Interview with Rotterdam artist Ronald Hunter

Discover how to turn art into a business

Ronald Hunter is a successful Rotterdam artist / entrepreneur, who knows how to combine his business sense with his artistic talent. He has sold hundreds of paintings in the past six years and is about to start a new venture with a business partner. It’s time we caught up with Ronald!

Would you like to know more about how Ronald has built a successful art dealership and what his new plans are? Please keep reading!

interview with rotterdam artist ronald hunter

Ronald, tell us how you started as a Rotterdam artist?

I was a graphic designer for many years and always had a desire to create a product that I could sell online. I've looked at furniture, accessories, clothing, even an underwear line. Funny in hindsight, because I've been painting all this time, but it never occurred to me that I could turn that into a profitable business. After a while I started to see the opportunity, and although some would say I was crazy, I decided to sell my art.

The first painting Ronald ever sold was only €150 including shipping. You can imagine that he didn’t earn much then. But Ronald wanted people to get to know him and establish a name for themselves. He saw that everyone had to start somewhere. After a while, Ronald sold enough to become a full-time recording artist.

And importantly, Ronald realized that while the art is a critical part of the business, 50% or even more is the rest; marketing your artworks, knowing how to tell your story and involving people. According to Ronald Hunter, just making art is not enough.

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What is the life of an independent artist like?

I start my day early and work on a tight schedule. I usually know what I'm going to do that week. It's a schedule that's impossible to achieve, so if I've done 70%, I'm happy. I often try new things, that doesn't always work. That costs a lot of time.

Ronald tells us that being an artist is a job and that means making art every day. Ronald rarely experiences an ‘off’ day and practices his skills on a daily basis.

I try to live a healthy life, exercise regularly, limit alcohol consumption… it all sounds so boring, but it's a choice I had to make to keep my focus. Well, I allow myself chocolate… I have to admit I have a sweet tooth!

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How do you know what to make?

As an artist I think it is important to have my own style. I make my art according to certain rules, which give me a grip on what I want to make. For example, in my abstract work, I build the colors by layering acrylic paint and using a light texture to add depth.

Ronald also tells us that he likes to work with complementary colours, and he has specific ideas about using light and dark in his work.

Ideas are plentiful for Ronald and they come to him in a continuous stream throughout the day. His background in graphic design plays an important role there, because it is a huge source of inspiration for him.

Ideas grow, and some I will work out in my head. And since I've done so much already, there are many paths I can take to create new things based on previous work.

What would you like to share with aspiring artists?

Build a name and good reputation. Everyone can see everything, so make sure you keep your promises and be honest about what you're selling. Sell your art for a reasonable price. I often see artists selling their work for more than €1000,- but haven't made a name for themselves yet. I strongly believe that you have to build it up first, you start small and work your way up. And most importantly, don't give up what you believe in! It may take several years to catch the attention of buyers.

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So, tell us about your plans?

My next step is to expand my online art business – but not in the traditional sense. I am not going to compete with existing (online) art galleries, but want to focus on expanding my own projects, together with my business partner. I like to work on custom art, and for me that's a direction I want to develop. I also want to collaborate more with other artists. You will soon hear about the ins and outs, we are currently working on the new website.

Well, we can’t wait to hear more, Ronald! Do you want to stay informed about Ronald’s work and projects? Follow his Instagram page. And don’t forget to check out his collection of available paintings!