Why Art Career Disappointments Can Actually Help You Build A Better Business

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Marisa D. Aceves. Crimson Well 4. Digital Photography

 click here to checkout the rest of the series

Sometimes we just want to live a life of convenience.

Often we rush around in a variety of different directions trying to recover valuable bits of art business wisdom from across the web.

After stressing ourselves to the point of extreme frustration,we long for someone out there to put all the information we are seeking in one place.

When it appears that someone actually has attempted to take the mystery out of some of our greatest business struggles we jump on the opportunity to learn, but leaping without looking first can sometimes get us into a lot of trouble.

At the very least, we find ourselves in the wrong environment for our particular type of business.

In the most extreme cases, we slowly discover that in a mad effort to network, we are attached to people who’s core beliefs, morals and values do not match our own.

If the later happens, we are faced with the difficult decision of figuring out how we are going to politely separate ourselves from them without stepping on toes, bruising egos and burning bridges.

Nevertheless, only we can decide what is right for our particular business.

Yes, we may feel disappointed when certain opportunities and the people presenting those opportunities are not the “perfect fit” that we initially hoped they would be, but in the end, these experiences leave us with a clearer view of what we don’t want our business to project.

When we recognize what is not good for our business, we can then discover what is good for our business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Banish Self-Doubt So You Can Achieve Your Creative Vision

"An abstract photograph of an ordinary household object"

Marisa D. Aceves. Satellite 3: Uncharted Landscape Composition 2. Digital Photography. 2014.

(Abstract photography from the Satellite series) To check out the rest of the series visit http://www.acevesart.com/

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of pursuing another medium like branching out into mixed media work (ex. mixed media painting, mixed media sculpture, installation etc.) or alternative media (ex. video, digital art etc.) but every time that you dared to consider a direction less familiar your head suddenly fills with mental movie clips of naysayers, tremendous obstacles and absolute failure to succeed.

As if this were not enough, your personal artistic adventurer/explorer is further quashed by exhibition deadlines, less than stellar time management and a host of weekly family activities.

Does this mirror your present situation?

If so, here are some suggestions that will help you keep your sanity, manage your time, and stop the insecure thoughts that are holding you back:

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #1:  I know absolutely nothing about the new medium/mediums that I want to work in; if I attempt to produce a piece of artwork using this medium/mediums, I’ll just screw it up!!!

 

Possible Solution:

A. Research The Medium You Plan To Use For Your Piece

a1.  Research the history of the medium

b1.  Research the application of the materials or various techniques that can be applied when using these materials. (For example if you are a photographer researching ceramic sculpture because you wanted to do a public project using ceramics as part of your installation piece , you might research certain techniques used in ceramics like slab construction, coil construction or carving clay).

c1. Research art pieces that have used this medium/mediums.  You may want to research other artists who are experts or specialize in using this medium/mediums. Take note of the works that have the most impact.  Ask yourself why?

 

B.  Enlist help or Outsource

b1.  Research artists and professionals that have experience working with the medium/mediums

c1.  Try to make contact with these professionals and ask them what their rates are?  What do they charge for employing them to help with certain tasks or parts of the piece.  When you are comfortable with the price range that is within your budget, then communicate with the professional about what you want to do with the project you are pursuing.  What is the piece about?  Is the work you need done simple or does it require a high level of skills?  The better you communicate what you want and need the professional to do, the easier it will be to complete the piece.

 

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #2:  How can I create work in another medium if I don’t have the budget?

Possible Solution:

A. Start Small

Who says that you have to create a huge, life-changing piece.  When you create a small (tester piece), you can focus on learning how to use the material that you have researched effectively.

B. Create a List of Weekly Expenses

Make a list or chart of weekly expenses.  This way you can see how your money is being spent, where it is going, and where you can cut back.  For example, look at the money you spend on extracurricular activities and see if you can use half of that to fund your project.

C.  Raise funds for your project

Set up a fundraiser to raise money for your project/projects. This can be done locally or through social media crowd funding websites.

 

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #3: Nobody will like the new piece/pieces of artwork; My clients won’t understand what I am trying to do.

