Why Your Differences Are The Hidden Blessings That Can Help Your Art Stand Out

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Marisa D. Aceves. Distant Memory. digital photography http://acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

In a sea of artists producing similar work and selling it successfully, it is easy for artists that create work outside the accepted status quo to feel both bewildered and distressed about their future.

Many of us know there are few certainties in life and yet we crave stability; We often seek it out even if it means that we give up pursuing our latest innovations.

The fear of failure is alive today as it has been for centuries.

It’s not going away.

We have to battle it one piece of artwork at a time.

Despite the overwhelming feelings some of us face as we force ourselves to push forward into unchartered artistic territory, the very things that make us different are the important elements (if used correctly) that can help us stand out.

Here are some helpful tips for overcoming the perceived mental blocks that keep us from confidence in our creativity:

1) Research Your Niche 

Carefully study what other people in your niche are creating.  How are they marketing their work? Who is their target audience?  What works for them? What doesn’t? Add your own personal voice and style to differentiate yourself from artists producing similar work. We all would like to do our own thing. We should produce the artwork that holds the most interest for us, but sometimes when the general population have difficulty with accepting the type of work we are producing, we may also have to look at what does appeal to people and why? When you complete this exercise, you are able to get outside of yourself. You begin to get valuable insights into how others view things.

2) Create Your Brand Around Your Unique Vision

Branding is a necessity, because it helps others to both know and trust you.  If an audience doesn’t know you, than trust will be difficult if not impossible.  As you market your work across different social media platforms, make sure that you are consistent with your overall message. Generally people are more likely to respond to new and different art when you reach them through your message. If your message resonates with them, then your art business has a much better chance of survival. The art then is a symbol for that message. Each time people see your work, they will think about that message because you have given them something to relate to.

3) Network With Other Artists 

Make friends and business connections with other artists.  Some may have similar interests; others may not.  When you have similar interests with other artists you may share what works and what does not. If you are in contact with artists that may not have similar interests, sometimes they can help you to view your niche from a unique perspective. Connections are key to building a successful art business.  When you reach out to others for support and encouragement, don’t forget to provide it.

4) Become A Storyteller

People want to know the story behind your art.  Share both obstacles and inspiration, but be careful not to divulge inappropriate or personal information that could hurt you and your business. When writing about your story, consider these questions:

a) What are you trying to say with your work?

b) What is important to you and why?

c) How does your world view effect the type of work you produce?

5) Share Your Success Stories

When people like and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you and promote your work.  There is nothing wrong with letting people know about a sale that you have made, a contest you have won, your latest commission or a show that features your work as long as you do this appropriately and politely. Simply informing your audience about peoples’ appreciation of your products and services is acceptable. Constantly boasting about your abilities or how much money you make can eventually irritate your audience and keep them from visiting your website so practice discretion.

While researching or creating your niche is a challenge, remember this: No thing worth doing is ever easy. The healthiest approach to tackling difficult aspects of your art business is to view them as both learning opportunities and teaching moments. If you apply the same mixture of discovery and discipline to your marketing efforts, finding your niche will be more enjoyable and less intimidating.

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

The Magic Formula For Success: Does It Exist?

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Marisa D. Aceves. Spectrum 3. Digital Photography

Everyone searches for that elusive ‘formula for success’.

At some point in our lives we all entertain the big ‘If ‘.

Many of us want to believe:

If we just read a certain book about marketing, we will understand the secret to selling our unique brand of art.

If we just take this SEO seminar on how to optimize our website, everyone looking to buy our work will suddenly find us on the internet.

If we just purchase this social media package for $99.99, we will become a ‘social media rockstar/artstar’.

If we just work hard to attract the attention of this one particular gallery, we will finally get that life-changeing/career-making show that we’ve always dreamed of.

If only…if…if …if

We cannot live our lives counting on the next ‘If ‘  to change what we don’t like about ourselves, or our art career.

Yes, hard work, discipline, proper planning and solid marketing will increase our chances of success, but they do not guarantee that it will occur.

Sadly, those of us looking for guarantees and magic formulas will find that there are none.

What we might ask ourselves if we happen to encounter anxiety about the relative uncertainty of our chosen profession is “Why am I creating art in the first place?” and “What do I consider success?”

 

 

 

 

How To Make Sure Procrastination Doesn’t Keep You From Your Best Work

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Marisa D. Aceves. Object 180. digital photography.

For additional examples of my work, check out the my website at http://www.acevesart.com/

Deep down inside, we all know we have to “get to work” to make our creative business a reality.

While many of us could come up with a variety of well worn excuses for why we can’t or shouldn’t work, work is necessary in order to create a sellable product.

However, when we work feverishly without rest, we can over think a problem and inadvertently “destroy” what is beautiful about our art.

So how can we avoid this aggravating situation and still remain productive in our studio?

What is the difference between “stepping away” from our work and “procrastination”?

When we “step away” from our work, we are simply taking some much needed time to properly assess whether or not certain elements of our work are coming together to form a successful, complete piece.

We can ask ourselves questions like:

a) Does the work reflect what we initially set out to say?

b) What can we correct about the piece?

c) What part of our work needs to remain intact?

