Are you intimidated by successful artists? : You are not alone…

Many many moons ago, when we were young, footloose and fancy free, before the kids/mortgage reality check, me and my bloke used to spend all our time {and money} going to see live bands.

One evening found us in a smoky jazz club in the heart of Leeds in the North of England watching a particularly virtuoso band rattling through some jazz-funk numbers.

I have to point out now that my bloke plays jazz funk bass [which is pretty complex] and he’s no slouch. He’s good enough to play in 4 bands one of which is semi professional and he actually gets paid for, pretty good going as any musician will tell you. As bassists go he’s pretty damn good {I know I’m biased ;-)}

Introducing… THE GOD OF BASS!

 

Well the bassist in the band we were watching that night was amazingly incredible. Combining perfect technique with awesome coolness that exuded from his every pore, he OWNED the stage, blowing the audience away with his funky vibes and stage presence.

I started to notice my other half slumping lower and lower in his seat and staring miserably into his beer. I squeezed his hand. “Are you OK?”

He gestured weakly in the direction of the GOD OF BASS onstage.

“Look at that guy. He’s amazing!!!. Just listen to him!. I’ll never be that good even if I practice 24 hours a day for the rest of my life! Bloody Hell!!”

And so a phrase was coined…

To be “BLOODY HELLED” – To be so intimidated by the god like majesty of another artist that you believe your work is the worst thing on the planet and just give up there and then.

My bloke stopped practising and even for a while seemed to stop enjoying playing so much. I suspect that whenever he picked up his instrument, all he could see in his head was the GOD OF BASS pointing at him and laughing.

The fragile confidence of the artist.

 

As artists it’s INCREDIBLY EASY to be “bloody helled”

We have to put the inner workings of our hearts, soul and mind out in our work for everyone to see, which puts us in a very vulnerable position. We therefore tend to have fragile ego’s and low levels of confidence in our own abilities. It’s very easy for this confidence to be shattered either by negative criticism {which people LOVE to do} or by judging ourselves unfairly against the abilities of others… and we always judge ourselves too harshly.

At it’s worst, this harsh judgement can actually prevent us moving forward in our career and making the most of the opportunities that are presented. At it’s best it just makes us feel really crap about what we do…

Everyone else is NOT a Picasso

 

When I was an art student I went for interviews for art courses and whilst waiting with the other interviewees I was convinced that the contents of their black art portfolios were probably on a par with Picasso whilst mine contained only badly drawn student life drawings.

I went into the interviews with such an incredibly negative and apologetic attitude to my own work that I’m surprised anyone offered me a place. It was only years later, when the boot was on the other foot and I was working in an art college looking at students portfolios that I saw the incredibly varied quality range of applicants. Amazingly they weren’t all Picassos! Who’d a thought it!

I had been “BLOODY HELLED”

Whilst working as a designer there were many jobs I would have loved to apply for but didn’t dare as I imagined the interviewers looking at my portfolio and and pointing at me and laughing me out of the building. Again, it was only when I later ended up interviewing designers applying for a job in the place that I worked and saw their portfolios that I realised they weren’t all brilliant designers and I really should have taken some of those opportunities.

Bloody Helled” again. Damn!

Remember… You are FAR FAR better than you give yourself credit for…

 

So how can you stop being BLOODY HELLED and have the confidence to move ahead and grasp some of the opportunities that are out there?

  • First of all you have to realise that there will always be artists better or worse than you. IT REALLY DOESNT MATTER. YOUR work is what matters. Be happy and enjoy and cherish it.
  • You also have to realise that your brain will generally always talk you down and you are far better than you think you are.

Ignore the negative inner voices.

 

Realise that your own brain is a bit of a traitor and will disparage you and your work at any opportunity with negative self talk. You know what brains are like…

You can’t paint… you will never be as good as X… your mum was right you know, you will never be a “proper” artist… X has so many more collectors than you, no one likes your work… etc etc etc ad infinitum.

Sound familiar?

There are many techniques that you can use to combat the natural negativity of your own brain.

My favourite one is a bit of NLP {Neuro Linguistic Programming} which works wonders in stopping your brains negative talk undermining your confidence.

Next time you get BLOODY HELLED and you get the negative inner voice telling you “ you will never be that good!” here’s what to do.