Possible Solution:

A.  Everything Involves Risk

When you have found something successful that has worked for you, it is scary to think that your latest passion may not be received the way you would have initially envisioned.  Continue producing what sells while trying to find alternative ways to market your work in this new medium.  Your continued success in the medium in which you are familiar will offset any initial rejection or cool reception of the pieces produced in the new medium/mediums.

B. Market Your Work To A Different Audience Using Social Media

This helps to expose your work to people that are unfamiliar with what you do.  So they are less likely to judge you based on your past work and the medium in which it is produced.

C. Consider dealing with the same subject matter and themes that you deal with in the medium in which you have experience. Then you can tie your old work and your new work in a different medium together using theme.  This theme based work will help your present collectors to more easily identify with your work in this new medium.

 

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #4: I don’t have enough time to pursue another medium.

Possible Solution:

A. Make A Time Chart

Look at your present schedule.  How do you allocate time in your day for each item on your to-do list? Try to see if there are any open spaces of time that you could use for your new project.

B. Enlist family members to help with chores

Ask your son, daughter or spouse to cook for you some days or take out the trash. You’d be surprised, even the smallest, simplest tasks take up precious time that  you could be using to do research and to create your new work.

C. Outsource

Outsource time consuming jobs like sending your packets out to galleries, updating your website and writing copy to an assistant, intern or freelancer.

When you attack self doubt with action steps to solve the problem/problems you are worried about, you begin to see the possibilities.  Tasks seem easier to conquer.  Dreams seem attainable when approached in small steps.

*If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Fall in Love With Your Art Even If You Hate It

abstract photo of a piece of tin foil

Marisa D. Aceves, “Object 180″, Digital Photography 

 

Many of us dream of creating that elusive,..

near perfect masterpiece..

..that will instantly burn it’s bright light into the minds of  dozens of fortunate visitors that happen to stumble upon our professional websites.

We like to imagine that they would rabidly share  the next generations’ “Leonardo”,”Van Gogh”, or “Picasso”…

..and perhaps they would, …

..if they only recognized it…

Virtually none of us dream of  creating a ridiculous, amateurish monstrosity that slaps us in the face like an immature cheese and mocks us through its’ very existence.

Like a desperate bird that never made it out of a dangerous mine, it’s starved of oxygen;…

It lacks those life giving properties that all great art possesses….

We see this evil, unfortunate child of ours.

Instantly, we want to pitch it in the fire as if it had never been born…

..and yet, it is ours..

We own it because we created it.

Creating is a form of love.

We create to live.

We create for the sheer joy of creating.

So why do so many of us unfairly judge almost all of our efforts?

Some might say “quality control” and in some strange way, they might be right or as Mick Jagger likes to sing,…they might be crazy.  However, if you never allow yourself to freely create that dreaded “cheese” painting,photo,sculpture,etc., you’ll never find your “radiant child”.  It’s been my experience that “bad art” happens when we consciously try to create masterpieces, unconsciously editing out all the imperfect, clumsy, soul bearing goodness that makes us sit up and say “Wow, that is so true.”  When we deprive ourselves and others of that moment, we run the risk of  both losing ourselves and suppressing our humanity. Our humanity makes us real; it makes us accessible to others. Don’t be a victim of perfectionism. Perfectionism stinks. It’s a vicious, unrelenting thief that steals your joy first, then it steals the Art out of your art. Nothing brilliant, can come from this.  Instead, allow a small space in your day to create art with the heart and trust of a child that never knew that so called “bad art” could ever or would ever exist. Be brave enough to love your “bad art”. It won’t kill you.  It will free you from the imposed mental slavery of self-doubt. It will free you from reliance on the approval of others. Today’s “bad art” may be the key to tomorrows’ masterpiece.

*If you have any comments or questions about this article, feel free to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Steps To Increasing Productivity In Your Art Business

An abstract photo of designer soap 5

 

Many many weeks ago…

In the land of salsa and tumble weeds….

I felt I had made an artistic breakthrough.

I was going to combine both texture and glazing techniques to give my pure acrylic paintings a more mixed-media look and feel, but then something unexpected happened,…

It started to rain.

This of course slowed the drying time of the acrylic paint. Ever the optimist (yeh, right), I decided to be patient.

Surely, this little bought of wet weather would change the moment we all chose to blink as it always does in South Texas…but…nooooooooo…

It rained again and again.

