Make Your Place In The Art World

The Changing Face of Art...

Art gallery blog image
Make Your Own Place In The Art World

Here we are in 2022 and it might seem counterintuitive to suggest that there are alternatives to selling your art that can still see you earning a good standard of living as an artist, by not following a traditional path through the art world. The art world in 2022 has changed, some might say that there has even been a reset, but just how easy is it to embrace the changes and become a commercially successful visual artist?

The Challenge of Being An Artist…

Art has never been what you might call an easy business, less so as we tentatively and hopefully begin to emerge from an almost three-year-long pandemic. During that time, buyer behaviours have changed almost unrecognisably and once-thriving high street galleries have either made the transition online or in some cases have shuttered their doors, leaving the art world looking very different from a pre-pandemic time.

It's not just the business of art that has changed, businesses of every description have had to adapt to some quite mammoth challenges. Migrating bricks and mortar stores into the cloud, artists cancelling long-planned exhibitions, and so many businesses of every description have faced challenges that often felt more akin to the four horsemen of the apocalypse turning up to a Downing Street party.

As some parts of the world began to reopen, things were not quite the same as we left them back at the start of the pandemic. High streets look different, and buyers who would once fill stores on a Saturday afternoon are not quite ready yet for re-socialisation, instead, choosing to continue with online purchases.

Pre-pandemic, it was the younger population driving the digital economy, post-pandemic, we’re much more likely to see a hybrid lifestyle emerging, with the younger generation returning more readily to the high street, and older generations keener to embrace newly developed digital skills and continuing with online commerce. In the art world, that seems to be quite a seismic shift.

Highland Nights Artwork by Mark Taylor
Highland Nights by Mark Taylor - One of my latest landscape works, prints and other collectables available to order now!

Changing course…

Over the course of the pandemic, buying behaviours that changed out of necessity throughout the past couple of years, have become ingrained and habitual, with many emerging behaviours likely to stick around rather than return to anything like pre-pandemic normal. Depending on your primary audience, how you think about doing business in a post-pandemic world could be very different to the world of three years ago.

There is now a mix of buying behaviours that feel different. We are definitely moving towards a hybrid approach in some sectors where buyers are starting their buying journey online and then finishing off the process in physical stores. We are seeing more in the way of social commerce, where brands are meeting shoppers in their own space allowing the buyers to discover products at home through the power of social media and then not worrying too much about where the ultimate sale happens, just so long as it does. That makes much more commercial sense for companies selling products, given that they’re less able than they once were to access social media user tracking data that would once drive the direction of their online business.

Things are changing online too. For the first time ever, Facebook has reported a significant drop both in terms of revenue and daily active users, and that’s a really big shift in what we have become accustomed to over the past decade or so. That infallible tech giant seems to be creaking under the pressure of Apple’s privacy war on advertising, as are other social platforms.

I think to some extent because people are generally pretty fed up with seeing the same old content repeated over and over, especially where a lot of it has been found to be factually questionable. Quality counts on social media, today more than ever, the filler content is becoming a very distant memory with users now actively looking for the value add, quality content that informs, entertains, educates, inspires and converts readers into buyers.

I also think it goes wider than that, in part because, for businesses, social media has become an unwieldy minefield over the past few years, not least, because of how little your efforts seem to be amplified. There is now a wariness bought on by an inherent risk that your marketing campaign might fall foul of one of the seemingly millions of unknown algorithmic rules and you find yourself cancelled, cut off from the clients you have been hyper-focused on retaining since time immemorial.

Vintage technology artwork showing 1980s digital media and technology
One of my most recent retro-inspired artworks showing vintage technology and media! Obsolescence is available to order online. Copyright Mark Taylor 2022 - All Rights Reserved.

Disinformation has spread everywhere to the point that in some instances, it seems as if it has reached the point of normalisation. That’s despite some rather weak attempts by the tech giants and governments to put the brakes on it.  That makes it incredibly difficult to find any level of organic reach unless the content cuts way above the noise.

