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The 8 C’s for a PROSPEROUS Art Career

The 8 C’s for a PROSPEROUS Art Career post image

By: Alyson B. Stanfield, Art Biz Coach – The artists I know and love are anything but linear, so how are they expected to work with a traditional business plan?

I encourage you to nurture a holistic approach to your art career, which is why I developed The See Plan. I teach this at Art Biz Breakthrough and use it with my clients.

A successful art career is not only about making and marketing (the M’s). It’s also about the C’s – eight of them, to be exact. You need all of these C’s for a healthy business and balanced life.

Why circular? It’s circular because we rarely focus on one thing at a time when we’re self-employed. We bounce back and forth between the various components of our plan and between the various tasks on our schedule.

Let me tell you about the 8 C’s.

1. Creativity

Everything begins with the art. Without the art, you are not an artist.

You need inspiration to be your best creative self.

But your creativity doesn’t end with the art-making. You can also benefit by spreading your creativity into your marketing and every corner of your business.

2. Commitment

Commitment isn’t something you can get from a book or a class. It has to come from within you.

Being a successful artist and entrepreneur requires that you make hard choices about how you spend your time. This discipline piece is opposed to how many artists think of their work: joy, pleasure, and play.

Once you wholeheartedly commit, things start happening. The Universe knows you are ready and works to help you attain your goals.

3. Clarity

Clarity is the planning piece. It’s getting clear where you are and what you want. You don’t have time NOT to plan.

Planning is crucial for a successful career and requires that you set aside time to look at an annual calendar, systems, income projections, and marketing strategies.

4. Community

Every artist-entrepreneur needs a support system, which is your community. It includes the people who love you when you’re cranky and frustrated (family and friends).

It also includes the mentors and other artists who nourish you with inspiration and from whom you learn about opportunities.

5. Connection

The more people who see your art, the more people there are to follow you and to buy your art.

Connection is the self-promotion piece. Once you make your work, you have to get it out of the studio and into the world. Your most powerful way to connect with the world is through your art.

6. Confidence

Confidence doesn’t automatically show up when you put your art into the world. It happens over time and as a result of a continuous path toward improvement.

Confidence expands when you take courageous action. Challenge yourself as you’re making art and sharing it with more people.

7. Completion

Creatives are notorious for starting projects and never finishing them. This is fine UNTIL you have to earn money from those creative projects.

Complete the art, complete the book, or complete the coursework. It doesn’t count until it’s finished.

8. Celebration

Celebrations don’t have to be large or cost money, but you should have some kind of ritual in place that helps you add closure to your project.

For some people, it’s a manicure, a massage, or a shopping excursion.

Buying something special is often a celebration ritual for me, but so is vegging, watching movies, and ignoring email for a couple of days.

Alyson B. Stanfield is an artist advocate and business mentor. Since 2002, she has been a trusted source for helping thousands of artists grow their businesses. She is the founder of Art Biz Coach and the author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion.

Alyson invites you to learn more about The See Plan and other success tools at Art Biz Breakthrough, a 3-day live event for 100 artists November 3-5, 2016.

3 Distractions that can Derail Your Art Business

3 Distractions that can Derail Your Art Business post image

By Carolyn Edlund, Guest Blogger – Not long ago I had a conversation with a ceramic artist who had a terrific body of work that was highly appealing and saleable. She was in a good place, increasing sales and expanding into a new marketplace.

During our talk, she revealed something very interesting. As her creative business grew, certain things about her business shrunk. In other words, she was deliberately cultivating “less” in her plan.

The artist had reduced her studio time by using techniques that simplified her production – so she was taking less time on each piece she made. She had focused her designs and decreased the variety of materials she used – so she had less inventory of supplies.

But she was also crystal clear about what she wanted to achieve, so she pursued her goals with less distraction. And this is where she attributed most of her success.

Distraction is something we all understand – who hasn’t lost an hour surfing on the internet? But the type of distractions this artist was eliminating from her life were major ones that could actually derail her whole business. And they can derail yours, too.

The artist explained that she had a vision and goals for her business that kept her centered, so she knew where she was going. She was firm on what she wanted to do, and what she wasn’t willing to do.

Do you have that sense of conviction in your own art business, or do you struggle with distractions? Three of the most common are:

Taking on too many projects at once. You have plans – lots of them. Perhaps you want to pursue gallery representation, but would also like to license your work. Or you want to try several new directions with your art. But too many plans can stall out your business, because every time you add something else to your plate means that everything on it goes more slowly, or even dies on the vine. Rather than let that happen, take a look to see which projects you can take off your list so that you can focus on what is most important.

