Posts tagged Art Career
The Grass Isn't Greener, But Sometimes It's Okay to Check
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I recently interviewed emerging Philadelphia-based designer and digital artist, Jeff Manning, who told me that his advice to his younger self would have been to focus more on competing against himself rather than his peers. This idea really connected with me and got me thinking to the bigger idea of how often we compare ourselves to others - today, in so many more aspects of our lives than our careers. It can be detrimental when taken to the extreme, but sometimes, it can actually be not only useful, but important to do so. When it seems like everyone else is making more sales, having bigger exhibitions, or getting better exposure, it feels difficult to not unfairly or unnecessarily judge ourselves against others and even more significantly, to not let self-doubt or jealousy get the best of us. So instead, let’s take a moment to identify the productive ways we can use comparison to keep us moving forward!

Perhaps you’ve already read Kat’s article about how to price artwork. If so, you’ll remember that looking at other artists who are in the same stage as you and making similar work (in terms of size, materials, and time spent per piece) is a great way to estimate what you can be selling your art for. Pricing has been kept such a mystery in our industry for so long, a trend fostered by perceived competition and scarcity between galleries and artists. But luckily, attitudes on this are finally beginning to shift. Whereas collectors of the past might have been intimidated to make an inquiry at a traditional gallery, today, potential buyers can see prices listed online or even contact artists directly via their websites and social media channels. I encourage you to not only be aware of how your peers are pricing their work, but to also be open to sharing this with other artists if they reach out to you and finally, of keeping tabs on larger trends in the industry. 

Along the same lines, if you are working in the arts either in a full-time role or in addition to your studio practice, get to know your what your colleagues are being paid. Hopefully, you saw the recent salary spreadsheet that was initiated by a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (yay Philly!). It went viral online, with thousands of people who work in museum, gallery, arts administration, and education positions adding their wages to list. Knowing what others make will help you better negotiate your pay and ensure that you are being compensated fairly within your company. This can, of course, be an awkward conversation at first, but again, the more transparent we all are with each other the better off everyone will be in the long run. 

Are you looking to start working with a gallery? I talk more in depth about this in my article “The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to Galleries”, but one of the tips that I discuss is that part of your research should always include checking out the artists who are already represented by a gallery you’re interested in. Don’t skimp on this one! Compare notes on their resumes and websites to make sure that you’re really a strong fit. It can actually come in handy when it comes time to putting together your application. Through this research, you may notice similarities between the gallery artists and you that you can then mention as evidence to support you joining their roster. 

Let’s say that things have been going well for a while. You’re making sales and showing in quality exhibitions and now you’re wondering what to do in order to take the next step in your career. You might be thinking: ‘How do I show in museums and art fairs? Is an artist residency right for me? What can I do to successfully apply for grant funding? or What’s next?’ This is another time when checking in with other artists is a good idea. It is likely that you may already follow or know someone at the next level and can simply ask, but if you don’t, there are lots of additional resources to tap into like podcasts, books, blogs, workshops, and more. A little bit of networking at the next gallery opening or art event also might help you meet artists who can provide this type of advice.

Finally, comparing can be a simple way to learn something new to add to your art practice. Whether it is a new technique, medium, scale, or material, if something in another artist’s work caught your attention in a way that made you wonder ‘How did they do that?’ it’s probably worth trying to figure it out (or asking them)! It could really bring an interesting perspective or value to your work. Even if it isn’t directly related to what you are making, I’d still encourage you to pursue it as creative experimentation. When you let yourself explore freely, it can spark your imagination in different ways and that could lead to new ideas for your work.

The same holds true with business or marketing as an artist. Don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel. If you see another artist’s resume or website that is formatted nicely and looks professional, definitely use that as a template. This is especially useful when you’re starting out on social media. We’ve spoken before about how followers really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. They can help, yes, depending on the kind of work you make and what your goals are as an artist. However, what is more important is honing your voice online, showing great images of your art, and being consistent with your posts. Find some examples of artists who you think are doing this well so that you can use them as a model for your own profiles. Please note that none of the above is recommending that you copy anyone directly! Borrowing from Austin Kleon, who I recently interviewed for Issue 15, you can and should ‘steal like an artist’ but when you use others’ ideas always turn them into something that is your own and give credit where it is due.

