The business of running your art career doesn’t have to be boring

We Need Your Opinion – Enterprising Artist’s Survey

Opportunities for artists have changed radically over the last 10 years or so.

Widespread use of the internet has begun a process of democratisation of the artworld as never before. New opportunities have been tempered by new challenges. It is a huge sea-change which has altered the art landscape forever. More and more artists are finding that it IS possible to make a living from their creativity. You no LONGER have to starve for your art…

What is less clear is that how do we fit into this new landscape as artists?

HOW are people doing? WHAT are they doing? WHERE are they going? Just HOW is it all panning out for YOU?

Introducing The Enterprising Artists Survey.

To get a little more of an idea, Artonomy has partnered with www.rightbrainrockstar.com to create The Enterprising Artists Survey.

Your opinion and experience counts…

We need YOUR EXPERIENCE to understand what is going on.

In return for 10 minutes of your time filling out the survey, you will be emailed the summarized results and get a more detailed picture of today’s entrepreneurial art landscape.

So please help us  by completing the survey here

Thank You

Artonomy & Right Brain Rockstar

 

 

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The Japanese Secret That Will Help You Achieve Your Creative Goals.

Do you ever feel just OVERWHELMED by what you are trying to achieve?

I’m currently trying to learn a new and complex creative skill which will take my art in a radically different direction over the next few years. At the moment I am in “depressing beginners phase” where each piece of work is “wrong” in some way, knowledge is guarded and hard to find and it feels like I will never be able to climb the precipitous learning curve to achieve the sweet upper slopes of mastery before retirement age. Great!

However, one thought keeps me going. The Japanese concept of KAIZEN or “continuous improvement”.

Kaizen – 改善

Kaizen – Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better” refers to philosophy or manufacturing practices that focus upon a continuous, never ending commitment to consistently increase the quality of products in every aspect of the business – every single day.
 

Sounds pretty dry and business oriented eh? But basically it means “getting better at stuff every day and not stopping getting better at stuff every day”

Well, that’s my take on it and Kaizen is not just for business. It is important in all aspects of life…

If you have heard of Kaizen before, like me you may have thought that it was originally an age old Japanese concept. Well interestingly, I just discovered that Kaizen was actually introduced to the Japanese by an American quality-control expert called Dr W Edwards Deming. He was brought to Japan after the second world war to try and help rebuild the war ravaged industry of the country. After the war, inflation, shortages and unemployment in all areas of Japan seemed overwhelming but by introducting the concept of Kaizen and continuous improvement every day, the Japanese people were able to overcome seemingly insurmountable problems to pull themselves out of the mire and become economically prosperous in a relatively short space of time.

Kaizen, creativity and your big plan…

When creating, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the scale of a task.

  • Perhaps you want to create monumental sculptures.
  • Maybe you want to create art works with collaboration on a global scale.
  • Possibly you want to learn a new and difficult creative skill.
  • Maybe you want to earn a living from your art in the next few years.

Whatever your big plan, utilizing Kaizen in your beliefs will help you achieve it.

In order to succeed you must have a long term focus. The beliefs you hold control your decisions and therefore your future. If you can hold on to the belief that you can constantly improve every day, each step forward takes you nearer your goal.

Persistance, trial and error and the zillions of tiny improvements you make along the way are what success is built on in the end.

Monitor your progress

At the end of each day, in order to monitor progress, ask yourself three questions…

  • What did I learn today?
  • What did I enjoy?
  • What/where/how did I improve?

The answers will allow you to take charge of your progress and to enjoy the fact that you are constantly moving forward, even when it seems little progress is being made. You will get there in the end.

I will leave the final word to my hero Thomas Edison

“I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”

 

Have you used Kaizen to improve your work or achieve a goal? Do you think it will work for you? Let us know in the comments.

Post image by Nimbu under creative commons licence

 

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Art Within Economic Boundaries | Does money matter to artistic energy?

I belong to a local art group that consists of art represented by the five different districts in our county. Artists are invited to participate by featuring their work in gallery shows, submitting to an online user gallery or featuring their work in a newsletter.

When we post a call to art I have noticed that many of the artists that submit are from communities within the county that would be considered middle or lower income while the upper income communities routinely submit almost nothing.  I’ve discussed with this with a few others and we all ask, “Why is that?  Why does there seem to be more artistic energy in struggling communities and less so in areas with little economic struggle?”

Is art more inspired when there is struggle?

