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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.

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?
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 pack.

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 like them.

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 keep reading.

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.


Clint Watson
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 the pack.

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Topics: Alyson Stanfield | Creativity and Inspiration | Marketing 

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