People pleasing. This can be defined as “wanting to make everyone around you happy by doing whatever is asked of you.” Does that sound familiar? This can seriously take you off task because it becomes all about them, not about your own goals. It requires a bit of selfishness to say “No” to every request that comes your way, but building your art business means that you must place yourself and your goals as a high priority. It can take practice to turn other people down, especially when this goes against your usual behavior, but it’s empowering, and will eventually teach others that you won’t be easily manipulated.

Following the money rather than your passion. It’s not uncommon for artists to take on projects or jobs for the paycheck, whether they are in alignment with their goals or not. But if you constantly do this, you will find that you spend all your time working for someone else’s business rather than your own.

You might need a day job, and if so, keep it. But you can be seriously derailed when someone knows you are an artist and offers you an unrelated paying project. Here’s where it takes self-discipline to refuse those offers even if they are paid, and double down on the work you need to accomplish for your own art business. Forget teaching that summer class in painting if what you really need to do is paint in your own studio. Your time is worth money, so pay yourself first by using your time to work toward building your own dream business. 

Carolyn Edlund is an art business blogger, consultant, speaker and the founder of the Artsy Shark Gallery.  www.ArtsySharkGallery.com 

Should an Artist Title Their Artworks?

Should an Artist Title Their Artworks? post image

Every month we receive many “untitled” artworks for our online art competitions.  Because of this, we suggest that artists title all of their artworks.  As a judge, a title provides me with a better understanding of what the artist wanted me to see and feel. 

When an artist titles their artwork, their title also helps the viewer distinguish that particular piece of art from all other pieces of artwork.

There are additional reasons for titling an artwork.  Here are a few of them;

  1. A title provides an art judge or an art jury with a deeper insight into that piece of art. This also holds true for galleries and art buyers.
  2. A title guides and provides a hint to the viewer about what the artist was thinking when the work was created. An untitled piece leaves the viewer with only their own interpretation (which may be totally wrong).
  3. A title will help your art to be discovered when someone searches online for art. For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, you should also have a description of the art since search engines cannot “see” the art. They only recognize descriptive words.

Here are a few helpful tips when titling your art;

  1. If you cannot come up with a title for a certain piece of art, have a friend or family member help you to decide. They will look at the art differently than you, its creator.  They can  provide you with ideas and help to stimulate your imagination for naming your art.
  2. For cataloguing and sales purposes (unless it is numbered as part of an edition), when titling a piece of art remember that it is a “forever” name and it should not be changed for the purposes stated above. Buyers of art want to know that this art is unique and a distinctive title for each piece will help confirm that.
  3. If you are not sure about the title, look for inspiration in titles from songs, poems, famous artists, colors etc.
  4. Keep your titles short and to the point. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms.
  5. Finally, if none of these ideas help you create a title, try an online title generator to get ideas about the title for your art. They ask for key words (describing the art) and then provide you with possible combinations of titles. Search the term Online Title Generator to find these sites.

Some artists title their art after the piece is completed and others title their art prior to creating it.  In the end, it really does not matter.  Have fun with this procedure on your own or try involving family, friends or other artists in the title making process. 

What Makes an Artist Professional?

What Makes an Artist Professional? post image

By Aletta de Wal, Guest Blogger – There is still a lot of debate among artists about using the word “professional” to describe themselves. For artists who consider themselves “pure artists,” that word often implies commercialism and “selling out.” That’s not how I see it.

I think that there is room for a range of ways to be an artist and that they are all legitimate.

When I feature artists in ArtMatters! and when I talk to dealers, agents and retail art dealers, I ask them to define what makes an artist professional. They each contribute a different perspective.

Not one of them denies the right of artists to consider themselves professional and to define that term as it suits them.

Every aspiring artist I know would love to achieve all of these things: unlimited financial success, national (or international) recognition and an unshakeable belief in the quality of their work.

Moving from amateur to emerging artist and through mid-career and maybe to being an established artist, requires many small breaks. You need to work hard and smart.

I know that’s not the popular notion. These days, blogs promise 10 tips to anything. Many fail to tell you what it takes to get to and through those ten steps.

We’re surrounded by stories of extraordinarily successful, high-achieving “professionals” in many fields other than art, and what made them that way. Identifying the attitudes, actions, personal characteristics and emotional maturity of professional artists is not as easy.

Public knowledge (and media portrayal) of the sometimes crazed, sometimes tortured, antics of artists like Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock have led us to expect irrationality, irritability and erratic (if not downright crazy) behavior from artists. Though often glamorized in film, few of us in reality would choose to live out our lives like this.

Read the following as though your entire career, respect and success as an artist depended on this advice — and rest assured that it does. Place a check mark next to the professional behaviors you already practice.