As an independent artist, all of this change is challenging. Pre-pandemic, there were a lot fewer people than there are today who were willing to make substantial online transactions in return for art, and even fewer who would be willing to consider purchasing art through non-traditional routes to ownership. Then, the world changed and buyers became much more accepting of doing things differently, and mostly they have surprised everyone by embracing new ways of doing almost everything we once thought they wouldn’t.

So maybe it’s time we looked to the future and asked the question, how can we sell more art in the future and will we need to change our traditional approach to the transactional process of swapping our art for cold hard cash? Just how different do we need to be successful artists in a new world?

The transactional process is changing…

Many alternatives to the traditional art sale transaction approach already exist today, we just tend to favour the traditional way of moving art onto walls which has historically followed the ‘you give me money and I give you art’ model, with no intermediate complications beyond having a website and a social media account.

Traditionally, you develop a following through exhibitions and galleries and then buyers turn up to a show, fall in love with a work and then make the transaction. There is nothing simpler, but buyers for the artwork of the majority of working artists, are now willing to look at alternatives to the traditional art buying process in order to purchase and consume their art. They’re not looking in the usual places and spaces, and they’re looking at alternative ways to pay for the work.

As artists, we will need to adapt. Maybe we tend to favour the traditional approach to selling art because we’re so much more comfortable with that, know where you are approach, or we think buyers are more comfortable with that approach. I think buyers are not only embracing new ways to transact, they’re actively looking for new ways to transact that make the whole process of buying art and everything else, simpler for them, and not necessarily us as artists.

The Normalisation of Selling Online…

I remember not all that long ago when you were expected as an artist to be represented by a gallery. That’s how I began my art career, it was a linear route that had been followed for centuries, and that’s what we were told to do as artists. Today, there’s a huge blurring of the lines between physical galleries and the online space, particularly as many galleries have been forced to go down the online route.

audio cassette artwork with cassette tape and pencil
Tools of the Trade by Mark Taylor - Copyright 2021 -2022 - Available from my online stores now!

Buyers who make purchases from the majority of working artists who are either not in the high-end fine art market or who are not represented by the mega-galleries are less likely to be swayed to make a purchase because the item is for sale here, rather than there. They just want great art, great quality, and even at the higher value end of the market, they want to find great value, and that’s not to say that they’re looking for great value in a monetary sense, it’s much broader than that.

Let there be change…

What has excited me more than anything over the past couple of years is just how well known some artists have become despite the lack of professional representation. I take a look through the likes of Etsy and notice small micro-communities of fans getting behind their favourite creators, anticipating their next release and then making a purchase and leaving reviews before going on to become brand ambassadors of real people and extolling the virtues of their favourite creators online through social media. It’s not the galleries who do the discovering today, it’s communities of people who might never have previously stepped through a gallery door.

Creators seem to be finally waking up to the 21st Century/Post-Pandemic, need for them to become the brand of me, and it’s awesome. So how are these up and coming creative superstars pulling it off? They’re doing things differently, they’re being more human-like than corporate-like, they’re being way more authentic and they’re going direct to the buyer and making the process easy. So how do us mere mortals get anywhere close to doing that?

Rip up the rule book!

I firmly believe, just as I always have, that independent creator's can shake off the starving artist image and become successful artists if they first shake off the belief that they need things like gallery representation or the thinking that they absolutely must follow the norms and rules of the traditional art world to be successful, or that they first need to wait around until they are discovered by the establishment. Top tip here, there were never any rules, just a bunch of over-confident people telling you that there were.

This is exactly why you don’t have to follow the traditional transactional process of getting your art on people’s walls. There are no rules that have been etched in stone to say that you need to sell through a physical store, a gallery or at a show, it’s perfectly okay to get your art on walls in a way that works for you and your buyer without worrying that the sale doesn’t count because you cut out the middleman, or because you decided to take three turtle doves in payment for your work instead of cash, so long as it works for you and your buyer. It is though, probably worth bearing in mind that as cute as Turtle Doves are, they’re not great at paying the bills.

