Manage your Art Career like a Villain in 5 Simple Steps

by David Finley

Robot Destroys City, An illustration of a man with a remote control robot set to destroy the city

How to Manage your Art Career like a Villain in 5 Simple Steps

1. Plan Plan Plan

 Evil-doers sure do plan a lot. They build giant planet-destroying space stations, pull off elaborate heists, and assemble cosmic gem fragments to gain immortality. Villains don't wait to be discovered, they announce themselves, and it all starts with a carefully constructed plan.

 Too often, you sit in your studio, hoping you will get discovered by the hidden throngs of fans out there just waiting to paw at and adore your paintings and drawing. You have no real marketing plan in place or profit strategy.

 Find new ways to talk share your work, new projects to grow as a creative professional, and new markets to sell to. Announce yourself.

2. Never Give Up

 No matter how many times Skeletor tried to conquer Eternia, He-Man was there to stop him. You could call Skeletor a failure, but he never stops trying. Eventually, He-Man is going to get tired of doing the same thing over and over again, but not his nemesis.

Take a lesson from good old Skeletor and never give up. Sometimes your master plan will need lots of tweaking before you get it right. Sure, the gallery downtown that sells traditional landscape oil paintings isn't interested in your abstract mixed media collages, but the fringe gallery near the park looks promising.

 Keep trying.

3. Take Chances

 This is a big one. Remember, the Joker was never content to just release enough poisonous smile gas to kill an entire building. No, he wanted to release it from a parade float in the heart of Gotham city and infect the entire metropolitan area.

 If you are disciplined and dedicated, you will eventually find at least a small measure of success with the art you create. Sure, you could coast on your successes, creating similar art over and over again, but the villain way is to push yourself farther, instead.

 You also don't want to just imitate work you made in the past. You'll hate yourself. Besides, the public is unpredictable and your artistic cash cow's milk supply can quickly run dry as public opinion shifts. Try something new. Stretch yourself.

4. Don't Share your Plot with Everyone Else

This is the weakness in the armor of the villian's evil plot. Sometimes, bad guys just can't help themselves, and they share every detail of their plan with the hero they believe they are on the brink of destroying. It almost always comes back to bite them.

 There are plenty of people around you who will discourage your wicked plan if you share it. Often, these people just want to protect you from the pain and hurt of failure.

 Failing is your opportunity to learn and revise your plan. Failing is evidence that you have tried something. Failing is just part of the process leading to success. Yet, for some reason, your friends and family will try to protect you from this.

5. Dress for Success

Question: What do Cobra Commander, Donald Trump, and Darth Vader have in common?

Answer: An incredible sense of personal style.

 As you begin your art career, your influences will show heavily in the work you create. Your expression is obedient to the techniques you use.

 Over time you will learn to express yourself with your own unique voice, and that is when you will make your best work. Best of all, as you learn to express yourself honestly as an artist, things like style and technique will bend around the truth you are expressing rather than the other way around.

 On a clothing side note, you may want to wear a nice tie or dress the next time you meet with a gallery to discuss your portfolio. It never hurts to leave a lasting impression of professionalism.

What is your Master Plan?

Are you ready to take over the world? Maybe you've been coasting through your art career letting things shift you one way or the next, but it's not too late to change. Take up your pen and draft a business plan.

Hatch your sinister plot to take over the world.

Thanks for reading!

-Dave, Grand Poobah of all Scofflaws


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