Mastery Before Marketing


    This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $25,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed "art fanatic", Clint delights that BoldBrush's downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office which he shares with his two feline assistants Kiara and Lilly. You can connect with Clint on TwitterFacebook or his personal blog at





    The two major components needed to be a successful professional artist are mastery and marketing.


    A rule of thumb for building a successful art business:  "Mastery before Marketing."


    What I'm saying is this: achieve a baseline level of competence in your craft before moving on mastering the art that is marketing.



    Think about it:


    Would you frequent a restaurant with mediocre food because they impressed you with a great website?


    Would you spend an evening with friends listening live to music by an off-tune band with a singer who flubs the lyrics, just because they had a cool logo?


    Would you hire a web designer who used harsh colors and janky typography simply because he had mastered search engine marketing?


    Obviously, your answers to these questions is "No."


    It's just the way of things.  A guitar player who can't tune his guitar and hasn't mastered all his chords won't be able to sell his music.



    Let's apply this idea to art:


    Would you purchase mediocre art by an artist who had lots of website traffic, used a popover form to maximize newsletter sign ups, had a number one ranking in Google, and was the most prolific Instagram poster you follow?


    You already know that the answer to that question for most people is "No."  


    Like our guitar player above, an artist who can't mix paint and hasn't mastered drawing, composition, values and brushwork is going to struggle to sell art.


    Look, I'm not saying you have to be a Master with a capital "M", I'm saying you have to achieve a basic level of competence with your paintings to build much of an audience.  Then once you've reached that baseline level of competence you'll continue to spend time cultivating that competence into a mastery of your craft while you start building your competence with marketing.




    Clint Watson

    FASO Founder Software Craftsman, Art Fanatic





    The photo is of Aaron Westerberg in his studio.   He's a true modern master and, at FASO, we created a masterful site to showcase his art.   You can see more of his work at




    Editor's Note:

    Today's post is an updated version from a few years ago, but we're republishing it again today because it's still a timely and a very relevant message. Enjoy!



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