If there was any kind of etched in stone rule in the art world, it should be that independent artists should stop worrying about what the not-so-independent art world hierarchy is telling them to do. If you’re worried about how you are viewed by the purists, I’m not convinced you’re at that point, any more independent than an artist who is tied to a gallery contract. You have to dare to be different.  

Toucan art with jungle flora
Toucan Play This Game by Mark Taylor - This fun piece is available from my online stores! Copyright 2022 - All Rights Reserved.

Stop copying corporate…

What all of this means, of course, is that you now have a duty to be less corporate and more you, and that goes for everything you do including how you present yourself online. From emails to your website, people are looking for authentic you rather than boardroom you.

Do you want to know what kind of emails I stop what I’m doing to read? Those that aren’t filled with generic corporate B/S sent out multiple times a day. You don’t have to follow a traditional corporate template that sounds like it was written by a deskbound robot. The difference between pre-pandemic email and email in the new dawn of independent creators is in the tone of the email and the frequency.

This morning I checked my emails and found three from the same company that had arrived overnight. This afternoon, another three from the same company. Sure, they were all trying to sell me different versions of the same widget, but I don’t have the time to be reminded every 90-minutes about a widget I didn’t sign up to hear about in the first place.

The email I did read was one that I get in my inbox maybe once a month, sometimes once or twice a week, depending on the story the author of the email is sharing with me. I can relate to the author, we share the same interests, the communication is less corporate and more friend, I can get behind that, it feels more personal, less like I don’t have a choice, and it’s not screaming desperation.

I do get it, you sign up to an email marketing platform that gives you maybe 500, 5,000 or unlimited emails a month to send out to potential clients, that’s not a target you need to strive to meet, it’s an arbitrary number linked with whatever price tier you subscribe to of the email service you use.

I once read something that suggested that an average year of emailing has the same ecological impact as driving a couple of hundred miles by a gas-guzzling car. If that truly is the case, then just the act of cutting down on the number you send will have an impact on the environment. Instead of the typical, do you need to print this message off, save the trees, straplines, you can at least highlight the fact that you are reducing filler content/spam. If you are sending emails, you absolutely have a responsibility to respect peoples time.

The company that sends me at least nine emails a day must be surely responsible for a big chunk of global warming. I’m not sure how accurate those figures are, but not having to think for five minutes about filler content that absolutely no one reads will gift you with some time back that you could spend doing something useful, or having a nap, both equally less corporate than buy this, or this, or that, and make our shareholders happy.

Hot Flamingo Artwork showing flamingo with tropical flora
Hot Flamingo by Mark Taylor - Available to order now from my stores! Image - Copyright Mark Taylor 2022

Make your place rather than know your place…

There’s something else that these superstar creators are all doing in this new world, and that is, they are giving themselves permission to think of their art practice as being a business rather than a hobby. There’s no room for the meek to hide away thinking that if they come out and announce to the world that they are a business owner they will be laughed at by the purists, or they will be seen as being a sell-out. In the art world, you really can’t win either argument, so don’t even try. Think of your practice as anything less than a real business and it will always be less.

We often talk about finding our place in the art world, but I am a big believer in making your own place in the art world. Stop falling in line with the safe trends that everyone else is doing and following, that’s not how you create a whole new art movement, and it seems to be a much less useful approach in a world that has changed so much. The world this side of the pandemic is far more accepting that you can define your own place in the art world by being your very own kind of weird.

There really is no point in simply trying to fit in. Do that and you will blend into the background along with everyone else. Follow your weird and stand out because as an artist, that’s your mission, to be honest, it always has been. That’s how much the art world has changed in the past couple of years, buyers are being less safe in their choice of art and someone has to feed their newfound appetite for different. In fact, I’m not even sure all that much has changed in that respect, maybe what has changed is that buyers are more accepting of not following the current trend or the most well-known name.