  1. Decide to be known as a professional artist.
  2. Present yourself professionally everywhere, all the time.
  3. Respect everyone you meet regardless of circumstances.
  4. Fulfill your promises; be on time; finish what you start and say ‘please and thank you’.
  5. React appropriately in all situations.

Sounds pretty much like a good solid list of how to be a professional human being doesn’t it?

There is no profession where you can leap from the bottom to the top and stay there. Many of you have already been there and done that, so you already know how this works. You “learn the ropes” in an entry-level job, pay your dues for a time and then move up the ranks.

It’s also important to realize that being an emerging, mid-career or established professional artist has nothing to do with age or talent.

  • Many artists in their later years have a lifetime of experience making art, but are still “emerging” because they haven’t shown or sold their work.
  • Other artists enjoy thriving careers early in life and are considered “established” while still in their twenties.
  • Similarly, I’ve met many very talented artists who have never moved past the “mid-career” stage, and some very savvy artists with lesser “gifts” who moved well beyond mid-career because of their business acumen.

In other words, not all artists progress through all three stages — and not all artists want to. It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go, and whether your skills and life circumstances will support that decision.

The above post is an excerpt from Aletta’s book “My Real Job is Being an Artist”.  This book is a professional toolkit for emerging, mid-career or established artists.  “My Real Job is Being an Artist” provides a structured approach for creating, analyzing and improving their art business.  www.artistcareertraining.com/realjobartist 

Aletta de Wal is the author of “My Real Job is Being an Artist”, she is a successful Artist Advisor and a Certified Visual Coach.  Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

 

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler. Equal parts artist, educator and entrepreneur, Aletta has worked with over 4000 artists in groups and 400+ individually.

 

Through her coaching, seminars and books, artists in the vibrant on-line community learn to be focused, organized and confident in all art business matters.  Her clients agree that she inspires them to do the work to be successful, provides the detail to take specific action and supports them through the ups and downs of life as a working artist. Her website is www.artistcareertraining.com

Think of the Business of Art as an Art Competition!

Think of the Business of Art as an Art Competition! post image

The definition of the word competition is “the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy, a prize, etc”.  Every month Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery receives hundreds of entries for our online art competitions. After five years, we still receive a large number of sloppy or incomplete entries from artists.  If that happens to us, it is also happening to viewers and the potential buyers of that artist’s work!

Think of the presentation of your art as a competition against every other artist out there.  This is true whether the art is online, in person or in print.  Who will win this competition?  The winning artist will be the one with the best artistic skills and also the artist with the best presentation of their art.

I cannot say why some artists do not present their art professionally.  It may be that some artists do not care or they do not want to compete or they think that their art will sell itself.  Every artist should understand the challenges in showing their art well, attracting enough attention to get people to look at their work and finally motivating someone to actually buy their art. 

Every time your art is shown in person, in print, online or in social media, that is your one opportunity to make a great impression and to present your art as well, if not better than, any other artist.  Think of this presentation in terms of an art competition.  A mediocre and careless presentation of your work will not cut it and you surely will not win!

Here are some ways to improve your presentation when entering art competitions or showing your art online, in person or in print.

  1. Label your entries precisely and consistently (At least your last name and title of your artwork).
  2. Before you frame your art, have it photographed or scanned (No iPhone images).
  3. Color correct and crop your images (There is no excuse for not doing this.   There are free programs on the web that you can use).
  4. Do not show backgrounds, floors or easel stands (See above).
  5. Have a well-written artist’s biography that has been spell checked and has good sentence structure.  (A list of art shows, events and awards is not a biography).
  6. Have an artist’s statement. This tells the viewer what your art is about and what your motivation is for creating your art (In another words give the viewer a thoughtful meaning of your artwork).
  7. Display a consistent body of artwork, which shows you are serious about your art. (Art galleries, art representatives, designers and art buyers want to be sure you are a serious and committed artist).

Remember that you are competing with all of the other serious artists who want the same thing as you, the recognition and ultimately the sale of their artworks.  To successfully make this happen, your presentation should be better than every other artist’s.

Spend Money to Make Money…

Spend Money to Make Money… post image

How much of a financial investment are you making in your art business?

By Carolyn Edlund, Guest Blogger –  There are so many free ways to share your art today, especially online. That’s great. You shouldn’t have to break the bank to get exposure for your artwork – but there are places where money is well spent:

Your Art Website. This is the most important place to invest your hard-earned money, in my opinion. There are many ways to build a website, to suit any number of budgets. Make your web presence a priority and spend as much as you can afford to make the best impression.

