Popular Section: Selling 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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A Geometry Lesson for Selling Your Art

If you’ve been following my latest smARTips, I’ve been making the case that no side of the Art-Selling Equilateral Triangle can be left out.you_yourart_youraudience3

When learning how to sell your art successfully, there are 3 sides to consider equally.

1 -> You
2 -> Your Art
3 -> Your Audience

In experiential reality, of course, these three sides are always intertwined. We tease them out to make a point (or a few points).

What’s important here is that it’s the alignment…

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Stories From the “Sell My Art Diary”

dear diary_Stories From the Sell My Art Diary

Here’s my favorite “selling art” story, from one of my private clients. I’ll call her Marlene.

When Marlene first came to me, she was a prolific painter with a gaggle of galleries swirling about her, and sales pouring in the front door—all at the point our economy was thrashing about.

Her artistic fingerprint was undeniable. Her website needed some cleaning up, but most of her art career house was in pretty good order (though I can always find ways to dust and organize if you let me :-)

What was bugging Marlene the most was unease around her gallery relationships and wanting a way to understand who to say yes to and who to say no to (and why).

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My “Hate to Sell” Turnaround

My Hate to Sell Turnaround - to sell or not to sell

When I was fourteen and starting my first business (designing biz cards and a brochure made me life-long friends with the local printer who had never had a teen for a customer before), I loved selling.

And my customers loved buying.

I understood that what I was offering was needed and wanted and appreciated. And that being paid made me

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The Love/Hate of Buy/Sell

The LoveHate of BuySell

We love to buy, but hate being sold to.

We want to buy, but somewhere in our hearts lives a suspicion that “they” are out to sell us a tonic of watered-down beetle juice.

The manipulative salesman or charlatan palm reader takes up a lot of space in our buy/sell story.

I get it.

I drank the Love Buy/Hate Sell Kool-aid many times.

So I don’t know why it should surprise me when…

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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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Go Ahead, Bug Them!

True story:Go Ahead Bug Them

Artist Nancy (not her real name) casually told me in a coaching session that one of her collectors had mentioned buying more art for her vacation home.

“When did she tell you this?” I asked.

ummm… about six months ago,” Artist Nancy responded.

“And what have you done to follow up on her comment?”

“Why, nothing,” she said.

“Because…?” I asked.

“Good heavens,” my client said…

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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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Part 1: Art As Spiritual Sanctuary

For a long time now I’ve been intrigued by the many correlations between the visual fine arts and spirituality.

In times past, art was an extension of that uniquely human branch of spirituality: religion. It married the power of vision to the power of institutionalized religion, especially that of the four world super religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Moslem, and Judaism.

A variety of art forms were also core to the traditions and rituals of native cultures – masks, totems, body paint, body adornments, dance, theater, costumes – where spirit was an ever-present reality threaded throughout daily life and initiating or supporting major life transitions, such as birth, death, marriage, life-as-service, and so much more that I can’t even conceive.

When humans shifted the locus of their attention from the tribe, clan, and family–where individuality was invisible under the cloak of the group–to the beginnings of self-awareness.

At this point, the crest of human development used art to pour forth even more testimony to all aspects of the human-as-spirit condition, as envisioned in the private spaces of a single mind and heart, one being at a time.

And with this rise of individuals as aware of self came…

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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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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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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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A Very Short Story About Selling Art

Christine Montague - The Model Visits the Portrait Studio

Well, I guess a more appropriate title would be: An Open Letter With a Short, Short Story Tucked Inside.

This came from an artist, who was attending the smARTist Telesummit 2011, and wrote this forum post to one of the speakers, Jason Horejs.

Notice her progression from Sell my art? You gotta be kidding…

To…., well, here…read it for yourself…

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