Marketing Your Art the Right Way

Selling Art, Not Selling Out

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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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Speak your truth even if your voice shakes. Live your truth even if your body breaks. Spirit survives. – Katy Perry Tweet Art

Speak your truth even if your voice shakes. Live your truth even if your body breaks. Spirit survives. – @katyperry (Katy Perry)

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What are you afraid of? I ask myself this question a lot.

My biggest fear is often being my true self Click To Tweet

It’s not because I’m afraid of scary movies or video games. I am not afraid of heights or tight spaces. My biggest fear is often being my true self.

What does it mean to live truthfully? After all, we are supposed to present multiple versions of ourselves to the world. You wouldn’t act around your parents like you would with your closest friends. You wouldn’t act around your co-workers like you do with your family.

We are all chameleons adapting to our environments. But the question is, Do we have to be? I often wonder about this, and I still don’t know the right answer. Is there even a right answer?

I think the problem is, I haven’t defined who I truly am. What do I believe in? What values are important to me? What kind of person do I want to be?

It’s okay to act differently in different situations. We don’t necessarily need to be the same person at every moment in our lives, but we should always hold the same values.

If we can't live by our own truth, what kind of life are we really living? Click To Tweet

We need to ask ourselves what we stand for. We need to live up to those truths no matter what. Because no matter what everyone else thinks about us, we are the ones who have to live with ourselves every day. If we can’t live by our own truth, what kind of life are we really living?

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“Kindness is a free currency from a well that will never dry up” – Lady Gaga Quote Art

“Kindness is a free currency from a well that will never dry up” – @ladygaga (Lady Gaga)

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If you are anything like me, you are tired of hearing all the terrible news around us. Whether it’s scandals, diseases, or death, it feels like the world is crumbling around us. If you regularly watch the news, you might think it’s best to never leave your home.

I refuse to believe the world is such a horrible place. In fact, we are living in one of the safest times in human history. There are no worldwide wars. Most of us aren’t in danger of conquests, pillaging, or raids. So why are we all so worried?

I believe there are two reasons for this. One is, fear sells, so the media tries to sell it to us as much as they can. The other is, we remember tragedy and travesty more than other things. So when we hear about bad things happening, they stay with us, even though we usually aren’t in danger.

What can we do about it? I think the answer lies in kindness. Just think back to a time when someone was kind to you. How did it make you feel? How did it change your day? I’m assuming you felt amazing and wanted to carry that feeling with you. That’s the power of kindness.

I admittedly could be more kind. Although I try my best to be kind to everyone I meet, I think I could do a hell of a lot better.

I can be petty. I can be jealous. I get annoyed and frustrated. But that doesn’t mean I can’t also be kind.

We feel trapped in the box people put us in. It doesn't have to be that way Click To Tweet

We tend to look at the world as either black or white. You are either mean or kind. We feel trapped in the box people put us in. It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can choose to be kind even if you are afraid. You can be kind even as jealousy or frustration pulls on you from the inside.

It’s all about your mindset. Anger, fear, jealousy, and greed are draining emotions. They weigh you down like a ton of bricks. Kindness, on the other hand, is an endless well.

That doesn’t mean you have to be kind all the time. We are human after all. But the more kindness you spread, the more it comes back to you. If it is true that we are the sum of the five people closest to us, then the more kind we are to the people around us, the more kind they will be to us too.

Don't get trapped in the cycle of fear and hatred. Click To Tweet

Don’t get trapped in the cycle of fear and hatred. Just listen to the Golden Rule and treat others the way you want to be treated.

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The Grind Never Ends – Usher Tweet Quote Art

“the grind never ends”
@Usher (Usher Raymond IV)

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It doesn’t matter if you’ve made one dollar or one million dollars from your art, one thing will always hold true: you can never stop working. The key to being a successful creator is not dependent on how much talent or luck you have.

It depends on how much effort you are willing to put in. It depends on how persistent you are. It depends on showing up every day to do the work.

Hard work, directed in the right place can take you farther than talent and luck ever could Click To Tweet

Sure, talent also plays a role, but there are millions of talented people who never find success. Sure luck plays a role, but luck can only get you so far. Hard work, directed in the right place can take you farther than talent and luck ever could.

