Posts tagged Advice
Good Vibes Only: Negativity in the Art World and How to Fight it
mark-adriane-259950-unsplash.jpg

The more we put ourselves out there, the more people will share their opinions of us and our work - both good and bad. It’s amazing to have people express interest in your art on social media and especially in person. We hope that you appreciate the encouragement, internalize that you are deserving of the positive support, and enjoy returning the compliments as much as Kat and I do! But as they say, it’s not always sunshine and roses. It’s likely that you’ve encountered negativity in the art world and it can be difficult to be at your best when the attitude of others doesn’t match your own. I’ve broken down a few common situations below to identify and overcome these unnecessary sources of drama!

Ignoring the ‘Starving Artist’ stereotype

“So what are you going to do with that?” was a question that I would often get from people when I told them that I was studying towards a BFA (and when I was in grad school for my MA in Art History too!). My response was almost always met with a look best described as halfway between puzzled and concerned. After working in the arts for the past ten years, however, I feel more empowered in this field now more than ever. For example, while there is still tons of progress to be made, we are seeing more women and people of color taking charge and making their way into the roles and institutions that had previously been out of reach. Choosing to pursue a creative career shouldn’t feel like it limits your options. From exhibiting nationally and abroad, working for galleries and art fairs to museums and non-profits, starting a business, writing a book, and more, it isn’t what can an artist do...it’s what can’t we do?

It took me quite some time to arrive at the realization that my possibilities were not limited by what others think artists are capable of. While it can be disheartening that not everyone will be 100% supportive of your goals, you don’t need anyone else’s permission to follow your passion. When you put yourself in the mindset that anything can happen, things can surprise you in the best way!

steve-halama-485156-unsplash.jpg

Minding your Ps and Qs

When Kat and I went to Miami in December 2018, what really stood out to us was the incredible variety of art that we saw (at over ten fairs!). This is one of the things that we appreciate most about this industry: the art world IS big enough that everyone can find their place in it. Not everyone will be represented by blue chip galleries or exhibit in museums, but you do not need to do either of those things to find supportive collectors and share your work with people from around the world. With this in mind, push yourself to be a savvy networker: keep business cards with you, have a memorable elevator pitch ready to go, and don’t be afraid to speak up about your accomplishments.

Here’s an example:

Kat and I stopped at a booth to admire a piece we liked. A man walking by paused next to us to introduce himself as the creator of the work, explain a bit about it, and as he was on his way to do something else just quickly ended the conversation by saying: “Thanks so much for looking at my work. Here’s my card. Please keep in touch!” Keep your business interactions professional and polite, which will ensure that you leave a great impression.

The art world is great for making new connections and finding your niche, but be very careful about burning bridges. It is so unfortunate that for as much good as social media has done for artists, it has also given some people the false notion that they should use it to criticize others. Whether it’s posting disrespectful comments or even trying to preface a remark with “I don’t mean to be negative but…”, engaging in that kind of behavior online will guarantee that the other person will not want to work with you. What if down the road they are the link to a big opportunity that you would have loved to be a part of?

I’m sure you’ve also seen the comments that start off with “sorry to be the one to say this but…”, as if this excuses poor behavior. They’re never from someone who writes criticism as their profession. Rather, it is a cheap way of putting aside guilt when they know that the second half of what they’re going to say is unnecessary and negative. It is highly unlikely that any person with a valid reason for being critical of something would apologize for it.

The same holds true with overreacting to not being selected for a gallery or exhibition. We know that it is disappointing and frustrating, especially if you’ve applied more than once. We’ve been there! You send your best work and hope that it will be picked, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I actually discuss rejection in much more depth both in our first book ‘The Smartist Guide: Essential Art Career Tips for Emerging Artists’ as well as on the Art & Cocktails podcast, but my best advice is to stay positive, try to be gracious, and move on. Something better is coming!

debby-hudson-555209-unsplash.jpg

Developing a thick skin

I strongly believe that artists should support artists rather than get sucked into competing with or comparing yourself to others and it is especially disappointing that even today, you still see women who think it’s okay to put down other women (why?!). Remember that everyone is on their own path and even if another artist is finding success that doesn’t mean that you never will. Jealousy will only distract you so keep working hard and be patient that your time will come when it’s meant to. It’s also important to bear in mind that people rarely post about the hard times and struggles that they go through. If all you see are sales and exhibitions, it may seem like an artist achieved ‘overnight success’ when in reality they had to put in blood, sweat, tears and years of effort!

Negative feedback or unsolicited advice (not actual constructive criticism) can feel annoying at best and devastating at worst. As your initial reaction might be defensive, first ask yourself if it is even worth it to continue a discussion with this person. If you still feel the need to respond do so concisely and politely, but don’t expect anything in return. It will be up to you to tune them out, delete their comments or even block them. Kat shared a quote with me a while back that really resonated with me that was something along the lines of “nobody doing more than you will criticize you, only someone doing less.” The people who go out of their way to bring you down are simply dealing with their own feelings of insecurity. While it’s unfortunate that they have to take it out on you, focus instead on the awesome people who are genuinely there to encourage you and what you do!

