Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What people really mean when they say they can’t afford your artwork.

If you’ve been exhibiting and selling your art professionally for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard the following many, many times:

“I love your work.  I wish I could afford to buy a piece!”

“I don’t have the money right now, but one day …”
Or my personal favorite:
“Your paintings are so beautiful. I need to win the lottery so I can buy one!”
Now, aside from those people who are genuinely in a state of true financial hardship due to any number of truly unfortunate and desperate circumstances, let’s take a moment to decipher what most people really mean when they say they can’t afford your work.
What “I can’t afford your artwork” really means:
1. I’ve never bought a piece of art before. I love looking at artwork at museums and galleries, but I’m not an “Art Collector”.  Translation: Only rich people buy art. I’m not a fancy-pants rich person, so obviously I can’t wrap my head around the idea of actually buy your art.

2.  I love looking at art, but I also like to spend my money on clothes, gadgets, weekends out with my friends, vacations, my new car, and my daily $5 Starbucks addiction.  Translation: I could afford to buy your art, but if I did, I’d have to sacrifice a few of the little things that give me pleasure on a daily basis. I’m not willing to do that.

3. You’re a nice person, but I don’t really like your art that much.  I say I can’t afford your work as a way to justify why I’ll never buy anything from you.  Translation: I’m trying to be nice, but even if you offer me a 2 year payment plan, I’m never gonna spend any of my money on your artwork.

All of the people that say these things----They have plenty of money. They’re just not gonna spend it on your art. At the end of the day, they have beliefs and priorities that dictate they won’t be buying any of your artwork anytime soon.

So what should you do when people say they can’t afford your artwork? 
Absolutely NOTHING.

DO NOT freak out and lower all of your prices. 
There’s a huge difference between “I can’t afford it.” And “your prices are too high.”  And most likely, even if you lowered your prices, people wouldn’t have a sudden change of heart and buy a bunch of your art anyway.
DO NOT offer to sell them a work at bargain basement prices. Even doing this just once devalues your work and your worth as an artist. On top of that, it’s unfair to all the people who willingly paid their hard earned cash for your work at it’s full and rightful price.  Selling your work on the sly, for cheap, is not cool.  It’s a panic move and it’s bad for your career in the long run. Don’t do it. 
DO NOT get angry or bitter.
Sure it’s ok to have moments of frustration about the folks who show up at your openings and drink all your free wine when they have no intention of ever buying anything, but after you’ve had a moment to commiserate privately with a few of your closest artists friends over this, let it go! Seriously---LET it GO!  
The truth is, people will tell you all kinds of reasons why they can’t afford to buy your art.  Thank them graciously for their kind words about your work, and then pay no mind to whatever reason they give for why they can’t buy. 
Focus your energy on things you can actually control. Such as:
- Working hard to create the best quality work possible on a regular basis.
- Following up and reconnecting with people who show genuine interest in your work.
- Regularly researching and applying to appropriate venues for your work.

-  Getting out of your studio and into the world so you can meet lots of people, and otherwise become an active member of your arts community. 

Big Love,

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Exhibition Opportunities for Artists: May 2015 Edition.

Photo: Installation view of AlexisDirks' exhibition NEW NEW MONUMENTS at TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary.

TRUCK Contemporary Art Gallery in Calgary is accepting proposal-based exhibits by contemporary artists, art collectives, independent curators and collaborations practicing across disciplines and media. The gallery currently facilitates exhibitions and projects in three venues: the Main Gallery, +15 Window Space, and CAMPER. http://bit.ly/1IaaiDZ

Asher Gallery at The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is currently seeking new work to showcase in its retail gallery by acclaimed local, emerging, and national artists in all craft media. http://bit.ly/1dJ3xxV

The Pearl Conard Art Gallery at Ohio State Mansfield is seeking work for an exhibit of work by mathematicians who use visual art to express their findings, or visual artists inspired by mathematics. http://bit.ly/1GW2jsG Deadline: May 15th.

