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

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

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

Alyson Stanfield is an art business enterprise mentor and specialist “who functions with bold artists who want to consider command of their careers”. She is the founder of Art Biz Achievement, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and creator of I’d Relatively Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Manual to Self-Advertising.

As an artist, I have benefited from the a lot of methods offered on her system and I was delighted to be just lately a guest on her podcast about my web site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is thus a good enjoyment to interview her and obtain her advice and testimony.

You have worked with countless numbers of distinctive artists in your stay workshops, on-line courses, and consulting. Are there some typical mistakes that artists should stay clear of?

The place to start out? I believe I obtained on a roll with this listing, but I want to retain each individual issue, which I have ranked in order of importance. 

#1 Miscalculation: Neglecting their studio apply. I by no means considered I’d have to convince artists about how significant it is to exhibit up for the get the job done, but some artists would virtually do just about anything other than struggling with the tricky career in the studio. You cannot wait for the muse. You just have to get to do the job. With no the artwork, you are not an artist and have no possibility of a thriving organization or profession.

#2 Oversight: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing hues or knowing intimately about the components you use. You have to have to know your elements within and out. You want to know how to get ready, finish, and finish an artwork, including how to adequately mat, frame, hang, or put in it. It is obvious when an artist attempts to just take shortcuts or does not know what they are undertaking.

#3 Blunder: Not being familiar with how significant it is in the art small business to begin, nurture, and sustain skilled and personalized associations. When you really don’t observe up with potential customers or chances, or when you do not comply with via on promises or satisfy your deadlines, you will promptly get a name as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Miscalculation: Sending the erroneous information on line. It all starts off with superior pictures of the perform. If you cannot get fantastic photos of your artwork, retain the services of a person. They are that important—especially when you’re submitting them to exhibits and opportunities. I’m terribly annoyed by social feeds that do not present any art. I abide by you for the reason that you are an artist. Show me your perform!

#5 Oversight: Declaring Of course to projects that aren’t aligned with their targets. For illustration, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Really don’t. Do. It. You are going to detest each minute of it, loathe the person for inquiring you in the 1st position, and detest your self for thinking it was a clever conclusion at some place.

#6 Slip-up: Relying on a single revenue location, be it a gallery, your website, or social media. You simply cannot manage social media platforms and hardly ever know what will materialize to them or when they’ll regulate their algorithm. And you under no circumstances know how prolonged a gallery will stay in enterprise. You seriously have to have to diversify how, when, and exactly where your art is witnessed.

The term achievement can address various areas. How do you assistance an artist discover what achievement is for him/her?

You are right! The phrase “success” is loaded and, if I’m currently being honest, it is a phrase I’d like to drop in 2022. But for the sake of your problem, let’s presume that there is a way for each individual artist to get there at a specific definition.

For some, it’s about visibility and recognition from establishments. For other people, it could be product sales and money. But I suspect it’s a combination, as you said, of numerous unique elements for most artists. It normally takes into account their ambitions and their constraints that may appear from family members, money means, lack of instruction, etc.

When I operate privately with a customer, we begin with their vision. I check with what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but generally perplexing to artists. This problem is a way to get at their definition of success. 

Can you share about the distinctive strategies an artist can operate with you?

Of course! Many thanks for asking. 

I like to start by mentioning that my website has been all over because 2004 and The Art Biz podcast since 2016 (and in a distinct format than that much before). My stage: I produce a large amount of cost-free written content and it can all be accessed day and evening. The search functionality on the web site web page is fantastic. I inspire artists to look about and get to know me by way of what is no cost for them.

When you need to have additional composition, I can assist you by way of my on-line applications, which improve 3 occasions a calendar year. They are created all around a seasonal target area, with content material developed from virtually two decades of encouraging artists.

In 2022, our target areas are Produce Chances, Increase Your On-line Promoting, and Get Structured. These programs are hybrid on-need finding out modules + dwell teaching + reside Zoom periods so our members can interact with a single an additional. We have an energetic local community discussion board filled with intentional and bold artists.

I also have mastermind groups for artists who by now have a solid basis in location. 

I’m rethinking (constantly!) a large amount of what I do and am genuinely taking pleasure in working privately with superior-achieving clients. It is fulfilling to get the job done so carefully with a person and witness their development and transformation. You may see me streamline my offerings in the long run.

Ultimately, you started off your vocation working in art museums. How did you get started your have company?

Apologies in advance for this longish response, but there are some good small business classes inside the story. 

In early 2001 I made the decision that lifetime was as well quick to go where the museum careers ended up and that I preferred to dwell in Colorado. I made a decision to start off an art consulting organization. Purchasing art with other people’s funds sounded like a large amount of enjoyable to me! And I was really serious about this.

When one is severe about a organization, a single receives business cards. Prior to I left the Wichita Art Museum, I hired our museum’s contract designer, who was incredibly proficient, to style my small business playing cards, brand, 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. Individuals individuals acquired absolutely free entry, invitations by mail, newsletters, and discounts at the store. Our membership record was constantly up to date. They had been who we labored for higher than all.

So I began my individual list of contacts utilizing my FileMaker Professional application.

To this day, I contend that your contact listing is each individual businessperson’s–artist or not–most beneficial marketing asset.

I worry this through my courses, and outlined it as the #3 oversight artists make in the earlier concern: Neglecting own and professional relationships.

I started sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to every person I realized telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I sent push releases to the towns and institutions I was related to and got a limited publish-up in the Oklahoma Town business journal. Then I started out sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts neighborhood.

Pretty little arrived of this. I obtained 1 consulting gig in Tulsa for an outdated high-university buddy who noticed my article in the Oklahoma Metropolis paper. And I received a framing and installation gig from my landlord who was connected to the Metropolis of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this expertise each time an artist suggests, “I sent out 500 postcards and gained no responses.” You have bought to have more of a prepare than a single marketing and advertising tactic.

The letters of introduction were being my entire plan, if you can simply call it that. Sending letters is not a strategy. It must be a small component of a more substantial plan. I did meet up with some gallerists and other folks in the artwork business enterprise for the reason that of the letters, but I experienced no steady comply with up or adhere to via.

I had no method. I experienced to figure it out, and that is why I have designed it simpler for artists to nurture interactions by supplying artists with trusted business enterprise systems in all of my packages. There are elements of keeping in contact with people today that may seem dangerous (like that initial speak to with them), but there is nearly a confirmed payoff for it. In my reserve, that gets rid of a large amount of the danger.

Immediately after that bust came the surreal period of time about September 11. The last detail anyone was wondering about was shopping for art. The previous point I wanted to think about was marketing my new business.

What I was obtaining at this time was inquiries from artists who had read that I remaining the museum and was starting up my have art consulting organization. They didn’t particularly know what I was seeking to make. All they realized was that they preferred aid marketing their art.

Pretty much all of them ended up on the lookout for an agent. So, I assumed, “I could do that!” Then I assumed some more. I didn’t know any one in my entire world of galleries and museums who required to deal with brokers.

As an alternative of serving as an agent, I resolved to support artists discover to be superior agents for their perform. I have never ever looked back again and couldn’t consider currently being in any other line of operate.