January 23, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Leaving Behind What is Safe with Jan R. Carson

One artist’s journey is never the same as another’s. Not only do you have to be creative in what you make, but also in how you get it out there, connect with the right people, and make a living. They all involve taking risks.

In 2010, Jan decided to begin the journey away from what had been a safe income (production work) to go after the art and life she wants for herself.

She discusses the balance of both worlds and how she is successfully transitioning from one to the other. She’s leaving what is safe and taking a risk by betting on her art.

You’ll hear about the following from Jan.

  • The many hats she wears in handling the construction of the mobiles, along with marketing, accounting, etc.
  • Why she found it easier to retain and train people as employees rather than interns.
  • Her commitment to letting her body make the work, and keeping her mind out of it.
  • How she got the confidence in herself and her artwork to exhibit it, and what it felt like to put it out into the world.
  • The important question artists need to ask themselves: What do I need to make? Not: How do I sell my art?
  • The social component of being an artist, and how Jan navigates the world as a self-proclaimed shy homebody.
  • The value of listening, connection, and staying open and present as an artist.
January 10, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

A Blueprint for Producing Your Artist Newsletter

If you’ve had Write Newsletter on your task list for too long, it might be because you haven’t identified the individual components that will be required for the process to be successful.

Producing an artist newsletter is a project that consists of multiple tasks in order to complete. Writing is only one part of the newsletter process, and even the writing can be broken down into multiple stages.

You will always get stuck when you see a project on your to-do list rather than single tasks.

For more than 16 years I produced a weekly newsletter without skipping an issue for any reason. We’ve had the current system (of multiple tasks) in place for many years, so it’s a well-greased machine. I thought hearing about how we’ve made it work at Art Biz Success might help you create a blueprint for your newsletter process.

Here are the basic steps.

  • Dedicate a place for storing and adding to content ideas.
  • Make sure your writing time is defined and organized for maximum focus.
  • Allow time to rewrite and edit.
  • Send your artist newsletter draft to someone else to proofread it.
  • Design the newsletter and send a test to yourself and your proofreader before scheduling it.
  • Be available immediately after the newsletter is sent.

Before you click Read More, a word of caution. Yes, I have a team that works with me, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t. This process can still work for you because, regardless of whether you have help or do it on your own, you need to work through all of these steps.

December 20, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Opening and Running Your Own Gallery with Tracy Miller

Tracy Miller Gallery event

A lot of my students and clients have mentioned their desire to open a gallery. And some have done so without putting much thought into what it takes and … later regret it.

I’m excited that artist and gallerist Tracy Miller is on this episode to talk about her experience running Tracy Miller Gallery for the last 7 years.

She talks about selecting a tight focus for her gallery, which she feels was critical for its success. The artists she chose to work with are in the genre of New West and have some experience under their belts. They are also savvy professionals.

She also reveals why she chose the specific location for the gallery and the many challenges—including wildfires and city-wide flooding—she overcame while running the business.

Tracy, who spent much of her time networking and connecting to people and businesses in the community, offers at least three pieces of advice for anyone interested in opening a gallery.

1. Work at another gallery for awhile. She learned a great deal by working at a large space for 5 years.

2. Crunch the numbers. And know the numbers. Tracy knows not only her average monthly sale in dollars, but the average sale for surrounding businesses.

3. Figure out how you will continue to have studio time. If you say you’re an artist, you must be making art and serving as an example to the artists in your stable.

Tracy also discusses her decision to

December 13, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

My Favorite Things 2018 Edition

Nanatuck Artist Group

These are some of the many things that made me smile, think, or grow in 2018. I hope you find some good resources (and recipes) here. Please leave your favorite things from the year in a comment. Art Trips & Clients Wow! I got to hang out with a group …

November 29, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Creating Opportunities for Your Art Career with Meg Black

Meg Black Painting

Artist Meg Black doesn’t wait for things to happen, she makes them happen. She has recently installed a major commission in the new addition of the town hall in Topsfield, MA. In this episode of the podcast, Meg tells us about the process from vision to reality. She shares how …

November 14, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Why Artists Should (and Shouldn’t) Blog

Thinking of giving up on your artist blog? Already given up on your blog?

