November 29, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Creating Opportunities for Your Art Career with Meg Black (Podcast)

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 (Podcast)

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 (Podcast Episode 20)

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
October 10, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Is Your Art Just Free Décor?

There are all kinds of places where you could show your work.

Coffee shops would love to have your art!
Salons would fawn over it!
Professional offices would think they’d died and gone to heaven!

This is great news for you, especially when you are just starting out. It’s a stamp of approval when public spaces want to show your work.

Almost every artist does the “free” circuit. It’s where you get your toes wet.

These seemingly low-risk venues offer a venue for you to learn how to:

  • Properly prepare and price your art for installation
  • Curate a body of work because not everything you have made is fabulous and looks great together (Sorry)
  • Install your art correctly
  • Promote your art in a brick-and-mortar space

In addition, live venues test your conversational and and negotiating skills. There’s rarely a formal agreement in these venues, but you’d be wise to add that to your list of learning opportunities.

Because these non-art venues are considered less serious than galleries, many artists put very little effort into the process. After all, you’re looking for (here comes the e-word) “exposure.”

You deliver the work, install it yourself, add labels, and then, when the time comes, deinstall it and take it home.

Or perhaps the date for deinstallation is left open.

Six months fly by and your work is still there. The owners and patrons have gotten used to it. They quite enjoy having the nice backdrop. The owners don’t want to see it go, so they aren’t responsive to your attempts to communicate with them.

Your art show has turned into free décor.

Let me be clear that

October 3, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

What’s The Point of Making Art When The World Is So Screwed Up?

If you’ve ever questioned the reason for making art, you’re not alone.

After a particularly rough period—be it something in the news or circumstances in your career—you might catch yourself asking, “What’s the point?” You might even begin to see your work as frivolous.

With so much negativity in print and online, it’s easy to overlook the bigger picture. Well-meaning thoughts might enter your head.

Shouldn’t I be out there saving people?
Shouldn’t I be waging peace?
Shouldn’t I be protecting the environment?

These are noble pursuits but are they why you, in all of your magnificence, were put on earth?

After being asked these questions by a number of students and clients, I thought of at least eight reasons why you should be making art.

And a quick note: This is a repost and update from May 14, 2015 (with original comments kept intact) because every so often you need to be reminded that what you do has great value in the world.

1. Art is why you’re here.

Do you see that NOT making art isn’t going to save the world?

In fact, it is doing the opposite because one less person isn’t living their potential.

Not making art is depriving the world. Not just the potential of your art, but of the entirety of you.

Making art makes you whole and allows you to contribute to the world from a healthier position.

2. Art saves lives.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of hearing about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, and I don’t even have kids.

I have nothing against these pursuits (my husband has a Ph.D. in mathematical physics). But I believe that there are children who will never be scientists or mathematicians and who will grow up to solve big problems for society because

September 19, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Vary Your Marketing Message

Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send repetitive emails and social media posts for your promotions.

You never know what it is about your work or offering that will be of interest to your audience. Hitting a different angle with each message makes it more likely you’ll pique the interest of followers.

Below are ideas for doing just that. Many of these suggestions lend themselves to emails, while others could easily be adapted for social media. Use your noggin to decide.

Exhibition or Art Event Promotions

There is much more to your art show than the title, dates, times, and location. And you don’t have to dig too deep to unearth a new perspective.

  • Rotate images of your art with short 2- or 3-sentence stories for each. People are more likely to get excited about a show when they know what they’ll see and the stories can help sell the work.
  • Mention other artists who will be in the exhibition and why it’s an honor to show with them. Explain what your art has in common with theirs.
  • Discuss the history of the juried show you’re in and why it’s valuable to be part of it. The purpose should come back to you.
  • Offer suggestions for nearby galleries or places to dine. Add your personal slant on these establishments: “Don’t miss the green curry!” or “The back gallery is showing X, who was featured in last year’s Whitney Biennial.” This is especially helpful for people who are coming from a distance and want to make the most of their trip.
  • Relate a particular piece in the show to
August 30, 2018 | Alyson Stanfield

Why Your Website Isn’t Generating Sales

Your website is for generating sales and opportunities – even if you don’t sell directly from your site. You’re using your site as a digital portfolio to sell galleries and other venues on the idea of your art.

There are numerous factors as to why some art sells better online than others. Perhaps the work is more “popular” or more affordable. Or maybe the artists use their lists and social media more effectively.

Without taking those things into account, there are four errors you should correct immediately if you would like more sales and opportunities. Each is a step toward making it easier for people to buy.

1. You make people click multiple times to see the art.

If your website hasn’t been updated in years, you might have an old template that makes people click numerous links to see your art. It’s time for a major overhaul.

Can you imagine walking into a gallery and not knowing what they sell? If you’re sending people to your site to see, appreciate and, perhaps, purchase your art, you’d better show it to them on every page.

That’s right: every page. Your website has acres of virtual real estate that needs your art to make it attractive to visitors. Use it!

You never know where people will land on your site, so see that the art is the main feature.

2. You don’t make it clear what you’re selling.

Would you install your art in a space without a label next to it? No!

Would you want anyone else to install your art without acknowledging you as the maker? Absolutely not! You’d probably get miffed (and rightly so) if someone did.

And, yet, many artists are showing their art online without giving themselves proper credit. A credit line looks like this.

©Your Name, Title of Artwork. Medium (be specific), size (H x W x D inches/cm). Photo credit if necessary.

You can see the above format in use under the featured images on this post. Yours doesn’t have to follow this exact configuration. You can vary the sequence and punctuation as long as the credit line includes each of those elements and as long as you are consistent.

Potential buyers more easily imagine the art in their space and lives when they know specifics. You not only need to be clear about medium and size, but also about matting, framing, and anything else that would be included.

Take photos of the art in situ, or installed in an office or home environment to help people