Being Seen: The Social Part of the Artist’s Life

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Meeting people and building relationships is the most important thing you can do for your art career. This means you have to get out of the studio and socialize.

You must, gasp, be social in the real world as well as online.

This goes against the natural tendency of so many artists who would prefer to be alone with their art supplies. But it’s absolutely necessary when you want to attain a high level of success.

If you desire more sales and more recognition for your art, you must make it a priority to meet more people.

You need to get out and meet more people if you find yourself …

  • Sitting behind your computer all day and researching the latest magical way to promote your art online.
  • Attending only your own openings.
  • Living in the same place for years without knowing your neighbors.

Why This Matters

Your art must be seen in person in order to be appropriately appreciated. Eventually, you’re going to have to

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Opening Lines at Art Openings: Starting a Conversation

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It’s easy to meet people when you’re at an opening of your own art because you’re the host or hostess. Your job is to meet everyone and to introduce your guests to one another.

Not true when you’re the guest at someone else’s opening. When you don’t have a role to play, it’s uncomfortable to force yourself to meet people.

And, yet, you know it’s important.

Students in my Art Career Success System understand how critical it is to meet more people. New relationships might lead to opportunities, sales, and lifelong fans.

So what do you do? How do you start a conversation with a stranger without getting sick to your stomach?

Alyson to the rescue! Below is a list of conversation starters that you can start practicing immediately.

You don’t even have to be at an opening to begin. Try talking to

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List-Building Tactics For Artists Who Want To Increase Their Followers

Owl Eggs Day 650

Your email list is a means for nurturing trust, for building relationships, and, if you teach, for demonstrating your knowledge.

Your list is, as I’ve often said, your most important asset. It’s unique to you, your art, and your goals. No one has the same list of names and email addresses.

For more than 10 years, I relied on good content to build my list. I thought, correctly, that if I just share good stuff, word will get around and more people would subscribe. They did!

But I missed out on helping even more artists because I wasn’t proactively adding names to my list as often as I could have been.

I am more convinced than ever that we need to use as many avenues as possible to build our lists. Not quantity for quantity’s sake, but seeking the highest quality of loyal subscribers.

Online Ask

From time to time, ask people who follow you to sign up. Don’t beg, just ask. You can use the ask in combination with any giveaways mentioned below.

In-Person Ask

If you’re out networking, as you should be, don’t be afraid to ask people that seem interested if they’d like to be on your list.

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Networking Opportunities and Errors

networking-opportunitites

Meeting new people is essential to growing your art business.

The more people you know, the more people there are to appreciate, buy, and tell people about your art.

The best tip I can give is just to get out! Online relationships are valuable, but in-person meetings can make an artist’s career.

Everyone you run into is a:

  • Potential buyer. You never know where people are coming from.
  • Potential connector. If everyone you meet knows 150 people (the average), imagine the possibilities. When you meet someone who is great at making connections between people, WOW!
  • Potential friend or fan. Who can’t use more of these?

Become involved with an artist organization if it’s the right speed for you. If you are serious about selling your art, don’t waste your time in a group of hobbyists. You’ll quickly get frustrated in groups where you’re always a step ahead of everyone else.

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In the Zone of Discomfort

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Attendees at Art Biz Coach workshops are deliberately placed into uncomfortable situations. They are asked to 1) meet everyone in the room before the end of the event; 2) share workshop exercises with people they don’t know; and 3) change seats so they sit next to someone new. I do this because dealing with discomfort is necessary for growth as an artist and as a businessperson.

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Group Energy You Can't Duplicate Online

At dinner with artists Rae Marie, Angeline-Marie Martinez, Shari Sherman, me, Denisse Berlinghieri, Robin Pedrero, and Victoria Page Miller.

Online connections have their place in marketing your art, but most in-person experiences can’t be duplicated in the same way on a computer. I’ll go one step further: certain in-person opportunities would never arise if you relied only on the Internet. Last week I was reminded of this during a 3-day Florida workshop in which I participated.

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Do This At Your Next Artist Meeting

Facilitated group sessions at my workshop in Nashville. March 2013. Photo by Mary Claire Crow.

Do you go to artist meetings and stick with your usual crowd? Do you attend meetings to hear the speaker and leave without connecting with other members? Two weeks ago my team received an urgent email from Ramon Magee from the Summit Art organization in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He said his speaker for the evening had cancelled and they needed a program.

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Never Fear Sending the Email Blast

Many artists are afraid of “bugging” their list with too many emails. Yes, it’s possible to bug people too much, but it’s also possible to upset them because they didn’t hear about your event. One missive is never adequate to ensure people show up or respond.

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28 Questions for When Your Art Isn’t Selling

Have you noticed a downturn regarding your art sales? Use this checklist which reviews four areas to evaluate and help turn your sales around.

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Should Your Older Art Be Put Out to Pasture?

Poor things. They’re barely three years old and they’re already considered past their prime. I’m not talking about the horses running the Triple Crown races this year. I’m talking about your art – where you should and shouldn’t show aging work.

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