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I hope that these tips will help you recognize when comparison can be a beneficial tool, but if you ever find yourself getting negatively affected by looking at what others are doing then please stop. Unfollow or mute those on social media that aren’t serving you or take a break from it completely. Step back from relationships in person that may be putting added stress or pressure on you. Sometimes we don’t realize how profoundly we are being affected and it can grow into unhealthy feelings of anxiety that are hard to manage. Try to spot the signs early and proactively separate yourself from what is causing it. Don’t let anyone else dictate where you should be or make you feel bad about where you currently are in your journey. Always remember that it is exactly that, a journey. Something that takes time, effort, and consistent work! 

I have definitely gotten sucked into these ideas on occasion, thinking that I should be further along in my career than I am, earning a higher salary, or doing more. But then I remember - what is the rush? I think of those who found success later in life, like Jerry Saltz and Lisa Congdon, and realize that I’m exactly where I need to be. I wholeheartedly agree with the artist who I interviewed that I’m the only person that I should be comparing myself to in that regard and if I’ve grown or progressed or learned something new since last year, last month, or even last week then I’m definitely on the right track. If you’re in this creative life for the long haul (like Kat talked about in a recent Art & Cocktails episode!), this is the type of mindset to maintain in order to ensure that you’ll remain focused on your own path for years to come.

Cheers!

-Alicia
@puigypics
alicia@createmagazine.com

Finding Purpose Through the Darkness | Podcast Episode with Jenny Brown
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On this episode of Art & Cocktails, Kat talks to collage artist Jenny Brown about her journey and how she discovered her artistic voice, overcame adversity, let go of the shame surrounding her dreams and gained clarity in her art career. 

This episode includes conversations about:

  • Discovering your creative calling

  • Student loan debt and financial struggle

  • Overcoming depression and more

Jenny Brown is a 1996 graduate of Bennington College and she received her MFA in 2005 from The School of Visual Arts, where she focused on the mediums of painting, drawing, and collage. She moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 2008, and in 2018 set up space at Lyra Art Studios in the city’s Olneyville neighborhood. Her most recent solo show, “When You Speak to Me, This is What I See,” was curated by Periphery Space and presented at Paper Nautilus in Providence, RI, featuring a studio-like installation of her collages and drawings.

Artist Statement

Over the past decade, I have become captivated with exploring ideas surrounding the existence of a parallel or “alt” universe, and finding a way to represent it visually. What if we opened everyday doors and instead of seeing what we expected to see, we saw how we existed in the same moment but in another place in time? What if that alternative world wasn’t frightening, but instead place where color, nature, and our souls made sense in their own unique and curious way?

As an artist who sees the process of creating art as non-linear, I find that I experience the past, present, and future lives of my work all simultaneously. These periods of time happen all at once, maybe not at all, and sometimes infinitely with no end in sight. I find everyday curiousness, the physical mementos (such as photographs & paper ephemera I use in my work), and the history and images from past travels to be present every time I bring pen to paper. For when one speaks to me about my work and my creative process, I wish they could see it all-the beginnings, the unknowns, the forgotten, the lost, the joyous, and the never-ending beauty of the story that brought me to this exact place and time.

I am a 1996 graduate of Bennington College and received my MFA in 2005 from The School of Visual Arts, where I focused on the study of painting, drawing, and collage. I moved to Rhode Island, in 2008 and currently work out of a studio in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood. I have collaborated with retail brands such as Anthropolgie and Alex & Ani, worked in a variety of art education settings both as a teacher and a mentor, and have over a decade of experience in event planning and facilities management in the corporate sector.

Learn more at www.jennybrownart.com

Kat & Alicia Interviewed for the THRIVE Talks Podcast!
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We were so honored to be invited to be guests on the THRIVE Talks Podcast hosted by Jamie and Tara of Thrive Art Studio! Here’s a description and link to the episode:

Starting where you are with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig from Create! Magazine

Do you read Create! Magazine? Today we talk with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig about the ups and downs of running an independent contemporary art magazine and working in the arts! We loved talking to another creative duo about starting where you are, failure and they offer awesome tips on getting your work featured!

Listen here.

