How to Be an Organized Artist

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Keep all of your past work organized and accessible.,
Record all of your artistic contacts and connections in one place.,
Log the costs of supplies needed for each project.,
Find out how much it costs you to make and sell each piece.,
Pay attention to what other, similar works of art are selling for.,
Consider the “cost” of your time when pricing work.

When you finish a project, whether it sells or not, don’t just stuff it away in a drawer. You never know when you’ll want to revisit and idea or, more excitingly, when interest in your current work will drive up interest in past projects.

If you do electronic work, back it up every 3-6 months on a dedicated hard drive. There is nothing worse than an accident destroying all of your old projects., More than many industries, successful artists need to cultivate a diverse network of other artists, curators, instructors, and gallery assistants to be successful. You never know when someone will hit it big and provide a helping hand, or when you’ll have some work you want to place in a friend’s art show. Don’t leave meetings and connections up to chance — organize and compile your contact information in once place for later. Make notes of:

Phone number
Email
Location
Role in the art world
How you met or connected., If you’re looking to make a living off art, you need to treat certain aspects of the process like a business. This, however, does not need to interfere with your creative process. Simply holding on to your receipts and writing them down in one sheet is a great first step towards financial security and autonomy.

You can often write off almost all of these receipts on your taxes, as they are private business expenses. Keeping expenses organized isn’t just about time, it is about saving money., If you’re making the same or similar pieces each day, you can figure out how much each piece costs you to make them by dividing the cost in supplies by the number of pieces made. So, if 10 wood sculptures cost you $100, each sculpture cost you $10 to make (100/10 = 10). This may seem trivial, but you need to have a complete picture of your finances if you hope to make money off your work.

At the very least, ensure that you are not losing money on each piece.

, If you want an organized, productive artistic practice, you need to know about the trends around your work. Keeping organized is about more than just your own studio, it is about understanding the art market you’re a part of. Peruse Etsy, visit galleries and show openings, and follow art blogs and news to keep abreast of the latest developments and prices.

, While it doesn’t have a dollar value, make sure you value your time as well as your materials. In the earlier example, don’t forget that it cost more than just $10 to make the sculpture. Your hours of work and experience are essential too, so don’t sell the piece for $20 if it took you a week to make. While pricing your work is difficult, don’t balk at the high prices you see other artists selling for — not everyone can do what you do, and people are paying for your talent and experience.

At the very least, consider what you’d be paid if you used your time otherwise. Twenty hours spent painting could be worth $15 an hour at another job. You should consider this “missed” money when pricing work.
If you want to make art your living, you need to price the work high enough to take care of yourself. Careful financial organization is essential to pulling this off.

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