5 Steps to Take Charge of Your Art Marketing (and Why You Must)

©2014 Claire Browne, Stem. Mixed media, 7 x 3 feet. Used with permission.

Stop waiting for the famous gallery dealer to call you up. Stop waiting for the artist agent-fairy to wave her wand. Stop waiting to win the lottery.

©2014 Claire Browne, Stem. Mixed media, 7 x 3 feet. Used with permission.

Start taking charge.

You have to plan for business growth. It doesn’t happen on its own. Nobody cares about your success more than you do, and nobody can do a better job marketing your art than you can.

Here are five steps for taking charge of your art marketing, which will send you well on your way to getting what you want from your art career.

1. Write down what you want.

Many people don’t get the life they really want because they haven’t taken the time to define it. They haven’t asked for it!

It’s a bold move to commit to an idea,

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How to Improve Your Slide Submissions for Juries

Sherri Woodard Coffey’s booth shot.

One of the sessions at the Arts Festival Conference in Portland, sponsored by ZAPP, was “Public Portfolio Critique.”

A mock jury of 6 people sat at the front of four screens in a large room. One at a time, artists’ slide presentations were projected as they might be in a slide jurying situation. The jurors offered valuable feedback for each set that was projected, and I took loads of notes.

Here’s what I learned. Most of these notes are from the jurors, but I’ve thrown in some of my own observations.

Patty Hankins’ booth shot for Beautiful Flower Pictures.

 

You have 20 seconds to impress the jury with your slides.

The festival organizers in the room had anywhere from 500 to over 2000 applicants for their events. They can’t spend more than 20 seconds on each set of slides.

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Capture Attention with a Whisper

Secret Kiss From One Boston Terrier to Another

Steve Cranford, Creative Chairman of the New York agency WHISPER, was my guest in the Art Biz Incubator last week.

When I asked him in the interview why in the world a marketing firm would be called WHISPER instead of SHOUT, he replied: “The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.”

The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.Click To Tweet

Think about it.

When you take out an ad or post to your blog and social media sites, you are broadcasting to the world. You would love it if thousands of people see your message.

Because of this public forum, the language is less personal than if you were to have a private conversation. And therein lies the power of the whisper.

Anatomy of a Whisper

A client told

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I Recommend These Services for Your Art Business

Lisa, Alyson and Janice

In the beginning months and years of Art Biz Coach, I thought of my services as a one-stop shop. Bad idea. It’s never a good idea to try to be everything because you then become known for nothing.

Over the years, I have learned to work to my strengths, which include helping artists with foundational marketing pieces like building mailing lists, nurturing relationships, and improving professional presentation.

Artists usually begin with my Art Biz Bootcamp before we get into a private client relationship that helps them personalize their strategies. In addition, I am very good at helping artists improve their systems and productivity. This is why I teach Organize Your Art Biz.

Lisa Call, me, and Janice McDonald at the Denver Art Museum.

Regarding other business

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It's All About Your Mailing List

rolodex

Michelle, a woman in my mastermind group, marveled at my list size: How did you get that many people on your email list?

It was easy for me, I replied, because I understood the value of a list when I started my business.

I was fortunate to appreciate the importance of a list due to positions in my past work experience.

How I Built My List

As an assistant to a U.S. Senator, I came to recognize that my boss’s donor list and my Rolodex (yes, it was that long ago) were the most valuable assets in our office to ensure continued community support. As a museum curator and educator, I knew how much we relied on our members and donors for financial support.

Lists are indispensable in both of those situations, which is probably why

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Notes From an Artist Lecture

Doug Casebeer

As I was flipping through my notebook last week, I came across notes from a lecture by ceramic artist Doug Casebeer at the Foothills Art Center in Golden, Colorado on January 25, 2014.

Doug Casebeer, Vessels. Image found without credit details on Northern Arizona University site.

There is so much wisdom here that I’ve decided to share them in their raw form. Enough time has passed since I first heard these words that I hope I am honoring Doug’s intent.

What The Artist Said

It’s difficult to wear the title artist. I prefer the title builder.

I seek to build community and friendships. This is the spirit of what the artist’s life is about.

When you have 150 artists going to the studio every day, stuff is going to happen.

The kiln is a

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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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How to Project Confidence (Even If You Have to Fake It)

Anne Shutan Door

Confidence is one of the most collector-attractive qualities an artist can possess.

You are more likely to get the commission, sell the work, fill your classes, and have your proposal accepted if we believe in you. And we are more likely to believe in you if you believe in yourself and your art.

Confidence comes with experience.

Exhibiting your art in public and having conversations with art visitors contribute to growing your confidence. Yet there are times when even the most experienced artist lacks in confidence. This comes with the territory.

The thing I enjoyed most about meeting Anne Shutan is that she was as excited about her work as I was. When I complimented something, she said, “I know! Isn’t that cool?!” I love that kind of enthusiasm. Here she is with the front door she carved.

You are bound to go through cycles

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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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