Marketing Your Art the Right Way

Selling Art, Not Selling Out

Tag: art (page 1 of 10)

Kristen Fagan on the Downside of Perfectionism, the Power of Play, and Following Your Intuition – Cracking Creativity Episode 78

Kristen Fagan has always been a creator. Even when she was young, she would create coloring book drawings for her younger family members to color in. That creative mindset helped her get a degree and a job doing graphic design.

After a few years working in design, her interest in art was reignited. Her job allowed her to work on her art while also working in design, which fueled her interest in paintings and drawing. Her passion for art grew so much that it even led to creating her own painting workshops.

In this episode, Kristen talks about letting go of your perfectionism, the power of play, and following your intuition.

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“Make each day your masterpiece.” ― John Wooden Quote Art

“Make each day your masterpiece.” ― John Wooden

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We all have aspirations in life that seem so far out of reach. We keep climbing the mountain towards success, but it feels like the weight of the world is holding us down.

We so badly want to believe we can achieve success, but it feels like the destination is so far away. Then doubt creeps into our minds. “How do other people do it?” we ask ourselves.

While our goals might seem like a pipe dream at the moment, the truth is, they probably aren’t that far off. The problem is, far too often we are so concentrated on achieving our long term goals that we forget to live in the moment. We are so transfixed on the destination that we forget to concentrate on the present.

When we look at how far we have to go, we have trouble seeing everything we’ve already accomplished. We become so worried about the future that we don’t recognize how much progress we’ve made since we started our journeys. We don’t enough time celebrating our victories. That needs to end.

Every day presents a new opportunity to create a masterpiece. John Wooden didn’t win ten NCAA basketball championships by just looking towards the future.

He did it by focusing his efforts on the now. He realized that you can’t live your life worrying about what might happen in the future. He realized it would be much more effective to make the most out of every day by concentrating his efforts on the now.

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“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” ― Will Smith Quote Art

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” ― Will Smith

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One of the things that has always bugged me is my willingness to settle for good enough. I think we all have aspirations for greatness, but we often times let complacency set in.

Instead of pursuing our goals, we give up. We tell ourselves that there’s nothing to complain about. We tell ourselves we should be grateful for what we have. We tell ourselves we are doing good enough.

We need to ask ourselves if we want to settle for what we have or if we want to achieve more Click To Tweet

While all of these things might be true, that doesn’t mean we should stop aspiring for more. We need to ask ourselves if we want to settle for what we have or if we want to achieve more, to be more.

Realistic expectations are great if you are happy with mediocrity. But I’m personally tired of being mediocre.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with mediocrity. By definition, mediocrity is normal. It’s average. Most of us have to be mediocre for others of us to stand out.

I want those of us who are tired of being mediocre to start standing out. Click To Tweet

That’s exactly what I’m advocating. I want those of us who are tired of being mediocre to start standing out. The only way we can achieve this is if we make an effort to do better.

We all need to stop being so realistic with our goals (myself included.) But how do we stand out?

I suggest we follow the advice given by one of my former podcast guests: Dorie Clark. In our interview, Dorie explained how she went from a journalist and documentary filmmaker to a business teacher, adviser, and author.

According to Dorie, there are three stages for standing out: building a network, building an audience, and building a community. I think the problem most of us encounter is going from building a network and audience to building a community.

Many of us can build a network. Fewer of us can build an audience. And even fewer of us are able to create communities around our work.

If we want to stop settling for mediocrity, we need to build communities around our work. The most well known and accomplished creatives build communities around their ideas and their work ( Tim Ferriss, Chase Jarvis, Chris Guillebeau,  and Tina Roth Eisenberg to name a few.)

They have die hard fans that will travel from near and far to meet them. They don’t settle for realistic goals. They aim for the stars, and so should we.

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“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” ― William Shakespeare Quote Art

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” ― William Shakespeare

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One thing that has always bothered me is when people blame their lack of success on others. They believe because their fates have already been determined. They believe they should just give up because things haven’t gone their way.

As any successful person will tell you, your fate isn’t tied to the whim of others. Stop worrying about things you can’t control. Instead, worry about the things you can control.

Things you can’t control:

What people think about you. You can’t control how people feel about you. People will form their own opinions regardless of what you do. So there’s no point in worrying about it. You are better off focusing on things you can control like finding the right audience.

