Artwork for podcast The Thriving Artist
Control How Your Art Business is Perceived
10th May 2017 • The Thriving Artist • The Clark Hulings Foundation
00:00:00 01:14:19

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Maria Brophy is an art-business consultant and the author of Art, Money, & Success. She got her start managing her husband’s surf-art business (, and she applies that experience to her work with other artists. Her areas of expertise include licensing and the creation of multiple income streams. In this podcast, she discusses the importance of identifying a niche, the ways that licensing is used for different mediums, and how to make your art career profitable. 

Artists Have to Have a Business Mindset:

  • “If you want to have a successful art career, you have to view yourself as a business owner, and to remain in business you need cash flow, profit, and growth.” 
  • “There are absolutely benefits to artists managing their own careers; it’s difficult to find an agent who will manage everything for you.”
  • “It’s absolutely feasible to be able to earn six figures, but you have to think like a businessperson: you have to charge for everything. Don’t eat extra costs; pass those costs on to the client.”
  • “There are ways to make everything you do profitable.”

The Importance of Finding Your Niche:

  • “If you are painting every subject matter and in every kind of medium, you won’t connect with anyone.”
  • “If you can work within a niche and market yourself within it, it’s incredibly powerful. There’s a lot of power in being a big fish in a small pond.”
  • “A lot of artists don’t realize they have a niche, and it’s right under their noses.”
  • “You find a way to connect with people, to reach those buyers that will connect with your work, because they share a love for the thing you’re doing.”

Marketing an Identifiable Style:

  • “The artists who make millions from their art are not the most talented, but they’ve hit on something that mass amounts of people really enjoy.”
  • “Don’t go the traditional route of licensing, but look for opportunities where your art would be the perfect solution for a company.”
  • “Tell clients your requirements and say, ‘This is how I work.’ Those are the five magic words.”
  • “When you sign your agreement with a gallery make sure it’s not exclusive to anywhere other than their area. You should have the freedom to show your work in any other gallery outside that geographic area.”
  • “When you’re younger, it’s fun to get that pat on the back, but you learn quickly that a pat on the back doesn’t pay the mortgage.”

Pricing Your Work:

  • “Choose which market you want to be in: the high-end marketplace of galleries, the low-end marketplace of Etsy, or somewhere in the middle. Then follow the rules of that market.”
  • “If you’re struggling with pricing, you can follow simple formulas such as figuring out a daily, weekly, and monthly rate. It’s good for working on new projects or one-off projects.”
  • “If you don’t stay in front of people, they will forget about you. Everybody on the planet knows what Coca-Cola is, but even Coca-Cola advertises!”