For those who do not know: making art is costly

(translated by google, published in Trouw)
There is in the past week, something remarkable happened. Something everyone seems to amaze outside the arts sector. After extensive research of the Social Economic Council and the Council for Culture is the official. The artist in the Netherlands is poor. Minister Bussemaker said she was afraid of here, but now really frightened. Goh.
But the result is interesting. Namely that the artist in the past week has been transformed from lazy subsidy tractor feeding upon your tax money to poor man who works hard for a pittance or sometimes even no pay at all.
I am a visual artist (according to the report, the poorest group within the art sector) and I seize this opportunity to give you a look into my personal financial situation.
In the Volkskrant I read: “The cuts have wreaked havoc in the art world. Who does not belong to the top, can not make ends meet. “And I felt a little proud. It means I belong to the top.
I have no owner-occupied. No car. No expensive equipment. No expensive clothes. I’m very, very rarely on vacation.
I can usually pay my rent. My only regular sources of income are my columns in this newspaper and magazine OneWorld. What I earn is just enough for my rent and groceries. Or my rent, my gas, electricity, water, insurance and phone bill.
Extra costs are much travel within the Netherlands and of course my work. The latter especially, which costs a small fortune. Art is a very, very costly.
Fortunately, I give regular lectures. And I’m such artist who occasionally asks money for its participation in an exhibition. And no, unfortunately that is certainly not common. (Oh, and sometimes I sell a work, but usually my investments are so high that I had nothing to earn.) This my other financial fixed costs and if all goes well also part of my job.
When things or if it is summer, because that is the ‘sector’ still and I also write less columns, usually bills are piling up.
I am happy that one artist in the Netherlands (as far as I know, I do not know any colleague who did this too) with a so-called patron: an art collector who finances a part of my work. In addition, I get regularly (small) donations from individuals through a ‘friends of Tinkebell’- projection. And, occasionally, I get a little grant money.
This list of sponsors is a great luxury that makes me myself as rich experience. Not because I literally realm of word (a very few times I pay some bills that are too long, to avoid seizure by a bailiff) Everything goes straight to work.
I count myself among the most successful artists in this country, and when I look around me, I see mostly colleagues (much) lower income and fewer investment opportunities.
Why am I sharing this with you? Since you obviously have no idea, and because it would be nice if you had that indeed. Not as a complaint. Also no pettiness issue. But just for the sense of reality.

Annotated example of neoliberal art promotion

This is an good example of nowadays thought of commercial entrepreneurship, with some comments from • • • • •   petermertens

No comments yet; Although they clearly have a commercial point of view, real entrepreneurs, it seems honest to me.

6 Things You Can Do To Promote Your Art – Agora Advice Blog

As a working artist, it’s not enough to produce art: you need to promote your art as well. While your path to becoming an artist may be more about your inherent need to create, communicate your ideas, and leave your mark on the world, this won’t help introduce your work to the art community. Making sure that your work reaches the right audience, and continuing to expand that circle of potential buyers, is crucial to achieving success as a professional artist. If you don’t make an effort to get your work out there, no one will be able to tell you how much they love it – or purchase a piece.
Promoting your art should not feel overwhelming. You don’t have to do everything at once. In fact, one of the important things about successful promotion is that it is targeted to the specific aims you have in mind. This means that the very first step in promoting your art effectively is to decide what you want to achieve.

If you have only just begun your art career, then you may want to concentrate on building up a reputation and a collector base in your local area. On the other hand, you may be ready to move on a national or international scale. Perhaps you want to make your mark within the community connected to your medium, or to develop the interest felt by people interested in the theme you specialise in – horse lovers have a natural connection to equine art, for example. Evaluate your current position in terms of your art career and connections, and decide on the goals that you would like to achieve. Promote your art accordingly.