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It's Not Luck (& Other Reasons Why Creatives Need to be More Vocal About Their Accomplishments)
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You’ve been accepted to a juried show, received a prestigious award, had an incredible review written about your work, or made a major sale. Congrats! It’s one of the best feelings in the world to know that others are supporting what you do. So why are we often hesitant to share the joy that we’re experiencing? Perhaps you’re shy and don’t want a lot of extra attention or think that going on about your accomplishments is boastful. While there is certainly a line between updating your community with exciting things that are happening and oversharing, there are a few key reasons why creatives, and especially women artists, need to be more vocal about their achievements.

I’m sure many of us have fallen into the trap of brushing away compliments. Rather than thanking someone for congratulating us on selling a painting or landing a gallery to represent our work, we’ll come up with an excuse to make the accomplishment sound like less than it is. “Oh, I got lucky” or “It’s not really a big deal” you might say, but that’s not true! Too many of us operate under the strange, outdated notion that it is more polite to negate a compliment than accept it. Even if the circumstances surrounding a particular moment of success seem serendipitous, you likely played an active role in making it happen for yourself. You made great work that was recognized by the juror (or curator, gallery, collector, etc) and you put yourself out there by applying to the opportunity or perhaps through networking and being active online. So stop giving anyone or anything else the credit. It’s not luck, it’s you.

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Always remember that it is important for your peers to know about your achievements. Why? Because you never know who can introduce you to your next, big opportunity and it may only take one new connection to catapult your career to the next level. Success in the arts often occurs like a domino effect, where one person will find your work and from that perhaps another will share it, and then another, and it keeps going from there. It’s almost as if the tastemakers in the industry have ‘FOMO’ and if one magazine or curator is featuring a certain artist, then others feel they should be too. Yes, they want to try and find the ‘next big name’ first, but once one influencer has identified a great new talent, others often follow soon after. You can help this process along for yourself by making sure that your community knows when you’ve been featured in a magazine or exhibition so that they can help share it too and potentially build buzz and momentum.

Making others aware of recent accomplishments also helps with name recognition. I’ll share a story here to help illustrate about a friend who recently went to an awards ceremony in the advertising industry. When his team was honored with their first trophy of the evening, he opted not to join the group onstage and when his colleagues asked why, he cited the same feelings of not needing the attention or wanting to look too proud. But then he realized, it’s not just an opportunity to celebrate with his team, it’s a chance for everyone else in the room to see that they produce high quality work for their clients. If you see the same person going up to accept multiple awards, then you’ll start to remember them and likely associate that person with being great at what they do (and maybe want to work with them in the future!). Therefore, try not to be shy about sharing that you’ve won awards or been given other important recognition. You should want your personal and especially your professional contacts to remember you for all of the great things you’ve done!

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Most importantly, however, you need to be vocalizing your successes because if you don’t then nobody will know about them. It sounds obvious that you need to be your biggest cheerleader, but we often don’t fully realize the consequences of not sharing good news. I once had a boss who started giving me fewer shifts than my two other peers. Confused, I confronted her about what I might be doing wrong or what I could be doing better. She didn’t have anything negative to say. Instead, she simply told me that the other two girls spoke up more often about the projects they were completing on a daily basis or the sales they had made and I didn’t. I was so surprised to hear that I wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. Even though I was selling just as much (or more!), keeping up with all of my work, and often staying late to do a little extra cleaning or to take on additional tasks, this one thing was holding me back.

I also read an article around that time which stated that believing you’ll get recognized just from keeping your head down and working hard unfortunately isn’t true and it’s women who tend to suffer the most from this misconception. With that in mind, it made more sense. As my employer usually worked from home rather than in the office, how was she supposed to differentiate my sales and projects from what the other girls were doing if I didn’t tell her specifically? So now, even if I still sometimes feel a bit reserved about ‘tooting my own horn’, I try to think of it as an integral part of promoting myself and push myself to do it in order to keep my career moving forward instead of stuck in the same place.

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Finally, even though it might feel a bit awkward at first, it’s very likely that your artist community really wants to celebrate your successes with you. There will always be negative people and those who struggle with jealousy, but your core support group will stand by your side. Just like they will be there for you when you’ve been rejected or are having a slow period, they also want to be a part of your high moments, especially if you’re going to pop that champagne ;) Cheers!

