Have you ever been so focused on a goal you thought was right for you that you missed opportunities that might have been better?
Chances are good that you can’t answer that question because you were so myopic. You just knew that this one direction was the path you needed to take. And you might have ignored that it wasn’t working or didn’t feel like the right fit.
This week's podcast guest, Adele Sypesteyn, has been making a living from her art for 4 decades. But she never gets too comfortable with income coming from a particular source. She pays attention to changes in the marketplace and economy. And she educates herself.
The people who go into galleries are 1% of the population.
I wanted to reach the other 99%.
Listen to learn how Adele made the decision to pull out of her galleries and how she easily replaced that income.
Music by Wildermiss
- How Adele has made a living from her art for 40 years.
- Why she approaches her art as a product.
- How she shifted to make money during the recession.
- How she learns about business and her philosophy that we can approach our businesses just as creatively as we do our art.
- Why she pulled out of galleries completely in 2014.
- Why the Round Top Antiques Fair was such a profitable venue for Adele’s art sales.
- How she used Round Top to test the market for her new Art with Kidz membership.
- What she did in early 2019 to get feedback on the types of online courses she should teach.
- How her income sources have evolved since earning 100% of from gallery sales.
- The role YouTube has played in her business and the phenomenal growth she’s seen in subscriptions in the past year.
Round Top Antiques Fair (Texas)
Art with Kidz membership
About My Guest
Adele Sypesteyn is a New Orleans-born artist whose architecturally influenced abstract work is distinguished by multiple layers of texture, color and pattern. She draws inspiration from her surroundings, particularly the weathered walls of New Orleans and elements of nature. Her abstract art combines warm textures with aged patinas and writings, and utilizes her unique technique developed over three decades as a practicing artist.
Adele’s art has been displayed in galleries across the country, and can be spotted in world-class magazines, including Veranda and House Beautiful.
Adele made the decision in early 2019 to focus on expanding her teaching practice and grow it into a major source of income. See her art at AdeleSypesteynStudio.com and watch her instructional videos on her YouTube channel.
Music by Wildermiss
This episode is sponsored my signature business-building program, the Art Career Success System, a program I have perfected for more than 17 years working with artists.
All of the lessons you learn in the Art Career Success System are tasks you will do over and over again throughout your art business and career. That’s why it’s a SYSTEM.
In the ACSS you will build a strong foundation using my video and audio lessons, worksheets, and transcripts. And you will be part of a community of artists who are forward-thinking and forward-moving.
32 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 36: Reaching the Other 99% for Your Art Business with Adele Sypesteyn”
This is wonderful!
Thanks for listening, Lisa. What did you enjoy about it?
Congrats Adele! It is wonderful to see another artist taking responsibility for their career success. I have had many gallery opportunities over the years and like many artists, saw this as validation of sorts. But for some reason I was the one selling the most of my paintings. I firmly believe that artists can sell their paintings and make a good living that way. Moving out of the gallery system was liberating.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Malcolm. Galleries are terrific partners for some artists, but don’t work for everyone. And, it must be said, things are changing.
Malcolm, I am glad to hear you say that about artists. There is no better time than right now with all the social media that artists can’t sell their own work. And I have learned that not all artists want or can do this. The galleries are a great option, just not the only option.
Love this interview! Am on a similar path learning about business passionately…and I LOVE Big Top, it’s on my list of places to go…however, I thought (and their website says) they are for antiques only, no reproductions or anything new…how does Adele participate?
Thank you for this, so refreshing to hear an artist who is ahead of me but thinks along the same lines…the “old” art stories of how to succeed are so lifeless!
Love & Light ahead!
Stede, you can sell originals or prints at Round Top. There are not many artists there because people are going to find antiques. I was one of the only artists when I started showing there 5 years ago. Now there are more but not many. And I bought antiques from several dealer friends to bring to my booth to show what the art looked like in a home setting and people really responded to that.
AMAZING!! great to hear that ‘more mature’ women are making a success of their later lives. And a bit of guerrilla marketing: My new website is finally launched at pjlack.com.
Congrats on the launch of your website, Phillippa.
I very much enjoy your emails. However, I am deaf and can not listen to podcasts. As the general population ages, more of your audience might be struggling to hear or, like completely missing your message because of deafness or even being hard of hearing. Most sites I’m on for physical fitness, working out, businesses give the viewer the option to listen to the podcasts or message or read it. If I had the option, of course, my only option, is to read.
Therefore I’m suggesting there may be others in my situation that would greatly appreciate you adding a copy version to your podcast to reach a larger audience.
Donnally: I am sorry that we haven’t accommodated your needs. You are not alone. Providing a transcript is something I want to do in the future, but need to add it to the budget. It’s definitely an expense we need to account for.
Great to see how Adele keeps changing with the times and remains 1 step ahead. I’m also thinking of online courses so this was particularly interesting. Thanks to you both!
