The Emerging Artist Label by M Theresa Brown

Far away from the fantasy art auctions of Christie’s and Sotheby’s is the real world of art  sales where there are many thousands of artists who create and sell their art.  In this world, the artist is usually working directly with the buyer and for sums far less than the multimillion dollar art in the big name auctions.  A sale is just as important to them as it is for the art auctioneer.  Without the big names and the money behind them, these artists must work hard to achieve sales and many are struggling.
Yet the very people who mean to help these artists are also sabotaging their efforts. Somewhere in the shadowed world of anonymous “experts” in the art communities are people who must have nothing better to do that  sit around and dream up new ways to guarantee that artists continue to fail in their art marketing!

One useful way they do this, apparently, is to  sort through their vast store of adjectives and descriptive words that cannot be used for any other career, and apply them to an artist’s career. In doing so,  they unwittingly (because we cannot believe this is being done on purpose) perpetuate the cycle of failure that faces so many artists who are trying to sell their art.

One of the most insanely used descriptions has to be the “EMERGING ARTIST.”  Who came up with this concept? The “Emerging Artist” tag  ranks right up there with “starving artist.”  Using this phrase in the context of how the public sees it virtually dooms the first step in an artist’s career. The phrase is everywhere. Emerging artist show, emerging artist grants, emerging artist site…… is it on your website or blog?

Look at this word in another context. Would you go to an emerging dentist?  How about hiring an emerging lawyer or doctor?  Beyond that how many emerging musicians or dancers have you encountered? Hmmm. We thought so. 🙂

If this phrase is anywhere in your vocabulary or written information, take it out! If you are creating your art, you have already “emerged.”  And if we want to get technical, the actual meaning of the word “emerge”  from

verb (used without object), e·merged, e·merg·ing.

1. to come forth into view or notice, as from concealment or obscurity: a ghost emerging from the grave; a ship emerging from the fog.

2. to rise or come forth from or as if from water or other liquid.

3. to come up or arise, as a question or difficulty.

4. to come into existence; develop.

5. to rise, as from an inferior or unfortunate state or condition.

Do any of these sound like a good description to tack onto “artist”?

Did you know that your average consumer, the one who is  interested in your art, is not interested in your art education nor your awards?  Did you know that 
”emerging” is synonymous with “starting?”  How many artists, practicing for years, find this label added to their names at the advice of an art organization or friends? One artist lit up after one of our seminars when I told her that she had already “emerged” and that the validation she was told she needed by her artist friends was for artists, not her collectors!

How you view yourself, your abilities and your art career are keys to how well you will prosper in your art marketing and how well you present yourself to your clients. Shed that “emerging artist” label! You are an artist. Enjoy it!

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