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Art Marketing Ideas and Straight Talk about Selling Art, Marketing, Inspiration & Fine Living




10 Dumb Ideas I Read about in a Grow-Your-Business Article

by Carolyn Henderson on 8/24/2015 8:47:01 AM

When we believe, literally, those fanciful stories, and try to follow the lessons that we are given, we find ourselves disappointed, because our chickens do not lay golden eggs (they're sort of a dirty tan color) and when we spread the cloth on the table and command, "Fill the plates and bowls with succulent fare!" we wind up having to pull out cold cereal for dinner. [...]

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Guess What? You're Not a Failure

by Carolyn Henderson on 8/10/2015 8:54:25 AM

Because online is the place to be, and so many artists set up websites to promote their work, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Google-Plus, Instagram) are two areas that many of us find ourselves involved in, but just as many of us don't feel confident that we're doing it right. [...]

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Now That We Know What NOT to Do

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/27/2015 8:18:35 AM

It's not a very concrete list, is it? But that's the point: there is NO fail-safe way to follow, no path that leads straight, or even windingly, to the goal line, and anyone who promises you this is not being forthright. [...]

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How Can I "Make It"?

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/13/2015 8:00:39 AM

It's not to say that that's the only way to make it -- but it is to brutally point out that -- throughout the media (which includes the art world), political system, and business world -- many "rags to riches" stories are blatantly untrue, but we, the general public, are not privy to an essential undisclosed or unmentioned salient point. We so long for Cinderella to be biography. [...]

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Your Life, Your Art, Your Business - - Your Decisions

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/29/2015 7:27:28 AM

After awhile, one asks oneself, "If you, as a gallery, are so successful at selling art, why does so much of your marketing focus on the artists, and getting money from them?" [...]

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Threatening People with Fire Place Pokers

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/15/2015 8:21:59 AM

If a roomful of erudite, intelligent witnesses was unable to agree on what they saw, why do we look for voices to tell us how to 1) do our art and 2) market it? [...]

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How Much Should You Adjust Your Style to the Demands of Others?

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/1/2015 7:51:50 AM

There are essentially no rules in art -- which is positive and negative -- but for all that there are no rules, it is amazing how many we self-impose upon ourselves, through the words of others who 1) don't live our lives, 2) don't have to live our lives, and 3) nonetheless determine to control us, if we let them, by their own set of esoteric rules. [...]

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Are You Stuck With Your Style?

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/18/2015 8:18:28 AM

If you're breathing, you're growing, and if you're growing, you should be learning, and if you're learning, you will be changing, one way or another. And so, also, will your art. [...]

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How Vital - - and Sacrosanct - - Is Your Style?

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/4/2015 8:18:16 AM

If you are an acolyte, convinced that the pinnacle of your ability will be achieved when you paint exactly like your teacher, step back, step away, and gain enough self-confidence to go your own way with what you have. Otherwise, you will lose yourself, literally, in the name and style of your chosen teacher. [...]

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Get to Know a Framer

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/20/2015 8:58:06 AM

As long as there are paintings and drawings, there will be a need for frames, if for no other reason than to protect the artwork. What one hopes is that, in some halcyon day in the future, artists will not be the primary persons responsible for providing those frames. Until that day, however, artists do whatever they can to protect themselves from incurring extra costs, so that they can make decent money for creating beautiful work, work that the average, non-highly-skilled-artist person simply can't create. [...]

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Framing Your Oil and Acrylic Paintings Without Spending the Grocery Money

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/6/2015 8:08:41 AM

As an artist who runs a business, you operate with the dictum that you must look after yourself -- which is exactly what all other businesses, who want to use your art, are doing. For now, frames are pretty much the responsibility of the artist, and while it's worth asking your gallery or show if they will deduct the cost of the frame before taking their commission, don't place any bets on it. So keep thinking, keep innovating, keep figuring out ways to reduce your overhead, and keep speaking up, as artists, to educate the populace around us. [...]

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The Financial Frustration of Framing Your Paintings

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/23/2015 7:40:16 AM

The odd thing about framing is that, while for some reason it is expected to be up to the artist to frame the painting, most galleries and shows will not allow for the expense incurred and deduct the frame cost before assessing their commission. And a frustrating number of buyers announce that the first thing they'll do after they buy this work is to remove the frame and replace it with another one, and will the artist consider taking back his frame and deducting the cost from the painting? [...]

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DIY: Stretching Your Own Canvas

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/9/2015 7:04:39 AM

As I mentioned in an earlier article, Building Your Own Stretcher Bar, any project worth doing takes longer than we expect it to, and generally includes a lot of steps that are in the "un-fun" category. Part of the DIY process is changing our mindset out of, "get this part done so I can do what I really want to do," to, "It's got to be done, so I may as well slow down and enjoy it more than I think I can." [...]