You also have to put the hours in…

In knowing your place you also have to look beyond your talent and just get on with putting the work in. That’s how these superstar creators are suddenly building tribes. They’re figuring out that the world changed and people are more into making deep connections with other people today than maybe they ever were before. Hey, we’ve all been mostly locked inside for a few years, now we yearn for that human interaction again.

These creative rockstars are suddenly working out that relationships matter. Be it by email or on social media, there is less of a distance between the buyer and the creator. More than that, these creators know that building relationships are not only the key to bringing people on board, they understand that any relationship is better if it is built on trust, and that takes a little time to establish.

Look through the comments on social media, through the interactions in the creator's online presence, the creators are talking directly to the buyers, more importantly, they are responding and respecting that someone has given up their time to engage. What you will also notice is that tribes are talking to each other, there’s way more interaction than there was before.

What these rockstar artists are more aware of is that they are competing, not with other artists, but for peoples time and attention. They are competing to be heard and noticed and not to be drowned out by all of the noise. They’re listening to their tribe and they’re telling their story, and if they’re not telling their story, they’re at least telling people how and why they’re creating what they’re creating. They’re absolutely talking about the ‘why’ their art exists.

Adrift Under A Neon Sky artwork by Mark Taylor showing beach scene and small boat at sunset
Adrift Under a Neon Sky by Mark Taylor - Available on a wide range of products, even jigsaws! Image copyright Mark Taylor 2022

That’s something that feels completely different in the new world,  this engagement alone is as much a part of the art as the art itself. The art is only half of the conversation the artist is trying to have with the world. If we were to simply post our latest creation and then move on without saying a word, I’m not sure at that point we can even say that the artist matters. The art could have been created by a robot, and it is being noticed by buyers more than ever before.

Where are buyers heading in the new world?

Many buyers are going to the exact same places as they did before, but now we have new buyers who might have discovered art for the first time during lockdown. They’re certainly still looking in the traditional places, especially where those places exist online, but they’re also more accepting that great art isn’t exclusive to a gallery, and they are most definitely finding out that the most unique art is rarely, if ever in a gallery.


More and more people I talk to have been mentioning just how much they’re looking for unique works through platforms that might not have been front and centre pre-pandemic and one of those platforms is Patreon. It’s a whole new way (that existed before) of engaging those who are moving away from the traditional transactional process of acquiring art.

Back in the day when artists were artists, and the plague ran rampant throughout the world, artists would have patrons who would support them so that the artist could spend their days creating masterpieces and they would be fully funded to create whilst taking steps to avoid catching the plague. What a time that must have been.

Okay, not much has changed really, apart from fewer artists today can rely on a traditional patron funded art career. Where traditional patronages exist today, they’re also a lot different to patronages of the past, they often come in the form of residencies, or through brand collaborations, and that also means that the artist tends to now have to do a lot more than simply focus on creating.

What you can do today is crowdsource a group of patrons to cover your costs and fund your art career using the power of modern technology and a platform called Patreon. If people like what you do, they can each pay a small (or large) sum of money to support you and in return, they will claim rewards for backing you.

Patreon is something that as an artist, I can get behind because it takes art back to its very roots in society. This is how artists would be more typically funded at one time. Today we tend to focus on the artist who creates the artwork but during the renaissance, for example, it was the patron or a collective group of patrons who would dictate the cost, materials, size, location and subject matter of the artwork, the artist would be almost secondary.

Mountain artwork by Mark Taylor
Mountain by Mark Taylor - This is one of my older works, it's also my best selling work ever! Copyright Mark Taylor 2015 - 2022

Today, artists are mostly in control of the entire creative process, Patreon doesn’t take any of that benefit away from artists. The creative process is still mostly owned by you, you determine what you create, but your backers will generally only back whatever resonates with them, so you will need to take their lead. They can pick and choose what and who to back, and that’s the key, whilst the creative process is entirely your own, you will need to keep backers hooked.

