June 13, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

How Much Will That Juried Art Show Cost You?

Karen Lynn Link painting

Those in charge of juried art shows have made it stupid easy for you to enter.

Step 1: Upload images.

Step 2: Complete form.

Step 3: Enter credit card and click the submit button.

The wise artist will pause before that last step and ask these questions.

  • Does this show contribute to my goals?
  • What do I want to accomplish by being in this exhibition?
  • Aside from the nominal entry fee, what are the other costs that are involved if my work is selected?

There are many other things to consider, but these are at the top of the list. And it’s the final bullet point that I want to address.

The Costs of a Juried Art Show

You won’t know if a show is worth your financial investment until you do the math.

Back in 2012, an artist sent me an email about a  painting she was sending to a juried art exhibition that would sell for $1200.

She outlined the fees involved as follows,

May 30, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Making a Living as an Expat in Paris with Marcus McAllister

Marcus McAllister Art

Have you ever wanted to start over? To move somewhere else and begin a new life?

In 2001 I sold many of my belongings, left my safe job in the art museum, and rented a U-Haul to start my new life in Colorado.

I had no idea what was ahead for me. I only knew that I wasn’t living the life that I was intended to lead. I was suffocating.

It was pretty brave of me to take this step, but I was just moving across the border.

My guest for this episode had a much grander adventure in mind. Twenty years ago, Marcus McAllister packed up his art supplies, flew to Paris, and never looked back.

In this episode, Marcus talks about his decision to live abroad, his sketchbooks, the sources of his income, and the importance of relationships.

Show Notes

In this interview, you will hear about:

  • How Marcus has been scrappy yet intentional about his business and career.
  • His sketchbooks (and why he doesn’t even walk the dog without taking one with him).
  • How Marcus ended up in Paris and transitioned to a  full-time artist, and how his career has changed.
  • The way Marcus overcame the language barrier and presented himself as an artist to find work.
  • Why it’s important that artists own the title of “artist.”
  • The dedication Marcus has to always having a sketchbook on him, with
May 16, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Must-Have Website Info That Should Be at Your Fingertips

Your website is a home base for your art business. It’s where you send people to see your work, sign up for your email list, or even buy your art.

In short, you need for it to be up and functioning at its best. All. The. Time.

What would happen if it crashed?

And … Who would you turn to if you needed a quick update to your site because you found out you were being featured in an article? Is that person always available for you?

You may have a great relationship with your web designer and hosting service right now, but you can’t predict what might happen in the future.

I’ve witnessed so many artists get stuck because they were abandoned by their webmasters and have no idea how to access their sites.

Don’t let this happen to you!

Maybe you have a DIY site, but it’s been awhile since you have worked on the backend of it. How do you get there?

You are a savvy artist-entrepreneur, so make sure you have complete control over your Internet presence–even if you are lucky enough to have someone helping you.

You don’t want to leave this to chance. You don’t want to learn later that your life could have been so much easier if only you had a few answers at your fingertips.

What follows is a list with all of the information you need from the people who maintain your sites, even if “the people” is only you.

May 9, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Multiply Your Audience and Expand Your Show’s Impact with Jill Powers

We often forget that we’re not alone. It’s easy to do because you spend so much time working by yourself in the studio. But … You don’t have to hold up the weight of a solo exhibition all by yourself.

If you get a little creative, you will find a whole bunch of people who would love to be involved with your show. They would be happy to help you install it, interpret it, and share it with others.

In my former life (a long time ago) I was an art museum curator and educator. This is exactly how we thought about exhibitions in the art museum: holistically.

We never installed the art and only hoped people would come to the museum and understand the work. We spent months discussing—as a team— how we would involve others in the show. How we would help make the art more meaningful to our visitors and, at the same time, increase chance that many more people would see the work.

This is where my guest for this episode of the podcast comes in.

Jill Powers is a sculptor and installation artist who creates art related to ecological issues. For her major exhibitions Jill creates public events designed to educate, delight, and challenge  visitors and viewers. She also seeks unique collaborations with area businesses, organizations, and experts to help support and promote her artistic themes.

In this episode, she describes the many programs she has organized and how she did it. You’ll hear about how she worked with dancers, scientists, and restaurants to expand the reach of the show beyond the walls and pedestals of the galleries. You’ll see how easy it is to multiply your audience when you take this approach.

May 1, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

How To Be Happier About Running Your Art Business

We all love some parts of our business more than others. I’d be lying to you if I told you that I loved marketing and bookkeeping as much as creating a course.

After doing this work with artists for nearly two decades, I can say with confidence that artists who happily embrace their role as CEO of their business do better than artists who don’t.

This doesn’t mean that you need to fake joy whenever you’re paying bills. It means that you rise to accept the challenge because you know it’s important.

There are ways to be happier about running a business, but first you must decide that this is what you want. As I’ve said many times, not every artist should turn their art into a business. It’s a whole different game when you start asking for money for your art.