Kat and I are so happy that the community of readers of both Create! Magazine and The Smartist Guide is a positive place for artists to share, connect, grow, learn, support, and inspire or be inspired by one another. We know this isn’t always how it is and that it can be difficult not to let the fear of facing negativity interfere with or stop you from putting yourself out there. But if it is your dream to be an artist, we encourage you to do it anyway!


Cheers!
Alicia

alicia@createmagazine.com
@puigypics


How to Price Your Art: 3 Quick Tips to Start Selling Today!
Photo by LeszekCzerwonka/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by LeszekCzerwonka/iStock / Getty Images

By Ekaterina Popova

One of the questions that I get most frequently from emerging artists is “how do I price my work?”. The confusion surrounding this topic is entirely understandable because there is no exact science or formula for doing so. However, over the past decade, I have collected a few tips that will help you figure out what to charge your collectors and get started with selling your beautiful art.

1. Research your market.

Because there is no exact formula, you will have to do some research. Most importantly, visit a few galleries in person that show work by emerging artists that have a similar amount of experience or are at the same point in their career as you. Take notes on various sizes, mediums and subject matter to see the average prices in the market. If you don’t have access to galleries that you can visit in person at the moment, take some time online and look at websites like Saatchi, Artspace and other similar platforms to see prices for work that relates to your own. The great thing about the internet is that you can type in any topic you need help with and get millions of results. Of course, some art that you come across will be too cheap or too expensive, so average out the prices until you are comfortable with the one you can use for your work.

2. Include the cost of your materials.

It would be almost impossible to calculate exactly how much paint, clay or charcoal you use to produce one piece of work, but keep in mind roughly how much you are spending on supplies to make sure that your prices take these expenses into account. The cost of materials is especially important to consider when you are just starting out and your rates may be relatively low already. Also, don't forget to include the costs of shipping supplies such as bubble wrap and tape, which can add up quickly.

3. Keep track of time.

While I think it’s important to know how much time you are spending in the studio, I wouldn’t necessarily use it as the only pricing point for your work. Some artists spend long, tedious hours on each piece, while others make a ton of work but only select a few final pieces out of the batch. Neither process is wrong or right, just different, and this is why pricing can often feel so complicated. I suggest finding a number that you feel confident presenting to potential clients after researching galleries, calculating materials and keeping your working hours in mind.

If the price of your work is too high, you might resist promoting your work and shy away from selling. If it’s too low, you may feel depleted or even resentful towards your buyer. Test out your happy medium and then commit to it for a year to get yourself established. Remember that in order to be professional and respectful in both your buyer and gallery relationships, stay very consistent with your pricing so that no one feels cheated.

Next, come up with prices for all the types of work that you do. Vary the rates for each size (i.e., larger = more $) and consider selling different mediums at different price points. For example, my 9 x 12 inch watercolors are $300, while my large oil paintings start at $1,300. I highly suggest having a consistent price point for every size and type of work you create. Put all of this information into a document that you can easily reference when discussing with customers or a gallery.

I truly hope that you enjoyed this article and found it useful. For additional pricing tips, I also recommend this article from Saatchi.

For more general art career advice, you can also check out our book ‘The Smartist Guide: Essential Art Career Tips for Emerging Artists’. If you are looking for a place to sell your work, we are currently in the process of launching a new gallery and curated platform called PxP Contemporary. Learn more and find out all of the details about how to submit here.

Happy Selling!

Kat

What you really should know about "The Smartist Guide: Essential Art Career Tips for Emerging Artists"

By Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig, Co-Authors of “The Smartist Guide: Essential Art Career Tips For Emerging Artists”

“The Smartist Guide: Essential Art Career Tips For Emerging Artists” has been out for a little over two months and we are completely overwhelmed by the initial response. Readers from across the globe are sending us messages about how they are getting accepted to exhibitions, finding gallery representation and growing their Instagram accounts using the tips found in our book. That was exactly our intention when we dreamed of and began writing “The Smartist Guide”.

Alicia and I also know that this book is not for everyone. We wanted to address a few key features and help you figure out if it’s worth the investment. We wrote this book with a very specific artist in mind, someone who is new to the art world, but is passionate and ready to take their career into their own hands. We want this person to experience success in the initial stages of his or her art career by offering tips that are crucial but often overlooked in art school. On the curatorial side, a lot of the submissions we receive for Create! Magazine are lacking the essential components such as a bio, statement or proper images. We want artists to experience more success and not disqualify themselves from the actual jurying process because their application was incomplete or could have been improved by a few simple changes.