What people think about your work. The same goes for people’s opinion about your work. People will either like it or they won’t. It’s almost impossible to change people’s minds, so stop trying. The best thing you can do is appreciate the people who do like your work.

Being rich already. Some people complain that other artists have an unfair advantage of already being rich. So what? Everyone’s situation is different. You can’t control whether you have rich relatives or whether you made money from a previous life. So stop worrying about how you are unprivileged. Instead, focus on what you can do to change your own financial situation.

Things you can control:

Building good habits. One of the biggest indicators of success is the habits you’ve built over time. You can only achieve so much when you are always running around like a chicken with its head cut off. You can’t do things on a whim. It’s hard to be consistent if you haven’t built the right habits around being consistent. You have to build a consistent routine and self-discipline.

Being persistent. Those who give up will never achieve anything. It’s just a fact of life. We will never achieve our dreams if we quit at the first sign of trouble. You have to be willing to fail and pick yourself back up again. Persistent people are the ones still standing while everything around them is crumbling to the ground. You can’t control much about the world, but you can control whether you let the world bring you down.

Learning and self-improvement. While most people stop learning after they finish school, those who continue to learn achieve the most. There are a surprising number of people who are content with what they know. They refuse to become more knowledgeable even about things that interest them. Just by the virtue of reading this, you are different. If you want to continue to grow and improve as an artist and a person, you have to continue learning.

Conclusion:

If you’ve read this far, you have realized that our paths in life are not predetermined. We are not bound by our destinies. We create our own destinies. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different.

Sure, there are things in life we can’t control, but that doesn’t mean we need to let those things affect who we are and what we become. You can’t control the people or the things around you, but you can control how you react to them. So stop looking towards the stars for directions, look within yourself.

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Cassia Cogger on Being Open to New Ideas, Avoiding Complacency, Being Consistent, and the Art of Simplification – Cracking Creativity Episode 71

Cassia Cogger has created art ever since she was young. In middle school she won a national contest for a laundry detergent brand. And unlike most artists, she began selling her art early in life.

After college, Cassia abandoned her artistic pursuits and got a job as an editor at a trade magazine. It was during this time that Cassia realized she wanted to become a full-time artist. So she picked up a few odd jobs to support her painting business.

Before her daughter was born, Cassia was featured in a magazine as a rising star in water color. But after her daughter’s birth, she stopped painting as frequently.

It wasn’t until after her second child was born that Cassia got serious about art again. The same art magazine wanted to follow up with her to see what she had done in the past five years. This was the call to action she needed to get serious about art again.

In this episode, Cassia talks about why we need to be open to new ideas, the importance of avoiding complacency and being consistent, and the art of simplification, among many other things.

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“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” – Andy Warhol Quote Art

“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”  ― Andy Warhol

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Andy Warhol may be one of the most famous artists of the last century. He is well known even among people who know nothing about art. His work and influence on the art world have endured well beyond his death.

While many artists shun the idea of making money, Warhol embraced it. Click To Tweet

That is why we must follow his example. While many artists shun the idea of making money, Warhol embraced it.

He was one of the originators of pop art. He not only created paintings of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, he became a celebrity himself.

Warhol did not believe making money from his work was evil. He used money as a tool to spread his ideas.

He did not shun working. He worked hard to make sure his art and ideas reached the largest audience possible.

He did not hate business like most artists do. He turned himself and his work into a business. He used business as a way to continue making art. He used it as a way to make sure everyone noticed what he was doing.

If you have been struggling with the idea of making art for money or turning your art into a business, you may want to reconsider. If you don’t make money from your art or have a good business plan for selling your art, you will have a hard time turning your art into a career.

But don’t take my word for it. Look at the words of Andy Warhol, one of the most successful commercial artists to ever live. He did not take himself or his art too seriously. He used art to make a statement about society while also living life on his own terms.

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“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo Quote Art

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo

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Many of us have this funny expectation of people we consider experts or people we consider successful. We believe their talent is inherent. We believe they were born with a special gift. We believe we will never reach their status no matter how hard we try.

This way of thinking can be dangerous to our aspirations as artists. It ignores all the hard work people put into achieving mastery. It assumes that we can never achieve mastery no matter how hard we work. It assumes that we are born with or without talent. It assumes that talent can’t be developed over time.

While these ideas may have a sliver of truth to them, they are usually unhelpful. They force us to settle for good enough or they force us to quit.