Of course, none of this is to say that there aren’t instances where a bit of good fortune plays a part in our lives. Some people have parents or other role models who supported their careers while some don’t and certain cities or countries provide more opportunities for working artists than others. Instead of focusing on things that can’t be changed, however, remember that there are so many examples of people who have overcome difficult circumstances and achieved success anyway, despite their obstacles or limited resources. This is about cherishing exactly those people and those moments. I’ll bet you can think of several examples of when you had to ‘make it work’ too. Be proud of those efforts, show how grateful you are for what you have, and perhaps even try to pay it forward to other artists you know who may need help or guidance.

We all go through highs and lows and it’s a powerful thing that more artists and people in general are being authentic about when they’re not having their best day. We don’t always need to see perfect lattes and curated travel photos. But part of being real is sharing when good things happen too, even when they are little victories. If you’re starting out, having a small show at a local cafe or selling your first work are totally worthy and incredible accomplishments. Share them! Not because it’s bragging or trying to make others think that you’re this great, successful artist (you already are one and don’t need anyone else’s opinion to prove it). Rather, it’s the chance for you to share something that you’re genuinely proud of and that excites you, which your followers and those who support your work will truly appreciate and celebrate too!

-Alicia
alicia@createmagazine.com
@puigypics

It's Groundhog Day! Podcast with Austin Kleon
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Artist and author Austin Kleon shares behind the scenes of his daily routine, the secret sauce to a successful career, and an inside look at his new book.


Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of a trilogy of illustrated books about creativity in the digital age: Steal Like An ArtistShow Your Work!, and Keep Going. He’s also the author of Newspaper Blackout, a collection of poems made by redacting the newspaper with a permanent marker. His books have over a million copies in print and have been translated into over two dozen languages. He’s been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street JournalNew York Magazine called his work “brilliant,” The Atlantic called him “positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet,” and The New Yorker said his poems “resurrect the newspaper when everybody else is declaring it dead.” He speaks for organizations such as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. In previous lives, he worked as a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter. He grew up in the cornfields of Ohio, but now he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and sons. Visit him online at www.austinkleon.com

Taking the Power Back in Your Art Career with Michelle I. Gomez
Photo by Milana Braslavsky @milanabphoto

Photo by Milana Braslavsky @milanabphoto

On this episode of Art & Cocktails, Kat talks with Michelle I. Gomez about her entrepreneurial journey and how artists can take back self-worth and gain control over their life and finances.

Michelle I. Gomez is the founder of Creative Unions Event Design LLC, the first event planning company dedicated to integrating contemporary art into life’s celebrations, she views marriage celebrations as specially curated art exhibitions that bring people together to celebrate and express unique love stories.

After having founded her own successful arts business, she now serves as a Launch Strategist for Women identifying Artists wanting to launch their own arts businesses by coaching her clients on business strategy and emotional intelligence so they too can do what they love (and get paid for it).

You can find Michelle at:

Coaching Services: www.artisttoartpreneur.com

Creative Unions Event Design: www.creativeunionsllc.com

Email: michelle@creativeunionsllc.com

IG: @michelleigomez and @creativeunion

Are you making the one mistake that is keeping your art from being featured?
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We’ve seen it happen time and again and artists have asked us about this when considering what to submit to our magazine or new gallery, PxP Contemporary. Think that including images from multiple series of works will double or triple your chances of being selected for that juried show, publication or gallery you’ve dreamed of showing with? Well, unfortunately, that’s not likely the case. I know that it’s tempting to want to show off the range of your style and creative ability, but here’s why this isn’t the time to do so.

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  • Demonstrate to the juror that you’ve taken time to really develop an idea, push yourself and stick to it! When you focus on one subject for a while, you get a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t and this helps you build your creative voice. Always keep in mind that submitting your work is like a leaving a first impression. If you have pieces from two bodies of work it can give off the vibe that you don’t quite know who you are yet as an artist or that you’re not confident enough in either series to commit to it fully. I’ll borrow from Kat here and say that you should always be sharing work that excites you! Which paintings, drawings, sculptures, or (insert whatever incredible work you create here) are you most excited about right now? Those are what you should be submitting!

  • Sometimes, it’s purely practical. For publications especially, it is difficult to consider an artist if we wouldn’t be able to put together a consistent spread with their work. Each book, journal, or magazine will have a distinct aesthetic so make it easy for them to know that you are the right fit and to feature your work. The same applies to a gallery, which has to make sure that your work could fill their space and look professional. They are also looking out for their collectors, who come to them specifically for their curatorial expertise. Rather than show them everything in the hopes that they end up buying something (with the risk of overwhelming them), a good dealer will work with the client to help them find something they love from a narrower selection based on their interest and budget. Collectors do often want to see a variety of works, but still within the same theme or style.