For those considering buying this guide or who want a little more information about it, we’ve put together our most asked questions so that you can get a better idea of what it is, why we wrote it and who can benefit from it! And, if you happened to read the book and found that it wasn’t a great match, no worries. We offer full money back guarantees. We would rather you find it helpful and empowering or spend the money on a new paintbrush if it wasn’t for you.

Where did the title “The Smartist Guide” come from?

Alicia: Yes, we know that ‘smartist’ isn’t a word! It is a made-up combination of ‘smart’ and ‘artist’ because we believe in positive, empowering language for artists rather than outdated stereotypes of creatives that promote the false ideas that we aren’t business savvy or ‘can’t make a living’ doing what we love to do. With hard work, persistence and a few smart tips from our book - we know that all artists can succeed!

Kat: Alicia is the brains behind the title! I loved it so much when she first suggested it because it embodies a new breed of artists that are fully equipped to bring success into their art career. Plus it’s really fun, and the more you learn, the more enjoyable building your art business becomes!

Why did we write this book?

Kat: I always felt like I was missing something important when I first graduated. I felt lost and was looking for resources to help me get a jump start as a painter. The truth is, all the information was already out there, but not in one place. After years of googling, learning from mistakes, reading art books and attending workshops, I realized there were a few very simple and basic tools you need to get started. This book was our way to give new artists a strong foundation for launching their careers with confidence. Plus, after experiencing my own success as a painter, I wanted to give back and “send the elevator back down” to others. While it takes time to experience success and recognition, the actual steps to getting there are not complicated.

Alicia: I agree with all of Kat’s response! I believe we mentioned this on the podcast episode of “Art & Cocktails” where we introduced the book too, but another big reason was that we both went through so many ups and downs in the early part of our careers and wanted to share what did and didn’t work so that a younger generation of creatives could hit fast forward and start achieving things on a bit quicker of a timeline than we did. We’re not shy about sharing our struggles or failures so that you can learn from them! In addition, while we both learned a lot in our business of art course in college, there was never really a focus on selling online, marketing yourself or creating a strong social media presence. While it’s great to perfect your artist statement or get a gallery to represent you, we know that these other topics are also really helpful for young artists.

Who will find it useful?

Alicia: For the most part I think that the subtitle says it all - it is geared towards emerging artists. That being said, those a little further ahead in their career might still find some of the encouragement in the book helpful as a little push to keep progressing and tons of people have reached out to us with very positive remarks about our chapters on social media.

Kat: I envisioned a reader who is interested in having a sustainable studio practice and starting to put themselves into the art world through exhibitions and even employment, either fresh out of college or someone who has been creating art and didn’t receive a formal education.

How did you decide on the length of this book?

Kat: The hardest and most time-consuming part of being an artist is actually creating the work. I was excited to offer a quick guide, almost like a pocketbook to cover the basics one would need to get started. A lot of times creatives get overwhelmed with overly formal jargon and confusing business terms. We stripped everything down to the essentials in order to give clear, simple tools that can be used right away. Alicia and I learned a lot of the tips we offer in college, but they were scattered throughout four years of learning. We wanted to bring all the resources together in one place.

Alicia: Exactly, I think that one of my favorite reviews so far has been ‘I received it yesterday, read it today and will begin utilizing the information now.’ As this is our first book, we just wanted something simple and to the point that would be easy to reference and a fast read as to not take away from studio time. Also, while we both truly enjoy reading books about self-improvement, we know that not only does this involve carving out time to read them, but also money. We kept the guide short so that it could be as affordable for artists as possible.

What’s next?

Alicia: We will continue to share free career articles on a monthly basis via Create! Magazine, but since we enjoyed the process of writing this first book so much we are planning a second Smartist Guide. I’ll be focusing on chapters about mentors, networking, starting over, dealing with negativity and time-management among other topics. We’re always open to hearing what you’d like us to write about or what questions you’re looking to have answered. Feel free to reach out to us at info@createmagazine.com or alicia@createmagazine.com.

Kat: I’m currently writing in-depth advice for artists such as marketing, selling, attending residencies and more for our next, full-length edition. The first book was a great start for someone brand new to the art world, but the next one will empower artists to take over the world. Just kidding! I’m just really passionate about showing artists that they have exactly what it takes to create their dream career.

Ready to purchase? Click here to buy The Smartist Guide ebook or get the print version on Amazon.

Sell and Market Your Work in 5 Simple Steps

By Ekaterina Popova

When I first committed to my art career, there was a lot of mystery and confusion about how to make sales as an artist. I waited for a gallery to do it for me and truly thought I didn’t have the permission to do it on my own. In fact, I didn’t even think it was possible to sell paintings directly. I was miserable, waiting for some magical opportunity or an art dealer to come knocking on my door.