Is art more inspired when there is struggle? Is art more inspired when there is less money in schools, neighborhoods, city organizations or churches? What opportunities are different in wealthier regions that seem to suppress artistic creativity? And if artistic creativity is suppressed then what is not suppressed? What replaces artistic expression? What is encouraged?

I have spent time in each type of community. I have seen the décor in the homes of those with less money and those with an abundance of money. The homes with less money seem to express more personal style, a creative reuse of material and an appreciation for things that are gently used. Homes with more money have decorators; style is developed through high end retail sites. I do not see as much personal style in these homes, including the art that hangs on the walls. In fact the homes of those on the lower income scale follow trends less than the high wage earners. For example the Old World Tuscan look that has been over-saturated in our retails shops, architectural styles, fabrics and paint colors is expressed quite often in wealthier communities. Many home developments are designed in Old World Tuscan with the complementing floor tiles, fresco-like textures on walls and ubiquitous vineyard wall décor. I rarely, if ever, see this decorating style in the other communities.

What makes one economic group suppress individual style to follow the crowd while another one with less means is so much more willing to push the envelope?

Have you seen the dearth of galleries in upper middle class suburban towns? Have you seen the number of small galleries in urban communities that dot nearly every block? Do urban communities value self-expression more than the suburbs? What draws people to one or the other?

This is merely an observation that lends itself to so many questions. I think this should be invites a conversation about how to open up artistic expression in all communities so that ideas, energy, creation and talent can be shared.

What does this mean for artists? Have you noticed similar in your community? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.

 

Copyright 2012 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
You can buy Jan’s beautiful work here

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Are you a “Real Artist” If You Have A Day Job?

How do you define being a “successful artist”?

Many artists definition of success rest solely on being able to support themselves entirely from their artistic endeavours without having to do any other work to make ends meet.

However, is this a realistic view of success?

The majority of artists will, in reality, have other work too as part of the rich pattern of their everyday life…

This, contrary to what some people say is NO BAD THING!

The truth is, successful artists often have lots of strings to their bow

Just because you have another job doesnt mean you are not a “real ” or successful artist. In fact, working in other areas separate from your art can have distinct advantages…

  • Having a defined and confined time for you creative work can focus your art and make you achieve more in the shorter space of time that you have to work in. Faced with unlimited time it’s easy to take your eye off the ball and lose focus.
  • >

  • Our economy is changing {see my recent post – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised} In this new and shifting economic landscape, having multiple income streams is a very important survival strategy which will enable you to surf the vagueries of the art market.

  • If you are combining raising a family with your art, you may not be able to spend 100% of your time creating but may be able to find a balance which works for you.

  • Your “day job” may provide inspiration which feeds into your art and helps to fire your creativity.

We really need to change and widen the definition of SUCCESS in the art world…

The down side…

As in all things there can be a down side…

The common problem with other strands of work, comes when the “day job” takes over and hurts your creative energy leaving you too tired to do anything else.

Many years ago, when I worked in advertising agencies, my job was pretty creative but I was expected to start at 8am and leave at 8pm or later – After a sweaty commute on a crowded tube I had barely enough energy left to eat, let alone create. Life was pared down to a bleak cycle of getup-commute-work-commute-eat-sleep. In that situation it is really easy to make yourself ill by trying to draw out more energy than is “in the bank”

Like everything, it is important to find the balance between work and art which is sustainable and right for you. This can take a long time to get right.

If you are struggling with this balance at the moment, keep taking small steps to getting yourself into the right situation and position. Don’t give up. Creating may be difficult at the moment but if you keep fighting for it you will get there in the end…

Artists on Twitter say…

I wanted to find out how artists combine the spheres of work and creativity so I threw the question open to my friends on Twitter. The replies that I received were positive proof of the fact that it is possible and also very normal to be a “real artist” and juggle other commitments and income streams too.

Many many thanks to everyone who replied. I hope you find their thoughts enlightening and reassuring.

My question…

Artists. Do you have a “day job” too? Please tell me what u do. Do you love or loathe it? Does it help or hinder yr art? For a post..

And the answers from artists around the world…

 

For 3 days a week I work as a research consultant on education/technology projects – the geekiness offsets/informs my art 🙂

@iamcreative

http://letcreativitybegin.co.uk

 

I’m studying an MA in Art, and find it difficult to find work alongside this. I’m freelancing for a website and doing bar work.

@MelanieK__

 

I have a day job as mgr at an accessories boutique. I love it but it eats up a lot of time. I do all the creative stuff there

Himself & I share studio space in our petite apt. It gets messy….