When I mentor new (mostly younger) artists, setting up a Patreon account is often one of the first things they think about doing, and this is where I always advise a little caution. Namely, that Patreon is just as uncertain as any other sales method, until such time that it’s not.

You will have way more flexibility to be able to build direct relationships with collectors rather than irregular or casual buyers which in itself sounds like any artists ultimate dream, but the keyword here is relationship, and Patreon requires you to build and nurture relationships over the long term. It’s not a five-minute fix to fund your previous or current poor life decisions before becoming bored with the whole thing and moving on when the money doesn’t flow in immediately. Think of it as sowing a seed in the spring, it could very well be next spring before you see green shoots.

Patreon also isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Supporting different tiers of donation requires you to do something other than just create art, it requires you to invest time in making sure that any rewards are indeed rewarded to those who have shown support for you and your work. You will also need to make sure that rewards reflect the level of contributed funding. If I’m pledging five bucks a month, my expectations are that my reward should be something worth less than five bucks, if anything at all other than the creative output and knowing I have supported a creative. If I’m pledging a thousand bucks per month, my expectations might be a little different, it’s subjective, it depends on the audience. Some backers (as in, few) will be happy to pay a thousand bucks a month for little to nothing other than a feeling of support in return, others might expect a vial or two of blood.

If you don’t have enough time or think you won’t have enough time to fully commit to Patreon or any other service just like it, don’t do it, or at least limit what you do with it until you can support your supporters properly. You will need to go into any Patreon activity in a position of being prepared. I know of far too many creators who have signed up to the platform, suddenly gained traction, and then had no plan at all to deal with rewards and it has turned out to become an unmitigated disaster with plenty of disgruntled backers deciding not to back you at all.

empty deckchairs on a beach artwork by Mark Taylor
A Perfect Day by Mark Taylor - Available on a range of archive-quality print mediums, and now, as a jigsaw too! Order from my online store today! Image: copyright Mark Taylor 2022

Patreon is also not some golden panacea to riches either, I can’t stress this enough. It takes an insane amount of effort on your part to set up and own a process that backers can trust and find value in, and an insane amount of effort to fulfil rewards once you start to build up the number of backers. You might even need to think about outsourcing some of this work down the line.

It doesn’t at all, negate the need to carry out marketing which will be a bit of a blow to those who already struggle with the work involved in surfacing your art in front of potential buyers through more traditional approaches. It’s also worth being mindful that any serious level of income is not likely to happen overnight. Patience is itself an art.

When setting up your Patreon campaign, never, ever, over-promise, and never underestimate just how much work is involved in making sure that rewards are sent out in a timely manner, particularly where a physical process is involved in delivering physical items.

Just in terms of shipping, you will want to make sure that you are not spending more money on getting a product into people’s hands than you earn from the campaign because that would mean that you become the backer of your supporters, and that’s also not how it’s supposed to work. You really need to have the mindset of a CEO to create a successful Patreon campaign, and that means being realistic, robust, resilient, and willing to put in a heap of effort for any level of reward, small or big.

That latter point might sound blindingly obvious to most folk, yet there are creatives on Patreon, even today, who can’t possibly be making more in income than they spend on outgoings. This doesn’t surprise me one bit, humans don’t much like planning, and fewer still like to get to grips with how to run a business before they begin to run a business. Top tip here too, learn the basics of business before you start any journey towards selling your work, in whatever way you sell it, you should even approach Patreon with a business-first mindset.

You should also never underestimate the sheer amount of work that is involved in organising the logistics of any physical shipping method. Patreon is a global platform and as such, your logistical issues become global logistical issues as soon as you go live. You also need to ask yourself some very probing questions such as, how do I scale if it takes off, what’s my plan B, and am I exerting way too much effort/funding/energy/will to live, for what I get in return, and if so, can my energies be refocussed on doing something else that has a better chance of reward.

artwork by Mark Taylor featuring electronic components
1 UP - A classic retro-inspired vintage gaming technology artwork by Mark Taylor - Copyright 2021 - 2022

Can it pay off? I know of a growing number of creators who now solely generate their entire income through using Patreon and some of them live very well on the model, some can even afford to live in proverbial palaces in the Bay Area of San Francisco, yes the rewards can be that good.