An outdated or barely functional website says you don’t really care that much, or perhaps you aren’t in business any longer. This turns off website visitors, rather than intrigue them.

Some website providers like Wix.com offer low-cost options, but it involves advertising. If your art website has these words scrolling across the bottom – “This site was created using Wix.com. Create your own for FREE” – then I strongly advise you to spend the extra $5.00 per month (literally!) and get that ad taken off your site. Every time I see one of these, I cringe. It screams “amateur” and looks like like you’re not serious.

Your Photographs. As a visual artist, you know how important it is to present incredible work with impact. Lousy photos are just not acceptable. Don’t ever scrimp on photography; it will get your work ignored and rejected. If you don’t take your work seriously enough to show it to its best advantage, why should jurors, galleries or collectors assign value to it? You work hard in the studio. Honor your art by giving it an incredible presentation through professional photographs. Definitely money well spent.

Your Shows. Doing fairs and festivals? If you are limiting yourself to the cheapest booth fees, or even free events, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Apply to the very best shows you can. Investing in fewer high-quality events that match you with the right audience is a far better bargain in the end that wasting your time and energy in the wrong venue, chosen for cost alone.

Your Marketing Materials. Are you looking to impress potential customers with your brand? Use quality images and content to share your art. Whether you are spending on postcards, elegant invitations, or even advertising, put your best foot forward. This is often the first contact you will have. Make it count by wowing your audience, and encouraging them to want to see more.

Have you noticed that the list in this article includes places where you interact with potential customers, or people who may have the power and influence to give you publicity or help your business? That is where professionalism is key. It can make all the difference in your results.

Where Can You Save Some Money? If you don’t have money to spend on services that automatically schedule social media posts, then do it yourself. Persistent and consistent outreach through social media drives website traffic, and can help build your list, and you can put in some “sweat equity” here.

If you can’t afford a virtual assistant, then learn strategies to approach prospects, do follow ups, or conduct marketing activities yourself. Learning how to do this effectively will serve you well, and keep you on top of the best methods to get exposure. Research, read free blog posts, and put those ideas into action.

If you don’t have the budget for a paid Email Service Provider, use one with a free level such as Mail Chimp or Vertical Response. You will still have professionally-looking email campaigns going out to the list you have built of customers and others who are interested in what you make.

Exhibiting your work or having an open studio? There is no reason that you can’t use upcycled materials creatively to make displays or signage. Check out these cheapskate ideas to get lots of bang for your buck. (Link www.artsbusinessinstitute.org/blog/20-cheapskate-trade-show-booth-ideas/ )

Every creative business person has different needs. Identify those areas where you must spend money to create the best impression and the most impact. And invest your money there with confidence.

Carolyn Edlund is an art business consultant and the founder of Artsy Shark, which features and promotes artists. Carolyn is also the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, frequently speaking at artist workshops throughout the U.S. http://www.artsbusinessinstitute.org.  

Her background includes owning a production studio for over 20 years, and representing art publishers to the retail market.  Carolyn’s website is http://www.ArtsyShark.com. Also don’t miss …. “Artsy Shark’s Success Guide to Email Marketing for Artists’ http://bit.ly/EmailCourse.

Mallory Whitfield Named the Judge of “SeaScapes”

Carolyn Edlund Named Judge for “CityScapes” Art Competition

Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is pleased to announce that Mallory Whitfield, has been named as the gallery’s Guest Judge for the gallery’s 5th Annual “SeaScapes” Online Art Competition.

Mallory Whitfield began her journey as a creative entrepreneur in 2004, selling her handmade creations at local craft shows. She has written an e-book “How to Make Money at Craft Shows” from what she learned during 10+ years of selling at craft shows.

Mallory has been blogging at Miss Malaprop since 2006. She offers creative strategy & coaching sessions for solopreneurs and indie business owners on topics including blogging, SEO (search engine optimization), WordPress, affiliate marketing, social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest), email marketing and more.  www.missmalaprop.com

The 5th Annual “SeaScapes” Online Juried Art Competition is for the month of September 2015. 2D and 3D artists (Including photography) from around the world are called upon to make online submissions for possible inclusion in to the Gallery’s October 2015 online group art exhibition.

Light Space & Time encourages entries from artists regardless of where they reside and regardless of their experience or education in the art field.  The “Seascape” theme will be the artist’s interpretation and depiction of seascape art.  Seascape subjects would include scenes of coastal living, any ocean activities, seaside vistas and any related seashore subjects for this art competition. The deadline to apply is September 26, 2015. 

For further information and to apply to the 5th Annual “SeaScapes” Online Art Competition here.  