As you can imagine, no one ever came and I had to figure it out on my own. Through a series of life lessons, investing in additional education and personal development, I discovered that I do not have to wait for anyone to make me qualified to promote my own art. Regardless of whether I have a gallery or not, people may be interested in collecting my work.

As scary as it was putting myself out there, I learned a few simple things about what it takes to make direct sales to collectors online and through exhibitions. Even though I work with a gallery now, I still use these tools to support myself and advance my art career.

When I was just starting out, I truly believed that having an art gallery would eliminate my struggles and somehow would outsource all the sales and marketing for me. I imagined that having a gallery would allow me to paint in a far away cabin in the woods and never have to worry about any other part of my art career. This is far from the truth, but that’s definitely not a bad thing. Over the years of doing it solo, I took back a lot of power and independence when it comes to selling my art, and this has relieved a lot of the pressure of finding a gallery to represent my work. Even if things don’t work out with a gallery, I know I have what it takes to do it on my own.

Working with a gallery has been wonderful so far, but I think part of why this is the case is having the understanding and respect for what they do and how they can potentially elevate my image. I also love to approach galleries as a partnership instead of expecting them to “do something for me” and continue to market and push my work to help sales. This creates a healthy relationship and multiplies the efforts, so both parties win! So don’t be like the past me and think of it as “giving up” if it is your ultimate dream to be represented by a great gallery. You can still work toward that goal and market your work until that happens. Chances are, you are much more likely to get noticed if you are putting yourself out there and sending a message to the world that you are ready to be seen and your art is for sale.

Here are five tips that transformed my mindset around selling and promoting my art. Stop waiting for permission and come up with a plan to inspire new collectors and make some sales:

1. People want to buy art. Help them!

A simple trick that changed everything for me is actually announcing that work is for sale. This is silly, and I write and talk about this all the time, but often when it comes to online marketing you need to nudge your potential collector in the right direction.

Create an album on Facebook that says “available work” and send a newsletter announcing any new collections, limited edition prints or work you recently got back from a show! Be excited and give your audience a way to contact you. Be sure to only post work for sale that you are TRULY proud of. If something in your gut tells you that are not quite there yet, and need to polish up your skills, don’t rush in. Take the time you need to develop a strong body of work and then start selling with confidence.

A caption such as “work available for sale, dm or email for details” or something along those lines makes a huge difference! This is obvious, but if you are represented by a gallery and only sell work through them, direct your buyer towards the gallery and you both win! Remember that people want to buy art and you are not being annoying by giving them that joy. People shop for expensive shoes, purses, and cars. Art brings a lot more meaningful pleasure to a collector than a lot of any other items might. Don’t deprive a potential collector!

2. You are the CEO of your art career. Invest in your business!

Creating a small budget to pay for affordable advertisements on Facebook and Instagram ($10-$50) per post is a fabulous way to push out your work to new collectors that are not in your immediate network. Invest a few dollars each month to grow your audience through ads, reputable Instagram shoutouts, and other creative ways of advertising to get great results. Do a little research on ads and how to find your target audience by doing a quick Google search. Instagram has an “automatic” audience feature to explore as well.

Other ways to invest into your are career include taking additional workshops (both art and business or anything else you want to gain skills in), applying to juried exhibitions and publications, reading educational literature, and of course, using any free resources online. You have to be willing to trust in your dream and invest in your future. This also sends a message to the world that you are serious about your art career. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but don’t skimp on developing your future!

3. Have a commerce platform ready before you announce your sale.

Whether it’s selling on Etsy, getting paid via PayPal directly, having an e-commerce platform such as Shopify or a page on Squarespace, make sure you set up your shop and test it out for seamless customer experience. If you are shipping originals, your shop structure will be very simple. Just make sure you calculate your shipping cost both domestic and international. Invest into a simple scale (you can get one for under $30 on Amazon), order shipping supplies in bulk to save money and pass on the shipping cost to your buyer, especially if it’s a larger work. I offer free shipping on small works and works on paper. If you are stuck on how to pack artwork, check out this article on Saatchi that I frequently use as a guide for my own shipments. Pricing your art can be challenging, but you just have to get started and stay consistent. Look around at local galleries that show artists at your career level and get an idea for what your type of work is sold for. Just pick a number for each size of work based on the material you create and stick to that price consistently for at least a year.

4. Be great to work with.

Whether you are represented by a gallery or not, be a great person to work with. Offer payment plans to potential clients who may not be able to pay full price right away, be courteous, and respond to messages or questions. I think being a great partner to your gallery can multiply your success, but even if you are on your own, your collector will remember you and will be more likely to add more pieces to their collection in the future. I consider this a win-win, because if they loved buying from you - they will recommend you to a friend and do the marketing for you.

I remember even during my first few art sales, I got a compliment from an older gentleman collector who happened to be a lawyer. He told me how impressed he was with my professionalism, quick replies, and having a seamless sales process. Mind you, this was in 2012 where I was using a simple e-mail invoice and he was sending me a paper check. Do the best you can with what you have and it will pay off!