First, let’s assume that you’re okay with writing. You have no problem collecting words and sharing them with others. With that as a starting point, I hope you’ll revisit your blog because there are four major benefits to blogging.

1. You will uncover things about your art when you blog about it.

The more you write about your art, the more you will discover about its meaning and your purpose and the better you will be able to articulate your work to collectors, curators, and writers.

This is the #1 reason to blog.

Blogging encourages you to write consistently about your art. There’s a little pressure to “keep it up” once you’ve started a blog, which is good for maintaining momentum.

If you are a working artist seeking a larger audience, your blog should be about your art and your life as an artist.

Write “how-to” posts if you teach, but only if you want to attract students. If your audience isn’t students, leave the how-tos or problem solving posts to service-based businesses, like Art Biz Success.

2. More content attracts more eyeballs for your art.

It’s tempting to forego a blog for social media. Who needs a blog when I have Facebook and Instagram? It’s a question I’m asked frequently.

The danger in building up all of your content on social media is

November 1, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

How to Choose the Right Artist Group for You

I’m sure you’ve been to group meetings where you thought to yourself, What in the world am I doing here? Those are groups you want to exit quickly. No sense hanging around.

Maybe it’s just not the right group for you. Or maybe it’s because it’s not well organized. I used this special podcast to talk— just me—about artist groups.

Being an artist is lonely and most artists need to spend time around others to thrive. There are 4 primary reasons to be part of an organized and well-run group.

  • Inspiration and Motivation
  • Opportunities and Connections
  • Support
  • Accountability

And there are 4 attributes to pay attention to in an artist group that should match your goals and ambition.

  • Vision
  • Members
  • Structure
  • Leadership

I also give you a few red flags to look out for.

Do listen to the full podcast (it’s shorter than most) and take notes. After nearly three decades witnessing hundreds of artist groups thrive and fail, I have a few thoughts that could save you time and frustration when you’re looking for your tribe.

November 1, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

How to Choose the Right Artist Group for You

I’m sure you’ve been to group meetings where you thought to yourself, What in the world am I doing here? Those are groups you want to exit quickly. No sense hanging around.

Maybe it’s just not the right group for you. Or maybe it’s because it’s not well organized. I used this special podcast to talk— just me—about artist groups.

Being an artist is lonely and most artists need to spend time around others to thrive. There are 4 primary reasons to be part of an organized and well-run group.

  • Inspiration and Motivation
  • Opportunities and Connections
  • Support
  • Accountability

And there are 4 attributes to pay attention to in an artist group that should match your goals and ambition.

  • Vision
  • Members
  • Structure
  • Leadership

I also give you a few red flags to look out for.

Do listen to the full podcast (it’s shorter than most) and take notes. After nearly three decades witnessing hundreds of artist groups thrive and fail, I have a few thoughts that could save you time and frustration when you’re looking for your tribe.

October 17, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Activate Your Marketing for a Bigger Audience

Carol MacConnell painting

Are you putting your art out there and hoping someone will see it, buy it, or give you a show?

There was a point when I was complacent about my marketing. I would write my blog posts every week and post to Facebook and Twitter. Then I’d sit back and wait for something to happen.

And I relied too much on my existing list without reaching out to new potential audiences.

Fortunately, my coach corrected my ways. (Yes, we all benefit from coaching!) Amazed that I had such good results with such little effort, she pointed out that I could help a lot more people if only I’d become more active with my marketing.

This got me thinking about all of the passive marketing that we do. That you do. How could you approach it more actively in a way that puts you in the driver’s seat of your destiny?

Here are a few ideas.

Ensuring You’re Not Wasting Time on Social Media

Passive: Post updates. Like others’ updates. Accept friendships.

Activate Your Social Media

  1. Seek out the people and businesses you really want to connect with. Friend them, like their pages, comment on (don’t just like) their posts, and promote their activities.
  2. Create a reliable editorial calendar for engaging content.

Using Your Mailing List Effectively

Passive: Update your mailing list. Add a sign-up form to your website. Send a newsletter and hope it doesn’t get caught up in a spam filter.

Activate Your Mailing List

  1. Ask people you meet in person if