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Three Top Verbs
The following article was written by Debra Keirce, a regular contributing author to The BoldBrush Letter.
Most artists I know never have enough time or money. Add to that - we can often feel alone in an unfriendly world of judging and competition. When deciding how to spend our precious resources, we often divert them into what we expect will bring more sales. On the surface, that sounds like the obvious thing to do. But how well does that really work for us?
If you are familiar with the circles of art marketing handbook that Clint Watson created, you will recognize that ignoring certain activities that do not result in direct sales - It’s not recommended.
This month, I want to share three verbs that I believe help people at any stage in their art career. These are activities that have absolutely resulted - albeit indirectly - in more sales for me personally. They are also the first things artists in my circles seem to let go of when they are happy with their career trajectory. When things are going great, it’s easy to think you don’t have to do them as much.
Practice. Practice your basics. As a painter, I practice drawing and painting studies or sketches. Sometimes I can practice every day. Sometimes I can only fit it in a few times a week. I know for a fact that artists I follow who have achieved what I want to do and be - they still practice their basic skills regularly.
Learn. Maybe you don’t want to spend as much money learning as you did when you were a beginner, but you can surround yourself with talented artists. You can be more selective in the workshops you attend. You can read books. Go to museums. There is so much free educational content on the internet these days. Da Vinci’s sketchbooks document how he never stopped learning and studying nature and the work of other artists.
For me, learning encompasses much more than just studying art. I read books on sales and marketing. I do searches to find information on how other artists teach their workshops. And, any of us who spend any time on social media are learning what the current trends and technologies are. More importantly, we learn if they could be useful to us.
Network. The art world is a small community, so make friends. Share what you know with others. Look for networking opportunities at every event. Seek out and surround yourself with the collaborative artists. It may seem like we are all competitors, and some people choose to focus on winning. But, I assure you, that is not true for every artist. Those of us who prefer the team approach are smiling more. We work in small groups and accomplish more together than we could as individuals.
There is some good news about networking. In our industry, we aren’t trying to sell a million widgets to all of the world. We are only selling a few high quality pieces to a select group of collectors we hope to have longterm relationships with. This makes networking easier. We only need to focus on the people who can help us give OUR unique group of customers what they need. For example, I am not a plein air painter, so I don’t usually go to plein air events. Instead of trying to figure out who my perfect customer is, I am always working to be in places that are genuinely interesting to me.
We all want to be one of the artists who is routinely on the cover of magazines, sells out workshops, wins best of shows, experiences amazing residencies, has waiting lists for their commissioned work, writes best selling books, publishes the most viewed videos, gets invited to be on the faculty of international conferences, has work in prominent museum and government collections, etc. We know the artists on those lists. They are people like you or me, and the light usually only shines on them for a day before it moves on to someone else. Yet, we are tempted to focus all our efforts on getting that brief spot in the light.
Without turning the practice, learning and networking verbs into actions, I don’t think any lights would have ever shined on me. After so many years in this career, I am absolutely certain that whoever achieves those moments has had to work incredibly hard for them. And none of the artists I know personally has arrived at regularly occurring bright moments without a decade or more of practice, learning, and networking.
Have you stopped sketching because it doesn’t generate income? Have you stopped reading that art book because your time is better spent creating? Have you stopped attending show receptions where you are not the center of attention? Maybe these are good decisions. Maybe not.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Free Art Marketing Webinar Oct 26th
with special guest artist Matthew White
and our marketing team
Free and Open webinar for all visual artists this coming Thursday, October 26th at 11:00 AM CDT!
Join us for our marketing webinar with special guest - Matthew White as we discuss his success and tips in Art Business & Marketing focusing on his experiences with growing a YouTube following. This webinar is open to all artists!
Thursday, October 26th at 11:00 CDT