THE REWARDS OF THINKING BIG
It's possible to become a multimillionaire artist. If that's your dream, GO FOR IT! In his book, HOW TO PROFIT FROM THE ART PRINT MARKET, Barney Davey outlines the issues and challenges “reaching for the sky” will present because he has worked personally with artists who made it by thinking BIG. The demands are formidable - financially, physically, professionally and personally.
In his sixth chapter, “Exemplary and Successful Self-Published Artists,” he uses real life examples of top selling artists such as Thomas Kincade, Buckley Moss, Cao Yong, Wyland, Richard Thompson, Bob Timberlake and art licensing successes such as Mary Englebreight and Paul Brent. Their stories are not yarns of over-night success, but of unrelenting hard work and years of struggle on the way to the top of the heap. That doesn't mean they didn't have fun doing it – probably wouldn't have done it if all they experienced were the trials and tribulations.
LONG TIME COMING
I have a copy of the ART BUSINESS NEWS, 2009 publication: “TODAY'S ART!STS – The industry's leading artists share their stories of success. It profiles the “histories” of twenty artists well on-the-way-to, or already in, the millionaire category as well as seven “Artists to Watch”. - There is no information on how long these seven have been practicing their craft, but one look at examples of their unique work and it's obvious they are not “overnighters”. Part of the profile for each of the twenty successful artists notes YEARS IN BUSINESS it took to be included, and I found that stat especially revealing; Henry Asencio – 6 years; Lauri Blank -11 years; Romero Britto – 20+ years; James Coleman – 40 years; Andres' Desjardins – 6 years; Thomas Easley – 30 years; Michael Etheridge – 4+; Tom Everhart – 33 years; Robert Finale – 6 years; Michael Flohr – 7+ years;Terri Gilecki – 30 years; Rodel Gonzales – 6+ years; Stephen Jame Harlan – 30 years; Jann Harrison – 18 years; Gaylord Ho – 36 years; Jia Lu – 25 years; David O'Keefe – 30 years; Ford Smith – 7 years; Glen Tarnowski – 40 years; Cao Young – 9 years.
If my arithmetic is correct, the average number of years it took these talented, hard working artists to achieve their exalted, and well-deserved positions in that huge heap of dollars equals 20+.
DEEP POCKETS AND A LONG PULL
In the original 2005 edition of Barney's book, he applied the S.W.A.G Factor ( either “Scientific” or “Stupid” Wild-Ass Guess) when pressed for an answer to a frequent question artists asked: “How much will it cost to get an art-publishing career off the ground?” His answer, then, when major publications such as ART BUSINESS and DECOR MAGAZINE had not closed shop because of our present Wild-Ass economy and art buyers flocked to huge trade shows with hundreds of exhibitors like the one his esteemed trade magazine publisher sponsored each year was $100,000. All that has changed because of the Internet and technology. My advice is to read the new edition and learn how and what it will take now!
Barney's chapter on big dollar pacesetters quotes from an August 30, 1999 article in Time Magazine, titled: “The Art of Selling Kitsch, Don't look for these Creations at Your Local Museum. Instead, Try Your Local Mall” which ends with a poignant quote from Wyland, “The art snobs frown on any marketing or business, but the old masters weren't successful until they were dead. I didn't want to wait that long.
We're all capable of DREAMING BIG and most everyone does. Just look at the lotteries and the million dollar checks from Publishers Clearing House. Look at thousands of teenagers who spend hours on their neighborhood basketball courts dreaming of NBA careers. Consider how many folks sit at their computers and dream of starting a Microsoft, Apple or Facebook. Look at the hundreds of people with cash who dreamed Bernie Madov would make it into a REALLY BIG fortune. How many have seen their dreams turn into reality?
Lots of people are capable of THINKING BIG. They've attended multilevel “opportunity” meetings, clicked on the link to “Single mom in 'my town' makes $600 an hour, part time,” “Make a Fortune in Real Estate with no money down,” or “Billions in Grant Money going begging.” Some have taken at least a few of the recommended steps investing time and dollars toward reaching BIG. And some have made it – there ARE “triple diamond” Amway distributors, and some savvy speculators own properties they bought for pennies at tax sales or foreclosures! There are more inspirational books, blogs and seminars on THINKING BIG than anyone could read or attend in a lifetime. Thinking, reading or attending isn't the key to BIG. DOING is the difference.
MAKING IT BIG
As an art rep for more than twenty years, knowing many artists with big dreams and loads of talent, I've met quite few who went from DREAMING BIG to THINKING BIG. I've represented a few who went from THINKING BIG to MAKING IT BIG, by taking advice from the best and following through on what they were taught. The best of these experts, in my opinion, is Barney Davey, who gives practical, no-nonsense, steps to success in his book HOW TO PROFIT FROM THE ART PRINT MARKET and www.artprintissues.com, while keeping in mind that what constitutes success varies in scope with each individual and his circumstances.
If only I had Barney's book when I started my art career, I might be able to look you in the eye today and say, “I MADE IT BIG!” - while leaning on my Lamborghini Countach in front of my waterfront mansion and glancing at my Rolex watch.
HALF BIG AND QUARTER BIG
The truth is, like most want-to-be-artists supporting a family, working to pay the mortgage and stay current with the bills - I NEVER MADE IT BIG. I also learned that HALF BIG or even a QUARTER BIG isn't that bad.
On the way to becoming owner of an ad agency, then building a business as an art rep, I learned THE ADVANTAGES OF THINKING SMALL – accomplishing one small goal, before moving on to the next, without spending time or stress concerned with how far I'd come to reaching BIG. I'm not claiming the way I did it is the best way to earning a living as an artist, but I can attest that any artists willing step outside of their “Comfort Cage“ by actually standing in front of a potential buyer and selling what they create, will find one sure way to earn a living. But, keep in mind, it's just one way.