Urban Art Retreat in Chicago is accepting submissions for an upcoming juried exhibition of work about sexual orientation by artists of any orientation. http://bit.ly/1R7O2Pw  Deadline: May 31st.

Venice Arts invites artists to submit works for its annual juried exhibition “Disaster is my Muse.”  The exhibition will include documentary work in photography, video, or multimedia that explores the realm of the disastrous as it intersects with the canny, familiar, and domestic. http://bit.ly/1bteEcw  Deadline: June 15th.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is accepting proposal based applications for it Artist in residency program. Selected artists will spend 3 months working within the theme of “In our Community”, directly engaging with visitors and local school groups in the Bay area. http://bit.ly/1GWD1O1 Deadlines: May 15th and August 15th.

The Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, California is currently accepting proposal-based submissions from artists for its 2016 exhibition season. http://bit.ly/1F2Lpv3  Deadline: August 31st.

Big Love,


Friday, April 24, 2015

Art World Round-Up: Ideas, Events, and other Happenings.

A few things around the web that you'll find interesting:

"AFROFUTURISM | Conference: Designing New Narratives To Empower The African Diaspora." May 1-3, 2015 in New York City. http://bit.ly/1dca9V7

Zombies on the Walls: Why Does So Much New Abstraction Look the Same? http://bit.ly/1I66WSQ

How the Whitney might just solve the impossible problem of contemporary art. http://bit.ly/1DlMmXL

"I don't care about Contemporary Art Anymore?" by David Byrne. http://bit.ly/1DtaGbN

ONWARD Global Mentorship Program — a brand new approach to photography education. http://bit.ly/1EAZZK5

A Universe of Drawing, Rolled into a Single Room. http://bit.ly/1FkRLVg

Big Love,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Exhibition Opportunities for Artists: April 2015 Edition.

A gorgeous exhibition installation at Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago. 

Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago is seeking artwork for a juried exhibition of work made from reclaimed/recycled/found/natural materials or deconstructed/reconstructed objects called “Salvaged Beauty”.  http://bit.ly/1xZtjqG  Deadline: April 12th.

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York is accepting exhibition proposals in all media for solo, 2-person, and group exhibitions in The School of Art Gallery. Selected artists will be given the opportunity to offer a gallery talk/and/or presentation to PrattMWP students and community members during the reception.  http://bit.ly/1N0zCRy  Deadline: April 20th.

The Art Center-Highland Park is currently accepting Exhibition Proposals for solo or group exhibitions. http://bit.ly/1JijPbd  Deadline: April 30th.  

Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka KS is currently reviewing Exhibition Proposals for it’s upcoming exhibition season.  Proposals are reviewed once a year and scheduled at least 1 year in advance.  http://bit.ly/1yQlkan Deadline: May 1st.

The ArtSpace Gallery in Maynard, MA welcomes exhibition proposals for solo and group exhibitions based on a unifying concept—social, historical, philosophical, cultural, political or other—by artists or curators. http://bit.ly/19ZTsu6  Deadline: May 15th.

The University of Michigan Health System Gifts of Art program is currently seeking Exhibition Proposals for the 2015-2016 exhibit year. The Gifts of Art program is designed to enhance the health system’s environment of care and help calm, comfort and engage our patients, visitors and staff.  http://bit.ly/1HKly8d  Deadline: May 15th.


What are you waiting for?

Big Love,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Selling Your Art on Instagram?

I’ll be the first to admit I was late to the party when it came to joining the cult of Instagram.

You won’t find me spending hours a day taking studio shots and choosing just the right filter for my iPhone pics, but I’m now happy to confess I'm a faithful convert.  

I’m having way too much fun sharing images of works in progress and other things I’m up to in the studio.  Now that I'm finally on board, I can easily see Instagram becoming a huge part of my marketing arsenal.

A few interesting articles I've found on the subject:

Instagram for Artists: Using Instagram to Promote Your Work. http://bit.ly/1HyTaoY

A Guide to Using Instagram for Studio Artists. http://bit.ly/1CW8df1

Why the World’s Most Talked-About New Art Dealer Is Instagram. http://vogue.cm/1BiA2rE

So what about you?  How are you using Instagram on your blog?