5 Ways to Impress Buyers with Professionalism

5 Ways to Impress Buyers with Professionalism post image

By John Feustel, Guest Blogger – Want to attract buyers and set yourself apart as a serious artist? Professionalism is crucial if you want to stand out. And while important, it goes beyond polite and prompt communication. Buyers are more likely to trust and purchase from an artist who runs a professional business. Whether it’s providing a polished invoice or handing out compelling and effective business cards, it’s critical to channel reliability and expertise in all aspects of your career.

Here are five ways you can convey your professionalism:

1. Organize and Track Your Work Online

The more successful you become, the more hectic your art business can get. There are consigned pieces, competition works, exhibition loans, and much more to keep tabs on. Whether you’re an established artist or an emerging one, it’s critical to have an organizational system in place. Galleries and buyers expect artists to have all the right information at the click of a button. We suggest a cloud-based inventory management system like Artwork Archive. You’ll have all your artwork along with the title, medium, dimensions, price/sales value, creation date, associated contacts, and location all easily accessible online. You’ll have all the information you need wherever, whenever!

2. Add an Engaging and Informative Email Signature

An email signature is a very simple way to provide key contact information for your connections. It makes it easy for buyers, galleries and other contacts to see more of your artwork. We suggest including your full name, profession (e.g. abstract painter), contact information (i.e. business phone, email address, mailing address, and website) and a small, high quality image of your work. What’s more, it takes less than five minutes to set up and will automatically appear on every email you send. Want to know how to set one up on Gmail? Find out here

3. Create Polished Reports

Galleries and buyers require reports such as consignment reports, inventory reports, and invoices. And while a sheet of notebook paper does the job, it’s better to provide an invoice that leaves a lasting positive impression. A polished, organized report conveys professionalism and credibility. You can quickly create and print reports with a business and inventory management system like Artwork Archive, so you can impress buyers and galleries.

4. Create Memorable and Effective Business Cards

A business card represents your art business, so make sure you have all the right components. Websites like Moo.com and VistaPrint.com allow you to create beautiful cards that help you stand out from the pack. Be sure to include your full name, art type, contact details, website, and high quality images of your art. Stay away from overcrowded, flimsy, generic business cards. The more distinct and informative your business card is, the more professional and serious you seem to buyers.

5. Keep Your Website Up-to-Date

Your website is the storefront of your art business, so be sure to keep it current. Buyers will want to see your newest work and latest collections, and hear about your upcoming shows. Old information and unmarked, unavailable works only confuse and mislead buyers. The same goes with pricing. If you have prices on your website, keep them updated and in line with your galleries. Consider using an online portfolio that updates when you update your inventory, like Artwork Archive’s Public Profile Page. A current website or online portfolio speaks volumes about your professionalism. Buyers will take note!

About John Feustel is the founder and developer of Artwork Archive: the number one online tool that helps you organize your work, grow your business, and share your art with the world. From inventory and contact management to sales and location tracking, Artwork Archive gives you everything you need to manage your art business so you can spend more time in the studio doing what you love. Create the art business you want today at ArtworkArchive.com.

Art Gallery Representation – 8 Questions to Ask!

Art Gallery Representation – 8 Questions to Ask! post image

By Lori McNee, Guest Blogger – Many aspiring artists are intimidated by the idea of finding art gallery representation.  These hopeful artists are not sure when it is the right time to take that leap of faith.

But, leaping from aspiring to professional artist takes more than just faith.  It takes hard work, professionalism, and talent.

Here are 8 questions to ask yourself BEFORE you venture into the professional world of finding art gallery representation.

1.  Is my art technically good?

  • Getting validation from a professional art gallery is the goal of any aspiring artist. But, approaching a gallery before you are ready is kind of like putting a gangly teenager in modeling school. It won’t help your self-esteem, and it most likely will bruise your ego.
  • Don’t put yourself in that position until you truly feel ready

2.  Do I have a cohesive body of work?

  • Have you developed a consistent, recognizable style? Galleries want to make sure their artists can produce excellent art on an ongoing basis.
  • Have 6-10 examples of your work framed, ready and available for display.
  • Your paintings should be thematically related.
  • Your paintings should be consistent in execution.

3.  Is my art saleable?

  • Have you had previous success at selling your art? Arts and craft shows are a great way to determine if your art is saleable. Also displaying in restaurants, banks, farmers markets, real estate offices, online, or even your own studio are great ways to get positive and negative feedback on your art.

