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September 2013



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Marketing your Art...take 2

I tried doing this post the other day, with lots of links and recommendations. It had gotten quite long...and LiveJournal hiccuped. It disappeared, entirely.

So I’m writing it elsewhere so I can hit SAVE! I’m going to break it down into 3-4 posts, too, to spread over a period of time.

It’s a timely subject, given the economy, and there are some conflicting theories about how art and artists will be affected. Some less pessimistic analysts suggest that people will want things of lasting value, and care about beauty...let’s help our friends, patrons, and clients to hold onto this more positive outlook!

Art IS important. It’s real, it’s personal, it’s unique. Almost nothing around us has been designed unless an artist took pencil in hand first, from the chair you sit in to the card you send this season to the car you drive.

Artists ARE important in our culture. And original, fine art is a treasure. Let’s not forget that...

That said, marketing our art is one of the hardest things we ever do...in part because we may be unsure of ourselves and our place in the culture. Someone made an unkind comment in our formative years and that little kid is still smarting from it. Perhaps a parent suggested we get a REAL job, even while they put our youthful efforts up on the fridge.

We need to trust ourselves and the creative urge, and know how important it really is–because it is. It’s what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom; it’s what we have in common with the Creator. It’s a gift, and we need to honor that gift, with gratitude.

Like any other gift, it’s meant to be used and enjoyed and shared...so what’s stopping us?

I learned most of what has worked for me from an online group started by art and marketing guru Aisling d’Art. Check out her website at http://aisling.net/ –especially The Business of Art, here: http://arts-careers.com/success/ She’s just moved to the handsome new site, but there are a LOT of useful articles to peruse and leads to follow.

I inherited the online group from her, when she moved on to other things–you’re welcome to join us and ask questions, search the archives (especially for anything from Aisling) or share your expertise! It’s here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AJmarketing/

I know it has helped a lot of artists along the way to supplementing or self-sufficiency--and there's always someone who has more experience to help.

One thing I picked up from the group was the Art Biz Coach site, Alyson Stanfield’s terrific resource. You can check it out online, http://artbizcoach.com/, subscribe to her newsletter, and follow the many links she provides to learn more than you ever imagined about the subject. (I've also gotten her CD on creating e-books, a project for the new year, and picked up many tips from the newsletter.)

Many of us have a dream of making a living as an artist–or supplementing our income at any rate. We just may not have fully defined what it is we want, what our goal is, so it’s not only hard to work toward it, it’s hard to recognize when we’re there. This is only one of the things Stanfield covers in her popular book, I'd Rather Be in the Studio!

I’ve read bits and pieces of it, and now await my very own copy in the mail! There’s always more to learn...

A couple of other useful books on my shelf include Zen and the Art of Making a Living and Art Marketing 101, Third Edition: A Handbook for the Fine Artist

Do you have a special favorite? I’d be delighted if you’d share what you’ve picked up along the way.

One of the most important things I learned, during my long career, is that it's really true--what goes around, comes around. I was helped along the road to making my living as an artist when I was very young...when I asked what I owed for that help, the kind gentleman just said “help someone else along the way.”

So that’s what I’ve tried to do, whenever I have the chance. I hope you’ll do likewise.

Oh, and the graphic at the top of this post? It’s from my new online sales gallery at http://cathyjohnsonart.blogspot.com/ where I am at last offering original paintings and art. I hope you’ll bookmark it and visit often.  I'm trying to put some of what I've learned to work, there...


Hi Kate,
Thank you for posting this; it's such a timely subject and I am always interested in learning more about marketing (definitely not something I learned in all my years of schooling...). I joined AJMarketing right right after reading your post!
And welcome to the group! I was astounded at how many new members we picked up since yesterday. It IS a great group, and people are amazingly helpful and supportive. We have some great discussions, and we don't always agree, but we manage to put our ideas forth without getting upset. Having the range of ideas to pick from allows our members to choose a solution that fits THEM.

And no, I never learned marketing techniques, really, till I got online. ODD, I guess, coming from someone who worked for an advertising agency in her formative years, but it was...let's see, what's the term...icky! ;-)
Awww... thank you!

I'm going to be moving all of the business-related articles back to Aisling.net, but in a new, magazine-style format.

It'll look a little like "the Business of Art" website, but be a one-stop resource for artists, especially mixed media and paper artists.

And, once again, thanks for leading AJmarketing to new and greater realms!
Be sure to let me know when you get things arranged as you want them, and I'll get the word out as best I can! You've been such an inspiration...thank you.

And I dunno about leading the group to greater realms, if I can just aim them in the right directions I really will feel good about it. Aiming them at your site is a big part of it!


good links

Cathy, helpful post. I need to find that book, I'd Rather Be in the Studio. I didn't know you were now head of the Aj marketing group. I guess I missed that entry. Very cool. That is a helpful group; lately, I sit on the sidelines reading.--Ronni, Designing Fairy

Re: good links

Hi Ronni! Yep, I inherited it a year or so ago, but keep a fairly low profile myself. I think it's time to share what I've learned and to help other artists to realize their dreams, so that's what this is about!