up! I liken this to paying for a gym membership and hoping that just because you pay a membership fee each month, somehow you will become exponentially fitter without doing any of the work. Just sending your art out into the wilds without turning up is exactly the same thing.

The act of being present in itself can be difficult for some people, especially after working in print on demand where customer interaction might be historically next to zero, everything is handled by the print on demand service and customers usually have a relationship with the service rather than you, and that can be a real frustration for artists and it means that there’s often little to no interaction with buyers.

Getting your name and your art out there in a physical sense is an opportunity to claim what’s rightfully yours, your very own art buying market which really is worth the little bit of extra effort that being physically present will take. The only question you will have after you have done this a few times, is just why you didn’t do it earlier!

Embrace Change…

I’m going to stick my neck out a little here, the art world, or more specifically, the art world that the majority of working artists work in has changed forever. Buyers have become used to buying art online, it’s practical, convenient, and massively more accepted and easier than it was even two years ago.

Whenever change happens people either embrace it or try to change it, but what also happens is that whenever the change is effected, remnants of what was good in the change stick around. So whilst we might see some of the old ways of working and doing business emerge once again, we’ll also see the convenience of buying art in different ways stick around. It is what it is now, there’s little to no point fighting it so you might as well embrace it.

sunset over the ocean, boat, artwork, landscape,
Adrift at the Golden Hour by Mark Taylor - available in my Adrift Collection from my Pixels and Fine Art America Stores!

Feed your mind…

I have been a long-time fan of building knowledge, it’s critical as an artist to be exposed to a wide range of influences and techniques, and to continue getting that exposure throughout your entire career.

I often get asked why I cover topics such as retro art on this site, but there’s a simple answer, It’s not a topic that’s well covered elsewhere and yet it ties into so many aspects of the art world. Knowing things such as how nostalgia can influence a buyers decision to buy, or walk on by, is a critical component that can be used in all sorts of artistic genres and in your business dealings when marketing and selling art. If you can learn anything about any aspect of the art world, it’s worth knowing.

You really do have to become exposed to anything and everything in the art world, trends change almost daily, buying decisions are often made on the basis of what’s in vogue right now, and perhaps the biggest reason to keep up to date with learning other than improving your own knowledge and skills is that the ultimate for any artist is to strive for mastery of your craft, yet that’s an impossibility if you have no idea about what has come before.

It’s also important because you have a massive responsibility to your collectors and potential future collectors. Those who have already invested in both you and what you do won’t want to see their purchased art diminish in value, no matter if they paid five bucks or five thousand bucks for it. If you are in the business of encouraging art collectors, you have to take a very different approach to how you run your business in the future, it’s almost like an eleventh commandment that thou shall not reduce your prices, but thou should definitely put them up.

That’s not to say that you can’t go on forever and eternity selling five buck prints and especially if you are living your best life and making a living, but if there’s a choice over a hundred casual buyers and ten collectors, even if they’re buying five buck prints, I know I would pick the ten collectors every time. We might ‘art’ out of passion, but we eat out of necessity.

We might ‘art’ out of passion, but we eat out of necessity.

Feed your audience…

Oh, this is extra-super-essential! One of the biggest superpowers I find that a lot of new artists have is their uncanny ability to attempt to be everything to everyone for at least the first month. Who’s your market? Oh, men, and women, between the ages of zero and a hundred and fifty-three. There’s a little secret that has taken me the best part of nearly four decades to work out, most people are not your people and that’s exactly how you need it to be.

It’s going to take a little time but the most essential step that you will need to take is to begin the voyage of discovery that is figuring out who your tribe are. Once you know your audience and what resonates and more importantly, sticks with them, the business of giving them what they want becomes markedly easier and exponentially easier than the spray and pray approach of flinging out a hundred and one ideas and finding out that none of them has worked. That spray and pray approach my friends is really hard work. To coin an overly cliched phrase, work smarter, not harder.

moonlit woodland, forest, artwork, moon, night sky,
Night Walk by Mark Taylor - available from my Pixels and Fine Art America stores!


