On Exposure and Patience

This is for all you fledgling artists and entrepreneurs out there. I want to tell you a story, a story that keeps me going, and that I find inspiring:

My parents and I frequented this fabulous farmer’s market in Las Cruces. Every Saturday for two years we’d peruse the booths, buy some great food, point out the things we really wanted to buy but couldn’t justify right then. Or in my case couldn’t afford; we were college students, buying an expensive piece of art or jewelry just wasn’t possible.

But there was this one artist that caught my eye immediately. Her watercolors were vivid, her use of color impressive, and I absolutely adored all of her woodland scenes. But these were original watercolors, medium-sized to large, and so I could only admire. Every week we’d pass by and I’d comment on how I’d really like to buy one.

Then Himself graduated, and landed a real job, and we were no longer college students. We had already discussed buying one piece of original local art before we moved, and I knew what I wanted to buy. My artist had had this one piece on sale for a few weeks, and my refrain had changed from “I want to buy something” to “I want to buy that one!”

So the next Saturday I walked up to the booth, pointed to the one I wanted, and handed over the most money I’ve ever spent on any non-essential item. And I’ve never regretted it; that artwork hangs in my living room and I adore it. It makes me happy every time I walk by.

Now for the moral, or rather lessons, because this wasn’t exactly Aesop’s Fables;):

1. Exposure: it takes time to build up a following. It takes time to curate loyal customers. But getting your art or product out there, week after week, can totally pay off. You’re breeding familiarity, you’re making yourself a staple experience, and one day, those people walking by will suddenly decide that they actually do want that piece, and they’ll potentially tell their friends, and suddenly you’ve got a wildly loyal fanbase.

2. Patience: I admired that artist for two years. I drooled over the piece I purchased for weeks beforehand. It’s not enough to get your products out there, now you have to be patient. Most of us won’t be instantly successful; we’re going to have to put the blood, sweat, and tears into our business. We’re going to see a lot of people walk by. But eventually, you’ll see that one person purposefully walking towards you, excited because she finally has the funds to afford one of your works. And you’ll be glad you decided to get the exposure and put in the patience.

*note: the artist I bought from wasn’t a beginner, but seemed to be moderately successful, so she might not have been elated to see me walking purposefully towards her. She had made sales before;)

Hopefully that brightens your day. Art on, friends, it will be worth it!


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