Weekly smARTips: Part 1: Who is an artist’s best resource?

Who is an artists best resource part 1

Move your career into high gear… one tip at a time!

Your smARTip for this week:

Part 1: Who is an artist’s best resource? 

This week’s smARTip:
Who is an artist’s best resource?

As far as I can tell, artists can never have too many resources to help them navigate the white water rapids of the art world (can you tell it’s full out summertime over here?).

So when I hear artists ragging on one of their best resources ever, it’s hard for me to sit on my hands.

This may not be a surprise to many of you, but fellow artists are your best resource.

I’ve been beating this drum for years, and it still surprises me when artists respond… negatively to this idea.

I understand that the artists you have already encountered color your experience.

And that the negative responses seem to come from two categories:

1.  Artists as whiners.

I’ve heard this most often from artists who have reached out to local art organizations or artist groups, and leave after endless rounds of complaining about the sad state of affairs for artists. (ick!)

2.  Artists as competitive sharks (seriously!)

This experience seems to come most often when an artist has approached another artist, either for camaraderie or help, and been rebuffed with the very clear signal that it’s one-foot on the ladder, and the other on the hand of any artist climbing up behind.(ouch!)

I’ve also seen, whenever I encourage my private clients to reach out, that your fellow artists often have a great capacity for generosity and heart.

It’s all in what you want (Today’s Part 1) and the approach you take (next week’s Part 2).

Part 1: What do you want from your fellow artists?

I’ve come across two areas where your fellow artists can be most helpful:

1. For passive information

This requires nothing more than you surfing the web, attending openings for artists you admire, and going to artist talks whenever you find one in your area.

You could be….

– mapping the career path of a contemporary, still-alive artist whom you admire (something my private clients have found both inspiring and practical).

– listening for information on technique, or scooping out an artist’s relationship with a particular gallery, which you would like to represent you.

– looking for where you fit, or not, with the contemporary art scene locally, and nationally. Or looking at other artist’s pricing, to get a handle on your own.

– seeing if you can sniff out what is the most recent framing trend. Or what an artist is not doing, that you could be doing—thus increasing your chances for success at any stage of your career.

– looking for novel ways to make money because you are an artist

Gathering this level of information might seem time consuming, but the artist’s I’ve worked with, who have taken the time, have found it invaluable both practically and inspirationally.

Another use for passive information is to prepare you for…

2. Active Information

The key to active information is that it asks you to be visible and available, yourself, and to have some degree of communication finesse because it means you are starting a relationship.

Some of the reasons you might want this are:

–       To find out details about an artist’s career path where passive information gathering is not enough

–       To explore the possibilities for mentorship (either with art production or art career – or both)

–       To create a relationship that might lead to an introduction you’d like to a gallery, or other exhibition venue

–       To have their feedback on a specific gallery, or other venue, some ONE THING about your work (quality level of your work, pricing, etc.)

–       To explore collaboration (on a project, a co-exhibit)

–       Just because you love this artist’s work and want a chance to express this in person


Your smARTist Move of the week: 

Before you connect with other artists, you have to first know your starting point:

This week, make a list of how other artists might be able to help you a) understand something better, b) help move your career forward, and/or c) add another perspective from within their art world that is outside of yours.


Moving into active information mode requires an approach worthy of such an undertaking.

So, next week, look for:

Who is an artist’s best resource? Part ll: Approaching for success.


So, I’ve put together a series of clarifying questions to ask yourself.

Watch your inbox for: 28 Qs to “Clarify Your Vision” 

And if you aren’t on my smARTips list (the only way I can send you the freebies I’m creating every month), you can sign up here.








2 Responses to “Weekly smARTips: Part 1: Who is an artist’s best resource?”

  1. Beatrix Haggard says:

    So much wisdom and quality advice . Seems like now people have just ignored how to be nice or to think before they step on someone’s toes. Thank you very much for reminding us to not impose on an artist.
    Sincere Wishes for your prosperity, Beatrix Haggard

    • Hello Beatrix – welcome! I don’t believe I’ve seen you here before so this is wonderful to have you input.

      Maybe there are some artists you know who would also appreciate this… just send them a link, yes?

      Enjoy the rest of summer… I’m taking off for a couple of weeks of play time!

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