@mizelissa

http://msalzmanart.wordpress.com/

 

I do, I work in Human Resoures, don’t love it, it helps financially but hinders taking time away from creativity

@pulpsushi
http://www.pulpsushi.com

 

I used to be a software engineer manager. It consumed my life and made me sick after too many long hours. Almost no art made.

@violentbloom

www.trollop.com

 

Programming || depends on the day – a zen-ish like is the average || ++ discipline, supplies$, – steals time to work

@babaheath

http://www.windyhilldesign.org/theheathergarden/

 

Hey. Got a day job. LOATHE it. Totally. Work in accounting. Go figure.

@thefadderly
http://fadderly.blogspot.com/

 

Other job: web designer. Sort of a neutral effect on my art; doesn’t take away creativity, but doesn’t contribute either.

@smlacy

http://smlacyart.com/

 

Hi Helen, working as a pt teaching assistant + artist gives security of regular £s + people to talk to 🙂

@JaneCarlisleArt

http://www.braemoor.co.uk/ajc/

 

My day job is tattooing. It helps. And yes, I love it!

@justteejay
http://www.whitetigertattoo.com

 

Policy Writing pays the bills and buys my art/photography supplies!

@AkrotiriArt

http://www.redbubble.com/people/akrotiri

 

Art is my day job, and I fully expect to be paid accordingly for this. Still waiting for the world to realise this!!!

@Blackbird1976

http://www.helendblackbird.co.uk

 

Web strategy/editing. Like it. Hinders only b/c it takes most of my day. I steal time to write. Early am, train, late night…

@petercrowell

http://www.lifeismaking.com/

 

It helps…. IF I make the choice to let it be a steppingstone rather than a stumbling block.

@zahndrew

www.zahndrew.com

 

My ‘day job’ is tattooing, I love it and I think they help each other.

@BiueStarr

http://www.blue-starr.com

 

I work for the FAA as an electronics technician. I love it but it does hurt my art and energies because it’s often like 2 jobs

@parachutepromis

http://www.parachutepromise.com

 

I’m an art teacher for a secondary school.. I love it. I feel like it encourages my own creativity! I do get tired, though…

@ArtistThink

http://www.artistthink.com

 

I hope you find these artists inspirational. They are absolutely REAL ARTISTS finding their own balance.

Do you work alongside your art? Please share the work you do with us in the comments below…

 

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised | How Can Artists Survive & Thrive in the New Economy?

How can artists and creatives survive in the current whirlwind of economic meltdown?

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Where To Find The Best Arts News & Information

There are many ways to engage in the arts; through gallery visits, buying art, attending openings and receptions or becoming a museum member. But with the information overload it may be challenging to filter out the excess and drill down to what you want to know.

By employing art media into your life you can keep up with the art news and choose what to see and when. Listed below are some of the avenues we can all take through our various media outlets to follow art news, art happenings and the cultural world we live in.

  • From the UK and the Guardian we have Art Weekly with news on the latest gallery shows in the London area.
  •  

  • Contemporary Art Daily gives us a daily journal of international exhibitions.
  •  

  • Art Business News is just as it sounds. All about the business of art. This includes trade show calendars, gallery and artist profiles and tips on how to increase your sales in the galleries. Its mission is described as “reporting the latest industry news and emerging trends driving the fine-art market.”
  •  

  • Founded in 1996, Art World News focuses on art publishing, custom framing, gallery news and the business of the individual artist. This trade magazine is print only; from the web site go to Subscribe to receive free issues of the magazine.
  •  

  • Décor Magazine was first published in 1880 and is the premier go-to magazine for those who work in custom framing, interior design, publishing, home furnishings and décor manufacturing. Decor is published monthly. I enjoy it for its color trend articles which are always spot-on and a must have for artists and publishers.
  •  

  • Artnet explodes with information and not just in English. This energetic online forum boasts sites in Germany and France as well. Artnet is essential for those who follow art auctions, art openings, the latest and hottest artists out there and significant art events throughout the world.
  •  

  • For the independently minded with a hint of underground, read Juxtapoz Magazine. This online news source and print media offers categories in street art, tattoo, erotic and illustration. Additionally look for event calendars, artist profiles, videos, community information, gallery guides and photography. If this doesn’t make you rush into your studio and make stuff then I don’t know what will.
  •  

  • Art in America may sound like it spotlights only one country but in reality they push the borders with news on international exhibitions, international artists and news opinion from the world over. The strengths of this publication are heavily inclined to contemporary art in major urban hubs such as Los Angeles, New York City, Italy and Britain.
  •  

I suggest starting locally and move out from there. Push your artistic envelope and be open to what’s going on in artistic centers such as New York, Milan, London and Los Angeles.