I can’t even begin to big this one up enough. You have to communicate with potential buyers because they will mostly buy into you just as much as they buy into your art. If you avoid taking their calls, answering emails, responding to comments, buyers do the very same thing we would do, they walk away without making a purchase. The chance of a sale is often determined by the speed of your response.

Target your pitch to your tribe. I can’t stress this one enough, but you really do have to know what your audience needs and then you have to  address those needs directly, rather than giving everyone from an interior designer to a casual buyer the exact same pitch. 

What’s important to me might be very different to what’s important to you and both responses will certainly be different to what’s important to someone else.

Ask questions, hey, even politely ask for the sale, but get to know what your audience love, what they want, and then respond positively to that. Just as importantly, answer questions too, if a potential buyer wants to know something about you or your art, they’re probably expecting the immediacy which they have been accustomed to over the past year and a half or however long we have been in this parallel universe, that is a pandemic, where everything is done online in an instant. Everything suddenly got faster, from delivery speed to purchasing, there has been a massive shift from the days of old normal, immediacy is the new trend and it’s likely to stick around for a while.

When it comes to communicating, blogging is still one of the best ways to keep an audience engaged. This is another mission that requires that pesky expenditure of effort but it is completely worth doing once you begin to build up even a small amount of regular readership.

Can you make a living from it? For most people, probably not, although there are a few rock-star bloggers who have managed to figure out how to work with brands and they do very well. Art blogs though, generally aren’t about bringing in a revenue from the blog alone.  Blogging is about building brand awareness and engagement, it will probably cost you more money than you make directly from it, and it will certainly cost you time, but there’s a payback in the form of engagement if you get it right and that’s worth a lot in our business.

What you decide to blog about will be in some way guided by your audience but you do have some obvious choices. You could blog about you, this will allow readers to get to know you, or you could offer practical advice on owning your works, framing, or general tips for buyers.

Would I be tempted to set up a site covering practical tips for artists, just like this site? If you are creating it as a channel to promote your artwork, then not so much. If it is to genuinely support other artists, it’s worth doing, and absolutely if your business involves selling things such as patterns and templates to other artists. Think of it as a labour of love that gets your name out there if you follow those routes.

If you want to reach more mainstream buyers in any numbers, a blog specifically aimed at what buyers want to know about your work, which also includes the story of you, is the way to go. I will as always, caveat blogging with the simple fact that art blogging won’t pull in the crowds that trendy YouTubers attract when they vlog about the latest fashion accessories, it’s way more niche than that but also kind of essential as an artist if you want to build up any level of awareness.  

I probably need to mention the thorny issue of YouTube at this point. I’ll be frank here, (hello Frank), YouTube is incredibly hard work and only the minutest, as in, less than a handful of YouTubers ever see any kind of monetisation or success. The YouTube platform is filled with tutorials, you can gain more knowledge from YouTube in a day than you can in an entire art school curriculum, and that’s a real problem for someone who is nowhere near established as a YouTuber. You will be the needle in a haystack within a haystack, with another pile of haystacks.

Your content, no matter how epic it is, isn’t going anywhere fast, or at least it isn’t until you start to build up a massive following with an engaged community. It won’t gain mass traction until you start applying professional production values to your efforts. Even then, it can still be a lottery.

Podcasts on the other hand, are big, getting bigger, and will, I think, overtake YouTube one day. Now is the time to jump on board the podcast train and the good news is that you don’t need quite as much in the way of equipment to be able to make a start. Whilst it’s not a visual platform, it can be a real driver to your website, and everyone I know who already creates podcasts has told me that the percentage of hits they get on their sites primarily come via the podcast platforms rather than through YouTube channels.

Just as an aside, the podcast to accompany this website is edging closer to reality, I’ll keep you posted through the journey!

Be an art consultant and not a typical salesperson…

There’s a fine art (no pun intended) and an even finer line between being overtly salesy, and being a genuinely useful resource for buyers. Rather than immediately going in for the sale, leverage any facetime with the client by being genuinely helpful. You know your work better than anyone else and if there is generally one thing that buyers dislike, it’s having to make choices or being pushed into making choices. Buyers really aren’t that good when presented with too many choices.