This is a model that has the potential to replace the nine to five and the traditional sales process, even with as few as a couple of thousand patrons paying you the cost of a cup of coffee each month, but don’t expect it to be quite like a regular nine to five. It also scales really well, with the only single point of failures being in your ability to keep creating and your ability to keep on top of getting the rewards out on time.

While it can pay off, you will need to take a cautionary approach to thinking about placing all of your creations (eggs) in one (virtual) basket! Never think that the amount that has been pledged will be what you actually receive, you will need to pay fees from anything you make.

Another cautionary note is around the level of fall off in supporters you might experience with what is essentially a slightly adapted subscription model. There will never be any guarantee that someone who pledged this month will pledge at all next month or ever again. So, as a single source of income, it can be unpredictable, but in fairness, that can be the case with any sales process.

What you are doing with these types of platforms is betting on the subscription model staying in vogue in some of the most uncertain economic times the world has probably ever faced. What you are doing with a traditional sales process is betting on that exact same thing.

As a platform, it remains only a single piece of a larger puzzle, you still need to have other elements in place such as somewhere to physically live online so that you can host content and go deeper than the platforms allow and you need somewhere where you can focus on building relationships with your supporters. If you see Patreon or any of the multitude of services like it as the only piece of the puzzle that you need, it might be more prudent to find a simpler jigsaw.

At its simplest, these kinds of platforms are recurring payment systems. They essentially collect rent in return for managing payments. Signing up doesn’t give you a ready-made audience or extend your reach further than you already have it, those elements still need you to put in the marketing work to make it happen, but these platforms will make the backers experience way simpler, and that is really, really, important. Backers are looking for the kind of simple that you most likely don’t already offer.

Having said that, despite the work needed, Patreon is a platform that is well recognised but never plan on it lasting. Hopefully, at some point, you will outgrow it and be able to stand alone with your own business model and your own patron base. You do have to be mindful of the fees, some of my peers who have found success on the platform are paying monthly fees in the high four figures, but there’s no gain without at least a little pain as they say.

Pool Party artwork by Mark Taylor Flamingos by a pool with tropical flora
Pool Party by Mark Taylor - One of my best selling works that promises to add some tropical fun to any space! Image copyright Mark Taylor 2022

The Art Collective…

Art collectives are becoming huge, simply because they generally offer some of the most unique art from the most unique artists but without the overhead, you would find from a premium high-end gallery. I have been a champion of art collectives for what seems like forever, where a number of artists share the workload, the fee’s, and ultimately, the buyers.

That latter point might seem like a real rub, but there are multiple models that make sense for collaborative efforts. Online exhibitions, online auctions, even art rental, but it only ever makes sense if each and every creator is signed up to the same playbook and they actually contribute an equal amount of effort too.

There are things that you will need in place to be able to do this, firstly, you will need to form a collaboration with like-minded artists who all share a common goal. Next, you will need to decide on a model that each of you can run with, or at least live with, and finally, everything has to be done with the utmost transparency.

The difficult part is in finding a collaboration that works for everyone. Sure, it’s easy to find artists who say they want to collaborate, it’s quite another thing to find a bunch of artists, all equally as committed to pouring their art and soul into a collective effort. In my experience, collaborations stem from existing relationships that have been built around mutual trust and respect, and even then, it all needs to be formalised in writing, even if you are working with your best friend. Think of it as a pre-nuptial agreement, money can become quite divisive, especially if the contribution of effort has been lacking from one or more sides of the collaboration.

storage wars artwork by Mark Taylor showing vintage storage media
Storage Wars by Mark Taylor - Another vintage technology inspired artwork that documents computer storage media from across the decades - pre-1970s to the present day. Image, copyright Mark Taylor 2022 - Available to order from my online store!