No one was born a master at their craft Click To Tweet

I can assure you of one thing: no one was born a master at their craft. Everyone started as a beginner. Every master had to work hard to become the best.

If you want to be the best, you have to work hard. There is no shortcut to becoming great at something. It takes, time, dedication, and yes, some talent, to achieve mastery.

Before you start envying the masters, know what it takes to get there Click To Tweet

So before you start envying the masters, know what it takes to get there. Know that it requires sacrifice. Know that it takes time. Know that it will be a difficult road. Know that to become the next Michelangelo, you have to be willing to put in the work.

Photo by Luis Brizzante

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Bob Baker on Following Your Curiosity, Being Persistent, and Finding Success as an Artist – Cracking Creativity Episode 69

Bob Baker has always been determined to make a living from his creative career. He started off his career by creating a music publication from scratch, with no prior experience. He didn’t let his lack of experience prevent him from achieving his goals. He just experimented with different ideas until he made it work.

Since that first publication he has expanded his interests well beyond a local music magazine. He has dabbled with writing, painting, and creating courses for aspiring artists. He even got into stand-up and improv comedy.

Bob has not let the starving artist mentality prevent him from making a career out of his creativity. In fact, he has thrived as an artist and creative.

In this episode, Bob talks about doing things that interest you, why you need to be persistent, and what separates successful artists from unsuccessful artists.

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“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” ― Theodore Roosevelt Quote Art

“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

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I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. Have you?

I’m not saying this because I am proud of my mistakes. I’m not, but I will tell you what I am proud of.

I’m proud of taking chances. I’m proud of bouncing back from failures. I’m proud of continuing to experiment despite the setbacks. I’m proud that I can say I tried.

If you’ve been paying attention to all the talking heads in the startup and business world, you might believe failure is a good thing. I can tell you this much: failure sucks. Failure does not make you better at business. Failure does not pay the bills. Failure is demoralizing. Even so, the truth is failure is inevitable.

If you want to achieve something great, you will also face failure. It’s not because you are dumb. It’s not because you don’t deserve it. It’s not because you aren’t special.

It’s because you don’t know what you are doing. None of us do when we begin our journeys.

It also doesn’t matter how much you follow an expert’s suggestions. You will still encounter failure. You will make mistakes. You will find obstacles all along the way.

The good news is, you will learn from your mistakes. You will learn what to do and what not to do. You will make tweaks to your process. You will adapt and change until you discover what works for you.

That is why we must embrace experimentation. We must embrace taking action despite the fact that we will run over speed bumps along the way. We must be willing to embrace the unknown.

If we don’t, we will never achieve anything. If you want to go through life without any blemishes on your record, you might as well give up now because the only people who don’t make mistakes are those who don’t do anything.

Photo by Pach Brothers

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“Dream big and dare to fail.” – Norman D. Vaughan Quote Art

“Dream big and dare to fail.” – Norman D. Vaughan

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I have to admit that I’ve been holding back. It’s easy to give advice or prescriptions, but it’s much harder to do it yourself. That’s why I want to put myself out there.

For the most part, my dreams have been small. I’ve self-published one book and have another one on the way. I’ve started up a podcast, built this site, and an e-mail list, and I’ve had some wonderful conversations with artists and creatives. But none of these things are part of my ultimate goal.

I’ve heard multiple times, in several conversations, people talk about what they would do if they had a magic wand and could do anything at all. All I know is, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.

Even though I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done up to this point, I think I can do much better. I want to visit creatives and see what it takes to create beautiful works of art. I want to help artists grow their businesses. I want to bring artists and creatives together so they can help each other.

I’ve been able to complete my smaller short term goals, but I need to reach much farther. I need to dream big. I need to dare to fail.

Even if you fall on your face, you can always get back up and try again Click To Tweet

We only get so much time on Earth. Which means we need to take some chances. What’s the worst that could happen? Even if you fall on your face, you can always get back up and try again.

It all starts with having a plan. What would your ideal day look like? What would you be doing? How can you begin to make your way towards that ideal life?

I want to live a creatively fulfilling life. I want to spend my days exploring what it means to live life to its fullest. And I want to help you do the same.

So, this is a call to you. What are you struggling with? What is your big dream? Are you pursuing it? If not, I want to know why.

Photo by Unsplash

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