At this stage, the paint remained tacky. It had an elmer’s glue consistency that when pressed slightly, released the wet paint from the bottom layers to the semi-dry surface.

Darn, I thought, this is going to take a week to dry….and it did.

Despite this annoying setback, I plodded on trying to make the best of the crazy weather conditions that were beyond my control. Still, I longed to finish the painting that I’d started and stepping aside to let the sucker dry was more than my limited patience could bear.

If you have ever found yourself in a similar situation and you are wondering what the heck you are going to do with all  that time on your hands that you would have spent painting, drawing, sculpting etc. then consider these helpful common sense suggestions:

1. Become A List Maker

Yes, I know… plopping down on your bottom and writing a list of all the things that you would like to accomplish with your career for the week is a boring and tedious exercise, but it also helps to relieve the anxiety you feel when you are just “floating” through the day with no structure or plans for getting things done. When you know were you are going, you can take the necessary small steps to accomplish larger goals by meeting smaller ones.

2. Organize Your Studio Space

While you are waiting for the paint to dry, the plate to be printed, materials to cure etc., try cleaning up areas in your studio that you will need to use to complete your latest body of work. Even though the thought of meeting hidden dust bunnies and mutant roaches that take up their home in that dark, damp, abandoned corner of your workspace is both scary and at the very least unappealing, the benefits of a clean, uncluttered working environment far outweigh the temporary inconvenience of a much needed “spring cleaning” session.

3. Make a Sketchbook/Artist Book For Each Series / Body of Work

Literally set aside a small economy sketchbook for each series of work that you want to produce. Be sure to sketch out all your ideas for individual paintings, sculpture, ceramics etc. that you want to include in that particular series. Add any comments or information about what inspired you to produce the work. If you are a photographer, you can create a photo journal to help you plan your next photo essay.

4. Research Materials and Content For Your Current Series / Body of Work

Sometimes, it helps to do research on certain topics that you want to discuss with your work. If you are a multimedia artist, and you plan on using materials that you might not ordinarily use that are connected to the subject matter of your series / body of work, you may also wish to do research on
how to properly use these materials. This practice will help you and others to better understand your artistic process. You may also want to add this information to your sketchbook/artist book to refer to at a later time.

5. Look for Galleries and Alternative Spaces to Show Your Completed Work

If have already figured out the style and subject matter of your work, you can begin actively searching for galleries and alternative spaces that are marketing artists creating similar work in the same genre. For example, if you are an artist that produces academic realist paintings of street scenes, you may want to research galleries that sell and promote academic realist paintings. The more specific you are in describing the type of work that you do in a gallery search, the easier it will be to target the gallery that is right for you and your work.

6. Market Your Completed Inventory

Make a list of all of the inventory that you have completed that you would consider selling or exhibiting. Clean and prepare the work for display. Make sure that you have good quality pictures for all of your work. Research juried shows, competitions and online exhibitions to gain exposure for you work.

7. Take Time to Visit Local Galleries and Museums

Apply for membership to your local museums. Make sure to subscribe to the mailing lists of both museums and galleries so that you can be notified of upcoming events that you can attend. This will help you to become a part of your local art community. Often we underestimate the need for contact with other artists and art business professionals.

8. Write an Artist Journal

Write an artist journal addressing the things that you believe are holding you back. As you mention each problem, try to acknowledge you feelings about that particular problem. Then, try to come up with possible solutions to that problem. If the problem is something that is beyond your control, maybe you can think of an alternative activity to pursue or a different way of viewing your situation.

Even though temporary setbacks annoy us because they keep us from working on a piece of art that we want to complete within a certain period of time, sometimes these setbacks force us to deal with other aspects of our career that need our attention. This is especially true if we have been taking the “path of least resistance” approach to our art, avoiding or ignoring these issues because we don’t believe we can be successful at marketing our own work. However, if we want to see progress, we must take risks.

*If you have any comments or questions about this article feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

3 Ways to Market Your Art Using Video

Marisa D. Aceves, Satellite 2: Valley 2, digital photography

Marisa D. Aceves, Satellite 2: Valley 2, digital photography 

Sharing your artwork with the world is not only an inherent need for most artists…

It is a marketing necessity.