That sounds like a perfect move for you, Alison.
Inspiring!!!! Thanks Adele. Struggling with the gallery approach as well. Thanks for giving permission to take responsibility for pricing art without feeling pressure from galleries.
Georgesse: It’s funny how we think we need that kind of permission, but many of us are still trying to get used to new rules / no rules.
Hi Alison, talk about when the student is ready, I am a note taker so during the whole Pod Cast copious notes taken to go back and review. Just the best hour spent tonight. My art business like most need to change to all the current market conditions, so true and for the past two years I have been very active painting, and really taking my painting to a higher level. My emphasis has not been totally on sales but I gave myself permission to focus on my creative process and further develop my skills. So your group and my FASO are my two key learning centers of excellence. I will be working with Dave on my marketing areas and tonight just learning about your new Art Biz Success group and want to learn more. I learned a lot tonight from Adele’s experience with teaching art, I too teach oil painting workshops and greatly enjoy, however did not consider U Tube videos on teaching, wow so great an idea. So tonight ‘s study will go a long way in helping me sort out some key new opportunities and greatly enjoyed listening to both of you. I will also check out ur new program too. Thanks again for your pod cast, have a great rest of your week. Best wishes, Jimmy Springett wildlife painter
Jimmy: This is so great to hear. I’m beyond thrilled that you thought it was a good use of your time. And that you took notes! Do check us out: https://artbizsuccess.com/acss We’d love to have you!
This was so thoroughly enjoyable to listen to – thank you so much both of you for being so open and sharing with your experiences and of course the numbers. Very helpful.
I was really encouraged to hear Adele sharing her experiences, particularly her persistent attitude in challenging times and her enthusiasm for what is new and calling her in the times ahead, and following her excitement wherever it leads and blending it with the excitement for learning – and I agree with how creative and fun business is especially when it’s for your own art!
You are both beautiful people who sound like you brighten the world around you. All the best to you both!
Hi Julia, I love having this opportunity to share with other artists what has worked and what hasn’t worked. Glad to hear that you enjoy the business side too. Not many artists do. Best of luck to you.
Awww. Thanks for listening, Julia! 😍
Hi Alyson, thanks for this invaluable interview! I discovered Adele recently-like her creative biz ideas and looking for new &innovative ways to reach wider audience for our art. It was very helpful & encouraging for me. I am at the point of my art career when I want to make more income from selling my art directly from me. A year ago I moved back to my country after spending last 30+ years living&teaching art abroad (Singapore, China, Japan, Serbia, Montenegro).I always put more emphasis on having solo shows and improving my art-income was never an issue because I was teaching&had a steady income.Then a year ago I moved back to my home country. My situation has changed: I realized that I am virtually unknown in my country-so who is going to buy my art?Art market here is small and closed for newcomers. My last show (in September)was successful in terms of art quality/comments, but I sold 1 painting (which was enough for traveling to Greece for a week!). I realized I had to do something new, bold, biz like-action!! So, at 69 I am working on my new website, have Instagram/Pinterest profile and still sell my small art at etsy.com/shop/majdazorko (which I am planning to close and sell my art directly from my web). I still have your book ‘I’d rather be in the studio’ which I bought in 2013 when I was living in Singapore.
Thanks for this podcast interview,
your biz advice will surely help me in the future.
Kind regards, Majda
Majda: Way to take charge! If the market is small and closed, make your own. I love it!
And I’m super happy that IRBITS continues to be helpful.
Another great podcast Alyson…and thank you Adele for sharing your experience! It is so helpful for those of us trying to narrow our focus and make sense of our individual art businesses. Face to face interaction at outdoor art shows has been my focus over the past two years, and I absolutely LOVE talking about my work as it resonates with a new collector. This is a key component missing when selling through galleries.
Lisa: How great that you realize this. Many artists find out that it’s much easier for them to sell their art when they’re there in person.
How many pieces of art did she take to Round Top for 2 weeks sales?
Hi Debbie, my booth at Round Top is quite large. I was able to bring about 40 pieces of original work, some really large (5×7’) and some small. In addition, I had over 200 prints. One of the great things about showing outside of a gallery is that I can create whatever I want and show it. For example, I also had sculptures and photographs. The freedom is wonderful.
What an inspirational podcast. Thanks so much, Alyson!
Thanks for listening, Lynn.
Wonderful! I love both of you!
Adele, I love your videos. Your energy is contagious and your ideas are creative. You’re doing the right thing.
Thank you both.
Love you right back, Geri! Thanks for listening.
Now that Podcast by Adele was very, very inspiring. It got me thinking about things that I have done that can contribute to expanding my artistic passion and will not pull me away from what I love to do, my art. Thank you Allison and Adele!
Hi, Patrice. I’m so happy this resonated with you.