Big Insta-Love,

Friday, March 20, 2015

RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS: Don't Miss These Podcasts!

I came across the podcasts at Side Street Projects in Los Angeles about 5 years ago. Recently I discovered they'd consolidated all of their podcast series into one place.

There are 3 different series of podcasts on the site and although one series focuses on artist working in communities in Los Angeles, I don’t think the information is any less valuable to an artist in Brooklyn, Austin, or Des Moines for that matter.

Some descriptions from the website:

▪  WHAT DO CURATORS WANT?  A 10-part podcast series addressing best professional practices for contemporary visual artists.

  SHOP TALK.  Features frank conversations with your favorite contemporary artists. What are some misconceptions about being a contemporary LA artist? How do you juggle deadlines, personal life, and your day job? Has your life suffered because of art? 

 SOCIAL: HOW DOES SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART HAPPEN IN LOS ANGELES.  A roundtable workshop hosted by LACE. It explored the possibilities and limits of current organizational models and curatorial strategies that support Social Engagement Art practices. 

So much good stuff, all in one place!

Click over and have a listen to for free!!!!

Big Love,

Friday, March 13, 2015

10 Easy Steps To Becoming A Better Artist

1. Make some Art.

2. Make some more Art.

3. Make even more Art.

4. Make even more Art than that.

5. Make Art when you don't really feel like making Art.

6. Make Art when you REALLY feel like making Art.

7. Make Art when you have something to say.

8. Make Art when you got nothin' to say.

9. Make Art every day.

10. Keep making Art.

This post is a blast from the past, but frankly, it's worth repeating. 

When it comes to becoming a better artist, there are no short-cuts worth taking.

Big Love,

p.s.  Inspired by the great wisdom of Brian Clark at Copyblogger.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Who Says Art Blogs are Boring? 3 Visual Artists Who are KICKIN' Ass and Takin’ Names on Their Blogs.

How did I manage to make it through an entire month of posts on the subject of art blogs without mentioning the names of actual artists?

Have no fear, below you'll find my short list of visual artists who are absolutely killing it on their blogs. If you're not already acquainted with them, you should definitely click over and go take a look at not just what they show, but how they share it.

These three exciting visual artists prove that it's not just about showing what you do, it's about
sharing who you are.

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Karen Walrond is a photoessayist and author.

Her blog Chookooloonks is an award-winning lifestyle, travel, inspiration and photography website, about living with intention and a sense of adventure ( A Trinidadian term of endearment, used especially when addressing a child.)

Karen's bestselling book, The Beauty of Different, is a chronicle of imagery and portraiture, combined with written essays and observations on the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful. Her photography has been included in numerous exhibitions around the United States.

Go check out Karen’s blog here: www.chookooloonks.com

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Austin Kleon describes himself as “a writer who draws”. You probably know him as the author of Steal Like An Artist, a manifesto for creativity in the digital age, or Newspaper Blackout his a collection of poetry made by redacting words from newspaper articles with a permanent marker. Go read Austin’s blog here: www.austinkleon.com

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California based Artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon is best known for her colorful abstract paintings, intricate line drawings, pattern design and hand lettering. 

Lisa writes a popular daily blog about her work, life and inspiration called Today is Going to be Awesome

Her book Fortune Favors the Brave will be released later this year. Go check out Lisa’s blog here: www.lisacongdon.com.

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Successfully infusing your creativity, personality, and ideas into your blog is the easiest way to guarantee readers and potential collectors keep coming back. 

You don’t need everyone in the world to read your blog, just the people who truly enjoy seeing and reading about your work and process. Your “right” people are the ones who truly resonate with your ideas and the way you share them.

OK, over to you...

How well does your blog share not only your work, but your thoughts, ideas, and your personality?

Chime in and leave your answer in the comment section.

You gotta let your light shine, baby!

Big Love,

Friday, February 20, 2015

Why You Should Stop Apologizing and Making Excuses on Your Blog!

Even if you’ve been blogging about your artwork for a while, sometimes real life issues just get in the way. 

