Principles of no-excuses art marketing

The self-imposed June 1 deadline for my book (first really strong draft) is quickly approaching and I am so into this. It’s awesome! Amazing what a deadline will do for you. It also help to have a coach, a mastermind buddy, awesome clients, and a supportive spouse. I all but disappear from about 2 to 9 p.m.

I have come up with 5 principles that are currently guiding my book. These are key points in my workshops and classes and I wanted to post them here for your feedback. I’m sure they’ll change a little, but I want to hear from you.


  1. You are in charge. You have control over words, prices, artwork, and your image. People will take as much power from you as you give them. Guard your power carefully. Accept 100% responsibility for your actions and make no excuses.
  2. Connections are critical to your success. Ignore meeting new people and maintaining relationships at your peril.
  3. Life isn’t fair. The artworld isn’t fair. No one owes you anything. Building a successful career and reputation is hard work. There are no shortcuts, no easy ways out.
  4. If you ignore the latest technology, you’ll quickly fall behind.
  5. No one can promote your work better than you. No one believes in it more than you do. No one wants you to succeed more than you do. The motivation and ambition must start within you. Unless you are working with a coach or business mentor, no one is going to ask you to set goals. No one is going to tell you that you have to make a certain amount of money or achieve a certain level of success in order to be satisfied. You absolutely have to do this for yourself.

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12 thoughts on “Principles of no-excuses art marketing”

  1. I think one, two and three are very powerful…while reading each one I could fill the power of those statements…more like fire than an intellectual thought- strong words that provide food… four and five I agree with, but I can see tiny bits of…well, four- some people fervently don’t watch television, or use computers, or cellphones, or cars, or digital cameras…& sometimes I wonder if they are better than me…more grounded…then I remember how much I have learned, and number four is true again…but tiny doubt once in a blue moon… number five, also, sometimes I wonder if business is for businessminds and art is for artistminds, and really one should be one or the other…and not try to do both…but I think the spirit of your number five is more about believing in yourself, not technically if you are a good accountant or not…but to be more specific in asserting that you are not trying for artists to usurp the business role of the gallery…( cause then you get gallery owners who think they can paint…) anyway, I want my book now…or maybe yesterday…at least based on the smidgen…

  2. ONE Really empowering and frightening to have 100% control and responsibility. Connect that idea to power. Are control and power the same thing in your writing of this? TWO I agree with this completely and believe that it should be stated as emphatically as possible. I suggest adding, if you don’t know how to network, study, learn and practice, and offer some resources. The old “it’s who you know, not how good you are” used to be heard as an excuse. What I have learned is anyone, even me, can know anybody I set my mind to meet. Knowing the right people is critical. THREE Dang! I hate this one ! LOL FOUR Gottit! FIVE: This is the rocket booster. I would add that you better hang out with artists and other people who feel this way about their work too. If you are spending too much time with people who lack ambition or think you are crazy for wanting success, find new friends. See number two.

  3. I’ve been kicking number 3 about a lot lately. I came across a great quote that I blogged about recently regarding the very thing you touch on in #3. It comes from an article on writing by the talented best selling author Elizabeth Gilbert. The quote has to do specifically with film making, but I think it applies just as well to anyone pursuing an artist’s life: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” – Werner Herzog German Filmmaker

  4. I love your kick-butt no-nonsense approach to life and work. It’s all so true. The victim mentality that pervades the art world is just so icky. Empowerment feels so much better and gets us so much further! I love that you have these principles in place and that your book will provide strategies for making all of our big dreams real. June 1st, June 1st, June 1st. We’re all cheering you on! Cynthia

  5. Reveille Kennedy

    Hi Allyson, I love the things you teach us. You are my personal cyber guru. An idea that I gleened from Starbucks personel applies to all your key points. “Resistence” is the thing that keeps us from performing all the tasks we are dragging our feet about. Sometimes we don’t want to take the time to learn one more thing and sometimes we have ambivolent feelings, fatigue, priorities, lack of knowledge, or other voices that are the problem. I look at it like this. If you set the date to do it it will happen. You may fail, make mistakes, etc., but these things are our friends because at least we took a stab at it and now we know what to do next. What are we resisting?

  6. Hi Alyson, Funny thing, June 1st is our personal deadline for our book. For three years now, we have been working on a book featuring my husband’s artwork. The original deadline was January 1, 2006 but when working with photographers and models it’s hard to coordinate everyone.Now we’re down to the finish line,that’s why I’m behind on reading your blog.Anyway, I will be thinking of you on June 1st when we send our first draft. Good Luck!

  7. Each time that I visit a string of galleries, especially in places other than my home town, I come back with the same thought. “The only thing that stands between myself and success….is me”. Nike had it right, just do it.

  8. just my 2 cents repeating what has been said … powerful words & to the point – we don’t need to become computer literate individuals, that is what Clint does for us. Our job is to draw and paint, if the cupboard gets bare then we have to trade some art for money. The more we get the less time we have to spend in the marketplace hawking our wares. I really appreciate this site – it fires me up.

  9. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Oh, I disagree, Charles. You do have to be computer literate. You have to learn to attach jpegs to files and send them. You have to learn to send email newsletters and updates, and you have to learn to blog. Clint can’t do all of that for you. BUT, we’re glad you’re fired up!

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