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The Top 10 List of What it Takes to Succeed as an ...

The Top 10 List of What it Takes to Succeed as an Artist

Have you got what it takes to be an ARTIST?
Here’s my Top Ten List of what takes to succeed:
1. Failure. You’ve got to work through the bad in order to get to the good. Failure is an integral part of being an artist.

2. A website. Sorry, I know you didn’t want to hear this but it’s true. Having a website is a sign of professionalism in the art business.

3. Self-confidence. Confidence isn’t something you are born with or that someone else gives you. It’s a skill that you learn–through doing the work.

4. Time and space to develop your ideas. Art is more than just pretty pictures, the best art explores ideas and ideas need time to develop and grow. Respect that and give yourself permission to take this time for your work.

5. A community of other artists. Other artists aren’t your competition, they are your colleagues. Join them.

6. Resilience. You’re going to hear the word “no” more than you will “yes,” and it takes resilience to keep going. Put on those Big Boy pants!

7. An understanding of the history and issues of your medium and/or subject matter. Never stop learning.

8. Professional marketing materials. This is a business, remember?

9. An understanding of the business of art. As a working artist, you are a self-employed small business owner, you have a responsibility as any other entrepreneur does, to understand professional practices.

10. Do the work. You don’t get to be an artist if you don’t make the work!


Crista Cloutier is an artist who writes. She’s the founder of The Working Artist, online business program for visual artists of all media. Visit www.theworkingartist.com/free-updates to join her mailing list and you’ll also receive a free gift.

  1. WA Roux

    22 October

    Thank you for the wisdom in a few sentences.
    Your’s sincerely,
    Wilhelm Roux .

  2. Kim

    9 November

    As a full time professional artist and owning a business I agree with all your suggestions…. but I might add for
    (#2 A website. Having a website is a sign of professionalism in the art business.) A WEBSITE not a Facebook page! Do not use a third party site as your main web page that you direct everyone to, people don’t and won’t sign up to look at your posts, your goods,etc… Facebook is not and should NEVER be your “website” if you want to be treated as a professional, invest in a website (.com) there’s plenty of affordable options that are easy to make yourself.

  3. Johnette

    17 September

    Can you please mail me info, us postal system, address 25249 Wagner warren, no 48089. Thank you

  4. John

    25 November

    I love number 8. That someone has said it, because from what I’ve seen, quite a few older artists are really outdated with their marketing. Their websites are tragic: broken CSS or hacked content. A lot of the “my work speaks for itself” kind of mentality. For some reason the aesthetic they pursue in their work doesn’t reflect in their presentation of their website. I’d say this actually extends to also older art magazines/ online magazines which have become rather tacky. With the exception of Art Business News of course.. which at least cares.

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