  • Listen to the inner voice {for the last time} Is it your voice or someone else’s? Get a clear picture.
  • Now that you know whose voice it is, you can control it.
  • In your head, change the voice. Try giving it a comedy voice like Homer Simpson or Daffy Duck. Make it sound like it has inhaled helium or slow it down to a standstill. Remember, you control the voice now.
  • Can you take the voice and its sill negativity seriously now? No.
  • If it’s STILL undermining you, imagine the voice out of your head and into a little bubble. In your imagination, place the bubble with the voice in on the floor in front of you.
  • Let it sit there whinging and undermining for a few seconds. Then STOMP on it and pop it! Imagine the satisfying “POP” {or “squelch” if you’re a bit more sadistic}and then the blissful silence. Hooray.

Every time you look at another artists work and feel self doubt just repeat the steps above to stop the mental tyrant of your brain undermining you.

You are SO much better than you think you are…

 

So the important thing with all this is to recognise when you are being “bloody helled” and stop it in it’s tracks. Give yourself some credit and stop that negative self talk. That way you will never be “bloody helled” again.

Are you easily “bloody helled”? Share with us in the comments.

 

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How to add Facebook “Like” Buttons to your Art Website

A guest post from artist and web designer Paul Watson.

Adding Facebook “Like” buttons to your art website is a great way to encourage visitors to spread the word about your artwork to their friends, increasing your potential market.

When a visitor clicks a “Like” button on a page of your site, it will appear in that visitor’s Facebook News Stream, visible to their Facebook friends. This is a great way to enable the easy sharing of links to pages within your site.

The Basics

If your website uses third-party software such as WordPress or Joomla then the easiest way to add Facebook ”Like” buttons is to install a plugin/extension from the official repositories. There are many different ones that provide this functionality, so you can choose one that suits you (please feel free to recommend your favourites in the comments!).

If you’ve built your website yourself then it’s still very easy to add the basic “Like” buttons – here’s how:

1. Go to http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like

2. Use the “Get Like Button Code” generator to create the button code

3. Copy and paste the code generated onto the corresponding page of your site.

The “Get Like Button Code” generator actually produces two versions of the code: the “iframe” version and the “XFBML” version. The XFBML version requires that you install Facebook’s JavaScript SDK (Software Development Kit) on your site, so unless you’re experienced with JavaScript then use the “iframe” version as this can simply be pasted into your own HTML.

Keeping Track: Statistics

Now you could check every page of your site regularly to see how many people have “Liked” each page, but it’s far easier to let Facebook do the hard work for you.

If you go to http://www.facebook.com/insights/ and click the green “Insights for your Website” button then Facebook will provide you with a single line of HTML that you need to add to the root page of your domain (the root page is the page a visitor sees if they go to www.your-domain.com).

Once this is in place Facebook knows that you own that domain, and will give you access (at http://www.facebook.com/insights/) to details of “Likes” and “Shares” of pages from your site, details of the most popular pages, and some basic demographics of the people who have Liked your pages.

Quite rightly Facebook anonymizes this data – you can’t see who liked your pages, but you can see the age-ranges, countries, and gender distribution of your potential customers, and which are the most shared/liked pages.

Going Further

Once you’ve mastered this you might want to start using Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol – this gives you even more control over what Facebook displays in the news feed of someone who’s liked or shared one of your pages.

You can read more about the Open Graph Protocol at http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/


About the Author of this Post

paul watsonPaul Watson is an artist from Brighton, England, working in a variety of media, from assemblage and collage to print-making, drawing, artists books, and photography.

He has also been working as a Web Developer/Designer since the late 1990s, and for the past six years he has worked as the Manager of the Web & e-Marketing team for an international academic publishing company.

Paul’s main website – The Lazarus Corporation:  – displays his artwork as well as the work of a number of other artists.

You can also find him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lazcorp.

 

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Could you publish or license your art? : Experienced artist Jan Weiss flips open her brain

Guest post from Jan Weiss who has 15 years of experience licensing her art.

In the art business or when I meet artists and tell them I am a published artist, I typically end up with a load of questions and they ask to “pick my brain”. So over coffee I lay the groundwork; an overview of publishing and licensing and how to get found in a sea of artists all wanting the same thing.

I have been in this business for over fifteen years with experience in publishing, wholesale and retail sales, ecommerce and licensing; in addition I blog regularly about artists – especially emerging artists as I feel they need the most exposure right off the bat.

The questions I receive generally fall into these categories:

• What is publishing and licensing?
• Is there much money?
• How can I get posters made of my art?
• What are the latest trends?
• Do you think my art is publishable?
• How can I get noticed?

I’m going to review all of these questions and give you a simple straightforward – and honest answer to each of these questions.

What is publishing and licensing?

Publishing and licensing is about making your art available for derivative products. Art publishing is about turning your art into a poster or limited edition art print. You can publish them yourself by working directly with a printer or licensing your images to a publisher who will pay all the up front costs including printing and marketing and pay you a royalty on the sales of the print; usually 10 to 15%.