5. Fix your mindset around marketing and selling.

A lot of us learned to associate selling with sleazy and pushy businessmen portrayed as villains in Hollywood films. This can obviously be the case, but when it comes to your approach to selling and promoting yourself, you can truly make it your own. People will only respond to you if you are true to your work and yourself and develop a way of sharing what you create that works for you and FEELS GOOD. Don’t try to use marketing techniques that feel weird or inauthentic. Share your story and be excited about a work of art that makes you proud. Buying and collecting art is an intimate and personal process. Be confident, follow up, but don’t be offended or take things personally if they don’t go the way you hoped. Like any relationship, you are looking for a good fit, and you want both you and the buyer to be happy with the outcome.

As you continue to grow and develop your craft, your audience and circle of collectors will grow. Sometimes it takes years to get there, and that is ok. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have someone truly LOVE the piece they get from me than be pressured into purchase something they aren’t 100% excited about.

Marketing and sales are amazing as long as you learn ways to make them fun and deeply fulfilling experiences for yourself.

Remember that your priority will always be in the studio. Making art comes first, but it’s a really amazing time to use marketing to take your power back and enjoy the freedom of being an artist without having to ask anyone’s permission or approval.

Cheers!

P.S. if you are just starting out and need some basic art career tips like applying to galleries and marketing on Instagram Alicia Puig and I recently wrote a book called The Smartist Guide which can help!

Giving up Is Not an Option with Ashley Longshore
Ashley_Longshore.jpg

Join Ashley Longshore and Kat on this special episode. We talk about the hard stuff: working through financial difficulty, not giving up, trusting and believing in yourself during times of uncertainty, staying in a positive frequency no matter what and working with high end clients. 

Sarah Ashley Longshore is a Louisiana-based painter, gallery owner, and entrepreneur. She is the owner of the Longshore Studio Gallery, located on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Longshore's art focuses on pop culture, Hollywood glamour, and American consumerism and has been compared to the artwork of Andy Warhol.

www.ashleylongshore.com

www.instagram.com/ashleylongshoreart

How to Submit Your Art
How to Submit Your Art.png

If you are new to the art world and are having trouble figuring out how to submit work to juried shows, publications, art blogs and more, fear not! I have compiled a quick list of tips that I noticed from the curatorial end. I share simple advice to help you increase your chances of getting accepted to that dream opportunity!

For those of you looking to step it up and take the photos yourself, I’m sharing my camera and light studio that I use from Amazon. Keep in mind that you will also need a tripod, but it doesn’t have to be super expensive.

Cheers!

Kat

Leaving Your Day Job (Podcast Episode)
Copy of multipassionate.png

On this episode Kat shares her experience of becoming self-employed almost three years ago and offers some helpful tips to plan and prepare yourself for being your own boss. 

Books to help you:

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero

Think and Grow Rich: The Original, an Official Publication of The Napoleon Hill Foundation

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Anything is Possible: Bridgette Mayer's Powerful Story and Career Advice for Artists (Podcast Interview)

On this episode, Bridgette shares her story and how she overcame major obstacles in her life and built an incredible career as an art dealer, curator, art advisor, author, and entrepreneur. She has empowered many artists and helped them build successful careers, sell work and get incredible opportunities. Tune in to this special episode for invaluable career advice, marketing tips and authentic ways of sharing your story as an artist to build your career from a leading art expert. 

Bio

Bridgette Mayer is an art dealer in Philadelphia, PA. She opened Bridgette Mayer Gallery on Philadelphia’s historic Washington Square in 2001. In July of 2016, the gallery evolved to a private gallery and consulting practice. Mayer represents artists from Philadelphia, New York and around the world, specializing in contemporary painting, sculpture, and photography. The gallery also deals in secondary market artwork sales and private and corporate consulting.

Gallery artists have won many prestigious awards including the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Guggenheim Grants, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Awards, the Miami University Young Painters Competition and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Grant.

Bridgette Mayer Gallery has been featured on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 as a small business “On The Rise” and was recognized as a recommended Philadelphia arts destination in The New York Times Magazine. In 2013, Mayer was named one of the top 500 Galleries in the world by Boulin Art Info and was also featured in the Tory Burch Foundation’s “Women To Watch” series.

Mayer has been a featured speaker on many panels in the Philadelphia area and has guest lectured at a number of Universities, where her talks focus on how emerging artists can promote their work and sustain a career in the arts.  A graduate of Bucknell University, Mayer was an active member of the University’s Arts Board for several years. She is currently a board member of the Arts & Business Council, Philadelphia, PA & Vox Vopuli, Philadelphia, PA.