When you film your art, you are providing art collectors, fans, and students with a window into your studio experience.  The internet provides a variety of social platforms that can help you increase your visibility and customer base.

Do you know how to use them both safely and effectively?

Here are some simple suggestions for how you can market your work using video without subjecting yourself to theft and copyright infringement:

1. Mastering Medium Specific DIY Demonstrations - Instead of taping your artistic process from start to finish, consider creating demonstrations on how to master basic skills and techniques that relate to the medium that you are most familiar with.  For instance, if you are a painter, you may want to video tape a demonstration on how to mix oil paints or how to apply glazing methods.  The beauty of video demonstrations is that they don’t have to be long detailed productions. Make sure to provide a link to your main website.  If other artists find your demonstrations useful, they just may decide to visit your website on a regular basis. This could help increase traffic to your website and therefore increase your visibility on the web.

2. Tapping Into The Hidden Potential of The Artist Webinar - If you have ever dreamed of teaching a room full of eager, bright, wide-eyed students, then artist webinars are for you. You don’t have to send an application for employment to your local university, the internet is your university and your the professor.  All  you need is a camera and an eagerness to share your knowledge with others. While most workshops are held at specific physical locations, webinars (a live workshop, seminar and presentation rolled up into one) can be made available to whomever signs up for enrollment. 

3. Sharing Your Unique Artistic Experience Through Video blogging – Video blogging offers your audience the experience of a “sit-down conversation” with you that regular blogging does not.  You can share your inspiration for a painting, sculpture, photography series etc.  This particular style of blogging is especially appealing to people who feel uncomfortable with writing about their business, but love to tell stories or chat with people. Your customers, students, and admirers get a chance to see the face behind the work.  This helps them to relate to you on a completely different level and can increase interest in you and the type of work that you produce.

While doing something a little different, can be scary at times, the risk is worth it as long as you look before you leap.  With all of these video suggestions, it is helpful if you put yourself on a schedule and come up with a sound marketing strategy before you attempt to promote your work in this manner.

Note:   A “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” approach is never a good idea. It is important that you are organized and are aware of the information that you want to share with your audience.  If you fail to present the information in a clear, concise manner, people may become confused about what you are trying to say and leave your site.

*If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, feel free to contact me!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

  

Are You Giving Your Art Career Away? The Possible Perils of Filming Your Process

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written by Marisa D. Aceves

Your creative process not only helps to make your work unique and marketable…

It is the life blood of your art career.

It is a precious gem that helps you to stand out from a myriad of other artists that are competing for the same gallery showing, artist publication covers etc.

So why would you simply give your trade secrets away by filming every brush stroke, chisel or camera technique from start to finish?

Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?

…or DOES IT???

Though this particular marketing strategy, may appear to be a good idea at first, consider who really benefits from this not-so-subtle form of advertising…

The answer just may surprise you.

WHY FILMING YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS CAN PUT YOU AT RISK?

Giving your style away is like giving away your originality!

Why should visitors and collectors come by your blog and website if they can find several other artists working in the same style and genre.

Consider these points before you film your art business out of existence:

1. Filming your creative process can expose you to theft from other artists -

For example…

a) From an artist with an “end-justifies-the means” mentality who only cares about making sales…

b) An art student that has to complete a project, but has no ideas…

c) A well known artist who has run out of ideas,

Someone can steal your style and subject matter and present them as their own.

Depending on how far along you are in your art career, this can destroy you and your ability to earn money from your art. Especially, if the artist that steals from you is well known and you are in the beginning stages of getting your work out to the public.

Who will they believe then?

A scrappy yet talented underdoggie or an artist with numerous publication covers and awards under their their big boy belt buckle?

We both know the answer to that one!

2. Filming your creative process can expose you to theft from designer art companies

When this particular scenario happens, and it does happen more often than we’d like to think, large companies selling designer artwork (paintings, sculpture, photography etc.) make money off of YOUR hard work.

They are allowed to get away with this because unless your work is copyrighted and protected by law, it’s fair game.

It’s public information.

It’s free content.

Anyone that is trained at copying the work of other artists can watch the video footage you took of your process (start to finish) and steal from you without getting caught.

