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 a Professional Arts Career Advisor who has worked in and around the art business throughout her career. She’s been honored as an “Influencer in the Contemporary Art World” by LinkedIn. She spent a decade as the director of an influential gallery, is recognized internationally as a curator, has contributed articles and books about art to major publications worldwide, and she’s an artist herself.


Crista is also the founder of The Working Artist, an online professional practices resource for artists who want to get their work seen and sold.


How To Sell Your Art

Packed with helpful information to help you accelerate success. When you sign up for this free eBook, you’ll also receive a complimentary micro-workshop, Jump: Go Deeper Into Your Artist Practice.

You can claim your copy here >


The Working Artist Masterclass

For artists who are ready to go deeper into their professional development; over the span of 8 weeks, you’ll be walked step-by-step through this unique program on a journey that you’ll never forget.

  • • Explore who you are as an artist, so your branding and marketing message are completely authentic.
  • • Understand how to price your art, create compelling promotional materials, and navigate the art world.
  • * Learn how to connect with collectors and art world-decision makers.

This is an online, on-demand comprehensive workshop that also includes Art Fair Essentials, an intensive program that will help you to achieve more sales during a fair. In addition, you’ll be invited to Crista’s monthly Coaching Calls that will continue to support you even after you finish the course.

You can receive a special discounted offer upon joining the mailing list. To learn more, visit


Private Mentorship Program

If you’re a mid-career artist with an exhibition record, Crista Cloutier offers the opportunity for private one-on-one Skype consultations. Every artist’s journey is unique so Crista will work with you in terms of your specific needs so you feel completely prepared for the art fair world.


You can receive a special discounted offer upon joining the mailing list. To learn more, visit

"Crista Cloutier is an extraordinary facilitator for change, creativity and prosperity.” Griselda Cann Mussett

  1. hasnie

    18 August

    This is a great article

  2. Jhon Gal

    23 December

    I really like the way you are describe the Artist to succeed, Thanks for sharing an amazing Post! Discover the collection of great artwork at one place grouped by colors and theme.

  3. Thank you for this list, I am still working on 7 and 8. I think I will write this list on a paper an stick it in from on my working desk and see it each day.

  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.

  5. Johnette

    17 September

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

  6. Roland George

    14 September

    Just what I needed to spur me on. Thank you.

  7. Vaidik

    21 August

    Great One..

  8. Diego Lukezic

    18 December

    It takes a prime location…

  9. Neen Sidnell

    7 December

    One thing I have observed about artists, people who create, a generosity of spirit! Thank you for your tips! Precious observations! Encouraging & confirming! THANK YOU!

  10. 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.

  11. WA Roux

    22 October

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

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