February 25, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Growing Your Audience with Good Karma with Trudy Rice

Artist Trudy Rice monotype printmaking Art Biz Success podcast

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it would be great to attract more Instagram followers. More email list subscribers. More sales.

More of anything! Because it makes our efforts feel worthwhile. It seems validating.

But we’re often stopped in our tracks when we begin to realize what we need to do in order to increase our numbers.

We think we have to post more, research hashtags, invest in advertising, create a lead magnet, learn to write better copy, or forget about a restful night’s sleep.

Yeah, you probably do have to do some of those things in order to attract more followers and subscribers, but you might also benefit from being open to doing things a little differently to increase those numbers.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast I talk with Trudy Rice about how she has grown her Instagram and email list by cross-promoting other brands.

Trudy uses a platform called Ampjar, but the underlying lesson is to find like-minded people and share each other’s art, products, and services. Trudy refers to these as “shout outs” and loves this system because of the good karma it creates.

February 18, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Crowdfunding a Public Art Project with Romy Owens

romy owens under her wing was the universe enid oklahoma public art sculpture

I live to track down art off the beaten path—traveling to out-of-the-way places to see works of art that delight and inspire, or even confound me. I like knowing that 1) there won’t be a huge crowd or line to get in and that 2) I’m one of a small(ish) group of people who have actually visited that spot.

One of my favorite art writers, Martin Gayford, wrote a book on this topic titled The Pursuit of Art: Travels, Encounters, and Revelations. It’s as much about the journey to see art, much of it in far-flung locations, as it is about the art itself.

Every so often, I can get my mom interested in accompanying me on one of my art trips. Mom isn’t a huge follower of art, but she likes a good adventure, and it was easy to get her to hop in the car with me last fall to see Under Her Wing was the Universe, an enormous public sculpture by artist and curator Romy Owens that was installed in 2020 in Enid, Oklahoma.

Enid is the 9th-largest city in Oklahoma, with a population of about 50,000, but it doesn’t sit on a major interstate highway. It’s about 90 minutes northwest of Oklahoma City, where Mom lives, and not really on the way to anywhere else. You kinda have to go out of your way to get there.

And that’s what we did. Mom and I had both been following the progression of Romy’s sculpture and donated to its crowdfunding. After following the progression of this enormous endeavor and seeing it for myself, I couldn’t wait to talk more with Romy.

On this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, Romy and I discuss her commitment to raising $100,000 for this outdoor public sculpture and native prairie landscape as a gift to her hometown. As it turns out, $100,000 was just the beginning.

While it all worked out in the end, it wasn’t exactly easy getting there. Not only did Romy have to raise a lot more money than originally projected, she had to stand up to the naysayers in the community.

Romy is an artist that knows how to effectively measure success. Community collaboration, fundraising, overcoming controversy and yes, using spreadsheets are just a few of the topics that you won’t want to miss in this conversation.

February 11, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

A Quiet Gallery Experience with Simonne Roy

oil painting french boulangerie pastries artist Simonne Roy

What is something special you can do for your email subscribers and collectors when your shows and large events are canceled because of a pandemic?

Give them a private viewing experience, of course.

For years, Simonne Roy has been hosting 50 – 60 VIPs for a one-night party in her home, which she transforms into a gallery. The money and effort she invested in the event resulted in good sales and meaningful relationships. Each year’s success built on that of previous years.

[caption id="attachment_31426" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Oil painting of sunflowers in a field artist Simonne Roy ©Simonne Roy, Sunflower Fields of Union County. Oil on canvas, 12 x 48 inches.[/caption]

When Covid struck last year, her hopes for a successful home gallery show were dashed, until, like many scrappy entrepreneurs, Simonne found a different way to make it happen.

She decided to hold the VIP appreciation without the party. In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast you’ll hear how Simonne gave people a private encounter with the art—something few people ever get to have. She calls it the Quiet Gallery Experience.

If she measured its success by the amount of sales only, she could have counted it a success. But sales were almost secondary because Simonne measured her success by the goodwill she created with her subscribers and collectors.

Listen closely to hear what she did to set the stage and make it special, what she would do differently next time, and how she netted the same amount of money from the participation of fewer people.

February 4, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Creating a Monthly Report for Your Art Business

We’re obsessed with how many likes we get on social media posts or how many views our videos received.

We are consumed by “getting” more followers and subscribers.

But do numbers equal success?

No, of course not. But they are an easy way to measure what is working well and what might need a little tweaking.

This month in the Art Biz Success community, we’re looking into measuring success.

What do you measure?
How do you measure?
Do the numbers tell a story?

Most importantly, you have to know what success means to you before you can discern any insights in the measuring step. Numbers will never be helpful until there is meaning behind them.

I’ve said before that I believe success is measured by the progress you make, not by comparing yourself to others. Check out The Art Biz Podcast episodes #32 (Success Is Complicated) and #71 (Goals for Artists) for more about that.

This new episode gives you a framework.

February 1, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Test Your Art Marketing Efforts for Better Results

Painting by M. Jane Johnson

Have you been promoting your art the same way for years without seeing better  results? Allow me to remind you of this quote.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It first appeared in 1981 text from Narcotics Anonymous and has been misattributed at various times to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Mark Twain.

If the quote is true, are you nuts?

Being Persistent and Consistent with Your Art Marketing

You are undoubtedly investing a lot of time and resources into your art business: websites, blogs, social media, videos, newsletters, postcards, and more. That’s terrific!

I’m a big fan of persistence and consistency—in doing the same thing over and over again—in marketing. You must commit to certain repeated marketing tasks before you can judge their effectiveness.

