Top mistakes artists should avoid (and more business tips) by art coach Alyson Stanfield
Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an art organization mentor and guide “who functions with formidable artists who want to just take manage of their careers”. She is the founder of Artwork Biz Success, host of the The Artwork Biz podcast, and creator of I’d Relatively Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Justification Guidebook to Self-Advertising.

As an artist, I have benefited from the numerous resources readily available on her platform and I was delighted to be not long ago a guest on her podcast about my blog site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is therefore a excellent pleasure to interview her and collect her advice and testimony.

You have labored with 1000’s of distinct artists in your dwell workshops, on line courses, and consulting. Are there some widespread problems that artists ought to avoid?

Exactly where to commence? I assume I obtained on a roll with this checklist, but I want to hold every level, which I have rated in buy of relevance. 

#1 Error: Neglecting their studio follow. I in no way believed I’d have to persuade artists about how critical it is to present up for the perform, but some artists would practically do just about anything other than dealing with the challenging position in the studio. You cannot wait around for the muse. You just have to get to do the job. With out the art, you are not an artist and have no probability of a successful organization or job.

#2 Miscalculation: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colors or recognizing intimately about the components you use. You will need to know your products inside and out. You have to have to know how to prepare, entire, and finish an artwork, like how to appropriately mat, body, hold, or put in it. It’s obvious when an artist attempts to just take shortcuts or does not know what they are executing.

#3 Blunder: Not comprehending how essential it is in the artwork business enterprise to start out, nurture, and sustain experienced and individual interactions. When you really do not observe up with prospects or alternatives, or when you don’t comply with via on claims or fulfill your deadlines, you will quickly get a standing as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Error: Sending the mistaken information online. It all starts off with great photos of the work. If you just can’t get great pics of your art, employ the service of another person. They are that important—especially when you are distributing them to displays and opportunities. I’m terribly annoyed by social feeds that do not display any art. I observe you simply because you’re an artist. Present me your perform!

#5 Miscalculation: Declaring Certainly to assignments that aren’t aligned with their targets. For example, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Do not. Do. It. You are going to despise each and every minute of it, detest the person for inquiring you in the to start with position, and dislike your self for thinking it was a wise conclusion at some level.

#6 Error: Relying on a one gross sales venue, be it a gallery, your web page, or social media. You cannot command social media platforms and never ever know what will take place to them or when they’ll adjust their algorithm. And you never ever know how long a gallery will continue to be in business enterprise. You really will need to diversify how, when, and in which your artwork is viewed.

The phrase success can deal with diverse areas. How do you help an artist discover what results is for him/her?

You are appropriate! The phrase “success” is loaded and, if I’m being sincere, it’s a phrase I’d like to drop in 2022. But for the sake of your dilemma, let’s believe that there is a way for every artist to get there at a precise definition.

For some, it is about visibility and recognition from institutions. For other folks, it might be revenue and income. But I suspect it is a combination, as you mentioned, of lots of diverse elements for most artists. It can take into account their ambitions and their limitations that could appear from family, economic assets, absence of instruction, etcetera.

When I operate privately with a consumer, we start off with their vision. I request what they want from their art, which is deliberate phrasing but typically perplexing to artists. This query is a way to get at their definition of results. 

Can you share about the various methods an artist can get the job done with you?

Sure! Many thanks for inquiring. 

I like to start off by mentioning that my blog site has been around since 2004 and The Art Biz podcast considering that 2016 (and in a unique format than that substantially previously). My position: I produce a large amount of absolutely free written content and it can all be accessed working day and evening. The look for perform on the web site website page is amazing. I motivate artists to look around and get to know me by way of what is free for them.

When you need to have much more framework, I can assistance you as a result of my on-line packages, which alter 3 moments a yr. They’re produced all around a seasonal aim spot, with information developed from practically two decades of helping artists.

In 2022, our aim spots are Develop Options, Strengthen Your On the net Advertising and marketing, and Get Arranged. These courses are hybrid on-demand from customers understanding modules + reside instruction + live Zoom sessions so our associates can interact with one another. We have an active group discussion board crammed with intentional and bold artists.

I also have mastermind teams for artists who by now have a sturdy basis in position. 

I’m rethinking (generally!) a great deal of what I do and am genuinely enjoying working privately with large-obtaining clientele. It’s gratifying to perform so closely with a person and witness their development and transformation. You might see me streamline my offerings in the upcoming.

At last, you commenced your profession working in art museums. How did you start off your very own enterprise?

Apologies in progress for this longish response, but there are some very good business lessons within just the tale. 

In early 2001 I decided that lifetime was much too quick to go wherever the museum work opportunities were being and that I wished to are living in Colorado. I decided to start an artwork consulting enterprise. Shopping for artwork with other people’s revenue sounded like a good deal of pleasurable to me! And I was serious about this.

When one particular is serious about a organization, just one gets organization playing cards. Before I left the Wichita Art Museum, I hired our museum’s contract designer, who was incredibly gifted, to layout my business playing cards, logo, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even had letterhead printed up.

Stanfield Artwork Associates was conceived in Kansas and constructed in Colorado.

When I worked in museums, it was our membership checklist that was our bread and butter. All those persons acquired absolutely free entry, invitations by mail, newsletters, and savings at the retail store. Our membership record was often up to day. They had been who we worked for over all.

So I began my possess record of contacts utilizing my FileMaker Pro software.

To this day, I contend that your speak to checklist is every single businessperson’s–artist or not–most useful internet marketing asset.

I stress this all through my courses, and pointed out it as the #3 error artists make in the previous dilemma: Neglecting particular and specialist associations.

I begun sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to anyone I knew telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I sent push releases to the cities and establishments I was connected to and bought a small write-up in the Oklahoma Town business journal. Then I started out sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts local community.

Pretty very little came of this. I obtained a person consulting gig in Tulsa for an aged high-university buddy who observed my report in the Oklahoma City paper. And I bought a framing and set up gig from my landlord who was connected to the Metropolis of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this knowledge each individual time an artist suggests, “I despatched out 500 postcards and obtained no responses.” You have acquired to have much more of a prepare than a one marketing approach.

The letters of introduction were being my total approach, if you can get in touch with it that. Sending letters isn’t a program. It really should be a smaller part of a greater system. I did fulfill some gallerists and many others in the artwork business enterprise because of the letters, but I experienced no steady comply with up or follow via.

I had no technique. I experienced to determine it out, and that is why I’ve designed it less difficult for artists to nurture associations by supplying artists with reliable small business systems in all of my courses. There are facets of keeping in contact with men and women that may possibly seem risky (like that initially call with them), but there is virtually a assured payoff for it. In my e-book, that eliminates a large amount of the chance.

Following that bust arrived the surreal period about September 11. The previous thing any person was pondering about was shopping for artwork. The final matter I required to feel about was marketing and advertising my new business enterprise.

What I was having at this time was inquiries from artists who experienced listened to that I remaining the museum and was starting my personal art consulting enterprise. They did not just know what I was trying to build. All they realized was that they preferred aid providing their art.

Practically all of them had been on the lookout for an agent. So, I imagined, “I could do that!” Then I believed some a lot more. I didn’t know any person in my environment of galleries and museums who preferred to offer with agents.

As an alternative of serving as an agent, I resolved to help artists discover to be better brokers for their get the job done. I have by no means seemed again and couldn’t envision staying in any other line of perform.

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