October 17, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Leading Your Own Art Workshops and Retreats with Lorraine Glessner

Teaching art workshops for artist organizations and venues can contribute significantly to your art income. But you can dramatically increase your bottom line when you organize those workshops yourself.

Of course, creating and running your own workshops presents challenges that you don’t have when groups and individuals hire you. If you earn money from teaching, or if you’d like to, this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is for you.

In this episode, I talk with Lorraine Glessner talk about how she makes a living as an artist and an instructor and why she views her retreats as “collaborative teaching ventures.”

October 10, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Following Up After You’ve Sold a Piece of Art

People who buy from you once are more likely to buy from you again than people who have never bought from you.

And … It’s less effort to nurture relationships with people who already know, like, and trust you than to find new people to share your art with. Acquiring customers, in marketing terms, is a long and costly process.

Therefore, it makes sense to take care of the people who have purchased from you. Show them you appreciate them now instead of contacting them later only when you want something from them.

One of the biggest mistakes artist-entrepreneurs make is not following up with people who have given them money.

If you’ve been lax in this area, you might be leaving money on the table.

If you sell art from your studio, rather than through a gallery, you have no excuses for not following up appropriately. You have the name and contact information of your collectors.

Here’s a plan to awe your collectors–not just once, but over the course of your relationship.

Within 1 Week of Sale: Express Gratitude

Send a thank-you note in the mail. Use notecards with images of your art on them for all of your handwritten notes.

This is yet another opportunity to put your art in front of people who appreciate it. The cards, of course, have your contact info or website on the back.

Don’t exploit this as an opportunity to ask for anything else. Thank-you notes are for expressing gratitude only, not for additional sales or requests.

Two Weeks Later: Ask to Connect

In this email, suggest to your collector that

September 26, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Producing an Artist Podcast with Miriam Schulman

Living the artist’s life doesn’t necessarily flow with owning a business—with gaining valuable business skills that help you earn income from your creativity.

But every so often I come across artists who are just as interested in learning about business as they are in being an artist. And I feature them in my interviews on the podcast and blog.

Miriam Schulman is one of those artists. She discovered a gift secondary to her art—a curiosity about how the art business works. Combined with the fact that she loves to talk and ask questions, Miriam found her calling in her weekly podcast, The Inspiration Place.

But it was a lot of work to start, and it’s a lot of work to keep up. If you have ever considered starting a podcast or sharing your story on a podcast, this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is for you.

In this interview you’ll hear about:

  • Miriam’s background in engineering and corporate finance and how she found the courage to transition to a full-time artist.
  • How she promoted her work early on and why she still believes in using a brag book.
  • The teaching spot she created called The Inspiration Place to collaborate with other artist teachers.
  • What gave Miriam the idea to
September 19, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

How to Promote an Art Exhibition on Your Website

Solo exhibitions, as well as 2- or 3-person shows, deserve your full attention.

If you have an important exhibition coming up, give it the (virtual) space it deserves. Create a page on your website for your show.

You probably already have a page for all of your exhibitions, but I’m talking about a single page that features only your special show.

This will be the premier place you send people for details about the exhibition, which will be easy for people to read because it only has one focus. It doesn’t include anything else.

Why would you share this info only on Facebook or in an email when you can create a storefront for your art? You’re paying for the virtual real estate already. Might as well use it!

Everything will be in one spot rather than scattered around online or in someone’s inbox.

The URL (website address) should be one that’s easy to share and to remember rather than a string of slashes and numbers. This isn’t always as easy if you have a template site, but make it happen if possible.

Here’s what your exhibition page should include, and I suggest listing everything in this order.

September 12, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Reinventing Your Art Career with Ali Cavanaugh

Ali Cavanaugh painting

In 2014, Ali Cavanaugh had 11 galleries representing her work throughout the U.S. and even overseas. It was all she could do to paint fast enough to supply these galleries with new work.

What a great problem to have, right? But something wasn’t sitting right with Ali. So she asked each of the 11 galleries to return her work. One by one they sent back what few paintings remained in their inventories.

There was no animosity. Ali greatly appreciated all the work the galleries did on her behalf, but she was no longer satisfied with the status quo.

She had begun to reconsider not just what her business model looked like, but the art itself.

She decided to take control and be very deliberate about her next moves.