Bridgette’s Book:

How to Host a Studio Sale Online 

A few years ago, I started selling my work online. It was a very slow and natural progression from getting a friend of a friend to buy a piece to eventually meeting new collectors from across the globe. I learned a ton of lessons from my experiences and wanted to share them with you. 

Hosting a sale a few times per year is a great way to make room in your studio and fund your next project or exhibition. Over the years, this strategy became an integral part of my artist business plan and introduced me to many incredible art lovers. So, whether you have an overflow of inventory, are looking to make some money, or want to find new collectors, these tips on hosting an online studio sale will help you with all the above. I will be using these techniques and strategies right along with you. Let’s plan for a successful season of selling our art!

Photo courtesy of  Marta Spendowska

Photo courtesy of Marta Spendowska

Here are three important elements you need to help make your sale a success. 

1. Organize your inventory. 

This is the tedious and mundane part, but it will help you make the rest of the process very simple. 

1. Select every piece of art that you want to sell and is available to pack and ship right away. Make sure all the artwork that you feature is something you are proud of and would want someone to have in their home. Don’t try to dump your entire inventory, because the client will know if it’s not your best work. Use a special series, pieces that recently became available, or a collection you made specifically for the sale. You can curate this experience in any way you choose, but make it meaningful and unique.

Photo courtesy of  Danielle Krysa

Photo courtesy of Danielle Krysa

2. Photograph each piece, if you haven’t already, and organize the files with labels that you will know how to find. Take beautiful, crystal clear images that show your work in its best light. More quick tips on photographing your work here.

3. Keep the files in a place you can remember and have a document with titles, sizes, media, and prices in the same folder for easy reference. Label your work in a consistent way within that folder. For example: (yourname_paintingtitle_dimensions_price.jpeg ). 

I keep images and information of my art on Dropbox because even if I don’t have my computer with me, I can still have access to the best quality files in case I need them. 

alejandro-escamilla-66211.jpg

2. Plan your shop. 

There are a ton of free and affordable web tools that make it super easy for artists to sell online. When I first started doing this, I would create an album on Facebook and mark items off as they sold. At one point, I used a simple PDF with available works that I e-mailed interested patrons. These days, I use the shop feature on my Squarespace hosted site and send a “secret” link to those who are interested. A lot of web hosting services offer free or affordable options for customers to checkout using PayPal or Stripe. You can also create a simple link with a piece if you are selling your work on a one to one basis. paypal.me

Another option is to use an online gallery like Saatchi to sell work for you. They take a small commission fee, so you would have to calculate your prices accordingly.

Once you decide on your option, upload your work and details, and set up how you want to get paid. It’s up to you if you want to keep the shop and prices private, or share with everyone. Here is great article by Saatchi that may help you price your work. https://canvas.saatchiart.com/art/how-to-price-your-artwork

roman-kraft-197672.jpg

3. Spread the word. 

Chances are you probably already have a community you created online on Facebook, Instagram or your e-mail list. It doesn’t matter how big your following is, as long as you have a genuine connection with at least a few people. Make a simple announcement that lets your audience know that you are excited and your work is on sale. Invite others to share the news with their community. Sometimes people need to be reminded that they can own the beautiful paintings they have been looking at for months on your profile!

Photo courtesy of  Sticks and Ink

Photo courtesy of Sticks and Ink

I remember feeling so nervous when I launched my first sale online. It only featured a few pieces, but I had the worst imposter syndrome and doubt just flooded my mind. Thoughts like “What if no-one buys anything?”, “Am I charging too high or too low?”, and so on would paralyze me. I finally committed to putting myself out there and e-mailed a few people I had on my Mailchimp list.

For a whole day or so I did not hear from anyone, which then inspired me to make an announcement on my Facebook page and Instagram. I paid $10 to run a little “boosted post” on Facebook to broaden my reach. A few days later I started getting messages and made my first big sale. Whenever I feel doubt again, I think back to the amazing feeling I had when I sold a big painting to a stranger across the country. I was on cloud nine for weeks!

Photo Courtesy of  Zoë Pawlak

Photo Courtesy of Zoë Pawlak

If it’s your first time putting your art out there, don’t be scared! The worst that can happen is nothing at all or everyone will want to buy your work and you will have an empty studio and a full wallet. 

Remember to be confident about your art and accomplishments. Think back to any exhibitions, publications or any other accolades you received so far. If you are a newbie, think about a time that someone complimented your work and how proud it made you feel.

P.S. Once you make the sale, make sure you pack it like a pro. Learn how here: https://www.saatchiart.com/packaging

Check back and let me know if any of these tips worked for you at info@create-magazine.com

Stress Free Tips For Writing Your Artist Statement

Does the thought of writing your artist statement make you wake up in cold sweat at 4 am? You’re not alone. I am currently writing an updated statement for a solo exhibition, and I feel your pain. After receiving tons of messages asking me to give me insight into crafting this important part of your portfolio, I decided to give you a few easy hacks to make this a simple process. 