We all want to believe our work will speak for itself. We keep hoping and praying them someone will come along and discover us. But what if we are discovered? What if someone came to you and made all of your dreams come true? Would you stop working? What would you do?

Just ask all the one hit wonders what a few minutes of fame did for their careers. Are they still rich? Are they still adored by fans? Nope.

In order to build a sustainable career as an artist, you must keep going Click To Tweet

In order to build a sustainable career as an artist, you must keep going. You have to show up and do the work. Artists like Usher know how to stay on top. They are constantly creating new work. They innovate and try different things while everyone else becomes stale. They are willing to put in the hours while everyone else is taking it easy.

You may not want to be rich and famous like Usher, but everyone would love to be respected like he is. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like his music, you can still admire the fact that he has been able to build such a sustainable career.

You can do this too. You just have to be willing to put in the work to make it happen.

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“Weird is just a side effect of being awesome.” ― Bill Murray Quote Art

“Weird is just a side effect of being awesome.”  ― Bill Murray

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“You’re weird.”

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably heard your fair share of those two words. I especially heard them when I was a kid.

I was an admittedly awkward child. When I switched elementary schools in third grade, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. While it’s normal for kids to avoid talking to strangers, it isn’t normal when you don’t talk to kids you see in class every day. That was me.

I couldn’t tell you why I didn’t talk to the kids in my class. But at some point, it went from me being shy and uncomfortable, to me enjoying the attention. Every day kids tried to get me to open up, but I stood steadfast in my no speaking policy. I realized not speaking was something that helped me stand out.

When you’re a kid, being weird is fine. People will often embrace that weirdness. But once you become a teenager, being called weird is like a Scarlet Letter. It’s no longer okay to be yourself. You have to fit in.

But, the thing about being weird is, it’s what helps you stand out from the crowd. While all those kids who tried to conform to the norm got normal jobs, the weird people are the ones who stand out the most.

The thing is, people who are weird are unafraid of breaking from the mold. They don’t care if people know about their interesting quirks. It’s those quirks that give us the edge over everyone else. While most people are doing their best to blend in with the crowd, weird people are intentionally trying to stand out.

The next time someone calls you weird, don’t consider it as a mark of shame. Wear it like a badge of honor. After all, those who embrace their weirdness stand out like a shining star.

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Love me or Hate me but at the end of the day u will RESPECT me!! – Lebron James Tweet Art

Love me or Hate me but at the end of the day u will RESPECT me!!
@KingJames (Lebron James)

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No matter how nice you are, no matter how hard you try, people will end up hating you or your work. It’s not because you did something wrong. Unfortunately, it’s just the way some people are. You can’t please everyone all the time.

I grew up thinking I could get everyone to like me. I never got into confrontations. I always tried to play the middle road when possible. The problem is, even when you keep to yourself and do your best, people still ridicule you.

It took me a while to figure this out. Why was I getting ridiculed for getting good grades? Why did people make fun of my art? I just wanted to make everyone happy, but the reality is, you can’t.

The great thing is, that lesson is a valuable one to learn. We can’t and shouldn’t try to please everyone. We have to embrace the people who love our work and ignore the people who don’t.

People can hate your work all they want, but taken in another light, it’s a sign of respect. If you are creating uninteresting work, people will just ignore you.

The fact that most people love your work and some people don’t is the ultimate compliment. It means you are creating work that is worthy of criticism.

Instead of trying to go out there and please the masses, embrace the haters. Learn that lesson I had to go through long ago. When you are at the top, people will try to bring you down. Use that as fuel to push you further.

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Photo by Erik Drost

“Even when you have doubts, take that step. Take chances…” ― Cat Cora Quote Art

“Even when you have doubts, take that step. Take chances. Mistakes are never a failure—they can be turned into wisdom.” ― Cat Cora

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In school, I was always scared of getting an answer wrong. Red marks across a test or paper would make me cringe. What did I do wrong? I studied so hard. I wanted my grades to be perfect, but perfection was often unattainable.

