Build It and They Will Come: Creating Your Target Audience

Artist and blogger Eric Rhoads has written a fascinating entry entitled Turn Dreams Into Art Sales about the importance of knowing your target audience when marketing an artist’s work. In it he raises a fascinating point- that sometimes an artist, or a piece of work, or an artistic style might be so left of center, so outside the box, that the better idea is to create the target audience as opposed to trying to know it. How does one propose to do that? By letting those crazy big ideas that your friends might look at you askance for be your guide and by never taking no for an answer.

big idea

You are an artist, yes? You have created a piece of artwork that you feel compelled to share with the rest of the world- preferably with those who are inclined to appreciate it. Why? Because you like it. Your piece speaks to you in some silent, intangible language and you feel that your artwork deserves a niche in this world; that it deserves to be born. Well, you’re right about that. That’s the beautiful thing about the creative arts- it is a medium in which failure or being “wrong” does not exist. If you like something, there is going to be someone else out there among the billions of other humans in the world who will like it too. And you can find them.

Mr. Rhoads recalls his introduction to plein air painting about ten years or so ago, and how he felt drawn to the genre, but says he felt no sense of community in it, no “focal point”- essentially, no audience for it. So what did he do? He started his own magazine called PleinAir. He created his very own outlet for marketing his work his way. More than that, he created his own tool for introducing the world to this particular style of painting so that he could find others with whom to share his passion. Though he is not responsible for creating the plein air painting movement itself, he encourages fellow artists to indeed create their own genres, styles, and movements. Give it a name, create a lingo, create your own market, build your audience from the ground up.


There is a renaissance happening in the art scene, I think. The work I get to see everyday here in Atlanta defies qualification. It defies classification. And that’s awesome! Every piece feels so deeply personal to each artist and is so unique that I find myself having to create new forms of categorization in my mind so that I can describe what I’ve seen in conversation later. Keeping the art community on its toes is what’s going to keep the art scene fresh, vibrant, and relevant. The law of attraction will take it from there. There is an audience out there waiting for you, the artist, to define it.

Check out Eric’s blog to read more of what he has to say on the topic. Turn Dreams Into Art Sales

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