At Agora Gallery we understand that promotion is an aspect of an artist’s career that should develop all the time, just as the art itself does. Here are some tips from the experts at Agora Gallery on the best strategies to promote your art effectively.
#1 – Use Your Portfolio to Promote your Art

In developing a strong artist portfolio, your goal should be twofold. You can both develop your brand and package your art in a way that will be easy to submit to competitions, post on your website, and use to develop printed marketing material (such as flyers, brochures, and business cards). One of the most important elements here is the visual reproduction of your art, as this will be what attracts the viewer and what he or she is most likely to be moved by.
Here are some general guidelines for portfolio development:

Each high exposure photograph should be well executed and visually compelling. Remember, in marketing art it’s the visual that will count the most.
Each image should be accompanied by succinct and captivating text. Details such as size, media, and title should be included, as well as a brief description of the work. One of the best ways to catch a potential buyer’s interest is to tell the story behind the creation of a piece.
A strong bio should accompany the work. When you get people interested in you, they will almost always take a new interest in your work as well. Don’t be afraid to share your story: your background, how your art developed, what inspires you the most, and what you hope your art can give to the world.

Read Why We Love A Professional Portfolio (And You Should, Too!)

#2 – Promote Your Art with a Strong Internet Presence

In every industry, digital marketing is becoming more and more relevant, and this is no different in the art world. online Digital marketing can take several different forms:

Online galleries like Agora’s ARTmine are becoming the norm and provide a great venue for promoting your art by attracting the attention of new collectors and art enthusiasts.
An art website or artist page on a popular website is a must-have to promote your art. It provides an easy and convenient way for fans to find you online and view your latest work. Include the website’s address on your business cards, and in emails you send out to your mailing list.
Social media has become a powerful tool for both reaching new fans and staying in touch with established ones. Setting up business accounts/pages on such sites as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest is a great way to generate and maintain interest around you and your work as it evolves.

Read 5 Steps to Marketing Your Art on Facebook and How to Create a Facebook Business Page for your Art
#3 – Art Competitions can Promote your Art

For the emerging artist, art competitions provide one of the most effective ways to gain exposure in the art world. In fact, art competitions are renowned for discovering and showcasing noteworthy emerging artists and even, sometimes, launching their careers. Here are some of the main benefits of art competitions:

Art competitions enable you to display your work among your peers, which experts agree is one of the best ways to push yourself as an artist. Any feedback you receive will give you new insight into your art and enable you to grow as an artist.
Art competitions get your work in front of gallerists, curators, and editors, who can in turn positively impact your career. In fact, winners of art competitions almost always benefit from extensive promotion efforts from the hosting gallery or organisation.
Art competitions give your work invaluable visibility. Even if you don’t win, participating in the competition can yield dividends in terms of getting your work out there. In fact, this is considered one of the most cost-effective ways for beginning artists to gain valuable experience and build their resumes.

Choose which competitions to enter based on which would best aid your current career goals. If you are working on making a name for yourself in your medium and want to impress your fellow watercolour artists (for instance) then watercolour competitions might suit you best. Equally, if you are interested in taking your career to the national or international level, competitions with awards which will help you do that are the most sensible to enter. The Chelsea International Fine Art Competition, which Agora Gallery sponsors every year, is a great example of a competition with awards which are designed to help artists to increase their exposure and develop their career.
#4 – Network, Network, Network

Building a robust network in the art world is one of the most effective ways to promote your art. In addition, a network can expose you to new art opportunities that you might not have otherwise known existed.
The most effective strategies for networking for artists include:

Joining art organisations: Remember that your art is a business, and just like any business, networking is an important part of making your work relevant within the art community. One of the best ways to network on the professional level is to join and become an active participant in art organisations, both in your local area as well as statewide, nationally, and globally. Not only will you be able to make friends who in themselves can become enthusiastic promoters of your art (and you for theirs), but these organisations offer a wide range of resources that can help strengthen your business model and give you support in promoting your work and building your brand as an artist.
Participating in community events: Locally hosted art fairs, street shows, and open studio events provide a unique opportunity for you to connect with other artists in your area. In addition, as you become a fixture at these types of events, you will build more of a presence in your community and start to be recognised as a local artist. Don’t forget to bring print materials like business cards and flyers to these events so you can pass them out, and don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth – chat to people, engage them in conversation and if they are interested in your work, respond warmly.

Don’t ignore the benefits of networking with artists, or putting time and effort into friendships with art professionals. The value of these relationships is obvious, from providing support and inspiration to introductions to key members of the art scene. At Agora Gallery, we frequently hear our artists talking enthusiastically about how the influence of the other artists they met at their opening receptions at Agora has impacted their work and their ideas.
#5 – Getting Active in the Community can Help Promote Your Art

When you volunteer to use your artistic abilities to benefit your community, you build your reputation as an artist and can gain unexpected opportunities to promote your work. community
Some of the best types of community outreach include:

Charity events: Donate your work to a local charity auction, or volunteer your services at the event yourself. Depending on your skills, you may be able to help with anything from decorations to entertainment.
Local schools: Volunteer your time to go into classrooms and teach students about your particular method of creating art. Teachers love to host visiting artists, and this is a great opportunity to build your reputation in the community.

