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

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

Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an art business enterprise coach and expert “who functions with formidable artists who want to get manage of their careers”. She is the founder of Art Biz Achievement, host of the The Artwork Biz podcast, and author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Advertising.

As an artist, I have benefited from the several assets out there on her platform and I was delighted to be not too long ago a visitor on her podcast about my web site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is consequently a great satisfaction to job interview her and accumulate her suggestions and testimony.

You have worked with thousands of diverse artists in your dwell workshops, on line courses, and consulting. Are there some widespread mistakes that artists should really avoid?

The place to start off? I believe I acquired on a roll with this list, but I want to continue to keep each individual issue, which I have rated in order of importance. 

#1 Blunder: Neglecting their studio apply. I never ever considered I’d have to encourage artists about how crucial it is to demonstrate up for the work, but some artists would virtually do everything other than facing the tricky position in the studio. You can’t wait around for the muse. You just have to get to do the job. With no the artwork, you are not an artist and have no prospect of a effective enterprise or occupation.

#2 Mistake: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colours or being aware of intimately about the components you use. You have to have to know your products inside and out. You need to have to know how to get ready, entire, and end an artwork, including how to thoroughly mat, body, dangle, or install it. It’s obvious when an artist attempts to take shortcuts or doesn’t know what they’re performing.

#3 Blunder: Not understanding how essential it is in the artwork organization to get started, nurture, and maintain professional and personalized relationships. When you really do not adhere to up with leads or possibilities, or when you really don’t stick to by way of on claims or fulfill your deadlines, you will quickly get a name as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Slip-up: Sending the erroneous message on the web. It all starts with fantastic pictures of the do the job. If you just cannot get very good images of your art, hire an individual. They’re that important—especially when you’re publishing them to demonstrates and prospects. I’m terribly irritated by social feeds that don’t exhibit any artwork. I adhere to you simply because you are an artist. Show me your operate!

#5 Blunder: Declaring Yes to initiatives that aren’t aligned with their ambitions. For illustration, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Really do not. Do. It. You are going to detest every single minute of it, detest the individual for inquiring you in the very first position, and detest oneself for thinking it was a wise final decision at some level.

#6 Blunder: Relying on a solitary sales venue, be it a gallery, your website, or social media. You can not management social media platforms and never ever know what will happen to them or when they’ll adjust their algorithm. And you in no way know how prolonged a gallery will stay in organization. You truly need to diversify how, when, and where by your art is witnessed.

The time period success can cover distinctive areas. How do you aid an artist determine what results is for him/her?

You are proper! The word “success” is loaded and, if I’m becoming sincere, it is a term I’d like to get rid of in 2022. But for the sake of your query, let’s presume that there is a way for each and every artist to arrive at a unique definition.

For some, it’s about visibility and recognition from institutions. For other folks, it could possibly be profits and earnings. But I suspect it’s a combination, as you stated, of lots of different elements for most artists. It takes into account their ambitions and their constraints that may possibly occur from loved ones, monetary sources, deficiency of teaching, etcetera.

When I work privately with a customer, we commence with their eyesight. I ask what they want from their art, which is deliberate phrasing but typically perplexing to artists. This dilemma is a way to get at their definition of achievement. 

Can you share about the distinct approaches an artist can function with you?

Sure! Thanks for asking. 

I like to start by mentioning that my website has been close to since 2004 and The Artwork Biz podcast considering that 2016 (and in a unique format than that substantially before). My stage: I create a whole lot of no cost content and it can all be accessed working day and evening. The research function on the site site is great. I inspire artists to search close to and get to know me by means of what is no cost for them.

When you will need extra framework, I can aid you by means of my on-line systems, which adjust 3 instances a 12 months. They are developed all over a seasonal concentration place, with information created from practically two a long time of serving to artists.

In 2022, our concentration spots are Make Options, Raise Your On line Internet marketing, and Get Arranged. These programs are hybrid on-demand discovering modules + stay schooling + live Zoom sessions so our members can interact with just one one more. We have an lively group forum crammed with intentional and ambitious artists.

I also have mastermind groups for artists who by now have a powerful basis in spot. 

I’m rethinking (constantly!) a ton of what I do and am actually savoring doing the job privately with higher-acquiring clientele. It’s fulfilling to do the job so closely with anyone and witness their expansion and transformation. You may perhaps see me streamline my choices in the foreseeable future.

At last, you commenced your vocation doing work in art museums. How did you start out your individual company?

Apologies in progress for this longish reply, but there are some great business lessons inside of the story. 

In early 2001 I decided that daily life was too small to go the place the museum employment were and that I needed to stay in Colorado. I resolved to start off an art consulting small business. Obtaining artwork with other people’s cash sounded like a good deal of entertaining to me! And I was severe about this.

When a person is major about a company, a person receives business playing cards. Before I remaining the Wichita Artwork Museum, I hired our museum’s deal designer, who was amazingly talented, to style and design my small business playing cards, emblem, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even experienced letterhead printed up.

Stanfield Artwork Associates was conceived in Kansas and crafted in Colorado.

When I labored in museums, it was our membership record that was our bread and butter. All those folks obtained totally free entry, invitations by mail, newsletters, and bargains at the store. Our membership listing was constantly up to date. They had been who we worked for above all.

So I started my have checklist of contacts working with my FileMaker Professional program.

To this working day, I contend that your make contact with checklist is just about every businessperson’s–artist or not–most useful advertising asset.

I stress this all through my systems, and talked about it as the #3 oversight artists make in the prior dilemma: Neglecting personalized and specialist relationships.

I began sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to everybody I realized telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I despatched press releases to the metropolitan areas and institutions I was linked to and bought a short produce-up in the Oklahoma Town company journal. Then I began sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts group.

Extremely small came of this. I received 1 consulting gig in Tulsa for an old high-school buddy who noticed my write-up in the Oklahoma Town paper. And I bought a framing and installation gig from my landlord who was connected to the Metropolis of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this encounter just about every time an artist suggests, “I sent out 500 postcards and received no responses.” You have acquired to have extra of a approach than a one advertising system.

The letters of introduction have been my full plan, if you can connect with it that. Sending letters is not a strategy. It ought to be a small portion of a bigger system. I did meet some gallerists and many others in the art small business because of the letters, but I experienced no steady adhere to up or abide by as a result of.

I had no program. I experienced to determine it out, and which is why I have created it simpler for artists to nurture associations by giving artists with trustworthy enterprise methods in all of my systems. There are elements of being in touch with people today that could possibly seem to be risky (like that initial speak to with them), but there is just about a confirmed payoff for it. In my guide, that eliminates a great deal of the chance.

After that bust came the surreal time period all-around September 11. The past detail any one was imagining about was getting artwork. The final thing I needed to consider about was advertising my new business enterprise.

What I was obtaining at this time was inquiries from artists who had listened to that I still left the museum and was beginning my very own artwork consulting business enterprise. They did not precisely know what I was making an attempt to make. All they understood was that they desired assistance selling their art.

Nearly all of them have been hunting for an agent. So, I imagined, “I could do that!” Then I imagined some more. I didn’t know any individual in my entire world of galleries and museums who preferred to offer with agents.

Instead of serving as an agent, I decided to enable artists study to be far better brokers for their get the job done. I have never appeared back and could not picture being in any other line of operate.