The Art Rental…

Art rentals are a great way to keep art moving, but you will also need to consider the arrangements under which the art is essentially rented. There are logistical issues, insurance, cleaning and maintenance fees, and the cost of replacement work for works that have become damaged or lost. It happens more than you would think, especially in hotels (it gets stolen) and in public spaces (it gets kicked).

You also need a constantly evolving inventory, but the joy of this model is that you can find repeat income from the same work. My rental works are provided under a collaboration of six artists, each of us committing to produce a certain number of new pieces each year, and we also offer a final rental price which means that the longer the art is rented, the lower the cost of outright ownership at the end of the rental. The rental covers the added costs of insurance, hanging services, cleaning, and replacement.

Print materials are always at the premium end of the quality scale, not least because that reduces the ongoing replacement costs, but also because premium materials attract a premium price, and very few businesses will be inclined to have a dollar store quality print hanging on public display in their reception, neither will they want something so small that it has little to no impact so you do have to think big. You also have to justify the price you set, surprisingly, the image alone can’t do that because it’s the same image that might also be available as a dollar store print.

The downside to this model is that the upfront costs can be high, you’re essentially paying wholesale prices for your own work on top of the cost of creating it, and that’s before you earn a dime. But savvy businesses are keen to have truly never before seen work hanging on their walls rather than a costly reproduction that’s also on display in every other hotel room and in the new world, they’re super-keen to switch things around without the feeling that they need to sell an existing piece before they replace it.

The point to remember with a rental model is that you really cannot skimp on quality, even at the beginning. It takes a little time to recoup any investment, I tend to place work for between 6-12 months before I see any kind of profit so you will need to factor in an immediately high outlay, but at some point, it will, or at least should, become a reasonably passive income and you should then have time to focus on other things.

You will also be approached by artists who want to join the rental scheme and offer their work. Think of this as the equivalent of someone buying into your business, (most are put off when they realise there are costs) and it will water down any income if it is equally shared. Only encourage this if you need more collaborators who will collaborate and be part of an overall collective of artists sharing the work/costs equally.  

retro inspired artwork Turn It Up by Mark Taylor
Tun it Up by Mark Taylor - Another classic piece that will transport you back to decades gone by! Available to order from my online stores! Image, copyright Mark Taylor 2021-2022

Art Auctions…

Art auctions, both physical and online can also work well for an artist collective to engage with, particularly where those auctions also support wider community causes. Whilst there is nothing stopping a solo artist from going down the route of auctions, it does become a richer experience for the buyer if they are able to see and select from a wide range of work created in different mediums, at different price points and from a selection of genres.

The shift towards homemade, quality and local…

Maybe because we couldn’t travel for a couple of years, but the pandemic and the associated lockdowns began to drive local trade, the search for unique quality products, and a realisation that people are putting way more thought into sustainability.

Community-based art projects that raise local awareness of issues and initiatives can be a vehicle, as an artist, you are not only in a position where you can visually document what’s important in your community, you can become a vehicle of change within your community, raising your own artistic profile on the way. Bear in mind that community projects should be more community, less you.

I have said this many times over on these very pages, but if you are not engaging your local community with your creations, you are missing out on one of the best sources of exposure, repeat business, and gaining recognition for what you do which may then be more widely recognised further afield.

Artists have been at the heart of communities for centuries, yet in the 21st Century it seems easier to find yourself serving a global market than a local one, and that could mean that somewhat ironically, you are missing out on many more sales.

That too might seem counterintuitive, but to compete in a global art market is difficult. Despite the relative ease of entry, given all of the online tools artists now have at their disposal, the act of working in a global space makes everything more challenging, not least in the amount of more nuanced, hyper-focused marketing effort that you need to put in.