4. Do I have a professional marketing packet?

  • A professional marketing packet generally includes a professional portfolio with at least 10 examples of your best work.
  • Your packet might include printed materials, a DVD of your art depending upon the gallery guidelines.
  • Always include a business card with your contact information.
  • Nowadays, any aspiring artist with professional aspirations should have a website or blog included in their marketing packet.
  • A professionally printed brochure is another great way to quickly grab the attention of a prospective gallery. Make sure to include links to your blog, or website, social media accounts, and your name, email and phone number.

5.  Can I keep up with supply/demand?

  • A professional artist needs to be able to keep up with supply and demand. This of course is a high-class problem to have!
  • But, do you have time to create great art? Galleries prefer artists who are prolific, those who are able and willing to produce a body of work.

6.  Am I ready to sell myself to a gallery?

  • If you have answered ‘yes’ to all the above questions, the next step is to be prepared to sell yourself!
  • The Cardinal rule in all sales is to be able to sell yourself!
  • A professional art gallery with a good reputation gets inundated with dozens of submissions from hopeful artists each week. Therefore, you must do your best to stand out from the crowd.
  • Whether we like it or not, being and artist is a bit like being in the entertainment industry. We are an extension of our art, our product.
  • Professional artists know how to promote, communicate and sell themselves.

7.  Have I found the right target-gallery?

  • A target-gallery is one that you have determined to be a good fit for your art.
  • Do your homeworkand do some gallery shopping!
  • Think about where your artwork belongs in the art market. This is easy to do and you can start from home.
  • Flip through art magazines and look at gallery ads and the artists they represent.
  • Check out gallery websites and see if your work would be a good fit for them.
  • Talk to fellow artists and have them suggest galleries to you.
  • Make sure they pay their artists in a timely fashion!
  • Make sure your art is a good fit! For example: if you paint wildlife paintings, don’t approach a gallery that specializes in abstract art!

8.  Do I know my target-gallery’s artist submission policy?

  • Many galleries, especially within the high-end fine art market, have specific submission requirements and policies. This means, artists must submit work for review.
  • Check your ‘target gallery’(this is the gallery you think is your best match) website and see if it has a specific protocol for artists’ submissions. Follow their guidelines.
  • If all else fails, and you are feeling bold, walk in the front door and introduce yourself with some examples of your art in hand!

If you have answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, you might be ready for gallery representation. If the answer is ‘no – don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position until you know you are ready.

Keep in mind, no matter how full the gallery stable might be, they are always on the lookout for new, and exceptional talent.  But no matter what, make sure the gallery loves your art. If not, move on! Good luck!

Lori McNee is a professional artist, social media influencer and the owner of FineArtTips.com where she blogs about fine art tips, marketing and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist.  Check out her new North Light Book, “Fine Art Tips with Lori McNee: Painting Techniques and Professional Advice.”

Jeffrey Shonkwiler is Named “Open” Guest Judge

New Guest Judges for Our Art Competitions

Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is pleased to announce that Jeffrey Shonkwiler, the founder of Florida Artists Registry has been named as the gallery’s Guest Judge for the gallery’s 5th Annual “Open” (No Theme) Online Art Competition.

Jeffrey Shonkwiler is the founder of Florida Artists Registry, a member supported arts organization, created in 2000. He is past director of Gallery at Avalon Island where he curated over 60 exhibits. He has judged numerous indoor and outdoor exhibits. He has served on the board of directors for the Downtown Arts District and the Maitland Art Center Associates board.

Jeffrey has also served as the visual arts curator for the Red Chair Affair and co-chaired pARTicpation at the Maitland Art Center. He currently chairs the selection committee for 1st Thursdays at Orlando Museum of Art, and serves as a judge for each 1st Thursdays exhibit.  Their website is ArtistsRegistry.com

He explains here about the www.ArtistsRegistry.com, “The ArtistsRegistry is a community of visual artists and organizations. We connect artists together with galleries, museums and arts organizations and place member’s artwork before the eyes of thousands of art collectors. Our mission is to unite the visual arts through a virtual community. Our Web site provides portfolios of artwork along with listings of artists, galleries, museums and art organizations. A message board features upcoming events and discussions about art and artists. And we provide a weekly email newsletter of current events and member activities.”

The 5th Annual “Open” (No Theme) Online Juried Art Competition is for the month of August 2015. 2D and 3D artists (Including photography) from around the world are called upon to make online submissions for possible inclusion in to the Gallery’s September 2015 online group art exhibition.

Light Space & Time encourages entries from artists regardless of where they reside and regardless of their experience or education in the art field.  There is no theme for this art competition.  The deadline to apply is August 27, 2015. 

For further information and to apply to the 5th Annual “Open” (No Theme) Online Art Competition here.