The art world is alive and kicking and as bold and inventive as ever.

© 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


Post image by Nick Sherman under Creative Commons

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

How Bob Ross sees Social Media

A beautiful infographic from flowtown.com in which the godlike Bob Ross explains the world of social media. Happy Little Blue Birds…

Pay My Rent ~ Buy a Painting

Evangeline Cachinero has quit her job as an advertising art director. Can she survive on her art for one year? A genius way to sell her art.

Artists Who Sell: How to Write a Killer Sales Page {and why}

A genius post from Steff Metal on the lovely Abundant Artist website.

“If you want to make an honest go of being a full-time artist, at some point you’re going to have to ask people for money. That’s quite a scary contemplating. Many of us have got it in our heads that money in the art world is kind of crass – especially when we’re first setting up our websites.

We don’t ask for sales, and so we don’t get them. Our readers buy from another artist instead, or spend their money on Cockney language kits or Justin Bieber CDs.

That’s right – Justin Bieber gets your money.”

Shes right you know…

Art & Illusion – The Magic of Pricing…

Jack White with an interesting perspective on art pricing.

“Not a month goes by that I don’t receive a gaggle of emails asking about art pricing. My standard answer is, “Art is worth what folks will pay.” That’s the brutal truth. The exception is if you can create the illusion that your art has more merit.”

Is Twitter a Waste of Time?

A close look at Twitter facts and figures in another fabulous and funky infographic.

 

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Video | How to Approach an Art Gallery for Representation | Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee shares some extremely good sense tips for approaching galleries that will help give you the best possible chance for representation.

Cedar Lee is an artist from Baltimore. You can find out more about Cedar and her paintings here.
http://www.artbycedar.com

 

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The Truth About Tax & Artists | Plus 10 Top Art Tax Saving Tips that will save you MONEY

The tax situation for artists can be confusing, especially if you are only making a small amount of money on the side from your art sales. It’s also difficult to know what to do when you are starting to sell work as well as working in a full time job. I have had a few emails from readers asking questions about this confusing area. As I’m not an accountant {and find it all confusing myself} I have roped in the help of someone who does know, my accountant, who keeps my finances on the straight and narrow.

In this post, Chartered Accountant, David Cramp, answers a reader’s question with regards to the tax situation in the UK and how it relates to artists.

Questions Questions…

I’ve never sold anything yet as an artist and I work full time. I want to start selling my work and eventually give up the day job!

Now, I know that HM Revenue & Customs don’t like claims from sole traders that consistently don’t make a profit, and it could take years to build sales up. If I claim for the high costs of art materials, as far as I’m aware, if I haven’t made much money, the tax rebate comes off tax already paid from my full-time employment. Now whilst this is a good way to supplement the costs of being an artist, I’m presuming it won’t wash with them forever.

So I have 3 questions…

1. Do I need to declare the sales when I start selling my work?

2. At what point will HM Revenue & Customs not accept my loss claims?

3. Do you have any tips or advice about tax/declarations or claims for artists?

And Answers…

If I were dealing with your affairs, I would firstly want to examine your ‘business’ and ensure that it meets HM Revenue & Customs’ definition. But as you have not specifically asked this question and it sounds as if you accept a trade will exist, my guidance assumes you have passed this ‘test’, (I would advise that you seek guidance on this if the business goes ahead though).

1 – Do I need to declare the sales when I start selling my work?

The answer to your first question is yes. Whether or not you are also employed, if you have a sole trader business you will need to declare the results of the business to HM Revenue & Customs. You will, however, continue to pay PAYE through your employment and, depending on the results of your business, pay any remaining tax and NI through the self assessment system i.e. after submitting a Self Assessment Tax Return.

You can register as self employed with HM Revenue and Customs either online at www.hmrc.gov.uk or by completing and submitting a form CWF1.

Normally, you would also begin paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions, but as your earnings are likely to be under the Small Earnings Exception level (currently £5,315 pa), you do not need to pay them and you can apply for this exception using form CF10.

2 – At what point will HM Revenue & Customs not accept my loss claims?

But, as you suspected, HMRC do have an issue with loss-making businesses, and in fact, the trade must be commercial and aim to generate a profit. If it isn’t, you cannot offset the loss against your employment income. Instead, it can only be offset against any future profits your business makes.