Maybe your “day job” requires you to put in a few more hours each week, you have a family emergency, you have a bunch of cool projects or exhibitions lined up, or maybe you just get plain bored with writing.

Before you know it, you're way behind on your blog posting schedule.

It happens.

Missing a few weeks or even months of blogging isn't that big of a deal as long as you come back, get right back on track, and totally knock it out of the park.

There’s absolutely NO reason for you to start off your comeback post with “Sorry I haven’t been blogging, but....”

top. Do not pass go. Do not collect your $200.

Guilt-laden “apology” blog posts are useless.
They damage your credibility by making you seem like a person who makes excuses instead of taking action.

It’s important to be honest and transparent with your readers. It's builds trust. But instead of making excuses for your absence, why not jump right back into blogging about the exciting projects you’ve been up to, what’s been keeping you busy in the studio, and what ideas you’ve had.

Make your first comeback post full of images and insights into what you’re working on. Talk about your thought process and where it’s leading you. Pose a question or start a discussion about some of the ideas you’ve been thinking about.

Instead of using an entire blog post on what you’ve done wrong in the past, focus your attention on the future of your work and your art blog. 

Readers click over to your art blog to see and learn new things about you and your work. They want to join in your excitement, not witness your guilt.

If you give them what they want, they'll keep coming back..

So let’s brainstorm:

▪  How do you feel about the status of your art blog? Does it need CPR?

▪  What keeps you from blogging? How do you plan to get back on track?

How do you come up with fresh new ways to talk about your work?

Spill the beans in comments.

Big Love,

p.s. If your blog is on it's last leg, you really should be joining us for the Rock Your Art Blog Mastermind Workshop. Join us!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How I Blogged My Way into the Permanent Collection of an Art Museum.

I’m always going on and on about how artists can use their blogs as a powerful marketing tools to promote and sell their work.

Today I want to give you a concrete example of how I’ve used my own blog to share, network, and connect in ways that have influenced the course of my own art career.

Way back in the 1990’s I bought a book titled Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies by Diane Neumaier. In the book I discovered the work of artist Carla Williams

Something about the power of her honesty and vulnerability really spoke to me. I became an instant fan!  For years I admired her work from afar. I scoured other books for her work and I read every page of her website and blog.

Finally in 2007 I summoned the courage to send her a little fan letter by email. I simply introduced myself and told her how much I admired her work, and how much she had inspired me as an artist. Much to my surprise she replied right away and thanked me for my kind words.

Now this is where the story gets crazy awesome.

Not too long after our e-mail exchange, Carla wrote a brief paragraph about me on her blog and linked back to my blog. My page views doubled overnight.

Shortly after that small mention, curator Lisa Henry read Carla's blog post and clicked over to my blog and website.

Lisa promptly e-mailed me and asked to include two of my photographs from the (Re)calling and (Re)telling series in the traveling museum exhibition Double Exposure: African-Americans Before and Behind the Camera.

Being part of Double Exposure led to my works being included in seven other group and solo exhibitions in the two years that followed, and  when Double Exposure finally closed one of the works was acquired by The Amistad Center for Art and Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, where the exhibition originated.

That’s a pretty kick-ass chain of events that would have never happened if I didn't have a blog that presented beautiful images of my work in a professional manner.

Now, do you understand why I’m pestering you about the state of your blog?

So, I have 3 simple questions for you:

▪ What ONE word describes the current state of your blog?

▪  If a museum curator or gallery director clicked over to your blog right now, would they get a positive first impression of you and your work?

▪ What opportunities could you be missing out on right NOW because you don’t know how to use your blog as a marketing tool?

If you’re answers to these two questions make you cringe, you need to be part of the Rock Your Art Blog Mastermind.  

During the month of March I’ll not only help you revive your ailing blog, but also work on changing your mindset about blogging.  Click here for all the sexy details.

Blogging shouldn’t be a burden or a chore.

Your blog is your ticket into a world of new collectors, the international art world at large, and maybe even a museum collection.

Are you playing your cards right?

 If not, join us.

Big Love,