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DIY: Customizing Your Own Gallery Wrap Stretcher Bars

by Carolyn Henderson on 2/23/2015 7:03:27 AM

As with any DIY project, especially one worth pursuing beyond magazine instructions for truly odd looking table centerpieces, achieving competency in creating one's own gallery wrap stretcher bars will take some time, effort, and trial and error. In the long run, however, and especially if you want to have the freedom to create your own gallery wrapped paintings, in sizes customizable to your desires, then it's worth the work. [...]

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DIY: Building Your Own Stretcher Bar

by Carolyn Henderson on 2/9/2015 7:00:58 AM

For this reason, anytime we can learn to do something ourselves -- that doesn't take too long or too much effort, but that does save money -- is worth looking into. [...]

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DIY: Stretching Your Own Canvas

by Carolyn Henderson on 1/26/2015 7:32:08 AM

Building one's own canvas isn't for everyone, but at the same point, it is also not an impossible procedure beyond everyone, and Steve encourages those who have never done it, to consider giving it a try. At the very least, it is good for both painters and art collectors to understand the structure behind an oil painting, and to know a bit of what to look for when investing in a work of art that one wants to last for a long time. [...]

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Quick, Little Things You Can Do On Facebook

by Carolyn Henderson on 1/12/2015 7:18:50 AM

8 little things you can do to make your Facebook marketing experience more interesting and possibly increase exposure. It's not rocket science, but then again, neither is Facebook. [...]

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What to Post on Facebook

by Carolyn Henderson on 12/29/2014 7:27:24 AM

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's enough to start on -- and to show you that, at the least, you can make a post of something, anything, once a week. [...]

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Facebook Marketing Basics

by Carolyn Henderson on 12/15/2014 7:20:29 AM

Today, I'm going to touch on the very basics of Facebook marketing, passing on what we've learned, again with the idea of opening discussion to other people's experiences. If you are an avid social media mogul, this may seem hopelessly inane, but if you've been avoiding this particular social media site (and judging by what I've encountered in writing about artists for the gallery at which I work, this is not uncommon), then this will jump start you. [...]

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Marketing - While Frustrated - with Facebook

by Carolyn Henderson on 12/1/2014 7:18:11 AM

Sometimes, posts do really well; other times, they don't. Sometimes, it seems to have something to do with the weather outside, or whether or not it's raining -- in other words, it's all very random, you know, and what does well one day flops the next. And while I'm glad it's free, and always will be, I get the distinct impression that, to get more views, I need to hit the Boost Post button and pay to play. Is it worth it all? [...]

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Before You Do This Again, Ask How It Went the Last Time

by Carolyn Henderson on 11/17/2014 7:34:28 AM

Ask the question: "What did I get out of this experience?" and look at the answer in terms of what you spent (in time, money, and effort) versus what you earned (true exposure and actual income). Did you come out ahead? [...]

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You Don't Have to Say Yes, You Know

by Carolyn Henderson on 11/3/2014 7:21:44 AM

After all, never forget that it isn't enough for the event to be a success. For you, the event is a success only if you, as well as the event organizers, make money off of it. [...]

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Every Painting in the Show Had a Red Dot!

by Carolyn Henderson on 10/20/2014 7:20:47 AM

It sounds mercenary when we point this out because, for some reason, artists are the only ones who are not supposed to worry about making money, but if we are serious about art, and making a living, or even some amount of living, with it, then we need to look at the many promises we are made for "opportunities," and question whether those opportunities are actually worth participating in. [...]

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Bump up the Professionalism of Your Business Writing

by Carolyn Henderson on 10/6/2014 6:47:36 AM

The more we do something -- anything -- the better we get at it, and as artists who are businesspeople, we are called upon to do a lot of writing: artist statements, resumes, press releases, letters to galleries, responses to clients, descriptions of paintings. [...]

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Our Excuses Are Good Ones -- But They're Still Excuses

by Carolyn Henderson on 9/22/2014 6:12:50 AM

So a good rule of thumb is, if this communication is really, really important to us, then it's to our advantage to take the time to get it right. It's highly likely that care and attention to detail will go more in our favor than against us. [...]

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Serously, This Haz Gawt to Stopp

by Carolyn Henderson on 9/8/2014 7:43:00 AM

Considering that we are communicating with the reader for some reason -- we want something, we are introducing ourselves, we're selling something, we're providing information -- we don't want anything getting in the way that doesn't have to be there. And misgivings about our intelligence, organization, competence, or vocabulary acumen -- brought about by something as simple as a typo -- are an unfortunate, yet avoidable, issue. [...]

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Dear Art Collector concludes - - Is Art an Investment?

by Carolyn Henderson on 8/25/2014 7:17:54 AM

Both I and my Norwegian Artist have always believed that art belongs in the lives of all people, not only those whose last name is Buffet, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Bush, Martin, or Gates, and anytime we place limitations on who can purchase it -- only those smart, savvy collector types -- then we are taking away something that rightfully belongs to all of us. [...]