As for your costs, you should only recognise the cost of materials you actually use in the year. For instance, if you buy 20 canvases for a total cost of £400 and spend £250 on paints, but at the end of your year you’ve only used half of them, then you should only recognise costs of £325; not £650.

Another point to be aware of with regards to ‘stock’ is if anyone ever commissioned you to paint a piece and agreed a price, then you should recognise some of the sales income according to the painting’s completion. So if they agree a price of £900 and it was a third complete at your year end, then you should recognise £300 in your sales figure. Stage payments can further complicate this calculation, as I am sure you can appreciate.

3 – Here are 10 tips to help you save or defer tax:

  1. Use of home for business – assuming you work from home, you will be able to put through a portion of the running costs of your home
  2. Averaging – a particular concession for your industry which may help to ‘smooth’ fluctuations in your tax bill
  3. Motor expenses – if you use your car to make business trips, you could claim mileage expenses at a rate of up to 45p per mile
  4. PAYE coding – make sure your Notice of Coding is right when HMRC send it to you and your code could even help ease the burden of your tax bill by collecting any additional tax via your employment income; rather than paying the tax in one lump sum
  5. Transfer assets to the trade – assets you bought personally for private use before the business began, but were then subsequently transferred into the business, (such as a computer), could attract tax relief via Capital Allowances
  6. Submit paperwork on time – registering for self-employment late, submitting returns late or making payments late are just a few of the events that can lead to penalties and interest. So ensure you are well prepared and are aware of the deadlines you need to meet
  7. Spouses – if your partner is genuinely assisting in the business, you could pay them a wage
  8. Pre-trading expenses – keep receipts of any business expenses you incur prior to the business starting to trade, as you may be able to get tax relief for these
  9. Record keeping – keep accurate, clear records. Not only will this hopefully ensure you claim everything you are entitled to but is also a HMRC requirement and severe cases can lead to fines
  10. Paperwork – retain all of your receipts. Again this will hopefully ensure you claim everything you are entitled to and is also a HMRC requirement

Please be aware that there are various requirements to meet before making use of some of these tips; therefore please seek professional advice before implementing them. Besides, it is important to seek professional advice during the early stages of a business. A professional will review and ensure for example, that you are claiming all of the available expenses, your tax position is efficient and you are meeting your statutory requirements.

This response is based on the details you have provided and is intended to inform rather than advise and is based on UK legislation and practice at the time. Taxpayer’s circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact TaxAssist Accountants before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this article, before receiving TaxAssist Accountants’ written endorsement, TaxAssist Accountants will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

If you would like to discuss this article or any other matter further, please feel free to contact your local TaxAssist Accountant on 0800 0523 555 or email taxquestions@taxassist.co.uk. TaxAssist Accountants have more than 190 offices across the UK, providing tax and accountancy advice and services purely to small businesses.

—–

David Cramp is a Chartered Accountant with over 16 years post-qualification experience serving a broad range of clients in the UK.

TaxAssist Accountants is a local business, based in Mirfield providing tax and accountancy advice and services purely to small businesses.

Image released under creative commons by Kevin Dooley

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Kissing Lots of Frogs | Coping With & Reducing Knockbacks From Art Venues

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”

This is one of my favourite sayings. It’s one I got from my Mum who would console me with it whenever I had my heart broken by some pasty faced spotty no-hoper boy as a teenager. It always makes me smile…

I love the sentiment behind the saying… Basically, don’t expect to score the bullseye with your first shot. Be prepared for the knock backs that come as a part of life and just keep going… You will find the right person/thing/place in the end…

This is extremely relevant to your life as an artist. You have to consistently keep putting your work out there in different venues so that people can get to see how fab it is. This means that as an artist you need to keep approaching others with a view to getting them to show your work, whether it be a gallery, a cafe where your work would look good, a shop, an exhibition curator or an art fair manager.

The likelyhood is that many of the approaches you make to galleries, sales outlets or agents will result in rejection.

This can be really hard to cope with mentally. It’s really important that you don’t let this knock your confidence in your work or drag you down, preventing you trying again in the future.

How can you deal mentally with these knockbacks and also improve your strike rate so they happen less frequently?

Remember, you need to kiss a lot of frogs!

 

You have to keep in mind that this is just the way stuff is.

Rejection by an art venue is not necessarily a personal indictment of your work.