Community projects: Many towns and cities are taking art to the streets via community mural projects. Volunteer your skills and expertise and you will leave a visual reminder of your presence in the community for all to see for years to come.

Remember, a critical part of promoting your art is about taking advantage of unexpected opportunities as they come up. If you are painting as part of a charity event or working en plein air in the local park and someone approaches you and inquires about your art, take that opportunity to give them your business card and perhaps even add them to your mailing list.

#6 – Finding the Help to Promote your Art

If all this seems a bit overwhelming to you, know that there is help out there. At Agora Gallery, we are able to tackle a number of the promotional and marketing tasks that artists prefer not to deal with. Promotional galleries like Agora are attractive to artists for precisely this reason, and working with us can be an efficient and effective way to strengthen those areas of your marketing plan that you feel less confident about.
Here are some of the services we offer our represented artists:

Producing press releases and developing artist statements: We have a staff of professional writers who are able to develop compelling content focusing on your work and on you as an artist. We can also promote your art in our biannual publication ARTisSpectrum Magazine.
Digital representation: We have two well-established gallery websites Agora and where we can feature your work in a sales-oriented forum. You will have your own URL connected with our site that you can link to on your website and on any social media forums you are active in.
Advertising exhibitions: Promotional representation includes participation in a collective exhibition with an opening reception. We will help with the development and distribution of online exhibit announcements and other promotional media surrounding this event.

Remember, it’s not enough for you to know yourself that your art is fabulous. You want the rest of the world to know too. By focusing on promoting your art, you can get your art out there and reach those audiences who will most benefit from getting to know you as an artist.

Good Practice

Maartje Jaquet, you are a multitalented artist, creating Video art and Photos, Collages, Drawings and Paintings, writing poetry, doing In-house publications and you are a strong bass player. Next to that you make extensively use of digital media to report and write about your exhibitions and performances on FaceBook, Flickr, Twitter, a mailinglist and a WordPressblog.

Q1: How do you do that as a matter of balance between creating and reporting? 

A1: To be honest, ever since I started my WordPress blog I am hardly using that mailinglist anymore. And my use of Twitter is very minimal too.

The main digital social platforms I use are Flickr, Facebook and my WordPress blog, which is my website at the same time.

Flickr is a visual diary and a personal archive. It was the first platform I started using, that was back in 2007. I guess I need feedback of other people to enjoy my own work, otherwise making art, being in my studio on my own, feels too lonely to me.

So, to answer your question, when it comes to creating, the reporting part means a lot to me. Also, seeing other people’s work and interacting with other artists is a big inspiration, comparable, to the times at the Rietveld Academy.

But I think one must watch out not to get lost in the reporting part, I try to find a balance there.

Q2: Can you describe your use of Facebook? Is it, and if so, how would it be different from Flickr?

A2: Well, on Facebook I have more contacts who are actually friends in real life, or people that are part of my direct professional network. So facebook can be a little more personal on one hand, and more work related on the other hand.

I have a facebook page, ‘kunstjuf’, to report about my work as an art teacher, after a while it felt better to keep that part separate from my social life and my life as a maker of art.

On this facebook page I share the art projects I created and taught. Beside my friends and colleagues there are different followers of that page: they can be teachers in elementary schools or people that work with children with special needs or other art education professionals.

Sometimes I create facebook events. These are mostly for my exhibitions. It’s an easy way to promote an exhibition and then invite people to it with a mouse click.

Q3: Do you have a website?

A3: Yes I do: and the same site). I use this website both to keep people up to date with exhibitions and other events. At the same time my website can be used as a reference to my work as an artist. It contains different sections that describe my collages, photography, video art, drawings, and so on as well as my work as an art teacher, my exhibitions and my resume.

Q4. Do you have an agent?

A4: No, I do everything by myself.

A5. Do you need to lobby?