At the same time, I believe in tweaking aspects of your marketing as you go along. As an entrepreneur interested in earning money from your art, you want to understand what’s working and what isn’t. This is why it’s critical to track your numbers.

You should learn something with each new artwork, email, newsletter, or blog post, and you need to use that knowledge to get better results in the future.

Every marketing effort should be a test. Nothing in your routine should be considered sacred because you want increasingly better results.

What brings you the most clicks?
What blog post is attracting the most attention?
What results in more subscribers?
What leads to more opportunities?
What has given you the most engagement on social media?
What did you send that encouraged immediate responses from recipients?

Use the lists here to adjust, test, and repeat for improved results.

January 28, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

A New Direction in Your Art with Lisa Goren

Watercolor painting Iceberg from our zodiac antarctica artist Lisa Goren watercolor on paper 22 x 30 inches

We all seek success (whatever it means to us individually) but aren’t always prepared to deal with it when it comes along. That’s okay, because, as you’ll hear in this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, you learn how to deal if it’s something you really want.

My guest is Lisa Goren, an artist whose work took an unexpected U-turn when the pandemic hit last year, and she went for it.

You’ll hear Lisa talk about artist residencies and the serious work she was making that had echoes of climate change. And then Covid struck. She was no longer able to travel to photograph and paint the wildlife and melting ice around Antarctica and the Arctic Circle.

Instead, she delighted in the animals that were visiting museums, aquariums, and towns. She was more surprised than anyone about what was coming from her paintbrushes. And then equally surprised that people wanted to buy the finished paintings as soon as they were finished.

After feeling like the success of the animal paintings had become a runaway train, Lisa is now taking back control over where the work is going while being open to whatever the future holds.

January 25, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

The Problem With Lower Price Points For Your Art

Have you ever created a body of work just so you could sell at lower prices? If so, you might have created a problem for yourself.

Do any of the following ring true for you?

  • You are afraid that people won’t buy your art if you charge what it’s worth.
  • You believe that the people in your geographical region buy only cheaper art.
  • You’ve started making smaller pieces because they’re less expensive.
  • You have signed up for a service like Fine Art America to begin offering multiples of your art, even though the originals aren’t selling.

If you have created lower-priced work for any of these reasons, you might be lowering the bar along with your prices.

Let’s face it: selling lower-priced art is safer. There are many more people in your pool of prospective buyers at the low end.

But I can’t believe that your goal is to appeal to the masses. You, like my clients, surely have big dreams, and that means selling big art at fair prices.

So I have to ask … Are you running to this safer place of inexpensive art because you’ve been inconsistent with your studio practice, marketing, exhibitions, and networking? In other words, are you producing “more affordable” art because you don’t want to do the work required to sell your best work?

Have you given up on selling at that higher price because you believe it’s too difficult? Maybe the cheaper stuff will be easier to sell, you might think.

I have no objections with making art in a variety of sizes or offering reproductions of your art, especially if you’re selling a lot of work and can’t keep up with demand.

What I object to is your playing small and safe.

January 21, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Planning a Year’s Worth of Artwork with Dawn Williams Boyd

© 2017 Dawn Williams Boyd, All Through the Night: America's Homeless. Assorted fabrics, cotton embroidery floss, antique quilt, lace, buttons, child's socks, 39 x 61.5 inches. Ron Witherspoon Photography

Taking charge of your art business isn’t only about bookkeeping, inventorying the work, and promoting your art effectively.

Taking charge of your art business is about assuming 100% responsibility for your actions—all of your actions, especially in your studio.

We all want to increase our productivity and creativity, and Dawn Williams Boyd has mastered doing exactly that by planning ahead.

Dawn makes figurative textile paintings that reveal stories—not always pretty ones—about life in America. Dawn’s work has an unapologetic social activist message that addresses the Black experience, feminine sexuality, social issues, and this country’s politics.

In today’s social and political climate, there aren’t enough hours in the day for Dawn to convey all of the messages she wants to share in her art. She has to carefully plan the body of work she is going to make throughout the year. She takes charge of her production for the entire year.

In our conversation for the Art Biz Podcast, Dawn and I discuss her process for plotting out which pieces she will make each year. We also talk about why now is not the time to make art that matches the couch, what kinds of conversations she wants people to have around her work, and how she makes the valuable connections that are helping her reach her most ambitious goals.

January 17, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Ambitious Artists Own Their Goals

Geri deGruy's Equanimity

Ambitious artists hire me because they want more recognition for their art and support as they get their art out of the studio and into the world.

I strung together these words during a small group discussion at a conference. One of my clients happened to be sitting next to me and flinched at the word choice: ambitious. (You should have seen her face!)

Then she challenged me on it. The word just didn’t sound right, she thought.

I said, “You’re ambitious. Don’t you think?” She thought a bit, and agreed with a little hesitation, “Yes, I probably am. It’s just the word I have problems with.” (Update: She has since embraced the word fully!)

Ambitious Artists

Definitions of ambition include:

  • A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
  • A desire and determination to achieve success.
  • An earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.

If you don’t see yourself in any of these definitions, you might want to rethink your path as an artist-entrepreneur (all successful artists are also entrepreneurs).

Without the desire, there’s no motivation to take action. Without the action and hard work, there are no results.

“Ambition” isn’t something that’s usually associated with artists, and it’s even been viewed as a negative attribute for women to possess. Yeah, I know. Really? In the 21st century??

We still have problems with ambitious women? Women still have problems owning their ambition?

C’mon!

We also have a tendency to worry about