I’m sure you’ve felt that same fear and embarrassment too. We have been conditioned to always strive for perfection, even if it is unattainable.

Our schools punish kids for their failures, but is that the best way to teach our future generations? They condition us to find the one right answer, but there is rarely ever one solution to a problem.

Those lessons often translate to our lives outside of school. Most companies are searching for people who can come up with innovative solutions.

On the other hand, we expect companies to tell us exactly what to do. We have been conditioned not to take chances. We look at mistakes and believe there is no recovering from them.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from studying creative people, it’s that they are unafraid to take chances. They leap into challenges head first. They treat failures as a chance to learn instead of as an indictment or themselves and their work.

Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone learns from them. Click To Tweet

When they fail, they look at that experience and ask themselves “What could I have done better?” That’s exactly what we all need to do. Stop getting down on yourself for making a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone learns from them.

Don't worry about making a mistake. Mistakes are the foundation of learning. Click To Tweet

We need to be more bold in our thoughts and our actions. So go out there and take chances. Don’t worry about making a mistake. Mistakes are the foundation of learning.

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“We’re short so Mountains seem tall. We’re mortal, so Earth seems eternal. Our spacecraft are slow, so the Universe seems vast” – Neil deGrasse Tyson Quote Art

We’re short so Mountains seem tall. We’re mortal, so Earth seems eternal. Our spacecraft are slow, so the Universe seems vast – Neil deGrasse Tyson (‏@neiltyson)

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Sometimes people forget we aren’t the masters of the universe. We are so busy thinking about ourselves that we fail to think about our place in the universe.

Years ago we thought we were the center of everything, and why wouldn’t we. The sun appeared to revolve around us. We were the smartest beings on the planet. We had yet to make discoveries about the universe.

But once we studied the world enough, we began to realize how small we are. We aren’t in the center of the galaxy. We aren’t the center of the universe. The world does’t revolve around us. We are just the result of millions of years of time and good luck.

When we take a good, long, look at the world, we realize how inconsequential we are. That’s why mountains seem tall. That’s why the Earth seems eternal. That’s why the universe seems vast.

While many people feel insignificant when faced with these facts, I feel empowered. Our lives, in the grand scheme of things, mean very little. That means we should pursue the things that interest us. We should study the things that we find fascinating. We shouldn’t be afraid of going after the things that mean the most to us.

We have a limited amount of time in this world. So why don’t we live life the way we want to? If you have a dream, go chase it. If you’ve been holding off on a project, start it. There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.

When all is said and done, you will have either lived life to the fullest, or you will have died regretting the things you didn’t do. The universe isn’t affected by what we do or don’t do. So make the biggest dent in the world that you can.

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Mountains photo by Unsplash

Stars photo by Levi Price

“No matter what level you’re at in life there is still a struggle” ― Kanye West Quote Art

“No matter what level you’re at in life there is still a struggle” ― @kanyewest (Kanye West)

Print available on Society6.

For some reason, we believe there’s a tipping point where we no longer have worries. We believe, with enough money, we no longer have struggles, fears, or doubts. But that’s simply not the case.

We like to make excuses for why we can’t accomplish our goals. “I don’t have enough money.” “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t have the right connections.” That’s all these things are. They’re just excuses.

If you think your favorite painter, actor, musician, or writer doesn’t have to deal with struggles, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because someone has a lot of money or fame doesn’t mean they don’t have struggles too.

They have the same doubts, the same fears, and the same problems that we all have. Their problems are just on a much grander scale. Here are just a few examples of famous people who had to go through struggles:

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” ― Oprah Winfrey

“All struggle, all resistance is — must be — concrete. And all struggle has a global resonance. If not here, then there. If not now, then soon. Elsewhere as well as here.” ― Susan Sontag

“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” ― Pope Paul VI

These people all came from different backgrounds. They have different identities. And they are well-known for very different reasons. But one thing they all understood, was, life is a struggle.

It doesn’t matter who you are, you will face adversity. It is by overcoming that adversity that you become great. The next time you think someone else’s life is perfect and free of worries, think again. We must all face the challenges in front of us and overcome them. It’s what makes life worth living.

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