In episode 33 of the Art Biz Podcast, you’ll hear about:

  • Ali’s first steps as an artist and initial gallery representation.
  • Why galleries weren’t interested in work behind glass.
  • How Ali took 6 months to teach herself a new watercolor technique and why it was important to do this.
  • How Ali used her blog to attract press coverage and
August 29, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Success Is Complicated

Handmade cards by artists

What does it mean to be a successful artist?

We readily throw around the word “success” without defining what it means for us.

I am guilty of the same. My business is Art Biz SUCCESS. My signature program is the Art Career SUCCESS System.

But what does Success mean to you and to me?

In this bonus episode of the Art Biz Podcast (accompanied by a complete transcript) I explore the word Success.

I’ve been exploring this on my own for a few months now and, confession–or perhaps it’s a warning–I can go a million different directions on this topic. I’m not going to give you a nice package so that, by the end of the episode, you’ll know exactly what success means to you.

I ask you to go on a messy journey with me. One that takes twists and turns and definitely doesn’t end where it begins.

But maybe … just maybe … hopefully … it will serve you.

August 15, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Being Seen: The Social Part of the Artist’s Life

Meeting people and building relationships is the most important thing you can do for your art career. This means you have to get out of the studio and socialize.

You must, gasp, be social in the real world as well as online.

This goes against the natural tendency of so many artists who would prefer to be alone with their art supplies. But it’s absolutely necessary when you want to attain a high level of success.

If you desire more sales and more recognition for your art, you must make it a priority to meet more people.

You need to get out and mingle if you find yourself …

Sitting behind your computer all day and researching the latest magical way to promote your art online.

  • Sitting behind your computer all day and researching the latest magical way to promote your art online.
  • Attending only your own openings.
  • Living in the same place for years without knowing your neighbors.

Your art must be seen in person in order to be appropriately appreciated.

Eventually, you’re going to have to be there next to your art–speaking on its behalf.

Contrary to popular belief, your art does not

August 1, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Building a Legacy Brand and Destination with Sean VanderVliet

Regular listeners of the Art Biz Podcast know I love to explore the topic of legacy–the mark you’re leaving on the world. Check out my conversations with David Paul Bayles in episode 15 and Mary Erickson in episode 19.

So when I heard Sean VanderVliet say the L word, I knew I had to talk with him. He thinks big and I like that.

Sean is the artist behind Fenway Clayworks based here in Denver, Colorado, and in just a few years he has created a brand and a buzz around his functional pottery. A number of Denver’s finest restaurants commission Sean for their signature dinnerware.

He wasn’t always a ceramic artist. For a number of years Sean worked in tech startups and even, with partners, started his own niche business for rock climbers. He has been able to translate the lessons he learned in those positions to his career as an artist.

Sean says that people work with him because they see his passion. Although 60% of his current business is from commissions, he makes work only in his style. If you want something with a flower or aspen tree on it, look elsewhere.

He enjoys immensely the collaboration with chefs and others, but he is also clear that not everyone is a customer. This is just one of the numerous business lessons in Sean’s story that are applicable regardless of the type of work you do.

After hearing his vision, you may want to start looking out for a Fenway Clayworks in your neighborhood.

Our topics of discussion include:

July 25, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

5 Timelines To Help You Plan

Timelines are invaluable for planning your art business and marketing. They provide a structure for you to build upon so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

Regardless of how much or little you have going on, timelines help you sleep better at night since you know you have all of your bases covered.

I created five timelines to help.

1. Timeline for Publishing a Blog Post or Artist Newsletter

Publishing is a process. Nobody writes a publishable article on the first draft. Even seasoned writers need plenty of time and space, so give yourself a break and acknowledge the amount of time you need.

Schedule your writing and editing time wisely.

  • Ongoing :: Gather content ideas. Don your journalist cap and be on the lookout for things to write about.
  • 1 Week out :: Write your first draft.
  • 2 Days before publishing :: Edit your draft.
  • 1 Day before publishing :: Do your final edit. Schedule your post or email for delivery.
  • Publishing day :: Share on social media.

2. Timeline for Designing Your Artist Website

ASAP :: Interview and hire a designer. Designers have lots of other clients and need to squeeze you into their calendars.  Simultaneously, begin researching sites so that you know what you want and like.

The schedule below is an example. You will need to  agree with your designer on deadlines and adhere to them. Once you miss a deadline, the designer will move on to another client and put you at the back of the queue. 

  • 2-3 Months from launch ::