Hi guys, I hope this post finds you all well.
I was hoping you could give me some advice. I'm trying to get a portfolio together of paintings so that I can finally start doing what I want with my life; painting full time. Unfortunately, it feels like a mammoth task. I want to be working part time by September and at least three quarters time for my paintings. My experience at university led to my current situation; I felt that art couldn't be a proper career and that I should try something else. About 6 months after university I found my love for art again and have felt like I'm running to catch up ever since.
When I went to university, they taught us that you got exhibitions by getting a group of friends together and paying a gallery to use their space for your work. If you sold anything, the gallery took a cut of that and you were on your merry way. Painting had to subsidized by teaching or other jobs. We had to do this as part of the third year of our course. I didn't enjoy the experience, it felt a lot like vanity publishing and I don't see this as a sustainable business plan. Moreover, there was very little traffic to these kind of galleries. The establishment wasn't even mentioned and as a result, I don't know how to approach them.
I'm told that to get even a look at the establishment, you need to have a coherent body of work; I think the black and white portraits I have are a step towards that. But I'm struggling now with getting people to sit for portraits. What I want to ask you all is for some advice for getting portrait models and sitters? Whenever I casually ask friends they say yes they will and it never comes to fruition or they just refuse point blank, citing displeasure at their own face. I know how they feel in a way; I'm sick to death of painting self portraits for lack of other subjects.
So yeah; how do you get subjects for your portraits and what other advice do you think you can offer me?
edit: I'm not in the habit of making negative posts, but I really do feel isolated from the rest of the painting world.