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  • If you are equally satisfied with several bodies of work at the moment, I’d still recommend only applying with one or at least one at a time. The biggest issue with this is that you’re leaving the curator to fill in the blanks and assuming that they can or will. How is someone who is not familiar with your work supposed to imagine what the rest of a series looks like when they’ve only seen a few pieces from it? You know that a whole group of works exists that are as great as the ones you’ve submitted, but the curator does not. If they have to go through hundreds or even thousands of artist submissions, they won’t always have the time to go looking through your website or Instagram account to see if you’ve made others like the one or two that they did like.

  • If you’ve recently started a new body of work that you’re wondering if you should start putting out there, make sure it’s ready. Do you have enough works from this series completed and photographed? If not, what’s the rush? There will be more opportunities to apply to. You can keep submitting from an earlier series for now if you want and if there is no restriction from the organization on how recent the work must be or simply allow yourself the time to fully dive into this great new idea.

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Of course, none of this is to say that you have to stick to the same thing forever. No, on the contrary, because it would be hard to have repeat collectors if your work never develops. Your gallery, if you have one, and your collectors simply want to see you continue to grow and will support you along the way!

If you’re making abstract sculptures, but have always wanted to try painting cats, go ahead! One of the greatest things about being an artist is having the freedom to experiment with your creativity. Ultimately, you have to DO YOU. But when it comes time to apply to that next exhibition opportunity, I hope you’ll consider the above and give yourself the best chance of being selected!

As always, both Kat and I are happy to answer any art career questions you have so please feel free to reach out to us: info@createmagazine.com or alicia@createmagazine.com and if you liked this article, check out the Art & Cocktails podcast or our new book The Smartist Guide for more tips.

Cheers and I wish you luck in applying to our current call for Issue 15 curated by Paradigm Gallery! Submit here.

-Alicia


The Power of Imagination with Shamona Stokes
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On this episode of Art & Cocktails, Kat interviews artist Shamona Stokes about her creative journey and how she overcame her fear of being an artist.

Shamona Stokes (b. 1980) is a ceramic sculptor from Jersey City, New Jersey. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (2002). Her iconic sculptures explore the archetypes and imaginary figures of the subconscious.

In 2017, she presented her first sculptural collection, “hypnos”, at Allouche Gallery, NYC as one of the regional semi-finalists in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. In just two short years, Shamona has gotten wide exposure and has shown at venues throughout the country including art fairs during both Armory & Frieze weeks (NYC 2018) and, most recently, at the SCOPE Art Fair during Art Basel (Miami 2018) where she exhibited with MUTT Collective.

Support Shamona’s big project on  Kickstarter .

Support Shamona’s big project on Kickstarter.

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
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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

Get noticed on Instagram!
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You may have heard that a lot of galleries, curators and writers now discover new artists that they end up representing, exhibiting or interviewing via Instagram. It’s pretty incredible that social media has created such a simple platform for sharing art worldwide. That being said, there are so many talented artists showing their work on Instagram these days that it can seem like a competition for followers and impossible to get noticed. But neither of these are true. Make sure your feed stands out for all of the right reasons!

  • Quality photography for artwork: We know, we say this all the time! As Instagram is a visual platform, it makes sense that all of your images should be high quality. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours to get a perfectly lit shot of your studio or an artfully messy image of your palette and brushes. Focus on clean, cropped photos of your work that can easily be reposted. Make it easy for others to share your work.

  • Along those lines, while it is fun to mix up the type of images that you share, like detail shots, an installation view and works in progress or even your cat, make sure you regularly show finished pieces (perhaps one of every three to five posts depending on how much work you have and how quickly you create new pieces). I came across a really incredible painting that I wanted to share on Create! Magazine’s Instagram so I went to look up the artist’s profile. I scrolled and scrolled, but could not only not find the painting I wanted, I couldn’t even find one single image of a nicely photographed, completed work cropped to the edges. Needless to say, I unfortunately wasn’t able to share this artist’s work.

