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

Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an art enterprise coach and consultant “who works with ambitious artists who want to take regulate of their careers”. She is the founder of Artwork Biz Achievements, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and writer of I’d Somewhat Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Justification Guide to Self-Advertising.

As an artist, I have benefited from the many sources available on her system and I was delighted to be just lately a guest on her podcast about my blog site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is thus a wonderful satisfaction to job interview her and gather her information and testimony.

You have labored with hundreds of various artists in your dwell workshops, on-line courses, and consulting. Are there some frequent mistakes that artists ought to keep away from?

Wherever to start off? I believe I bought on a roll with this listing, but I want to retain each individual issue, which I have ranked in buy of significance.

#1 Mistake: Neglecting their studio follow. I never imagined I’d have to influence artists about how vital it is to display up for the function, but some artists would practically do anything other than experiencing the hard occupation in the studio. You simply cannot wait around for the muse. You just have to get to get the job done. Devoid of the art, you are not an artist and have no probability of a effective organization or profession.

#2 Slip-up: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing hues or knowing intimately about the components you use. You have to have to know your components within and out. You have to have to know how to prepare, finish, and finish an artwork, such as how to correctly mat, body, hang, or set up it. It is evident when an artist attempts to acquire shortcuts or does not know what they’re accomplishing.

#3 Oversight: Not knowing how significant it is in the artwork business to start off, nurture, and maintain skilled and private associations. When you really don’t follow up with prospects or alternatives, or when you really do not comply with by on claims or meet your deadlines, you will quickly get a reputation as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Oversight: Sending the wrong information on line. It all begins with good photos of the perform. If you cannot get superior images of your art, seek the services of somebody. They are that important—especially when you are distributing them to shows and prospects. I’m terribly annoyed by social feeds that really do not exhibit any artwork. I stick to you simply because you’re an artist. Exhibit me your get the job done!

#5 Miscalculation: Stating Certainly to tasks that aren’t aligned with their targets. For instance, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Really don’t. Do. It. You will detest each moment of it, despise the individual for inquiring you in the 1st location, and loathe oneself for pondering it was a wise final decision at some position.

#6 Miscalculation: Relying on a single revenue location, be it a gallery, your website, or social media. You simply cannot management social media platforms and under no circumstances know what will materialize to them or when they’ll modify their algorithm. And you by no means know how extended a gallery will keep in business. You actually require to diversify how, when, and in which your art is viewed.

The time period results can go over diverse areas. How do you enable an artist establish what achievements is for him/her?

You are correct! The word “success” is loaded and, if I’m currently being trustworthy, it is a word I’d like to get rid of in 2022. But for the sake of your issue, let us presume that there is a way for every artist to arrive at a particular definition.

For some, it is about visibility and recognition from establishments. For other people, it may well be income and earnings. But I suspect it is a combination, as you claimed, of many different aspects for most artists. It normally takes into account their ambitions and their constraints that might appear from loved ones, financial means, absence of teaching, and many others.

When I do the job privately with a client, we start out with their eyesight. I ask what they want from their art, which is deliberate phrasing but frequently perplexing to artists. This concern is a way to get at their definition of accomplishment.

Can you share about the distinct means an artist can perform with you?

Yes! Thanks for inquiring.

I like to start off by mentioning that my site has been all around because 2004 and The Artwork Biz podcast since 2016 (and in a unique structure than that a great deal before). My issue: I generate a whole lot of free of charge information and it can all be accessed day and night. The research perform on the weblog page is amazing. I stimulate artists to seem all-around and get to know me by means of what is absolutely free for them.

When you want much more composition, I can guidance you by means of my online plans, which transform three moments a 12 months. They are designed close to a seasonal focus location, with content designed from just about two many years of supporting artists.

In 2022, our concentrate places are Generate Opportunities, Boost Your On-line Marketing and advertising, and Get Organized. These applications are hybrid on-need discovering modules + reside schooling + live Zoom periods so our members can interact with a person a different. We have an energetic local community discussion board loaded with intentional and formidable artists.

I also have mastermind groups for artists who presently have a solid foundation in position.

I’m rethinking (normally!) a large amount of what I do and am really taking pleasure in doing the job privately with large-reaching clients. It’s fulfilling to do the job so intently with another person and witness their development and transformation. You may perhaps see me streamline my offerings in the long run.

At last, you started your vocation functioning in art museums. How did you start your personal business?

Apologies in progress for this longish reply, but there are some excellent business lessons inside of the tale.

In early 2001 I determined that daily life was far too small to go wherever the museum positions were being and that I needed to dwell in Colorado. I made the decision to start off an art consulting small business. Purchasing artwork with other people’s revenue sounded like a large amount of entertaining to me! And I was major about this.

When one is severe about a business enterprise, one particular receives organization cards. Prior to I left the Wichita Artwork Museum, I employed our museum’s agreement designer, who was extremely talented, to design my company playing cards, emblem, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even experienced letterhead printed up.

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

When I worked in museums, it was our membership listing that was our bread and butter. All those persons been given absolutely free entry, invitations by mail, newsletters, and special discounts at the retail outlet. Our membership record was constantly up to day. They were being who we worked for previously mentioned all.

So I began my possess listing of contacts applying my FileMaker Professional computer software.

To this working day, I contend that your get in touch with list is each individual businessperson’s–artist or not–most important promoting asset.

I pressure this all through my packages, and outlined it as the #3 error artists make in the preceding problem: Neglecting own and specialist interactions.

I started out sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to absolutely everyone I realized telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I sent push releases to the metropolitan areas and institutions I was linked to and acquired a short compose-up in the Oklahoma City enterprise journal. Then I commenced sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts neighborhood.

Very tiny came of this. I obtained just one consulting gig in Tulsa for an aged high-faculty buddy who noticed my posting in the Oklahoma Metropolis paper. And I acquired a framing and set up gig from my landlord who was connected to the City of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this practical experience each individual time an artist claims, “I sent out 500 postcards and gained no responses.” You’ve acquired to have much more of a approach than a single advertising and marketing system.

The letters of introduction were being my complete strategy, if you can connect with it that. Sending letters is not a plan. It should really be a tiny component of a greater prepare. I did meet up with some gallerists and other folks in the artwork organization since of the letters, but I had no regular adhere to up or abide by by means of.

I experienced no system. I had to figure it out, and that’s why I have created it easier for artists to nurture associations by furnishing artists with reliable company devices in all of my systems. There are aspects of staying in touch with persons that may possibly seem to be risky (like that 1st get in touch with with them), but there’s pretty much a certain payoff for it. In my reserve, that removes a large amount of the danger.

Immediately after that bust came the surreal time period close to September 11. The last matter any one was contemplating about was shopping for art. The past issue I wanted to consider about was advertising and marketing my new company.

What I was finding at this time was inquiries from artists who had heard that I left the museum and was commencing my personal art consulting enterprise. They didn’t just know what I was trying to establish. All they understood was that they needed help selling their artwork.

Pretty much all of them have been looking for an agent. So, I thought, “I could do that!” Then I thought some much more. I did not know anyone in my environment of galleries and museums who needed to offer with brokers.

Instead of serving as an agent, I made the decision to support artists discover to be much better brokers for their get the job done. I have never looked back again and could not think about currently being in any other line of get the job done.

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