You don’t have to be a great writer to have a clean, easy-to-understand description of what your work is about. We often overthink what an artist statement actually is. It should be a genuine, honest snapshot of what you care about and how you do what you do. It doesn’t have to be long; a paragraph or two is usually enough. 

Look, we DO need to have professional, easy to read statements, but at the end of the day, if you’re an artist, you probably don’t spend the majority of your life working on becoming a best-selling author. In general, people will know this and will not expect an award-winning essay. They just want to learn more about what you do!

Ask yourself this: what do you want your viewer to know about you, your process and work that is not immediately evident just by looking at it? We all want our work to speak for itself, but each person’s perception is completely different based on their life experience, culture and interests. They may fall in love with your art even more once they get the right information.

Take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and try these easy tips that will take the pain out of the process. 

art-writing-inspiration-wine

Remember this:

“An artist statement is a concise arrangement of words that acts as a bridge to connect your audience to your art.”
— Vicki Krohn Amorose
sabri-tuzcu-desk-art-writing-artist-statement.jpg

Here are five stress-free steps to help you get started:

1. Brain dump.

Make a list of things that you are thinking about when painting, sculpting, photographing, etc. Are you looking for a specific mood when creating? Do you like telling stories? Ask yourself these questions and write down your unfiltered answers on a piece of paper. If you are looking for more questions, Vicki Krohn Amorous, author of Art Write, offers a few great ones in her book.

Question Examples

Why did I make this?

What do I believe in?

How did I make this? (Materials, Location, Etc.)

ewan-robertson-computer-art-inspiration.jpg

2. Read. Read. Read.

It’s a great exercise to check out what everyone else is doing. Start by visiting the websites of artists you admire and see how they approach this part of their studio practice.

Get a sense of how diverse, vast and unlimited your possibilities are! You don’t have to sound like a robot, and at the same time you don’t need to reinvent to wheel. Be clear and straightforward and your audience will respond. 

Invest in art publications to develop your vocabulary. Take a few moments each week to read the art section of The New York Times, Art News, Frieze or any other material that inspires you.

(This goes without saying, but please, never copy or try to replicate anyone’s work in art or writing. Take cues, but never steal!)

annie-spratt-124994.jpg

3. Jot down thoughts throughout your day. 

If you are walking to grab a cup of coffee in your favorite neighborhood and suddenly you get a random idea, write it down! Sometimes hearing inspiring song lyrics or listening to a podcast will give you the words and phrases you need to describe your work. Inspiration is everywhere!

sketchbook-art-statement

4. Put it all together.

When you are ready, sit down and write your first draft. It may feel pretty rough at first. Put it away for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes. Reading your writing out loud is a big help. You can catch mistakes and odd sentence structure more easily when you hear it spoken out loud. Repeat this two or three times and then have someone else read it for typos and grammar mistakes. 

alexis-brown-82988.jpg

5. When you are done, ask yourself the following:

Does this make sense to me?

Would someone with no knowledge of art understand this?

Is it true?

Does it reflect what I want the viewer to know about my work and process?

P.S. If you still feel uncomfortable with your writing, there are tons of affordable options to have a professional edit it. A friend is usually happy to help!

You can also connect with our editor, Amanda, here: ashrawder@gmail.com.

If you want someone to help you write, artist and writer Michele Kishita offers this service at www.michelekishitawriting.com

If any of these tips worked for you, let us know and share them with a friend! If you have another topic you want covered, email your ideas to info@create-magazine.com

5 Things Keeping Your Art from Being Featured

If you are anything like me, you probably apply to hundreds of opportunities each month, crossing your fingers, hoping to get selected for that dream exhibition in New York or to appear on the glossy pages of your favorite art magazine. But what if there was one thing preventing your artwork from being chosen for that dream exhibition or publication?

Over the past six years I have worked with curators, galleries, and artists and learned a few very simple things that will increase your success rate.

As an editor, I see hundreds of art submissions each week that I would publish in a heartbeat, but there is always something that stops me… I decided to compile a list of ways to avoid the most common mistakes that deter curators, publishers, and bloggers from featuring your work.

So, if you are having trouble getting your work noticed, fear not! Use these tips and watch those acceptance letters multiply. 

brooke-lark-175644-art-photography.jpg

1. Use great photography. No, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

This is the easiest one to fix! We spend so much time, energy and resources making our work that it’s a disservice to have less than perfect images of it. Nothing is more frustrating to a publisher or curator than seeing an incredible work of art captured with poor photography. They may love your piece, but can’t publish or exhibit it because of this issue. 

Good news! Here are a few easy solutions:

Get a professional’s help. Hire or ask if you can trade a product you make or a service you offer with a photographer friend to get the best images of your work. Reach out to any alumni groups if you went to college to see if your colleagues are offering a good price first. 

