June 10, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Reevaluating How You See Yourself with Brooke Harker

Appearances shouldn’t matter. They shouldn’t, but they do.

In his book, Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell says we have just seconds to make a good impression. Like it or not, people start forming an opinion of you from the moment they see you or your art, hear your voice, or read something you’ve written. From the moment you say I’m an artist the judging begins.

I don’t like to talk about an artist’s appearance. If I’m going to discuss improving one’s professional presentation, I’m much more comfortable discussing the presentation of the work: the matting, framing, wall labels, hanging hardware, pedestals, marketing material, and accompanying language.

Talking about how someone looks feels icky. But avoiding the subject isn’t helping my clients or you, dear reader.

With the increasing emphasis to be on video and social media—to show up and show your face—it’s not only important that you look your best. It’s critical that you feel your best. And looking your best can help with the feeling part.

My guest for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is Brooke Harker, who has been working with artists on video for the past year in her capacity as the organizer of Saturday Night Live Art Shows.

You’ll hear how, after some very traumatic events, Brooke regained confidence with other people and in front of the camera. It was partly because of a makeup lesson, and we discuss makeup artist Samina Malik’s belief that your face is a work of art from God and you are a blank canvas. But her renewed confidence was also the result of a lot of inner work.

I hope you enjoy this conversation with Brooke Harker.

June 4, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

How Do You Know When You’re an Artist? with James Holmes

At what point do you get to call yourself an artist? What do you need to have achieved in order to earn that title?

It’s not an easy question to answer.

Some of my clients think they need to be working as a full-time artist before they can bestow the title on themselves. Until that point, they are teachers, marketing agents, engineers, and doctors.

Other clients are able to call themselves artists early in their careers. Why the big gap?

Over about 3 decades of working with artists, I’ve observed that artists who went to art school have an easier time assuming the title of artist. Perhaps because there is a piece of paper in their possession—a document that says they have a BFA.

I am not saying that you need to or should go after that piece of paper. But shy of that, there is nobody who will sprinkle magic fairy dust and bestow the title of artist on you. So what do you do?

My guest for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is James Holmes, who shares the 3 clear criteria he created before he could call himself an artist, the why behind each of them, and the moment in which he was able to mark them off the list and assume the artist mantle.

May 27, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Secrets from Copying a Masterpiece with Lilianne Milgrom

The subject line in my inbox said Podcast Pitch. Oh no, another one of these, I thought.

But this had an addition. It included a reference to one of my clients after the words Podcast Pitch. One of my favorite clients. This one I have to pay attention to.

The podcast pitch in question came from Lilianne Milgrom, who had just finished writing a book. (Again, the thought of “oh no” entered my head. Another artist-turned-author.) You can see that I was skeptical, but her pitch was perfect. I get tons of podcast pitches, but none have been better than hers. It was right on target.

I gave her book a go and, truthfully, couldn’t put it down. I looked forward to reading it every night. I didn’t want to finish. It was that good.

It contained art history, intrigue, sex, and scandal. How could it not be fascinating?

My conversation with Lilianne in this episode of the Art Biz Podcast isn’t only about the book. It’s the story of how the book came to be—which is a lesson in itself—and has its roots in her decision to be a copyist at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, copying Courbet’s scandalous painting, L’Origine du Monde (The Origin of the World). She learned valuable lessons, exercised her courage muscle, and became a better artist as a result. The experience led to the writing of the book that so engrossed me.

Lilianne and I talk about all of that and how she juggles her art and writing. She also shares tips for pitching to podcasts, which are equally valuable for other media pitches.

⚠️ WARNING: This post and interview contain art (and what some might see as imagery and conversations for adults only)

May 20, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Collaborating on Your Art Business with Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin

Collaborations aren’t for the faint of heart—especially for artists who are used to working alone and making decisions without having to get approval from another human being. But my guests for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast have figured out how to make it work.

Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin first collaborated on the publication of their book, Cold Wax Medium. Their collaboration has only deepened since that time, adding the Cold Wax Academy in 2020.

Rebecca, Jerry, and I discuss the format of Cold Wax Academy, how they make decisions together, how they find new members, and what they’d do differently with the benefit of hindsight. You’ll hear what makes their combined efforts work so well

We also talk about one of my favorite topics—systems—and the technology they use to keep their joint venture going.

