December 5, 2023


Adorn your Feelings

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

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

Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an art enterprise mentor and marketing consultant “who functions with bold artists who want to get regulate of their careers”. She is the founder of Art Biz Achievement, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Justification Guidebook to Self-Marketing.

As an artist, I have benefited from the many assets offered on her platform and I was delighted to be recently a visitor on her podcast about my site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is thus a terrific enjoyment to job interview her and accumulate her suggestions and testimony.

You have labored with 1000’s of diverse artists in your reside workshops, online classes, and consulting. Are there some popular mistakes that artists really should stay away from?

In which to start? I feel I bought on a roll with this record, but I want to maintain each stage, which I have rated in get of worth. 

#1 Miscalculation: Neglecting their studio practice. I by no means assumed I’d have to encourage artists about how crucial it is to exhibit up for the operate, but some artists would virtually do everything other than dealing with the difficult task in the studio. You just cannot wait around for the muse. You just have to get to work. Without having the art, you are not an artist and have no possibility of a effective organization or career.

#2 Slip-up: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colors or understanding intimately about the elements you use. You require to know your elements inside of and out. You want to know how to get ready, finish, and finish an artwork, which includes how to adequately mat, body, dangle, or set up it. It’s apparent when an artist attempts to get shortcuts or doesn’t know what they are carrying out.

#3 Mistake: Not knowledge how crucial it is in the artwork business to start, nurture, and sustain experienced and personalized relationships. When you never adhere to up with sales opportunities or opportunities, or when you really don’t abide by as a result of on promises or satisfy your deadlines, you will rapidly get a name as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Blunder: Sending the improper concept on the internet. It all commences with great pictures of the perform. If you just cannot get good images of your art, employ somebody. They are that important—especially when you are publishing them to displays and prospects. I’m terribly aggravated by social feeds that don’t demonstrate any art. I stick to you due to the fact you are an artist. Demonstrate me your get the job done!

#5 Error: Stating Of course to assignments that aren’t aligned with their plans. For example, agreeing to a pet portrait fee when you are a sculptor. Really don’t. Do. It. You will detest each and every moment of it, detest the human being for inquiring you in the first position, and despise by yourself for pondering it was a intelligent decision at some stage.

#6 Error: Relying on a solitary profits location, be it a gallery, your web page, or social media. You can not regulate social media platforms and never know what will materialize to them or when they’ll modify their algorithm. And you by no means know how extended a gallery will remain in small business. You actually want to diversify how, when, and the place your art is noticed.

The term achievements can go over different factors. How do you aid an artist recognize what achievement is for him/her?

You are right! The phrase “success” is loaded and, if I’m becoming honest, it’s a word I’d like to drop in 2022. But for the sake of your dilemma, let’s believe that there is a way for just about every artist to get there at a distinct definition.

For some, it is about visibility and recognition from establishments. For many others, it might be revenue and profits. But I suspect it is a mixture, as you said, of quite a few diverse areas for most artists. It requires into account their ambitions and their constraints that might arrive from family, fiscal sources, lack of schooling, and so on.

When I do the job privately with a client, we start off with their vision. I ask what they want from their art, which is deliberate phrasing but generally perplexing to artists. This dilemma is a way to get at their definition of achievements. 

Can you share about the various methods an artist can function with you?

Yes! Many thanks for asking. 

I like to start out by mentioning that my web site has been all around given that 2004 and The Art Biz podcast due to the fact 2016 (and in a unique format than that a great deal earlier). My point: I deliver a ton of absolutely free material and it can all be accessed day and night. The look for functionality on the site webpage is great. I really encourage artists to glimpse all-around and get to know me by what is totally free for them.

When you need to have much more construction, I can support you via my on the web systems, which adjust 3 moments a 12 months. They are designed around a seasonal target area, with written content created from just about two decades of aiding artists.

In 2022, our concentration areas are Produce Possibilities, Enhance Your On-line Advertising and marketing, and Get Structured. These plans are hybrid on-desire finding out modules + live education + are living Zoom sessions so our associates can interact with one a further. We have an lively group forum filled with intentional and bold artists.

I also have mastermind teams for artists who by now have a solid basis in place. 

I’m rethinking (often!) a large amount of what I do and am seriously experiencing functioning privately with higher-accomplishing purchasers. It is rewarding to perform so intently with somebody and witness their progress and transformation. You may perhaps see me streamline my choices in the future.

Ultimately, you started your occupation operating in artwork museums. How did you start off your possess company?

Apologies in advance for this longish remedy, but there are some superior company classes in just the story. 

In early 2001 I decided that lifestyle was far too small to go where by the museum employment ended up and that I required to reside in Colorado. I made the decision to start an artwork consulting business enterprise. Shopping for art with other people’s cash sounded like a large amount of fun to me! And I was major about this.

When one particular is major about a business, a single receives small business cards. Before I left the Wichita Artwork Museum, I hired our museum’s deal designer, who was exceptionally talented, to style and design my company cards, brand, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even experienced letterhead printed up.

Stanfield Art Associates was conceived in Kansas and designed in Colorado.

When I labored in museums, it was our membership list that was our bread and butter. Individuals people received cost-free entry, invites by mail, newsletters, and discounts at the retail outlet. Our membership checklist was generally up to day. They had been who we labored for earlier mentioned all.

So I started off my have listing of contacts applying my FileMaker Pro application.

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

I anxiety this all over my packages, and mentioned it as the #3 mistake artists make in the prior query: Neglecting personalized and skilled relationships.

I began 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 press releases to the metropolitan areas and establishments I was related to and obtained a brief create-up in the Oklahoma Town business journal. Then I commenced sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts local community.

Quite minimal arrived of this. I obtained one particular consulting gig in Tulsa for an previous large-college buddy who saw my write-up in the Oklahoma City paper. And I received a framing and set up gig from my landlord who was related to the Town of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this expertise each individual time an artist suggests, “I despatched out 500 postcards and acquired no responses.” You have received to have more of a system than a single internet marketing approach.

The letters of introduction have been my total plan, if you can get in touch with it that. Sending letters is not a program. It need to be a small part of a larger sized approach. I did meet up with some gallerists and other folks in the artwork organization mainly because of the letters, but I had no constant observe up or comply with via.

I experienced no procedure. I had to figure it out, and that’s why I have designed it less difficult for artists to nurture relationships by delivering artists with reliable business enterprise methods in all of my applications. There are aspects of keeping in contact with persons that may possibly look risky (like that initially speak to with them), but there is almost a assured payoff for it. In my guide, that eradicates a great deal of the danger.

Soon after that bust came the surreal time period all-around September 11. The very last matter anyone was thinking about was buying art. The final detail I required to believe about was marketing and advertising my new business enterprise.

What I was having at this time was inquiries from artists who had listened to that I still left the museum and was starting off my own artwork consulting enterprise. They did not specifically know what I was striving to develop. All they realized was that they wanted aid marketing their artwork.

Nearly all of them were seeking for an agent. So, I assumed, “I could do that!” Then I considered some far more. I didn’t know any individual in my earth of galleries and museums who desired to offer with agents.

Instead of serving as an agent, I decided to assistance artists study to be better brokers for their work. I have under no circumstances appeared back again and couldn’t think about being in any other line of work.

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