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 enterprise mentor and expert “who operates with formidable artists who want to acquire control of their careers”. She is the founder of Artwork Biz Good results, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and writer of I’d Alternatively Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Tutorial to Self-Advertising.

As an artist, I have benefited from the quite a few assets readily available on her system and I was delighted to be recently a guest on her podcast about my web site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is therefore a good satisfaction to interview her and acquire her assistance and testimony.

You have labored with thousands of different artists in your reside workshops, online classes, and consulting. Are there some frequent problems that artists must keep away from?

Where to get started? I think I bought on a roll with this listing, but I want to maintain every place, which I have rated in get of significance. 

#1 Mistake: Neglecting their studio follow. I under no circumstances believed I’d have to influence artists about how critical it is to present up for the do the job, but some artists would pretty much do everything other than struggling with the challenging work in the studio. You just can’t wait for the muse. You just have to get to function. Devoid of the artwork, you are not an artist and have no chance of a profitable enterprise or occupation.

#2 Miscalculation: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colors or being aware of intimately about the products you use. You want to know your components inside and out. You have to have to know how to prepare, entire, and end an artwork, which include how to properly mat, body, hang, or put in it. It is apparent when an artist attempts to consider shortcuts or doesn’t know what they are carrying out.

#3 Blunder: Not being familiar with how vital it is in the artwork business enterprise to start, nurture, and maintain qualified and own interactions. When you don’t abide by up with qualified prospects or possibilities, or when you really don’t abide by via on guarantees or meet up with your deadlines, you will rapidly get a reputation as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Slip-up: Sending the mistaken message on the web. It all begins with excellent photos of the do the job. If you can not get great images of your art, employ the service of anyone. They’re that important—especially when you’re distributing them to exhibits and possibilities. I’m terribly aggravated by social feeds that don’t clearly show any artwork. I stick to you due to the fact you’re an artist. Clearly show me your operate!

#5 Error: Indicating Of course to tasks that are not aligned with their targets. For example, agreeing to a pet portrait fee when you are a sculptor. Don’t. Do. It. You’ll loathe each minute of it, detest the man or woman for inquiring you in the initial position, and dislike yourself for considering it was a sensible selection at some stage.

#6 Mistake: Relying on a solitary income venue, be it a gallery, your web-site, or social media. You just cannot command social media platforms and by no means know what will materialize to them or when they’ll modify their algorithm. And you never know how very long a gallery will remain in organization. You seriously need to have to diversify how, when, and where by your artwork is seen.

The phrase good results can protect distinct areas. How do you aid an artist determine what achievement is for him/her?

You are accurate! The word “success” is loaded and, if I’m remaining sincere, it is a term I’d like to get rid of in 2022. But for the sake of your issue, let us suppose that there is a way for every single artist to arrive at a unique definition.

For some, it’s about visibility and recognition from establishments. For some others, it may be product sales and earnings. But I suspect it’s a mixture, as you stated, of several distinct features for most artists. It requires into account their ambitions and their limitations that may arrive from spouse and children, monetary resources, lack of education, etcetera.

When I perform privately with a shopper, we start with their vision. I question what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but normally perplexing to artists. This query is a way to get at their definition of success. 

Can you share about the unique means an artist can do the job with you?

Sure! Thanks for inquiring. 

I like to start out by mentioning that my web site has been all over since 2004 and The Art Biz podcast given that 2016 (and in a different format than that a great deal earlier). My issue: I produce a ton of cost-free content and it can all be accessed working day and night time. The look for perform on the website webpage is excellent. I stimulate artists to search around and get to know me as a result of what is cost-free for them.

When you have to have additional framework, I can assist you via my on line courses, which modify three instances a 12 months. They are designed close to a seasonal aim spot, with content material created from almost two many years of supporting artists.

In 2022, our aim regions are Develop Chances, Increase Your On the internet Marketing, and Get Arranged. These applications are hybrid on-need understanding modules + reside coaching + are living Zoom classes so our members can interact with one particular an additional. We have an lively group forum stuffed with intentional and formidable artists.

I also have mastermind teams for artists who presently have a robust basis in position. 

I’m rethinking (normally!) a large amount of what I do and am actually making the most of working privately with large-achieving consumers. It’s gratifying to work so carefully with somebody and witness their expansion and transformation. You might see me streamline my offerings in the future.

Ultimately, you begun your occupation doing the job in art museums. How did you start off your personal organization?

Apologies in progress for this longish reply, but there are some superior small business classes in just the story. 

In early 2001 I made a decision that life was way too small to go where by the museum employment were and that I wished to reside in Colorado. I made the decision to start an art consulting company. Getting art with other people’s money sounded like a good deal of enjoyment to me! And I was major about this.

When one particular is critical about a business enterprise, just one gets small business playing cards. In advance of I still left the Wichita Artwork Museum, I hired our museum’s deal designer, who was unbelievably gifted, to design and style my business playing cards, logo, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even had letterhead printed up.

Stanfield Art Associates was conceived in Kansas and built in Colorado.

When I worked in museums, it was our membership listing that was our bread and butter. Individuals persons received absolutely free entry, invites by mail, newsletters, and discounts at the retail outlet. Our membership list was constantly up to day. They ended up who we labored for previously mentioned all.

So I began my have listing of contacts employing my FileMaker Professional program.

To this working day, I contend that your contact list is every single businessperson’s–artist or not–most worthwhile promoting asset.

I worry this all through my systems, and described it as the #3 blunder artists make in the past dilemma: Neglecting personal and specialist associations.

I started off sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to everybody I realized telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I sent push releases to the cities and establishments I was related to and obtained a quick write-up in the Oklahoma Metropolis enterprise journal. Then I started out sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts local community.

Incredibly minimal came of this. I got just one consulting gig in Tulsa for an previous higher-school buddy who noticed my report in the Oklahoma Town paper. And I obtained a framing and set up gig from my landlord who was linked to the Town of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this practical experience each individual time an artist suggests, “I despatched out 500 postcards and been given no responses.” You have obtained to have additional of a system than a solitary promoting system.

The letters of introduction have been my overall prepare, if you can phone it that. Sending letters isn’t a prepare. It really should be a little section of a larger program. I did fulfill some gallerists and other individuals in the art business since of the letters, but I had no consistent follow up or abide by by.

I had no system. I experienced to figure it out, and that’s why I have made it less difficult for artists to nurture interactions by offering artists with reliable business techniques in all of my applications. There are areas of remaining in contact with men and women that may possibly seem to be dangerous (like that 1st make contact with with them), but there is just about a confirmed payoff for it. In my reserve, that gets rid of a great deal of the hazard.

After that bust came the surreal period of time about September 11. The past detail any individual was contemplating about was getting art. The very last issue I preferred to think about was marketing my new enterprise.

What I was receiving at this time was inquiries from artists who experienced heard that I left the museum and was starting off my personal artwork consulting company. They did not specifically know what I was hoping to establish. All they knew was that they preferred assistance providing their art.

Nearly all of them ended up searching for an agent. So, I assumed, “I could do that!” Then I imagined some additional. I didn’t know anyone in my earth of galleries and museums who needed to deal with brokers.

Instead of serving as an agent, I resolved to assistance artists master to be better agents for their get the job done. I have by no means appeared again and couldn’t visualize being in any other line of get the job done.