Your target market might be similar in other territories and regions but the marketing message will very likely need to be different to match what geographically disparate cultures respond better to. If you’re struggling to find sales with the odd scattering of social posts, here, there, and everywhere, in the hope that anyone and everyone will see and respond to that post while making your message resonate with twenty different cultures, you need to be mindful that sending a coherent marketing message that resonates in each community, is going to be a whole new level of character building.

The point here is, if you had any sense of dislike for marketing before, try doing it properly across multiple territories. Despite the saying that goes something along the lines of, the art will sell itself, yep, no, it doesn’t, even if you're pretty darn close to being the next Matisse. Art will sell itself, is just about the biggest myth there is beyond, your creativity will be discovered very quickly.

Pisces artwork fish out of water by Mark Taylor
Pisces by Mark Taylor - Like a fish out of water, this work is also available from my online store! Copyright Mark Taylor 2022

Embrace the new world…

I think, we truly are witnessing a seismic shift in the behaviour of buyers, we’re certainly seeing a democratization of the art world and we are finally seeing independent artists find the level of success they deserve. There have been plenty of creatives who have proven throughout the pandemic that it is possible to generate a good living from their creative endeavours by embracing change and adapting to have a much more entrepreneurial spirit.

I so often speak to independent artists who feel like they are running on the spot and getting nowhere fast. Art has always been a long game, especially for those artists who are chasing the unicorn we call, ‘getting discovered’ as if that in itself is some kind of golden ticket. What the pandemic has shown us, is that the art world that the majority of working artists create within, has embraced some seismic changes and it is entirely possible to have a successful art career without the pursuit of stereotypical discovery, but you will have to be willing to embrace difficult and challenging and put your business front and centre of what you do. You are not selling out by making a living.

When you talk to or read about those previously unknown creatives who have found a level of commercial success throughout the pandemic, the one thing that you might notice is that their attitudes towards running their art practice as a business have been a departure from pre-pandemic times where waiting to be discovered was their primary objective. Top tip here, no one gets paid to wait around.

Now, those creatives are more like CEOs of startups, embracing entrepreneurship and actively doing things that get them noticed, things that we’re not all that comfortable with, and things that make you get up at 5am, the difference is that you will want to get up at 5am if you get it right.

Those creatives are also more likely to have a plan, and they’re more likely to spend time searching for things that will make them stand out rather than searching and waiting, for the golden ticket that is discovery. They are being discovered in a totally different way, and more importantly, on their own terms. That my dear friends sums up just how much the art world has changed.

Dry stone wall landscape at sunset artwork by Mark Taylor
Glow Over A Dry Stone Wall by Mark Taylor - one of my favourite paintings that I created a couple of years ago. Also available on jigsaws, and the ultimate in luxury, museum-quality acid-free prints! Copyright Mark Taylor 2022

Until Next Time…

Hopefully, this post has got you thinking about how the world has changed and given you a few new ideas about how you might want/need to engage with your market in the future. It’s difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy what might happen this time next year or even next week and less so in the art world, but there is little doubt that buying behaviours have changed dramatically and we really need to respond differently.

There are so many marketing guides out there on the ‘tinternet’ that have been written by marketing gurus and huge organisations who will all readily share most (but never all) of their secrets to success. They’re often brilliant, even genius, and tell you exactly what you need to do to get results. Except, they don’t really tell you anything that is relevant because you’re not playing in anywhere near the same space. A giant corporations marketing budget is likely to be more per week than most working artists make in a year, so following the corporate master plan is more likely to frustrate rather than help.

I come to this from a lived experience perspective. Three plus decades in, there’s a heap more I probably got very wrong than I got right along the way, and I never once followed the fail-fast method of learning. I often failed slowly, frequently, painfully. What has though become more and more obvious throughout that time, is that when your market changes for whatever reason, you have to change, adapt, and embrace it.

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger and live in Staffordshire, England. My days are filled with art, dog walking and Teams Meetings, 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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