Here is another twist on what I'm making these days. Going after something functional but unique. This is it, photographed on the office rug.
Which brings me to today's blog: the business of art. I hope you all know Alyson Stanfield and her Art Biz Coach website. If you don't, run right over and subscribe to her free e-newsletter because it is very good and if you follow along with it you will become an organized, productive and intelligent marketeer of art.
Which is why I took advantage of her special Inner Circle offer of $10/month for 2 months (really, what is there to loose?), then $24.95 month. She offers a 10 minute personal coaching session 3 hours a month. I read "first come first serve," but apparently that's recently changed to a sign up process. Anyways, yesterday was the day for August and I called in and got her right then! Amazing! And even though I hadn't signed up, which is the new process, she didn't have a call scheduled and so we got to chat! How cool is that?!
You are supposed to have your questions at the ready (after all you have 10 minutes) and I did: Do you know any good resources for tracking down galleries and boutiques without spending an inordinate amount of time browsing the web?
I have had little luck finding work browsing the web. I have tried all kinds of key words. Which is why you go directly to the expert. Enter Alyson.
She noted that the Art in America Annual Gallery Guide is very helpful and usually comes out in August. It is magazine format and can be found on magazine racks. It can also be found at Amazon.com for $16.00. At least I found it once. Then I found the subscription page for all year (and I had a coupon, so why not). And I ordered it.
Boutiques are harder. She suggested Niche, which I'm valiantly trying to get a subscription to - for some reason I've been trying for 6 months without much success. Keep getting our signals crossed. I think I've got it this time. And American Style which I already get and enjoy, but haven't used to its maximum utility. And Crafts Report, which I dutifully ran over to subscribe to, saw that it is $32/year, reacted - remembered that's why I didn't renew. Then thought: if I spend hours surfing the net, and each hour is worth a minimum of $50 of creative time, then $32 is not expensive. And so I ordered it.
She also suggested talking to shops about how they do their retail ordering, and noted that one of her clients said she learned the most about doing retail art by working as a retailer and learning the ins and outs of purchasing for stores. I've done pieces of that in my own small galleries, but that was at a very local, very personal level. Perhaps I should go pick the minds of the folks I already deal with. Interview them as if I were doing an article. Then do an article. (Make note on todo list)
Alyson has used my art on her blogsite before, and she noted that she loves my blog, AND I need to have better photos. Funny she should mention that since when I put Ice Queen up the other day I noted that I had a tiny strand of glue showing in the photos (and yes, I know that my rug is not the best background, but it sure is fast!). And the background isn't good (the basement floor - go figure) and the lighting needs to be better. Yeah. I know. And I have lights I could use from our business years doing sound and lights for bands. I just need to set everything up and figure out how to make it work well. I can set it up and leave it in Daughter's old room but haven't. I noted that for the amount of work I do, professional photography is out of the question cost wise. She said: then just choose a few and make them your gallery portfolio. And Husband just walked in and said: make a list of what you need. What you don't want to buy right away can go on your gift list (he's the best - have I ever mentioned that? Hi, Honey). See below for "baby-steps." And I have access to at least 3 wonderful photographers who can help me make that list.
Then we had the discussion about consistency. Now, my theme of the divinie feminine is consistent, but my work morphs and that's the way I work. And is why I really haven't approached many traditional galleries. If they find an artist that creates something that sells, they want more of that thing. I suppose the torsos could qualify for that. What do you think?
And then we talked about getting work out there, and she asked: what about your customer list. Customer list? you mean that pile of names and addresses that's been sitting in the upper left hand corner of my desk for over a year?! Yes, that's the one she meant. And I whined about the time it takes and she said (smartest thing I've ever been reminded of because yes, somewhere, sometime I knew this already): "baby steps. Just add 10 a day if that's all you have time for. But do it. And then use it. It's the first thing I recommend to my clients (her clients - I'm a client....for $10 a month - really folks you need to check this out).
Then I went and browsed her Inner Circle offerings, through back newsletter files and free audio files with great free information. Check out SNAG's professional guidelines (I'm not going to deconstruct the acronym because I want you to be curious and go look...what a great acronym, yes?). There's more references like that to keep you coming back and becoming a better marketeer. Just $10! a month for 2 months! I'm way sold!
Share with us here the way that you get organized, what you do really well and how, and what you leave for the last minute. For a good start on that, visit "Aretrepreneur: The Collision of Art and Business" (don't you just LOVE that name?).
thought for the day: Playfulness is as sacred as any prayer, or maybe more sacred than any prayer, because playfulness, laughter, singing, dancing will relax you. And the truth is only possible in a relaxed state of being. Rajneesh
Since everything is but an apparition, perfect in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may well burst out in laughter. Long Chen Pa
The universe is a place of great abundance and we are all naturally prosperous, both in material and spiritual wealth. Shakti Gawain
all above quoted in Chop Wood, Carry Water, b Fields, Taylor, Weyler and Ingrasci, editors of New Age Journal