May 13, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Returning to Grad School for an MFA with Kelly M. O’Brien

Back in 2015, Kelly M. O’Brien started selling a lot of work, in a way that surprised her at the time. And while she has continued that work, she has added new work—what she calls emerging work—since deciding to go back to graduate school in 2017 to earn her MFA.

Since Kelly was experiencing such great commercial success, I wondered at the time why on earth she wanted to return to grad school. Now that she has been out of school about a year, Kelly is ready to talk about her decision on the Art Biz Podcast.

I’m tying this to the theme of adjusting your approach. Tweaking this or that. Looking at new possibilities. Or even turning your art business and career upside down and returning to school like Kelly.

We make these adjustments to get better results in our business and lives, to make us feel more fulfilled, or just to bring a greater sense of happiness.

Listen to hear what it was for Kelly. You’ll hear about how she juggles two very different art businesses, the biggest benefits of grad school for her, and what her daily practice is like.

April 22, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Money Mindset Breakthrough Secrets with Lea K. Tawd

artist Lea K Tawd what flows between mixed media on wood panel for Art Biz Success podcast

When we think about cleaning out we usually think of physical things or digital files. We want to Kon Mari that sock drawer—keeping  only the socks that spark joy, of course. Or delete the hundreds of photos we’ve taken that we’ll never use. Not only will we never use them, but we want to make sure nobody else ever lays eyes on them.

But there’s another kind of cleaning out that is even more important.

It’s the purging of commitments we made at a previous point in our lives. Maybe we really needed them at the time. Or perhaps we agreed to them out of fear. Whatever it was, we’ve been hanging on to them long past their expiration date.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, I talk with Lea K. Tawd about the obligations she eliminated in 2020 that allowed her to dive deeper into her creativity and step into her business more fully.

We discuss the book she wrote, how she structures her days as a mom with a 6-year-old who has to show up for the virtual classroom, and how she quickly replaced the income from an outside source she had been holding on to out of fear.

April 15, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

96 Strategies for Improving Art Business Results

It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If true, why do we continue to manage our art businesses the same way we did last year or the year before?

In order to see better results, you have to do something different.

I don’t share this list lightly. It’s got some things on it that could really shake up the status quo. They could skyrocket your success when implemented with sound counsel or just as easily fail miserably if you don’t have the proper knowledge and support in place.

I share it because it’s something I wanted for my own business—a list I could have at the ready when I sensed a necessary change. I wanted something to remind me of everything that is possible. To remind me that anything is possible when I commit to it.

In a sense, this is a master list of possibilities. You are not meant to use it as a checklist of items to tackle one at a time.

I encourage you to use this in the following situations.

  • You are stuck or bored—creatively, financially, or mentally—and want a new project.
  • You are seeing a drop-off in any aspect of your business.
  • You want to make the most of a big exhibition or event you have coming up.

Let’s dive in.

April 8, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Tools to Help You Emerge from a Struggle Even Stronger Than Before with Kelly Milukas

This month we’re focusing on the benefits of cleaning out—removing physical clutter that leads to disorganization, eliminating obligations that are no longer serving you, and slowing down enough to focus on what matters most, in your art business and in your life.

Kelly Milukas has been through more in the last 10 years than anyone should have to endure, and yet she never lost hope and determination. My conversation with her is about coming out the other side of a long struggle stronger than you were previously.

Kelly and I scheduled our conversation for this episode of Art Biz Podcast to discuss her “life edit,” which involved getting rid of what no longer served her. It quickly became apparent that ridding herself of stuff when she had to downsize her studio is something she had been preparing herself for in the many years leading up to that moment.

Her story is one of perseverance and joy. She was eager to discuss the many tools she used to facilitate her healing and the people she relied on along the way.

I hope Kelly inspires you to rid your life, with the help of proper tools and support, of what might be getting in the way of your happiness.

April 1, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Spring Cleaning to Streamline Your Art Business

Spring is here in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s the perfect time to consider the aspects of your life that are weighing you down without contributing to your happiness and success.

April is the month for cleaning out in the Art Biz Success community. In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, I’m highlighting some of my previous interviews with artists who have discussed cleaning out in one form or another, from removing physical items to cleaning out business ideas and strategies, modes of working, and even the venues where you show and sell your art.

If you are ready to deep clean your art business, to release what isn’t serving you and banish all that is getting in the way of your productivity and creativity, then you won’t want to miss the insights and inspiration from these successful artists.