Wouldn't we all? The teetertotter between marketing and making is yet another of those dicotomies, those dualities, that I am working to embrace.
One of the best resources I have found is Alyson Stanfield -- Art Biz Coach, extraordinare. As
I mentioned a few weeks ago, I signed up for her first Artist Breakthrough Program. The results were both helpful and surprising. I intended to work on a plan for launching a coaching aspect to my work -- mainly because I know that I am called to mentoring other people's journeys to their deepest creative work. In working through the process with 11 other wonderful artists (see links to their sites at the end of this post), my first breakthrough was that I was nuts to try and start ANOTHER "business," which even a deep calling becomes when one decides to market it or make it part of one's profession. I do have my hands full. Instead, with the rest of the 28-day program, I focused on putting together a do-able promotion plan for the exhibits and shows that I am committed to the rest of the year: Fiesta Arts Fair on April 19-20, a group show at the New Braunfels Art League Gallery in August, a solo show at the Rockport Art, also in August, and a presence in the regional quilt shows in the Dallas area, September through December at the Arlington Art Museum. This blog will play a part in keeping my focus on making the most of these opportunities, and I hope all of you that are reading will help me stay on track! My goal is to show exceptional work, to invite friends and interested audiences, to sell work and find opportunities for commissions. All of these exhibitions mean that I must be both in the studio, and on my best business behavior -- with organization, optimism and confidence -- and good promotional materials, as well. As much as we artists would like to live in our little bubble studios, those of us who must pay for groceries, shelter and the ever-rising gasoline bill, have to face the entrepreneurial realities of the marketplace.
The ABP is just the latest of the courses and resources that I've had from my connection to Alyson's web-based work, and everyone of them has been helpful -- her's is one of the blogs that I read every week; I play her podcasts on my iphone; I refer to her materials, and now, I dip into her book -- I'd Rather Be in the Studio -- for answers to specific marketing and business questions. And I'm scheduled for a virtual book tour when Alyson stops by this blog on April 22. I am in great company I realize, now that the blog tour has begun. The first stop was with Cynthis Morris, a wonderfully inspirational coach and writer; today's stop was at Christine Hellmuth's blog. I can't wait to read who's next, and I encourage all of you to follow along. Here's the blurb from Alyson's promotion:
I’d Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion is for artists of all kinds. Painters, sculptors, ceramist, jewelers, photographers, and others will benefit from the easy-to-follow self-promotion practices in this book.
Author and art-marketing consultant Alyson B. Stanfield, of ArtBizCoach.com, focuses on sharing the artwork directly with potential buyers through electronic and traditional communication outlets—in a manner that is comfortable, not artificial. Artists match Internet marketing strategies with sincere personal skills to take charge of their art careers.
The book includes online worksheets and downloads.
Meanwhile, what's up for MY promotional materials? A new website for my gallery/art work home-away-from-home is coming soon. This blog, at least for the foreseeable future, will stay on Squarespace, but I hope to move my gallery site to .mac within the next couple of weeks, with new images, updated navigation, a more professional appearance and an easier interface that will help me keep it updated!
P.S. Here is a list and links to 5 of the artists who were partners in the Artist Breakthrough Program (in no particular order, the others will be in the next post):
Be sure to click the links to these artist's blogs (those who have them) -- a wonderful way to catch a glimpse of the creative life in a wide world of media, locations and situations -- like studio open house visits without the travel.