Make recommendations, point out the benefits that you think the buyer will want to know about, but never get confused between benefits and features, sell the sizzle, not the steak! The reason for this is that you need to become the authority on the subject of your art and then guide but not push the buyer towards buying something that they will forever love rather than forever resent, they will respect you even more for doing that.

The ideal is that customers have the very best experience and walk away with something that they will forever cherish, not something that has sat at the back of your studio for the past few years which you needed to get out of the door. I would much rather explain to a customer that it might take a few extra days or weeks to get what they love produced than have them walk away with something inferior just because it’s ready to take away.

blood moon, red moon, super moon, night, forest,
Red Moon by Mark Taylor - Available from my Pixels and Fine Art America Stores

Make it easy to buy…

No one wants to jump through a million and one hoops to make a purchase, the buying process should be as easy as possible for customers. That means making sure there are no unnecessary steps to making a purchase on your website, and it also means making the choices as clear and simple as you possibly can.

Even with art prints, the range of options available to buyers can feel overwhelming for them. First they select the artwork they want to buy, then they need to decide on the material it is printed on, and then comes another set of choices around matting and framing, and that’s before you get to hang the work on the wall. So it is always useful to show examples of what the finished product will or could look like which will make it so much easier for the buyer to get an idea of what they could have.

This is also a great opportunity to think about the upsell, maybe a slightly better paper-stock, double matting, a hanging kit, or a bundle of works in a collection. But stick with the guiding principles of being an art consultant rather than that annoying salesperson who just wants to take the cold hard cash, art is all about repeat business because that’s exactly what collectors bring to you. Remember, this really is about selling the sizzle, not the steak!

This is where the podcast can be useful, and to an extent, I think I would rather see a video on YouTube of an artist showing me the benefits and features of their work rather than simply watching another tutorial.

Be relatable…

Oh boy is this a big one! I have lost count of the number of shows and exhibitions that I have attended either as an artist or an art buyer over the years but hadn’t realised until I attended those shows as a buyer, just how far some artists have managed to climb into their own self-importance.

A level of arrogance is, I think at times, a required trait for artists but not too much that it puts your people off. There’s a seriously fine line between being overly arrogant and simply being confident in your ability, and it’s an art that needs to be refined over time. Make yourself accessible, put down the cellphone, and give the potential buyer 110% of your attention.

As I mentioned in my previous article which was all about storytelling, being relatable means that you become more shareable. Sharing is really the only shortcut to social proof, which is essentially what the best businesses are built on.

We need constant reminders to not forget the basics…

It’s so easy to become wrapped up in the here and now and then completely forget to do something positive to push your business forward. The longer you leave things, the further they fall behind, but keeping a simple checklist of things that you absolutely need to do either every day or every week will help you to form a habit and get used to making sure your business doesn’t fall behind.

Boat in stormy sea, ocean, art, artwork
Adrift and Finally Free by Mark Taylor - I loved creating this piece, I was reminded of being in the ocean and looking up at looming waves about the break with the white crest beginning to form!

Learn from the past year…

While there is no denying that the past year has been anything but normal for most artists, there’s a heap of stuff that the year has probably taught us all. Maybe the biggest thing is to not take things for granted quite like we used to, but for some, the biggest lesson, will have been that you don’t necessarily have to rely on physically turning up to expensive shows or shell out for expensive travel quite so often. Technology allows us to still be present even when we’re not physically present.

Even where physical shows have begun to restart, many are doing things very differently to accommodate all of the changes that social distancing has bought about. Ghost booths staffed by local assistants where the exhibitor or artist is then on call via video conference to answer any questions from buyers who have physically turned up have become an accepted way of doing business. What this means is that we don’t always have to stick to the norms, we can do different, and we know that buyers really don’t mind too much, or at least they don’t seem to for now. Whether that once again changes when things are back to whatever the new normal will look like, we’ll wait and see.

What has surprised me more than anything over the past year is that the demand for art hasn’t dropped as significantly as I thought it would at the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s certainly not the same as it was in 2008 after the financial crash. That said, we shouldn’t forget those who have been financially impacted throughout the pandemic. Whilst there have been ‘accidental savers’ who have found they need to spend less on outgoing expenses than during regular times, there will be an equal amount of one time regular art buyers who have been having to make difficult decisions around what their priorities now are and everything is becoming infinitely more and more expensive as the cost of living increases.  

