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.” Tweet this
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 me she was getting great results for her special sale by contacting people
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 services for artists, I am happy to have had long-standing relationships with the
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 creating a
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 social magnet.
When Takashi Nakazato
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,
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 address and
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.
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
There are all kinds of opportunities for artists to show and to sell their work.
Your inbox probably has an email from a rich oil sheik in Qatar who wants to buy your art right now.
What do you do? How can you tell the good opportunities from those you should avoid?
My advice is always to trust first and to be cautious second and most importantly.
Janice McDonald, Helen Hiebert, and Alyson. Helen had a fantastic working experience with a Denver-area library that purchased her piece (above) titled The Wish.
As with everything in your art business, the onus is on you to verify all of the facts. Here’s how you do that.
Visit When You Can
Peruse online gallery sites for signs of business legitimacy and also to see the range of art they’re showing.
When you ask to show your art at a venue, you need to be very clear about what you are offering. People don’t often say Yes to vague offers.
Think about what ties the work together. This is your curatorial thesis – your big idea. Writing it out, as you’ll see below, helps you find the clarity you need.
Before sitting down to write your exhibition proposal, ask the venue if they have a particular exhibition proposal format they prefer. If they do, follow their instructions. If they don’t have specific guidelines, you’ll have to compile an exhibition proposal for yourself.
The details of your proposal will vary depending on whether you’re proposing a show at a coffee shop, a pop-up space, or a nonprofit gallery. You will have to judge what is appropriate for your situation.