Licensing your images to a product manufacturer is another way of earning royalties from your creations. These images may be licensed for product such as textiles, table-top, home accessories and apparel. The manufacturer pays you or your agent/ publisher a royalty and you receive a percentage of that royalty.

Is there much money?

There can be. I have known some artists who earn $75,000 to a $100,000 a year but they are the rare ones. Royalty payments generally run $200 to $1000 a month and if there is an order for a high volume sale you may go much higher than that. Truthfully – most artists have other jobs to supplement their art income.

How can I get posters made of my art?

You can have posters made of your art through online sources such as Imagekind.com, Fineworks.com or Artistrising.com. Artists do not go through an approval process for Imagekind and Finerworks – you simply upload your high res file and pick a size for the art.

You or any customer can go through these sites and purchase your art and you will receive a royalty. Artistrising.com requires an approval process so be patient. It is up to you to market your work for on-line publishing sites such as these so be persistent. Post on Facebook, Twitter, blog about it and include it in newsletters.

What are the latest trends?

I use catalogues such as CB2, West Elm and Crate and Barrel for trend inspiration, and it is well worth your time to read design blogs. A complete list is on my site, The Art Planet – just scroll down the left navigation bar; these sites are filled with inspiration, ideas and design trends.

Do you think my art is publishable?

This question is the hardest and requires direct and sincere answers. The fact is – not everyone who wants to be an artist has the talent to get there-be objective and proceed with caution. Ask yourself if your work is unique and original or is simply an interpretation of the hottest trend so it will sell because right now everyone wants that look?

Have you had professional instruction? Learning from professional artists is worth every dollar spent. These people have their experience to share and will teach and instruct in styles and techniques that you may have no experience with yourself; benefit from the knowledge of others. I have had many people tell me they are self-taught and display this as a badge of honor but what publishers really want is someone with a firm grasp in techniques and execution – skills taught in the classes and workshops.

How can I get noticed?

And finally we come to social networking – one of my favorite subjects. This subject cannot be understated – it is truly essential and imperative that you do this…daily.

Take advantage of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Google, Orkut, Digg, Delicious, Kaboodle and many many others. When you upload a new poster or add products to your Etsy site or Zazzle site tell people about. The best art in the world will never be found unless consumers and art lovers are allowed to see it through the art of social networking.

Start a blog and upload your work; share your inspiration for the piece and medium and price. Blogger offers a very easy, intuitive free blog site. The more sites you post on the more your name will show up in search engine marketing and the better chance you have of being discovered.

Creating art is like using your muscles – you must create continually. Be inspired by others, learn from others and build upon your experience to become a brand on all your own.

© 2011 Jan Weiss

Artist Bio – Jan Weiss

Jan Weiss, a northern California native is a freelance writer and artist specializing in home decor. With a strong background in art publishing and art trends, Jan shares this knowledge with the trade as well as individual artists.

Weiss has just completed her first eBook for artists, titled: The Coexistence of Art and Money; interested buyers can find this book as well as her art through several on-line galleries such as Artist Rising, Image Kind and Etsy.  Jan’s style is a mixed of collage, digital creations and abstract landscapes that will appeal to the hospitality buyer. She lives with her husband, cat and dog in the Bay Area and enjoys organic gardening, cooking, reading and making stuff.

You can find Jan at
www.theartplanet.com
www.etsy.co

 

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Best of the web | February 2011 | Don’t miss these

Be Happy – The meaning of life

This little video is just gorgeous – Nothing more to say!

Have you ever wondered about Art Licensing?

Artist Tara Reed has a great blog where she has a LOT of information about the ins and outs of art Licensing. This post What’s Your Art Licensing Story? where artists share their own stories about how and why they started in the art licensing world is particularly useful.

Facebook Promotions: What You Need to Know

If you admin a Facebook page about your art it used to be extremely easy to fall foul of Facebook’s promotion rules. They have relaxed a lot in the last few months but its a good idea to know exactly what you can do rather than run the risk of getting your page banned. This page by Facebook queen Mari Smith explains the ins and outs of Facebook promotion

What does the near future of the gallery system look like?

Brian Sherwin {who knows a lot about galleries} talks about what the future holds and why the news is good for self representing artists.

You Can’t Do That: Galleries, Agencies, and Online Art Sales

“If you really want to be in control of your art sales, if you really want to control your life and your career and your time – you need to take the time to make your online presence as good as possible”.

A great post about taking control by The Abundant Artist

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