“Stepping Away” is definitely a time for both proper judgement and reflection. It is different than procrastination because it serves a purpose. It is a brief, meaningful rest before you return to work; it is a momentary vacation not an eternal vacation.

The evil twin sister of “stepping away” is procrastination.

Webster’s dictionary defines procrastination as “The act or habit of procrastinatingor putting off to a future timedelaydilatoriness.”  

 “Procrastination” convinces us that we need to take a longer break than we really need.

Pretty soon everything else we’d rather be doing instead immediately takes priority over the hard work we must do in order to accomplish our artistic goals.

So how do we stop “procrastination”?

Here are some tips for how to avoid procrastination while allowing yourself some “stepping away” time.

1. Admit that you have a problem with procrastination 

Admitting that you have a tendency to procrastinate is key to addressing how to stop this common “time-stealing” habit.

2. Deal with the reason/s why you procrastinate 

There are several reasons why people procrastinate.  Your reason/s for procrastinating may be different than you neighbors’, but the point is that you understand why you procrastinate so you can address these issues.

Here are some common reasons for procrastination:

a) Fear – Sometimes we fear rejection if we perceive that people won’t like our work. We may fear tasks that require technical expertise that we do not yet possess or understand so we put them off. If we never put our work on display so that the public can view it, no one know that our work exists. If we fear complicated technical tasks that we do not understand, it is better to ask for help in these areas so that we don’t miss out on the opportunity to expose our work to different audiences on different platforms.

b) Lack of Motivation or Inspiration – We may procrastinate believing that we need to ‘feel’ motivated or inspired to work on our art or creative business, but this simply is not the case. Avoidance tactics based on depression only leads to more depression because we have not made any attempts or taken any small steps to complete our goals. We are still in effect right where we started.

c) Low-Self Confidence – If we are not very confident in our abilities to perform a task or learn a new skill, we may consistently put important tasks off rather than face personal failure. Confidence is increased with familiarity. Once we become more familiar with a task, we become more confident in our abilities to complete that particular task.  When we continue to avoid the tasks we know we need to face, we never gain the skills that are necessary for success in whatever area we wish to pursue.

d)Perfectionism- We all would like to experience the joy of being considered an expert in something.  Many of us want to do the very best that we can. However when we set expectations that are too high for our skills at the time, we may find ourselves procrastinating because we believe that if we can’t do it like the experts, it’s just not worth doing.  This belief is both false and detrimental because you don’t become an expert without time and practice. We are all beginners at one point in our lives. There is no shame in admitting this.

3. Create a work schedule – Creating a work schedule helps you to organize the tasks ahead so that you do not become overwhelmed with what you have to do during the day, week, and month.  When you know what you are going to be doing at a certain time of the day, this lessens your anxiety and fear.

4. Divide large tasks into small actionable goals – Breaking large goals up into smaller goals helps you to both gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment.  As you begin to achieve each small task, you gain confidence and your depression about not getting things done begins to lift.

 5. Set up a specific time for each task – When you set a specific time for each task, you make yourself accountable for getting to work in that period of time. As you work, you will notice how you use your time, you can then address how you can improve time management issues.

While “procrastination” can seem like an insurmountable problem, with a positive attitude and a willingness to address the issue, you can overcome it.

 

Artist Sources: Procrastination Info 

1. Procrastination Help :: How to Stop Procrastinating

2. Procrastination Help Courses

3. Stop Procrastinating – The 21 Day Program to Break The Habit 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know yourself?

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Marisa D. Aceves. Object 180. Digital Photography.

Check out the rest of my series at http://www.acevesart.com/

Our success depends largely on how we define it.

How we define success is based on how well we know ourselves.

If what we are trying to say with our artwork fails to resonate with others, perhaps it is because we are holding back who we truly are……..

…or who we truly are has yet to be discovered.

 In any case, we shouldn’t let society determine our self-worth.  When we do this, we fall into the people pleasing game. Therefore, we please  no one.  We are never satisfied with what we say or what we do. Our whole identity is dependent on what others think or believe.  The tragic result is that we live our whole lives according to someone else’s flawed definition of excellence.  We hate every moment of it.  Soon we find we lose the joy we once had in connecting with others through our unique creative expression.  We would rather be the genius of others we admire.  Over time, we find we have unceremoniously given away the wonderful childlike trust we had in our natural ability to problem solve creatively. One thing that I have learned over the years is that if it doesn’t feel genuinely “YOU,” it probably isn’t.  Yes, we can and should respect and nurture the talents of others (as well as our own), but we should never try to be them. At the most it will backfire on us and everyone will discover we have been lying to ourselves and others; at the very least we will live our entire lives as the person we wished we were believing that others only want the “persona” we agreed to create.

You can hide behind and sell a “persona”.

Many have done this successfully, but at what cost.  Some say it can be done as easily as you can create a “pin name” and sell a different kind of work under that name.

It is possible to  sell a different type of work under a different name and not lose yourself, but only if you know yourself.  The challenge for many artists and creative marketers is to know who we “truly” are. Once we are comfortable with ourselves, then we will eventually find the audience that appreciates what we do and the services we offer.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.