How to Become a Sponsored Graffiti Artist

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A sponsored graffiti artist can earn a wealth of fans, collectors and commissioned projects.
A sponsored graffiti artist can earn a wealth of fans, collectors and commissioned projects. (Image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

A graffiti artist's career is an unconventional one because the activity of creating graffiti is often illegal. In addition, graffiti artists are notorious for guarding their identity and that makes it difficult to claim past work when approaching commercial clients. The leap from street art to sponsored art means the possibility of exciting collaborations with well-known brands, free art supplies, clothing, media notoriety and wide-spread exposure.

Practice and create new artwork constantly. Learn new graffiti techniques and use new products at all times.

Photograph your work. Keep an archive of each piece you complete and store it digitally on a hard drive. Use this this archive to build a portfolio to show potential sponsors.

Create works on canvas. Selling individual works to art collectors is just one way to get your name out to the public. It also paves the way for future art exhibitions.

Participate in art shows. Start by submitting artwork to group exhibitions, and appeal to local independent galleries to organize a solo show. Call up coffee shops and street wear shops -- the types of places that support the local art scene- - and make a deal with them to hang your work on their walls.

Promote yourself. Get the word out about every exhibition or large-scale project you're involved in. Set up a Facebook page, Twitter account and online portfolio. Use these platforms to inform followers of the latest developments in your graffiti career.

List the ways you can enhance a company's brand, and ways they can help you at the same time. A graffiti artist sponsored by a paint company will sometimes do live painting demonstrations at skateboarding competitions, while one sponsored by a clothing company might contribute to clothing designs. In return, most artists will get money, products and exposure.

Appeal to brands. Research some fashion and spray paint brands that you know and like. Write and send query letters to those brands, directing them to your portfolio and stating why they should sponsor you as a graffiti artist.

Befriend local graffiti artists that have sponsorship and learn the ropes from them. Once you have interest in your work, you will need guidance in negotiating deals and contracts.

Continue with your personal graffiti practice. Brand sponsors may restrict your creativity in some ways, so it's up to you to progress and experiment with your own art.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be your own sales person. Just as a car salesman works to close a sale on a car, so should you be in representing yourself as a commercial-friendly artist.
  • Exude complete confidence in the query letter, no matter what insecurities you may have in your artwork.
  • Never sign a sponsorship deal or contract without getting counsel from a lawyer.
  • Don't chase brands that you don't really like.
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