Popular Section: Marketing Your Art

Weekly smARTips: Are You Sabotaging Your Success?

Bridge the gap between making art and making a living,

… one tip at a time

are_you_sabotaging_Your_Own_Success

Your smARTip for the week:

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Are You Sabotaging Your Success?
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For years I thought my to-do list was the measure of success in any one day, or at any one point in time. (I confess, I had a very limited idea of what success was!)

Check off something on the list, and I was positively giddy.

Like any “fix,” it lasted a millisecond and then I was looking for the next item on the list, getting geared up for the next check mark.

My to-do list was losing its effectiveness as a simple tool and becoming

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Weekly smARTips: Your Originals Carry One Heavy Load

smARTip_Your Originals Carry One Heavy Load

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This week’s smARTip:
Your Originals Carry One Heavy Load
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I don’t know if you’ve ever performed on stage, in a play, a leading role where you were in every scene and interacted with almost every player.

If you’ve never been there, done that, it might seem romantic or thrilling – all that attention focused on you.

That was never the case for me, even though I loved the entire process of acting in a theater. I loved finding a voice, character, body language that wasn’t “me.” It was a toot!

If only I didn’t have to do it center stage, it would have been perfect.

The load of all that

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Competition + The Arts = (fill in the blank)

competition and the arts

I don’t know why this idea persists that competition and the arts are odd bed sisters. But it does.

I know that for years, competition had so much sport’s testosterone slathered over it that I cringed just to hear the word.

Then one time, when I made sure I got to a local potter’s studio right when she opened (I had a hankering for this lovely, tiny bowl that was actually a small nesting bird), my friends who were meeting me there “accused” me of being highly competitive because I got the bowl and about 3 other items that simply called to me.

Well, blown me down! If you never!

If I’d been asked to list ten-thousand adjectives about myself,  competitive would have never showed up.

I didn’t play sports. Didn’t enter contests. Never felt elated when I got a better test score than someone else, or a better grade in school.

And yet, there I was clearly getting a head start so I’d have first dibs at the potter’s studio.

Of course, that time the competitive label came with a derogatory implication that somehow what I’d done was unfriendly. I remember the sting of feeling emotionally ostracized the rest of the day – but not to the point of giving up my bird bowl!

In re-imagining this distant past, I realize I also had another emotion that…

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Art Consultants: Are They Part of Your Mix?

gormanFor a lot of you, Geoffrey Gorman needs no introduction. Besides co-hosting the Art Career Mentor Program with me, Geoffrey has a long history of coaching other artists (but, alas, no more as he’s now devoted to full time art making!)

Over the years, Geoffrey has learned a thing or two about art consultants and agreed to share his latest outreach here on the smARTist Career Blog.

Without further ado, hereeeeeeeeeee’s Geoffrey!

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Do You Know What An “Artist Statement” Is?

One of the most confusing aspects of an artist statement is deciding what it is.

When I asked painter, Bob McMurray, if he had an old artist statement we could compare to the one he had just written, he said, “Not really. I wrote some things for a web site, but it’s not an artist statement. I’ve been thinking about writing one for ages, so I was primed and ready to go when I got your book.”

Imagine my surprise, when I finally surfed over, to find a perfectly coherent artist statement on the site. True, a few touch-ups and a stronger central theme would be a plus; and, what he had worked. So, why was this clear to me…

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The Lingo. Ringo. Bingo. of Social Media

When I first heard the words “social media,” I had 3 years of the smARTist Telesummit under my belt, had sold thousands of copies of my Writing The Artist Statement book, and coached dozens of private artist clients.

I barely had time to brush my teeth, much less prance around a “social” site with old high school classmates-who never gave me the time of day, way-back-when, in the first place.

I admit to a glop of self-righteousness:  I (oh, no, not I) wasn’t going to fall for this latest Internet hula hoop. I was going to stay focused on the business of serving artists. (See me, with my nose in the air?)

Then, marketing guru Adam Urbanski held a series of…

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Let there be light!

Years ago I became aware of how many times, upon meeting me for the first time, someone would ask, “Are you an artist?”

Now, let me be clear. I don’t flaunt orange hair and nose piercings. I don’t even wear flamboyant, artsy clothes. (Pretty, yes. Sometimes beautiful, yes. Just not what I would call “artsy,” which conjures up, in my mind, gorgeous handmade yummies.) And I certainly don’t turn up in torn jeans with paint all over them.

Nevertheless, that question – Are you an artist? – seems to travel everywhere I do. And it always makes me…

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The Power of Black

NOTE: This post, for those of you keeping up, is a re-post from last year. Why? Because, the problem isn’t going away and I’m the drumbeat in the lost artist jungle….