Successful Linkedin Networking for Artists

Successful Linkedin Networking for Artists post image

Linkedin affords professionals, especially artists, to reach, meet and network with other art professionals, that in the past, under normal circumstances, you would never be able to meet and get to know.  Artists on Linkedin can meet gallery owners, corporate art reps, interior designers and many other successful art professionals that may eventually help an artist to become more successful.

Today, Linkedin has more than 350 Million registered users and it is still growing.  The following are some ideas to follow in order to maximize your time and effectiveness on Linkedin;

Create or Complete Your Profile:

Your profile can make you or break you.  A Linkedin profile that has a photo will be viewed 11 x more than a profile that has a blank or default image.  Personally, I do not respond or take anyone seriously who has not taken the time to either complete their profile page or the time to upload a photo of themselves.  Make your profile a priority and stress your artistic accomplishments and experience.

Connect with People through Groups:

Join groups that are relevant to your art business.  Again, your profile will be very important as to whether or not that you will be accepted into that group.  If your profile does not show an artistic background, the moderator of that art related group will probably not accept you into the group.

Become an Active Member in Your Groups:

Begin by joining in and participating in group discussions.  Thoughtful answers or questions will highlight you as an informed art professional.  In addition, you can also “Like” any discussions, posts and comments.

Remember it is Networking Not Selling:

I am always turned off by a person coming into a group, who ignores the group’s mission and tries to sell you something!  Who are you?  I want to first get to know you, I want to learn more about you and I want to be able to trust you.  Networking online is no different than networking in person.

Follow these 10 Online Networking Rules:

  1. Research a group thoroughly as to their mission, their members and their ongoing discussions and activities. Take the temperature of the group before jumping in and participating.
  2. Ask questions in the group and when there are answers from group members, stay involved and interact in that discussion to keep things going.
  3. Do not sell anything. You are in the group to meet and get to know people first and foremost. You are building relationships.
  4. When commenting on a discussion or question. Watch what you say and how you say it.  Stay away from controversial statements, slang and poor use of words.  Write the statement out first in a word doc, check it for spelling and sentence structure, then copy and paste into the discussion. 
  5. The people who you meet in a group are the members who you want in your network. They are ones who are there to also help you, as you help them. Then invite them into your network.
  6. Try to solve problems that other members in the group are having. Help them and you will quickly find many other members who will want you in their network.
  7. Only connect and network with members in the arts or in the segment of your industry.
  8. When someone inquires beyond your Linkedin Profile, be prepared with a well thought out “Elevator Pitch” describing you and or your business. Make it concise and interesting to the viewer. 
  9. Whenever there is a group discussion or a group online event, volunteer your thoughts, time and effort. Be a productive member of the group and people will soon know who you are.
  10. Repeat these steps on a daily basis, with all of the groups that you are member of. Set aside time every day to go through your groups and see what is new and how you can be a dynamic member.  

Remember to be a productive and steady member of any of the groups that you belong to.  Help others along the way and they will help you when you need it too. 

10 Common Mistakes Artists Make at Art Fairs

10 Common Mistakes Artists Make at Art Fairs post image

By Aletta de Wal, Guest Blogger  – Summer art fair season is here in the northern hemisphere bringing art, wine and traffic to a neighborhood near you.  

Lots of tents, lots of artists, lots of people browsing and lots of people at the food trucks paying $5 for a latte. 

I go to a lot of art fairs and I see a lot of great things happening.

I also see a lot of things that make me cringe. I even get embarrassed for the artist.

Luckily none of what I see is life threatening and all of these miss-takes can be do-overs or do-betters.

For the record, I don’t believe in the fad of “failing forward” or “embracing failure”. The word failure is still highly negatively charged for most people I know. Maybe it’s just semantics but I think language is important and has an impact. So I prefer to talk about “miss-takes. “If Take 1, or Take 100 didn’t work, there are plenty more.

I’m a seasoned fair viewer and exhibitor so I tend to see art fairs through both perspectives. After each experience, I find myself taking stock of what artists did that worked and what they could do better. (I can’t help it – I’m a coach so it’s what I do to help my clients and to learn for my own practices.)

Here are ten mistakes I’ve recently (and often) experienced first hand and what to do instead:

1.    Yawning and complaining about what a long day it’s been.

Art fairs are just plain hard work and require super human stamina. I’d rather not hear how tired you are. I prefer to learn more about your art and life as an artist.

Make sure that you are mentally, physically and emotionally up to the long hours, the crowds and the physical strain of working in noisy, hot/cold/ wet conditions. Or get people who are up to the challenges to help you.

2.    Towering stance with arms crossed, planted behind a three-foot counter and glaring at anyone who dared touch a piece.

