Out of Practice: The Physics of Your Art Business

The wall of hearts that many artists with strong studio practices contributed to. Photo courtesy Carol A. McIntyre.

The reason you’re out of ideas is that you’re out of practice.

I was so proud of saying this to a client the other day that I asked her to hold while I wrote down the quote.

I knew to write it down because I’m in the practice of gathering ideas for my writing. I have a regular writing schedule. I can’t say the same for a studio schedule.

No Studio Practice

When Barbara Gilhooly and Ayn Hanna called for “heart art” for their commitment ceremony, I wanted to make a heart for them so badly. I stewed over it for three months before giving up. I had a twinkle of an idea, but no vision for making it happen.

Barbara and Ayn in front of the wall of hearts, a beautiful ceremony that I had wanted

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A Cheat Sheet for Your Art Marketing Tasks

©Jane LaFazio, Artichoke Family. Watercolor. Used with permission.

Do you ever wonder what a regular marketing schedule for your art would look like?

Every week I comb through the hundreds of ideas I have for articles because I always find something new. Something that didn’t strike a chord a year ago suddenly calls my name.

I found this request deep in my filing system: I find it helpful to be reminded of what I can do or perhaps really should do on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.

©Jane LaFazio, Artichoke Family. Watercolor and color pencil. Used with permission.

The cheat sheet that follows is for Julie and everyone who finds comfort in knowing what to do and when. Here is a simple marketing schedule to follow.

Daily

Read something about art to fill your content well and to be inspired.

Update your status on your Facebook

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Shine a Light on Your Art Business

©Eve Wheeler, Edge of Glory. Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches.

I recently came across this quote from a student from 2005:

I have adopted the habit of NEVER leaving my studio dark! … Nothing positive EVER happens in the dark. Life comes from the light around it. Art is created to live and to be seen and felt, not to be hidden away in some dark studio (even overnight). Your attitude will change about your work environment when you enter the space and find “it” awake and waiting for your presence.

While I’m not a fan of wasting energy, I do appreciate the sentiment behind the practice of leaving on a light in the studio. (Perhaps the studio is next to a streetlight, and you could just open the shade. Just a possibility.)

But I’m getting off topic.

©Randy Gallegos, Exit Within 5. Oil and acrylic on canvas panel, 24 x 30 inches.

What strikes

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How to Nail an Art Commission

SusanArtist.com tire cover

Commissions for artists are limited only by one’s imagination: people, house, and pet portraits, funerary urns, custom jewelry, garden sculpture, and more.

Regardless of the commissions you might be offered, use these pointers to make sure you pull off your project with flying colors and enjoy the process.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Create a special section on your website for commission information. Include steps for commissioning a piece and testimonials from happy patrons alongside images of the finished work.

I snapped this photo in the garage of the Milwaukee Art Museum and I’m happy to say that, according to her site, Susan Weres is still doing her thing. And she’s probably surprised to see this photo. I wonder how many commissions this tire cover has landed her.

See that your marketing materials have both an email

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Deliver Happiness To Your Guests

The Cloud Foundation

I’ve been reading Delivering Happiness by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh. I highly recommend it as an inspirational story about sacrifice, drive, perseverance, and personal mission.

One of the things Hsieh stresses repeatedly is how much more interested he is in experiences than in acquiring things. It’s no wonder that Zappos has become known for its superior customer service.

This got me to thinking about how artists and arts organizations treat their guests at openings. Here’s what I came up with.

Artist Karen McLain addresses a standing-room only and overflow crowd at the fundraiser for The Cloud Foundation, which she worked on for over a year.

When you host an opening and invite people, you are the host.

The people who attend, whether they pay or not, are your guests. They have gone out of their way to show up for you.

It’s to your advantage, and

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How I Became the Boss of My Inbox

Be the Boss of Your Inbox

As I write this, I’m sitting with an inbox with far more messages than is comfortable for me. I usually keep a relatively sparse inbox, but the messages accumulate from time to time.

Here’s the ugly truth.

I know that 177 messages isn’t a lot for most people, but it is for me. Instead of beating myself up over it, I’m going to hold myself accountable to under 20 messages before this post is published. Because, I’ve learned . . .

I am the boss of my inbox.

I refuse to let email messages control my life. I’m in charge. You, too, are in charge. You have to be.

If you’re going to be in control of your art career, you have to control every aspect of it. Stop allowing things like email to monopolize your time. Become the boss of

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My Top Teaching Secrets

Teaching at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas. Photo by Rafael Aguilera.

I have been teaching artists online and at live events since 2002.

While students pay to get valuable content from me, I learn almost as much from them as they do from me. That’s one of the great joys of teaching, and why I will continue to offer live learning.

I can’t possibly put all I know about teaching into a single article, but I have selected a few gems in hopes that they help all of you instructors out there. Take note!

For-Hire Venues

If you teach for hire, you must be clear up front about what your expectations are for the venue. Everything must be in writing.

Speaking to members of the Tennessee Arts and Crafts Alliance. Photo by Mary Claire Crow.

The venue organizers who hired you will never

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Speak Up on Behalf of Your Art Career

carpenter-jim-present

In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” She encourages women, whether they are in the workplace or at home, to “lean in” to their potential rather than sitting back and accepting unfavorable situations. I’m asking you to speak up.

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Save Time with Consistent Naming Conventions

photo of dog with computer

One of the best ways to save time on your computer is to be consistent when naming your files. It not only saves you time, but will be imperative when (not if) you bring someone in to help you expand your art business. It makes no sense to hire an assistant only to spend half of your time trying to find things in the computer for your assistant.

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How to Hire Someone to Help with Your Art Business

Info-How-to-Hire

st hired my first employee, other than myself, at Art Biz Coach. Yes, I have other assistants who work with me on a contract basis, but Maeve Eichelberger is a full-fledged employee. I’m not encouraging you to hire an employee. But I do think that most artists can benefit from an assistant. Here are some steps you can take to help move that process along.

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