A5: I tend to keep a low profile there. I don’t go to occasions like openings or conferences so much. Maybe I should, but I found that for me it works best to get to know people in real life, and there has to be a ‘click’ between us anyway for things to work out.

Q6. Where do your clients/buyers/people who hire you come from?

A6: Mostly through personal contact or via someone I already know. They can be (former) visitors of exhibitions. Or people I know in the art educational field or friends of these people. I didn’t get a job through my facebook page yet, but then again that page is quite fresh.

Q7 What is your reach?

A7: If you are talking about followers / contacts on social media. I have looked them up for you:

Today, my art teacher’s (‘kunstjuf’) facebook page has 332 likes, I have 1333 ‘friends’ on facebook and 932 followers on flickr. My work on flickr is viewed about 2500 times a day and has had more than 3 000 000 views since I started my flickr site in 2007. All these numbers don’t mean so much to me though. I don’t interact with all these people, and the interaction is the most important part for me. You can compare my answer here to what I said about lobbying. 

Q8: Does it help?
A8: I think it helps, especially where it comes to interacting with people, flickr and facebook are rather important to me.
Having a representative and up to date website is indispensable, not only for me but for any artist, I think.
Q9: wat vind je ervan …
A9 I think I already gave my answers to that question in between the other answers!



Yariv Alterfin used a kind of visual logo to brand his activities.
The tuning fork looks like an Y and sounds like an A, to resemble his initials. So Y is a question A is and answer which is Yes, of course.

Do create good art, do draw attention.

This Syllabus has the intention to give you answers to some questions, but be aware those answers come should read as a new question of course.

And, not even to be humble, this is written by me, Peter Mertens, from a personal point of view and experience. (So far so good I did manage to draw some attention, though on a local level. My claim to fame, 25 years ago I was one of the initiators of park4dtv, which just last week was added in its entirety (~1500 hours of “Pure Image and Sound”) to the collection of the (local) Stedelijk Museum. I don’t think my own contributions are considered good art, most likely contributions to Park from Yariv are. So what I mean to say is being a cultural entrepreneur for 36 years now, I still am wondering how to find the proper balance between attention and art.

So there are more Questions than Answers thus, and probably some questions are answers.

In starting to write this over and over I started with: “before all, I have to say this”, than wanting to say something more important that had to go before that. Before before. So let’s start with where it ends:

Do create!
Create art! Good art.

Thankfully good art can’t be defined. And I you think you can, than it changes. Always change what you expect from it, and even change that.

But now.

The Mondriaan Fund is not ashamed to define good art practice:
“Whether the quality of the artist’s work (…) is relevant for the modern visual arts and whether the same can be expected from the development of the artist’s work. Important for the assessment of this is the relationship between the artistic principles of the artist and the way in which this is expressed in his work. Here, amongst other aspects, the following aspects can be analysed:

the substantive meaning of the concept, the imagination of the artist and the competence with the chosen techniques. Furthermore, it is analysed how the work and views of the applicant relate to the (historical and present day) context.”

So the advice is: don’t follow advice.


Your To Do List



  • Work
  • Create Good Art
  • Be Good. Be Curious.GET ATTENTION
  • Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 12.16.00
  • marketing |ˈmɑːkɪtɪŋnoun [ mass noun ] the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. the Western arts of marketing and distribution. [ as modifier ] :  a marketing campaign.
  • Claim my own domain name on the web
  • Host my domain, think of content, style
  • Learn  Wordpress
  • Update
  • Print, Post. Connect.
  • Learn


By Mouth

  1. Meet People
  2. Call People
  3. Join a club
  4. Form a club yourself
  5. Get an Agent/Galery/Employer (*)
    ** legal advice **
  6. Get a Price

Art Amsterdam, Kunstrai, W139, SMBA, SM, FOAM, Appel, Galeries: PAKT, Fons Welters, MediaMatic, Arti, DO IT YOURSELF

By Print Handout/By Mail

  1. Card
  2. Flyer
  3. Sticker
  4. Poster FlyerAlarm, Rob Stolk, KeesMaas, JoosMooiDrukwerk


By Digital Media

  1. Webpage (get the course by Harold Schellinx!)
  2. Blog
  3. Social Media
    FaceBook Page
    FaceBook Event
  4. Twitter
  5. Instagram
  6. YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud
  7. Mailman