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Artists love black. Love, love, love it. It has class. It engages. It draws you in.

Black is classy. It fairly screams “high end.” It dominates and holds our attention. Let’s face it: black has power.

And for years and years and years it has been the color of choice to lay the crown jewels on, as the backdrop for a brochure, in framing… the list goes on.

But let me tell you the one place where everything black does, and stands for, works completely against you.

And against your…

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Inside a barrel or watching the waves crash in?

Taking the month of August off, like they do in Europe, has totally changed my idea of “context.” Suddenly things I wasn’t even aware of are popping into view.

Like posts that are ready to come back around for a second reading.
From now until I return in Sept, I’ll be dishing up yummy leftovers.

Enjoy!

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Once upon a time, an artist I was working with spent a long time priming and polishing her artist statement for a very serious studio exhibition she was planning in Boston.

She had been working for over a year on a series of oil paintings that had taken her in new directions, and she was attending to every detail of the exhibit with loving care.

Her large, abstract work was engaging on its own. But when you got a chance to read about her process and her thoughts as she painted, the work took on an even larger presence.

Part of my job was to coach her on how to present her artist statement so it reflected the same attention to detail that her art did.

But, as the saying goes…you can lead a horse to water…

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Brave New Art World: Part 3

I was surprised last week by how lackluster everyone felt toward Art.sy. (I’d say “shhhh….” only I don’t think anyone’s listening ;-) And really, really excited by the depth of all of your comments.

Finding truly innovative ways to show and sell art, even with the explosion of online possibilities, seems as if the Holy Grail of the art world is never fully coming into view—a sense that something, as yet unimaginable, is forming beyond the mist.

Could Suzanna Gratz be about to change all that?

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Confidence Part 5: How Naked is Your Public Confidence?

How much is genuine confidence, as opposed to overblown bravado, tied into your ability to be real, to be authentic with the people who want to know more about you and your art?

We humans have amazing internal radar that picks up bs automatically. It’s a survival instinct, where knowing what’s real and what’s not has always been crucial.

We also have some equally amazing internal barricades that can rewrite our first, instinctual responses and kick us upstairs into the more civilized Brain Override Lounge.

Sometimes this is a good idea, when our instinctual response is actually triggered by an old pattern that no longer makes any sense. Other times it’s a form of personal delusion, when facing something authentically is going to ask more of us than we feel up to.

Either way, the people around us will…

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Are You On Pinterest Yet?

I’m inside the smARTist Telesummit Community Forum tonight reading more of the exciting, informative posts from this year’s conference participants. Each year, this Forum brings me thought provoking resources, and 2012 has been no different.

Artists were counseling each other with idea brainstorming, reflecting on artist statements, talking about the value of art, discussing marketing ideas, print sale options for artists, vanity galleries, and so much more it would take hours to catalog.

But there was one thing in particular that caught my fancy…

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Exposure. Exposure. Exposure

Branding your artwork is like washing dishes: it never ends!

And exposure is the only way your branding can make an impact.

There are two levels of branding exposure you need to leverage for your art:
Free and Paid.

Both are important and both…

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SOFA, Red Dots, and Artist Statements

Geoffrey Gorman's "Creatures of Curiosity"

I spent a grand spring day at SOFA NY (it poured!), hobnobbing around with Geoffrey Gorman, attending a lecture by Michael Petry, the director of MOCA London on his new book The Art of Not Making, and touring all the gorgeous artwork in the two dozen gallery booths. This was a high end New York show with a clientele to match.

But for the life of me, I couldn’t keep my coaching hat off (drives my family nuts too). It was the very first booth I stepped into–because there were these stunning glass sculptures of Martin Rosol’s that simply took my breath away; I loved the clean, geometric lines, just my cup of tea–and of course I wanted to…

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New York City Art Fair-Is It Right For Your Art?

I have a lot of material in my smARTist library, but until this  year, Art Fairs were not high on my list.

All that changed when I met Richard Rothbard – artist, gallery owner, and art fair producer – at a CODA conference in Savannah, GA, where I was speaking this last spring.

Besides hosting CODA Conference attendees at his Savannah Gallery, Richard treated me to a very non-Southern meal of fantastic sushi and brought me on board for his Contemporary Art Fair NYC, a sister show to his American Craft Fair NYC.

I was fascinated by Richard’s enthusiasm for bringing artists to NYC at a price they could afford – since most high-end venue Art Fairs are truly exorbitant. But more than that, it occurred to me that Richard was carrying around a wealth of information on Art Fairs.

I realized, in short order, that no one had thought to…

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