The Essential Skills You Need To Be A Succesful Artist

We all create art because we love it-  but if you’re reading this you’re probably thinking of how you can make it is a successful artist. In this article I’m not going to be talking about what hashtags to use or what websites to sell your art through. Instead I’m going to breakdown 5 key principles that you need to be successful in your art career.

The five principles for success as an artist are:

  • Charisma
  • Substance
  • Ability
  • Uniqueness
  • Work Ethic

Principle 1 – Charisma

You need to present yourself as the artist and not just your art.

With the turn to Instagram reels and Tiktok videos it’s a lot more obvious that a key part of developing your art career revolves around putting yourself out there and getting people to invest in you, and not just your art.

It’s about making yourself stand out as much as your work. In fact this was true even before the age of social media.

Think about some of the famous recent artists you may know, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhal, Damien Hurst. They’ve all got their own persona that enticed people not just to be interested in their art but also to them as individuals.

This led to a wider audience and allowed them to become names not just in the art world but artists that a lot of people have heard of.

There are 3 core elements to charisma:  Presence, Power and Warmth.

Presence is about making yourself known and putting yourself out there.

Power is about having confidence in yourself and your work.

Warmth is the way that you interact with people.

You aren’t just trying to sell art you are trying to build real and lasting relationships.

Principle 2 – Substance

The second Principle is Substance. The ability to move people through something you have created is a gift. You do not realise how much of an effect your work can have on someone until it makes them tear up at first glance.

You have to create work with meaning and a story. That story can be whatever you want it to be, but create art with a reason and not just for the sake of it.

The more people can connect with your work and the more you actively try to create that connection, the easier it will be to form relationships and develop true loyal collectors of your art.

Principle 3 – Ability

The 3rd Principle is just about ability. This isn’t anything that can be avoided, your work simply needs to stand out and be high quality.

You always need to be striving to improve, constantly learning more, experiencing more so that you can grow and develop with every piece of work that you create.

Principle 4 – Uniqueness

The 4th principle is Uniqueness, and this ties all of the other principles together. You need to develop your own style and your own way of doing things so that you enjoy every piece you create.

You should look at other peoples work with admiration not envy. You shouldn’t look at someones work and think ‘I want my painting to look like that’. You will never succeed aiming for things like that.

An artist you might compare yourself to has their own style their own unique way of doing things that you will just physically never be able to do- purely because of the fact that you are you and not them.

Instead, what you could do is look at these artists and think about what you like about their work. It could be the way they use light or colour or their compositions, and try to apply this in your own way.

Being a successful artist is about having recognisable, unique and high quality artwork that stands out from the crowd- not just aiming to be like everyone else. Finding your style takes time and develops with constant practice and experimentation.

Principle 5 – Work Ethic

The 5th, and by far the most important Principle, is work ethic. The most successful artists don’t rely on raw talent alone. If you match talent with drive, an artist’s chance of success increases everyday.

Raw talent helps, but it’s only going to take you so far. If you have got two artists, one incredibly talented and one less-so who works hard every single day to develop their art and business, I know who I think has the better chance of success. The hard working artist everytime!

Ultimately, success doesn’t just happen, you have to put yourself out there and make it happen.

In Summary

Here’s a quick summary of my 5 key principles to achieve success as an artist.

  1. Charisma- putting your personality out there not just your art

2. Substance- creating thoughtful work with meaning

3. Ability- Honing your craft to produce high quality work

4. Uniqueness- Standing out from the crowd creating work that no one else can

5. Work ethic- Always try to improve, grow and make things happen

It’s also important to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. You have to look at the bigger picture and realise that the actions you take now are going to be setting you up for long term success in the future. Success is very much a long term goal.

Check out this video if you’d like to learn a little bit about how to set and achieve goals in order to become a more successful artist.