So one thing that we need to focus on is how we continue to look after one time collectors who have been placed into an economically different or more specifically, an economically challenging position. There’s a simple reason why this needs to be done and that is that you will at some point want those regulars buyers to come back once their finances are more stable.

This might mean widening your portfolio with less expensive works or prints, or it could mean diversifying into areas that you might have once avoided. It reminds me of the age-old saying that you need to make friends on the way up because you’ll need them again on the way down.

Adapt – Because everyone else has…

If you haven’t as yet adapted your business to function during a pandemic, you have some catching up to do. Art is still selling as I have mentioned a few times over the course of the past year or so, but people are very much buying art for different reasons and there’s a definite difference in who is buying art today, many people have discovered art and art collecting for the first time during the pandemic.

Some are buying work as an investment, accidental savers are realising that they can now afford what they once perhaps couldn’t, and some are buying just to pretty up their spaces which they have been spending much more time in. That’s really good news for independent artists who were perhaps much better prepared than most to accommodate all of the changes many of the galleries really struggled to put in place.

Whilst there has been a change in buying behaviour, there has also been an almost seismic shift in the way that people now buy art. They no longer expect to walk into a gallery by default, they expect to view the work online, maybe even make the purchase online, and they have some expectations that they will still have options to see the work up close.

Thinking about the future means thinking about how this new way of buying art will pan out post-pandemic. I think there is one thing that is more likely to happen and that is that there will be a shift towards more hybrid buying experiences and possibly, a shift towards buying artwork more from physical spaces that are convenient, not simply spaces that are necessarily traditional galleries.

It really is going to be more and more about placing your work where you know the people are, rather than where you think the people might traditionally visit. Some galleries will come back stronger than ever, some have forever disappeared, but the future is more likely to be one that encompasses a much broader retail experience.

sunset over a dry stone wall, landscape art,
Glow Over A Dry Stone Wall by Mark Taylor - Inspired by a visit to England's Lake District, this is perhaps my all-time favourite landscape work. Really enjoyed creating this one!

Don’t burn out…

Burnout is a real thing, experienced by the best artists, oh, and me too. If there is one thing that you take away from this week’s article it should be that you have to put yourself front and centre and reduce the risk of burning out. We’ve all been slaves to video conferencing for so long now that day’s have begun to merge into each other and the hours that would normally be spent commuting have been replaced with yet another meaningless video meeting that not only could have been an email, it could have really just been an emoji.

Stop it with the filler conference calls, Skype, Teams, Zoom, and remove the mandatory, why haven’t you put on your camera chant that emanates in a broken robotic voice over a bad connection. I’m certain there is an artwork depicting a webcam and a goldfish bowl somewhere in there.

Burning out is serious, and it’s absolutely no good at all for you or your art. We often hear talk of a work-life balance, but that suggests that we all kind of need to find a level that gives us a happy balance of both. I’m not convinced that it should be a work-life balance in that sense, but maybe our nirvana might be to strive towards work-life-engagement, because we only truly thrive when we are engaged and energised, maybe it’s as much about finding our energy than it is about finding time.

Stay safe, well, and creative!

Hopefully, this week has been a small reminder that putting you and your business front and centre is pivotal to a happy and fulfilling art career. Notice I didn’t mention success in that, that’s because we should all be striving to work towards our own version of whatever success looks like for us, each of us is unique, a small success for one person can be huge step for someone else, and that’s absolutely fine, celebrate it whether it is small or big, but more than that, remember to take some time out occasionally and celebrate you too, because without you there is no art.

Until next time, as always, stay safe, stay well, look after each other and stay creative!

Mark x

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger and live in Staffordshire, England. My days are filled with art, dog walking and living my best life while still being stuck somewhere in the eighties. You can purchase my art through my Fine Art America store or my Pixels site here:   and you can purchase my new works, special and limited editions directly. You can also view my portfolio website at

If you are on Facebook, you can give me a follow right here,  You can also follow me on Twitter @beechhouseart and on Pinterest at


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