  • Your work may not be the right kind of work for the venue .
  • They may not be taking any new artists on at the moment.
  • They may be oversubscribed.
  • They may be overwhelmed.
  • They may have finished exhibiting art for the season.
  • They may just be too busy to take a look…

It can even be something totally random that you have no control over.

  • They may be hacked off with artists because their wife ran off with one.
  • They may have a personal and irrational hatred of the medium which you work in.
  • They may be in financial trouble and unable to take on anything.

All these problems/reasons/issues are theirs, not yours.

Finding representation and venues takes time and patience and probably a lot of false starts.

You may need to kiss 50 frogs to find 1 prince

 

So it’s really vitally important that you don’t take the knockbacks to heart. Realise that there can be a million reasons that someone doesn’t get back to you or says no. 99% of those reasons will have nothing to do with the quality of your work.

You just need to shrug it off, be proud that you tried and move on to the next opportunity.

You need to kiss the RIGHT frogs!

 

There are however, some simple things to help you in your quest to find the prince and they are as follows.

The number one thing that you can do to help yourself is KISS THE RIGHT FROGS!

It’s no good going around kissing common or garden frogs. You need to kiss the ones that have a CHANCE of turning into a prince…

When looking for a gallery or venue for your work, the crucial thing is to do your research and find the ones who are a good fit for your work. There is no point in trying to get a gallery that specialises in modern urban abstract art to look at your work if you produce delicate landscape watercolours. That is a waste of everyones time and will result in a confidence sapping knockback. Instead, focus on the galleries and venues that are right for your work.

How to FIND the right frogs.

 

Visit as many galleries or art venues where you would like to see your work as possible.

  • Get yourself on their mailing list and visit the exhibitions they put on.
  • Familiarise yourself with the kind of artists and genres they exhibit or work with.
  • Chat to the owners {without trying to sell anything or mentioning your work} and get a feel for the ideals of the venue.
  • Do you get on with the owner/manager/curator too? This is really important if you are going to have a commercial relationship with them.

Once you have got a feel for a group of galleries you will begin to understand the kind of artists each one works with.

You will then be able to narrow down your focus to a few venues that are a good fit for your work. There is no point wasting your time {or the venue owners} if your work isn’t a good fit. You want to find places that you can have a good relationship with.

Get to KNOW the frogs better before you kiss ’em…

 

Once you have a possible shortlist of a few “good fit” venues, it is time to approach the owners.
Rather than going in “all-guns-blazing” trying to sell your stuff to them, you really need to concentrate on building a relationship first.

This strategy takes time but will result in good relationships which can help you move your art career forward {and you will probably get to meet some nice people too – bonus}.

You can do this by visiting exhibitions they are currently showing, chatting to the owners and generally getting involved without being pushy.
Only when you have established a relationship is it a good time to broach the subject of your work and that you would like to show it with them.

…And pucker up

 

At this point a good professional approach can work wonders.

  • Choose a good time to approach the owner/curator {not when they are busy/hassled/hungover etc}and suggest that your work may be a good match for them and you would like to show with them.
  • Choose your time wisely or you may undo all the goodwill you have built up so far.
  • Send a polite follow up email chatting about your previous conversations or their exhibitions you have enjoyed to remind them that you are interested in what they do and not just being pushy. Attach a couple of images of your work and a link to your website.

Unfortunately there is no shortcut to the basic fact that you need to build up a good relationship with the venue first. Cold calling with all your artwork in tow seldom works.


But if you follow this approach, the chances of hurtful knockbacks are diminished.

5 quick tips on approaching art venues

 

  • Make sure you always know the name of the person you need to speak to. No sending things to “whom it may concern” You should have already built up a relationship with them.
  • Make sure that your approach is professional. If sending items through the post ensure everything is nicely packaged and presented in a crisp manner.
  • The same applies if sending emails, make sure you address it to the right person. Send from a professional email address {no flowerfairies@hotmail.com – this matters more than you think}. Attach only 2 or 3 jpeg images and make sure they aren’t too large that they will clog up someone’s email.
  • Make sure your website is finished {I get sent so many links to “Under Construction” websites} and professional looking.
  • Make sure you actually LIKE the person you are approaching. Remember you are looking to work commercially with them. If you don’t fit personally this is never a good idea.

So keep your faith and confidence when approaching art venues. With a little prior research and work, much of the uncertainty and damaging rejection can be reduced.

Just make sure you choose your frogs carefully… that way you will find the perfect frog for you and your art. A fabulous frog with POTENTIAL…

Let me know how you get on in the comments…

Image courtesy of Jacki-Dee under Creative Commons Licence

 

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