8 Jan 2011

How Does an Artist Find Their Niche?

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article was published on FineArtViews blog on December 16, 2010

How Does an Artist Find Their Niche?

by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article  is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  An emerging artist searching his way in the art world, he loves to share what he learns.  With over 20 years of technology experience, Moshe combines his technological background and his passion for the arts with the goal of “working his dream”.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

When I wrote last time about how to develop your niche, I didn’t realize that many of us don’t know what our niche is, and how to find it. Many of the comments you wrote were boiling down to one question: “How do I find my niche?”

To say that ART is your niche is too broad, in my opinion. Yes, ART is one of the many markets out there, but it’s like saying to a Software Developer that his niche is “Software”. Would he ever go to potential clients, tell them “Here is my Software” and expect them to just buy it? Or to a restaurateur to say that her niche is “Food”. True, she is in the business of feeding people, but between you and I, would you prefer to go to a restaurant that “specializes” in not knowing which part of the world’s cuisine it serves, or rather go to a Sushi bar, Korean BBQ, or just Jewish Style Deli? 

The same is true with every business you are in. And if you are in the business of ART, then you will specialize in something.

Here are some ways you can find what it is that you specialize in. Some of these points must be obvious for all of us, and used intuitively, but are still mentioned here as part of the big picture. I am also writing these points for those of us who want to identify our niche. If you are not one of them, and prefer to make your art for the sake of making the art and nothing more, please don’t read this list. We will part here and I will wish you a beautiful and artistic day. But if you are interested, read on:

1.      Style – Do you paint abstract or in the impressionism style? Do you prefer super realism or fantastic illustrations? Or have you created a whole new style that you believe must be studied by the next generations of art scholars? Whichever that style is, there are people to whom this style is speaking to. And they are your niche market, the buyers you are looking for. Even if there are thousands of other artists painting in your style, or more correctly, in your style-school, we all have something unique to offer, and there are always venues to offer it. For example, look for galleries that share your style values, or art magazines that publish artists’ work in the same style-niche.

2.      Medium – As ART is too broad of a niche, so working in specific media is a very wide-range niche. The results of each artist could differ so much from others. But still, a sculptor is not in the same niche as a print maker, and a watercolorist usually does not compete with the oil painter. If you are a potter, making clay sculptures, you won’t belong in art shows that only show photographs and 2D art. You would rather show your art at potters’ show, which will attract pottery lovers.

3.      Subject Matter – As you develop your art, you will see yourself drawn to specific subject matters. Things that will capture your attention more than others. Childhood memories or religious feelings. Places you love exploring or intriguing human features. It does not matter really what it is, your subject matter will talk to many others, as it talks to you. And that is where your niche lies. Even if the viewers will not be able to express it in words, your image will be worth all the words in the world for them. Now, to make it easier for you to find them, think where people with the same values, emotions, and life experience will be found. If you paint Christian based images, you would want to present your art in churches or art shows of relatively religious areas. If your photographs depict animals, you might find your market at pet shows or state fairs.

4.      Purpose – Think about what is the purpose of your artwork. Is it to make someone happy? To illustrate an important document (such as in my Ketubah niche)? Or is it best suitable to set a dramatic and expensive tone to the executive offices of a Fortune 500 company? Or maybe you can see how all the coffee shops in your city can decorate their walls with your coffee-mug paintings, or maybe not just your city but all over the world?
You see, art always has a purpose. Whether it is functional or emotional, it is there to do something. Find what is it that you art does, and you will find your niche. And this doing is not limited to you only. It can do exactly the same thing to thousands of others. 

Finding your niche might take time. And it can evolve from one or combination of all the above. You might develop one or more niches, or stumble upon one, just keep your eyes open to the opportunities.

What are the ways that you develop your niche in the art world?


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One Response to “How Does an Artist Find Their Niche?”

  1. I am an artist, researching how to become known in my “niche” – what a difficult thing to do! I consider my niche to be surrealism, but this just relates to my paintings. I also do digital art which are more impressionist portraits and such. We as artists (or maybe it’s just me) love dabbling in different niches, mediums, genres, etc. We like spreading our creative wings! I can say I am passionate in the genre or movement of surrealism, but I can also say that I get antsy doing just one thing all the time to express myself. I realize that in order to reach the masses you can only possibly be known for one niche, but is it possible to be known for being creative and your ability to create, whether it is a broad spectrum of niches or are we to be tied to one in particular? I recently started blogging and plan on talking about each of the topics listed in this article. Please look at my site JessicaStepp.com to see my blog and work – you will see my ADHD that I talk about :o )


    Jessica Stepp

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