But if you choose to go the route of earning money from your art, own it. 

You can be pouty and grumble about all of the hard work, or you can find ways to enjoy the ride.

Which way would you rather go through life?

What Makes Me Happy About Running My Business

Running a successful business means long hours and many sacrifices, but the rewards are unparalleled.

I love that …

I can work anywhere in the world and at any time of my choosing.

I am over-the-moon ecstatic when …

Clients have Aha! moments. When they really get what I’m encouraging them to do or try.

Clients implement and see results.

I connect two clients together who can benefit from collaboration, inspiration, or motivation.

I am blown away when …

April 18, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Creative Placemaking and Public Art with Lynn Basa

Artist Lynn Basa understands the power of art to be a positive force in communities.

She is interested in the varied ways that artists are intersecting with public life. From more traditional “public art” to creative placemaking to socially engaged practice.

I talked with Lynn, author of The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions, for the Art Biz Podcast. In particular, we focused on The Corner Project, an art space and community revitalization effort she founded in the blighted neighborhood of her Chicago studio in 2017.

In describing this project, Lynn said, and I paraphrase:

Every single artist … [brings] with them a certain amount of agency and value to wherever they are. They can do so much more. … It’s a paradigm shift that happens in your head where you start realizing that “I have something of value that I can contribute to society at large,” rather than just making an object and hoping it gets sold for enough money and that you can make a living.

You’ll also hear her speak this truth: Art is a billion dollar business, and someone has to do it.

I think you’ll be inspired to think big and make a difference in your community after you listen to this episode.

April 10, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

7 Ways to Wow with Your Exhibition Invitation

Every contact you have with someone is an opportunity to wow them with your art and your professionalism, so you don’t want to miss the chance to wow from the beginning.

Robert Mapplethorpe knew this. For his first solo exhibition in 1973 at New York’s Light Gallery – a show of Polaroids – Mapplethorpe’s invitation was a hand-printed image from a Polaroid original.

Mapplethorpe embossed his name on the outer edge, included the protective Polaroid cover, and inserted everything into hand-addressed, cream-colored Tiffany envelopes.

His invitation was a work of art in itself because, he believed, an exhibition doesn’t begin when you go to the opening, but when you receive the invitation.

The moment people hear about the show, they start judging. Will it be any good? Who else will show up? Is it worth my time? Is there something better I could do that night?

What experience do people have when they get an invitation from you?

Here are 7 ways to use your invitation to wow guests and set the tone for your exhibition.

Real Mail

1. Send it via post.

The simple act of putting a stamp on an envelope and dropping it into a mailbox automatically increases the prestige of your exhibition.

In these days of email reliance, almost anything you send real mail will get more attention than if it were sent via email.

April 2, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Why Putting Your Plan on Paper Matters

Since I started my art career, I had this one figure in my head that if I made that figure as my annual income, then I would consider myself successful. I also made this my Art Biz Accelerator income goal. Well, I just tallied up my annual income for 2018, and I EXCEEDED THAT FIGURE!!!!

I love seeing messages like this one from Sabra Lynne Crockett in my inbox, and I think it’s important for artists to see what is possible when you apply your knowledge.

She continued:

Before, I enrolled in the Art Career Success System, I was directionless. I was flitting from one project to another. Now I have a vision, and a plan to make it happen through actionable goals. Quantifying my accomplishments shows me that I’m not just spinning my wheels.

ABS: How did you shift your focus?

Before I even knew that the Art Career Success System existed, I had to get myself in the mindset that I was an artist. It took me almost two decades to declare that I was an artist, even though  I made my living doing artistic things.

I always skirted around the idea. I would be asked, “Are you an artist?” I would say things like, “Well, no. I’m a decorative artist”, or,” I am a scenic artist.” I was limited by my own thinking. It was when I made the declaration to myself, and owned the label “artist” that the floodgates of opportunity opened up for me.

One of the opportunities that arose was enrolling in all four courses of the Art Career Success System.

ABS: What has made the biggest difference?

March 28, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Why You Need a Sense of Urgency in Your Art Business

A number of years ago, I attended a mastermind meeting that had a consistent theme running through it.

The most successful people have a sense of urgency.

I believe this to be true because those I view as successful act quickly and decisively. They hustle. They get things done.

If we take it at face value, the phrase sense of urgency seems turbulent. It sounds like we should be moving hastily and acting immediately on ideas without much thought or care for anything else.

It’s Not Really About Hurrying

As I read more about a sense of urgency as it relates to business, I discover that it’s not necessarily about hurrying.

John Kotter, who wrote the book A Sense of Urgency, says the following.

True urgency focuses on critical issues. It is driven by the deep determination to win, not anxiety about losing. Many people confuse it with false urgency. This misguided sense of urgency does have energized action, but it has a frantic aspect to it with people driven by anxiety and fear. This dysfunctional orientation prevents people from exploiting opportunities and addressing real issues.