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  • Use the right hashtags: We discuss hashtags in more depth in our new book “The Smartist Guide” but the general rule is to be relevant to your work while not being too general or your posts will get lost in the mass of images. So if you make sculptures you could use #sculpture, but that has over 10 million posts and #sculptures has over 1 million. Instead you could try #sculptureart (200,000+) or #sculpture_art (9,000+).

  • It might be your goal to get reposted by a larger influencer account like an art blog, magazine, or curator. DM-ing them to ask for a feature isn’t professional and probably won’t work, nor does random tagging unless they specifically request it. Our magazine has specific guidelines that are easily accessible on our website for how to apply for features and it is likely these other platforms do too. Pay attention to them! Often, these accounts will post simple directions like using a certain hashtag on your posts. We look through #createmagazine regularly and love seeing the great images that the artists in our community share with us. Kat also mentioned recently on an Art & Cocktails podcast episode that Instagram doesn’t allow us to sort through all the messages that are sent to us. With the volume of DM’s we receive, after a day or two it is hard to go back and find specific ones even if it was an artist that we liked. Do the math - if we get even 1 message per day that’s 365 artists per year asking for a feature (it’s actually more)! Emailing is much more effective and we receive far fewer requests that way.

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  • While I can’t speak on behalf of other publications or curators, I personally don’t care what an artist’s follower count is. If I like the work, I will happily reach out for an interview or repost the work whether they have 50, 500, or 50,000 followers. There’s no need to play games by following a bunch of accounts hoping that some will follow you back and then unfollowing them a few days later. People definitely notice (I do) and will remember you in a negative light.

  • Make connections with other artists, curators, galleries, and arts publications that you genuinely like. This way you can meaningfully engage with their posts. For example, if you leave a particularly nice or interesting comment on a post, it is likely that they’ll click through to your page. It pays off to be a friendly follower ;)

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  • Don’t feel pressured to post new content all of the time. It’s likely that only a fraction of your followers will see any given post so if one has performed particularly well feel free to share it again a while later. Especially as you get more new followers, it is a great idea to keep putting your best work out there - you never know when a new writer or curator will end up on your feed!

  • When you do inevitably get your work shared, you can definitely repost it on your profile to be proud of your accomplishment and it’s also good practice to leave a comment thanking them for the feature. Hopefully one shared work will cause a chain reaction leading to more! That happened to Kat last year with a piece she didn’t expect and early in my career as well with a completely different type of work than what I usually made. Be patient and consistent with your posts and it will happen to you too.

Above all, none of this is important if you aren’t yet happy with your work or don’t have finished pieces to show. Put the time in your studio to get to the point where you have a really strong body of work to post about first and then trust us, the rest will follow.

Happy ‘gramming!

-Alicia
@puigypics

If you’d like to hear more about what writers are looking for on Instagram, you can check out the Art & Cocktails episode Kat did with our other magazine contributor Christina Nafziger at createmagazine.com/podcast.

Looking for additional career tips like these for emerging artists? We’re so excited to share our recently launched book, The Smartist Guide, which discusses topics ranging from perfecting your resume and writing the perfect pitch to a gallery you’d like to represent you to dealing with rejection and finding the best opportunities to show your work! Learn more here.


How to Submit Your Art
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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

Money Mindset for Artists
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I believe that all artists can be financially successful and achieve the level of success they are looking for. It will require focus, clarity, writing your vision and tracking. Nothing worthwhile comes easy and this is one of the most important areas that creatives need to focus on. If you know that is it hard and complicated then you probably realize that it is worth it! Go do it!!
— Bridgette Mayer

On this episode of the podcast, we talk all things money! If you are struggling to make art sales, need to take control of your finances, are in debt, or just need a little encouragement in this department, listen up! Our guest today is Bridgette Mayer who is an art dealer, curator, art advisor, author, and entrepreneur. Bridgette shares advice and her own experience overcoming poverty to building a dream career in the arts. Bridgette has helped me transform my finances and I want artists to feel empowered and create a healthy money mindset.

Bridgette Mayer has spent decades cultivating her passion for art, artists, the clients she advises and finding her way to the top of the art world. After suffering an abusive childhood that landed her in foster care homes and on the streets, starving and beat up, Bridgette was adopted by a wonderful family at the age of nine and began her life transformation.

http://bridgettemayer.com/about/

http://www.bridgettemayergallery.com

Sculpture call for art

Leaving Your Day Job (Podcast Episode)
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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