The work is sold through a large company at rock bottom prices. The copiers that reproduce your work, usually go anonymous.

Even if your work is protected by law and you are able to report an obvious case of copyright infringement, if the theft occurs from a company outside of your country, it will make it even more difficult to take the guilty party to court.

In the mean time, you have probably lost thousands of dollars in future profits.

Not a good place to be!

However…

Sharing an appropriate amount of information (without giving away your secrets) could both increase your visibility on the internet, and help your present and future clients to better understand the reasons why you create your art.

*For more information about your rights,copyright infringement and protecting your work please check out these helpful Artist Resources:

1) Legal Guide for the Visual Artist,Fifth Edition by Tad Crawford

2) Photographer’s Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age (Lark Photography Book) by Edward C. Greenberg and Jack Reznicki

3) Art Law: The Guide for Collectors, Artists, Investors, Dealers, and Artists (2 Volume Set) by Ralph E. Lerner and Judith Bresler

Next week…

NEXT WEEK….3 Ways To Market Your Art Using Video

NOT IN MY INBOX! Warning: Not Every Opportunity Is A Good Opportunity Part 2

Abstract photography

Satellite Series: Uncharted Landscape – Purple Canyon, abstract photography

Last week, we covered marketing tactics that make our email experience a little less pleasant, Ranting and Storytelling with few tips. If you missed out on last weeks post, click here to read Part 1!

This week, we will cover SCHOOLYARD BULLY(ING) and PUSHY PEPPERMINT PATTY(ING):

SCHOOLYARD BULLY(ING):

This tough, tell-it-like-it-is marketing approach might appeal to you initially, especially if you are seeking specific information about sales or networking etc. and are sick of people giving you the “run around.”  However, what seems to be a “light a fire under your butt” great idea to increase your overall motivation and productivity quickly descends into an unwelcome barrage of verbal abuse.  It all starts with those irresistibly sarcastic “in-your-face” headlines that somehow you just have to click. You do click, because you must! Then after you read the article that does have some helpful advice, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re being bullied into action by the marketer.  At some point in our lives, we do have to come to terms with the fact that we may have to correct some bad habits that keep us from performing to the best of our ability.  Still, if we subscribe to a business service with the plan that eventually, we might make a purchase, the last thing we want to do as potential customers is to leave with a feeling of utter embarrassment and defeat.  Schoolyard bullying is especially cruel because it uses reverse psychology to point the finger at the subscriber when they start asking questions or have legitimate concerns.  The subscriber is made to feel that the very act of their seeking help means that they are a hopeless, wimpy loser that doesn’t deserve success in their field unless they put up with the “persistent tongue-lashings” of the marketer.  Why put up with abuse you will eventually pay for in dollars.  Unless you are a “glutton for punishment” find a kinder, gentler professional who can firmly guide you and answer all questions respectfully.

PUSHY PEPPERMINT PATTY(ING)

This funny, bubbly marketer wins you over with their sly wit and down-to-earth style.  At first, they fill your in-box with me-too emails, perhaps in the hope that if you can relate to them as another human being, you’ll want to buy from them later.  Then, when they’ve slowly weaseled their way into you mind and heart, they hit you with helpful business links and some packages that they know you’ll want to buy.  Many of these business packages are affiliate marketing links of course and some of these are quite expensive.  You are on a budget and just getting started with your business, so in general, you are not financially independent enough to take advantage of the leads that they send you.  Yet it seems that the whole purpose of seeking a subscription to help your small business grow is so that you can achieve financial independence.  Now you begin to realize something that had not initially occurred to you before.  Perhaps your subscription to their business blog is so that THEY can gain financial independence on the last “bottom dollar” of the struggling individuals seeking their help! LOL, you new business BFF is their own best friend not yours.  File this away for future reference and find yourself a more affordable option.

There are probably several other examples of annoying marketing schemes that we almost fall for until we notice the signs that something just isn’t right.  As time goes on and we empty our crowded inboxes, many of us will eventually discover that we are not alone. We do not have to be victims of internet deception. Taking a more proactive approach and familiarizing ourselves and others with the scams that are out there can help us all avoid future grief and frustration at the hands of the latest wave of scammers.

*If you have any comments regarding this article or advice you’d like to share with others, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!