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Top Ways to Fail as an Artist

Top Ways to Fail as an Artist

Carolyn Edlund | ArtsyShark

In the spirit of Ben Stein’s How to Ruin Your Life, the following is a starter list on how not to succeed in your art career.

How many can you add? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

• Believe in the myth of the starving artist.

• Take all of your own portfolio shots (preferably out-of-focus with poor lighting).

• Write a rambling, vague artist statement that no one can understand so that you appear to be intelligent and unfathomable.

• Wait until the last minute to send in applications.

• Don’t return phone calls.

• Ignore visitors at gallery shows – remain aloof and mysterious!

• Leave your last blog entry of November, 2008 as your most recent contribution.

• Vastly under-price your work.

• Vastly overprice your work.

• Refuse to volunteer.

• Avoid business or networking events like the plague.

• Don’t take any continuing art or business education classes.

• Neglect to update your website with current work.

• Find excuses why your work won’t sell, and use them often.

• Apologize for your art – say that you are “not really” an artist.

• Who needs marketing? You’re not a salesperson!

• Blame others for misunderstanding your work.

• Maintain a messy and disorganized studio.

• Embrace rejection – convince yourself you are a failure.

• Ignore deadlines.


• Give up.

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