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Dear Art Collector Continues -- No One Wants to Be Cheated

by Carolyn Henderson on 8/11/2014 7:20:39 AM

If collecting art is a personal thing with you, then think about getting to know an artist, or artists, personally yourself -- many will jump at the opportunity to talk about their work, and why they price it the way they do. As an added benefit, the more you get to know another human being, the more of a sense you get of their innate honesty: it makes sense that, if you don't want to be cheated, you do business with an honest man, or woman. [...]

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An Open Letter to Art Collectors

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/28/2014 7:14:18 AM

As far as I can tell, there is one Warren Buffet, one Bill Gates, and one Steve Martin the comedian, on the planet, and yet too many people who want to collect art limit themselves by feeling like they have to be like these people, buying for the reasons that they buy, and seeking out the same type of work that they call good. [...]

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Growing as You Go

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/14/2014 7:24:51 AM

Plan big, have goals, think toward the future -- but to get there, you take individual steps, and if you're not sure how something will work, consider something small and put it out there. [...]

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Floundering Around: At Least You're Moving

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/30/2014 7:37:55 AM

You don't have the money or means to market yourself the way a mega-corporation does, so it's highly unlikely that you'll have a problem with demand, be unable to meet it, and lose all those customers. The more likely scenario is that you'll create the product, put it out there, and get a few bites. From those bites, you'll learn what works, and what doesn't, and if you make an error on one person's order, or two people's, you can do what the mega-corporations increasingly don't do: You can write the person individually, explain the situation, apologize, and make it right. [...]

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Afraid of Success

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/16/2014 7:53:35 AM

Through the years, I have watched a behavior pattern, so prevalent in myself and many people around me, that I'm convinced it has to have some basis in reality: It is a reluctance to move forward, aggressively, on Plan A, or Plan B or C, because, oddly, we're afraid that it will work. [...]

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You Want to Write an Article about ME?

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/2/2014 7:22:47 AM

If it hasn't happened to you already, someday, someone may want to do an article about you and your art -- whether it's for a blog or a newspaper or a magazine. And if nobody's noticed you yet and you think they should, then find someone who writes things -- a friendly reporter from your local newspaper, especially if the publication isn't so big that you have to pay to get a one-line death notice in -- is a good place to start. When that day comes, here are some things to remember: [...]

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Basic Marketing Information

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/19/2014 7:37:26 AM

If you don't have any or all of these informational marketing pieces, don't hyperventilate yourself into a panic -- think about getting one marketing element put together over the next six months or so, or sooner if someone like me writes and asks you for information so that they can put together an article about you. [...]

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Please. PLEASE -Talk to Me!

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/5/2014 7:18:36 AM

"I'm busy doing my art," some have told us, which is great, but part of selling art is marketing it, and when a gallery that represents you asks for information so that they can promote you, it's worth taking some time and providing it. [...]

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The Single Most Important Piece of Advice I Can Give You about Pursuing Your Art

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/21/2014 7:24:29 AM

Now if you, like some of my progeny, are cobbling together three minimum wage jobs just to survive, this won't seem especially helpful, but my experience is that many, many people who make a decent amount of money are convinced that they don't, and they're living paycheck to paycheck. Some of them are convinced that there is no way that they can cut any more out of their budget -- and then, when their hours or cut, or their pay scale plummets because they lose one job and replace it with another, they discover that yes, indeed, they are able to cut in places they never dreamed possible. [...]

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Don't Just Get Out of the Box. Get Rid of the Box.

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/7/2014 7:25:19 AM

The more free or inexpensive outlets you can find to talk about yourself, the better. Make a list --- mental or tangible -- of ideas and work your way through it, and if you're afraid of the computer and don't want to learn to use it, re-think. People walk around with their faces glued to their phones, and somehow, they're on the web. You want them to find you there. [...]

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You're the Only One Who Can Be Yourself

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/24/2014 7:30:29 AM

I'm not sure who's saying this, but a lot of people are believing it, and many people who would be incredibly happy -- and very good at -- painting certain subjects in a particular style, force themselves, instead, to adopt other subject matter and adapt to other ways of painting it. Paging through the magazines, they see that this person is considered very good, and that style is true art, and whether they want to or not, they start to accept what they are repeatedly told. [...]

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The Artist's (Narrow) Path

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/10/2014 7:20:17 AM

Now not all artists are willing to walk a narrow path, but many -- the ones who are consumed by their desire to create, and to let others know about what they create -- find themselves out of step with conventional societal norms. Because those conventional societal norms are so strong, too many people live far too many years feeling that they are the problem, and not the exigencies of their environment, and they waste time and energy trying to fit in and be normal. [...]

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Just How Much Work Does Fun Have to Be?

by Carolyn Henderson on 2/24/2014 7:14:10 AM

This means that, when we're in the studio, creating and wanting to have fun while we do it, we do not have to be whipping ourselves into a frenzy of learning and progressing and striving: it's okay to mentally relax, dab if you will, and just enjoy where the current is taking us. After all, many people start painting or sculpting as a hobby, and the more they do it, the more they want to do it, and the more they want to do it, the more they want to do it better. It can be easy to forget that the whole project started out to be fun. And that's where it can stay, for many people. [...]

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