I get it. The artist had worked hard to polish the wooden pieces until they gleamed. But if you are selling a hands-on kind of art and saying hands off, you are missing part of the buying process. I wanted to roll the dice on a board game I used to play as a child but I didn’t dare and I felt bad for even wanting to, so I left.

If your art can stand to be touched without damage, let folks touch – it’s part of their exploration. If your art is fragile, then make a sign asking people to ask you before they touch.

3.    Standing expressionless behind the ‘check out’ podium with the credit card machine instead of talking with viewers.

Avoiding eye contact and ignoring buying signals will lose you the sale of a reluctant buyer.  I wasn’t even reluctant. I really wanted a piece, so I talked to the artist and said I’d like to take the one on the top shelf. When she looked at me blankly I asked the price. When she told me the price, I said, “Okay. I’ll take it.” She didn’t move, so I asked if that piece was for sale. Finally the penny dropped.

If you are going to show your art at an art fair, and your people skills are a little rusty, ask someone who has the gift of the gab to be your ‘front’ person

4.    Crowding the sole visitor in the booth.

Some booths are like a block party where everyone talks to everyone – artist and viewers alike. Then there are the ones with only one person who looks desperate to leave because the artist won’t leave them in peace to view the art. If I feel pressured to make a comment or buy something before I’m ready, I leave so I don’t feel cornered.

Greet everyone as they enter your booth or display area. Give people space and let them know you’re there if they want to chat. Meanwhile watch closely for signs of interest and be ready to engage in conversation if they approach you with their eyes.

5.    Crowding the booth with too much art.

If you bring everything you’ve ever made so you can have something for everyone, you risk ‘kitchen sink’ visual overload. If my eyes are bouncing from one piece to the next, it’s like not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Composing a booth design is best when you follow the guidelines of good art composition. Curate your display and use ‘white space” to help make your samples of your best work stand out.

6.    Creating traffic jams.

Art fair booths are like studio apartments. Too much furniture and you feel crammed in.

When you design your ‘pop-up’ display, consider how people will move through your booth, stop to reflect or talk and not feel trapped or afraid they’ll knock something over if they turn too quickly.

7.    Chatting with friends instead of fans.

Having your family and friends come to support you is great as long as they don’t interfere with your main reason for being at the art fair – to get exposure for your art and build fans who may buy your art or tell others about it.

Make sure each person feels welcome, has access to you when they want it and gets your full attention when they signal that they want to chat or buy.

8.    Eating or reading in the booth.

Ladies and gentlemen – it’s show time as long as the art fair is open. Show visitors respect by being there to attend to them.

If you need a break to eat or read make sure to have a knowledgeable ‘booth sitter’ who can give you a break so you can come back fresh.

9.   Handing art to buyers without proper packaging.

You took care in making the work, packed it for transport and dusted everything when you set up the booth. Remember that piece I bought? It was heavy, made of metal and had some sharp edges. The artist wrapped one piece of tissue around it and said, “be careful.”

If you sell a piece, and it is fragile, or has sharp edges, make sure you have more than tissue paper to send the piece home with a buyer. And if it’s heavy, offer to take the piece to the buyer’s car.

(A friend reminded me of a time when he wanted to buy a garden sculpture at an art fair out of state. The artists said we had to take it that day and deal with the transport ourselves. We fully expected to pay the freight. He said it was too much work. No apology. He lost a $1500 sale that day!)

10.   Forgetting your manners.

While the fair may feel like a marathon to you, each purchase is a step in the direction of you creating an audience of loyal fans and buyers.  I often get a greater show of appreciation from someone who sold me a piece for $25 than $250. That’s just wrong. I’ll be more likely to go back to the artist who appreciates my business next time.

Say please and thank you to everyone. Make them feel welcome and at home. Ask them if there is anything you can do to make their visit more enjoyable.

After each art fair, once you’ve had a chance to put your feet up, take a few minutes and write a list of ten things you did that worked and ten more that you can do better next time. That way you are your own cheering squad and you’ll do even better next time.

Let me know if you could use some help with your art fairs and I’ll share what I’ve learned. Please link to www.artistcareertraining.com/request-a-conversation

Aletta de Wal is the author of “My Real Job is Being an Artist”, she is a successful Artist Advisor and a Certified Visual Coach.  Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

 

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler. Equal parts artist, educator and entrepreneur, Aletta has worked with over 4000 artists in groups and 400+ individually.

 

Through her coaching, seminars and books, artists in the vibrant on-line community learn to be focused, organized and confident in all art business matters.  Her clients agree that she inspires them to do the work to be successful, provides the detail to take specific action and supports them through the ups and downs of life as a working artist. Her website is www.artistcareertraining.com

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