Invest in a camera and take the photos yourself. If you are unfamiliar with photography, there may be a learning curve. If you are eager to DIY, there are plenty of videos and resources to get you started for free online. 

Use your smartphone. Several artists that Create! Magazine previously published use their phones to take amazing photos of their work. If you decide to do this, make sure you set your setting on HDR and use daylight or a daylight lamp to get the best result. Always crop your photo when finished, so that the background and any distractions are removed. If your work requires installation views and detail shots, make sure they are clean and organized. Adjust the lighting to reflect the image as close to reality as possible. 

man-writing_4460x4460.jpg

2. Include basic information.

I can’t tell you how many times an artist simply sent an image with no description, contact information or link to her site! There were more times than I can count that I desperately wanted to feature the piece but had no way of reaching the person. Don’t let this be you! Always use a polite greeting, brief introduction and a place where the person you are writing can reach you if they need more details. Make it simple for the person to increase your chances of success. 

corinne-kutz-computer-art-applications.jpg

3. Follow the Rules. 

Follow basic instructions. When filling out hundreds of applications the temptation to be lazy and recycle the same submission package is sometimes too great to resist. Don’t give in! If the organization asks for the images to be labeled a certain way, do it! Make it super easy for the gallery to feature your work. We are all busy, and can appreciate when someone respects our time. A lot of systems being used by companies today require a specific labeling method or file format. So, if they ask for a jpeg, use a jpeg. 

jackie-k-b-ayres-328447.jpg

4. Be part of the community. 

Especially when it comes to local organizations and events, being a familiar face is always a good idea. I even found that simple things like commenting on Instagram, reaching out to someone you admire for coffee (when it’s appropriate) or showing up to art openings increases opportunities for YOU to be involved in the future. The best practice is to do this with people and organizations you genuinely enjoy, instead of trying to get something out of it. By nourishing these relationships online or in person, you are inevitably planting the seeds to be considered for future opportunities. 

rachael-gorjestani-282049.jpg

5. Celebrate your achievements (not in a way that you think).

This is going to sound obvious, but be proud of what you have done up to this point. This means having a place online where curators and patrons can see what you’re all about. Have a clean website. There are tons of affordable and beautiful options including Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and more are available on the market today. If you can’t afford a website at this moment, simply have a Tumblr page or its equivalent that includes the following vital content:

  • Your portfolio

  • Your written bio

  • Your artist statement

  • Your exhibitions, awards and press features

  • Contact info

That’s it! 

I hope these simple tips will help you get more yeses and propel your art career forward! If you found this article helpful or know someone who may benefit from it, please feel free to share, tweet and comment below.

If you have a topic or question your would like us to cover, feel free to send suggestions to info@create-magazine.com. 

Marketing Tips for Creatives
Fannin_Shannon_1.jpg

Twenty years before I became an artist, I had a career in marketing. Some of the things I learned from that life have been a huge help to my art career. I try to pass on what I've learned with other creatives, as it helps our industry grow and flourish.

-Shannon Fannin

MARKETING TIPS FOR CREATIVES

by Shannon Fannin

YOU AT WORK: From time to time, take a photo of yourself at work while creating. A photo that shows you creating what you do (i.e. painting, drawing, writing music, writing a book, bead/textile work, etc.). Let it show the real you, even the messy hair and paint overalls. You can easily achieve a photo with your phone and a timer app. Keep these digital images in a file for future use.

KEEP IT UPDATED: Ask someone to take a photo of you with your work at art events (exhibition, charity event, with a commission client, a booth at festival/convention, etc.). Update your professional profile photo every year.

THE REAL YOU: Having these photos available will come in handy for articles written about you, press releases, adding to social media to bring you followers, promotions you run, and on your art website. Readers and followers want to not only see your art, but they want to see YOU creating it. Showing your creative side to your readers/followers gives them a glimpse into your world. It makes you approachable and human.

About Shannon Fannin

Shannon was born in Long Beach, California. She earned a college scholarship to pursue an art teaching degree for teaching special needs children. However, life had other plans. She put becoming an artist on hold for marriage, a career in marketing, and raising a family. Using her portfolio for a resume, she taught elementary school art for two years through a private academy.

After a 25 year hiatus from an art career, Shannon returned to school to refresh her abilities. She took a handful of courses to reacquaint herself with mediums and started to build on her expressionistic style. Being a great fan of color, Shannon prefers working largely in many media including pastel, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, ink, and acrylic and usually combines many of them in mixed media pieces. She enjoys bringing chrome and carbon fiber alive through her vehicle paintings, conveying the human form and imagined still lifes. Her eclectic nature allows her to create work that simply makes her happy. She lives in Austin with her husband of 26 years and their college student son.

www.shanfannin.com

www.facebook.com/artisticlicensedesigns

15910246_10208212709658403_404191902_n.jpg