How to Break Away
by Clint Watson on 7/25/2007 12:03:04 PM
KB wrote us in response to our reprint of Alyson Stanfield's "Break Away from the Peloton"
- I paint plein air and studio landscapes. I paint in a
painterly manner, but my paintings are traditional. There are hosts of
other traditional landscape artists. Although styles differ, they may
be viewed by many as somewhat similar - part of the peloton. I see my
work as different, just as each and every other artist probably does.
But the onlookers see us as part of a group. I strive to push my limits
to become the best artist I can. This can distinguish me from some, but
there are so many great artists whose abilities far exceed mine.
- In being true to who I am, and my artistic voice, I
cannot and will not simply change my style or subject matter just to
find a way to be different - to find a niche. An artist must express
his or her own voice in as pure and sincere manner possible.
Great question....and a difficult one to answer. We agree that KB
shouldn't artificially alter his style or choice of subject just to be
"different." Being true to one's own artistic voice IS one way to
"break away." So many artists try to second-guess what the "market"
wants and we applaud KB for doing that. KB also laments not being the
"best." We've seen his work, he may not be THE
best, but he IS one of the best....being "better" than most is another
way to "break away." After all, multiple people can break away from the
- So, if I cannot be entirely distinguished by style or
subject matter, nor can I be distinguished by being the best (because
many others already have claim to that title - which is, by the way,
very subjective), how does one successfully distinguish themselves?
However, we theorize that there's more to this than just
subject, style or quality of the artwork itself. We think we suggest
that we consider "breaking away" from the angle of that word that every
artist dreads . . . .marketing.
We've discussed before, in messages 362 and 373,
the flawed idea most artists pursue in attempting to brand themselves
universally. KB is right. He can probably never be considered the BEST
by the art world overall. However, he doesn't have to. He only has to
"break away" in the eyes of HIS prospects and collectors. For those
people who love and collect KB's art, he's ALREADY broken away. The
trick now is to KEEP those people collecting and find MORE people just
How? Break Away with your marketing. Dazzle them with your
customer service. Reward those who have supported you in the past. Give
away an inexpensive print as an incentive for new customers to join
your mailing list. Return every single phone call. Recommend OTHER
artists to your collectors. Stay in front of your prospects constantly.
Communicate all the time. YOU CAN'T COMMUNICATE ENOUGH. Don't believe
us? We send FineArtViews every single weekday and yet, we receive
emails all the time from people who want us to send it MORE often.
Ideas on how to break away are what this newsletter is all about....so
We guarantee you, if you provide excellent marketing and
service, you WILL break away from the vast majority of artists (and
everyone else) who don't know what the heck they're doing.
Don't misunderstand, great marketing shouldn't and can't be a
substitute for poor work, but KB's work is already there.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS: Here are two great books on marketing. Get these books,
follow their advice. You'll be so far ahead of everyone else they'll be
wondering what happened as they watch your back as you pull away from
Getting Everything You Can Out of Al You've Got:
Duct Tape Marketing:
FASO: Want Your Art Career to Grow? Set up an Artist Website with FASO.
FineArtViews: Straight talk about art marketing, inspiration - daily to your inbox.
InformedCollector: Free daily briefs about today's finest artists in your inbox.
BoldBrush Contest: Monthly Online Painting Contest with over $15,100 in awards.
Daily Art Show: Daily Show of Art that reaches thousands of potential collectors.
Backstory: About Clint. Email Editor. Twitter. Republish. ]