The term “emerging artist” is easily one of the most overused and least understood in the art world. Essentially, an emerging artist is one whose career is in its earlier stages. The first few years of an artist's career are crucial to success in a variety of ways. This is the period when an artist will make important connections, begin to define their personal brand, and lay the groundwork for the rest of their professional life.
These years can take place at any point in an artist’s lifetime. There are artists who emerge at 22 and there are artists who are considered emerging at 75. Artists whose careers are just beginning can, and I do emphasize can, be a great investment too. But they can also be an enormous risk. Their work is unproven in the marketplace, and early sales may not be indicative of longevity or retained value over time.
Regardless of the investment quality of work by emerging artists, these individuals deserve support, guidance, and recognition. Younger emerging artists will be the next generation of the artistic community, so championing them and their work helps to build the future of the visual arts.
For those who are interested in art and interested in supporting artists at the start of there career, here are three easy ways to do so:
1. Buy Their Work
The best way to support an emerging artist, or any artist for that matter, is a simple one. Buy their work. This does not mean that you have to make a sizeable financial investment in their practice. It is acceptable to ask what works they have in accessible price points, and a purchase at any price provides them with funds to continue making art and living their life. You might also commission them for a special project or buy a series of smaller pieces over an extended period of time. Financial support is fundamental to an artist's success.
2. Encourage Them
If you do not have the funds or the wall space to purchase work from an artist, consider providing encouragement and support in non-monetary ways. Show up at their exhibitions, leave a kind comment, let them know their work is impactful to you. Pass along opportunities for grants, residencies, commissions, and other projects they may be a good fit for. Thank the gallerists who exhibit their work. In short, become an advocate for their success.
3. Tell people about them
Use your network to promote the work of your preferred emerging artists. Share their art and exhibitions with your friends on social media, host a gathering in their honor, introduce them to your circle. Show people their work. Borrow a couple of their paintings to highlight in your office or business. So many sales of fine art are the result of extensive networking and artists only have so many venues to meet new people. You can support emerging artists by spreading the word about them and helping them to built their base of fans and followers.
These are just three of many ways you might support emerging artists, but they also easily apply to art makers at any stage of their career. Talk to artists and work with them. Find out where your support will be most effective. Artists cannot succeed in a vacuum. They require supporters, patrons, and a community of people to encourage their continued creative endeavors. To learn more about building and managing your collection, visit my advisory services page, or if you are an artist who needs guidance, visit my creative services page.
Image in header: Students painting at the Art League School, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.