Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you follow me, you know that yesterday was my anniversary. Around here, we celebrate LOVE for days. It’s a fantastic tradition; and I’m lucky to share it with my great love.
I think this image perfectly represents real-life love…
- The heart has to be sturdy and take some knocks; it has to give and not break.
- You have to be ready to open the door to growth and opportunity, to change and evolution.
- You sometimes have to piece your heart back together, but those repairs make it stronger.
- And you have to remember that love is an endless circle. It never stops. It never dies. It simply changes. It goes round and round.
My great love story continues. It has changed and evolved myriad times, through unbelievable challenges and incredible blessings. I cherish it all.
I hope you have or find your own great love, and that you value its evolution.
Please share your thoughts on love!
We’ve had days and days and inches and inches of rain here in Southern California.
Today the rain stopped, the wind blew away the clouds and the sun shined brightly.
I spent the morning walking on the beach and basking in the beauty of it all. This afternoon I was back in the studio, painting flowers and hearts, (gotta get ready for St. Valentine’s Day!) and dashing across the hall to keep the laundry going.
All in all, it’s been a very, very good day!
We were born to create. As toddlers, we created as we played; and pretending, we made incredible, fantastical things come to life. We all did it.
Then lots of us stopped. Ever notice that’s when anxiety and self-doubt began creeping in?
Creating, practicing art, soothes our angst and grows our soul. So do it! Practice art! Any art! Add to the world!
Create! Grow your soul.
That’s why you’re here.
Get more Kim Nelson Art on Instagram @kimnelsonart
For an artist, getting the work into the world can be daunting.
Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have changed the game for marketing and sales. Anybody can create an account and get their work out there. And most everybody does! So how do you get people to sift through millions of images and look at YOUR work?
When it comes to social media marketing, lots of talented artist/businesswomen, including Alisa Burke, Linda Woods and Kia of Sticks and Ink, are expert and generous in sharing valuable information about mastering the skills required. Check them out and learn all you can because social media can make a big difference in exposure and sales.
But despite that fact, many artists will tell you they make a large percentage of their sales to locals who actually see examples of their work. To achieve this I use postcards, business cards, stickers and other paper goods to spread my images around town.
Postcards with your contact information and social media links on the back make great marketing tools.
Set stacks of them, as takeaways, near your work at galleries, shows and exhibits. Lots of people will pick them up. Some will frame them and put them on their desk. Some will throw them away. Many will remember your name and your work and look you up when they’re ready to buy original art from a local.
You can also hang them on community bulletin boards in places like your local library, Whole Foods or Sprouts, coffee shops and small business. If space is limited tack up a handful of business cards.
Business cards are an absolute must. I know! I know! People will tell you they’re an outdated method of communicating your contact information, but my personal experience tells me the opposite. I’m often asked for a business card when my art comes up in conversation. At social function, art fairs, community gatherings and local political events, I’ve been asked about my art and for a business card.
People WANT to look at what you create.
People like to look at, talk about and buy art from someone with whom they feel a connection. I cannot tell you the number of times I failed to make a connection because I didn’t have a business card with me, so I’m learning to carry them with me wherever I go, and I’m beginning to reap the rewards.
And because new clients often come by way of existing clients, I include a business card and postcard in everything I ship and mail so they have something tangible to share when a friend asks “about the artist.”
When ordering postcards and business cards from my favorite source, Moo, I also order sheets of stickers. I use them to seal the tissue paper I wrap around the art I ship, because opening a package I send should feel like opening a present!
I include a coordinating sticker when I sell handmade cards, just like my fav paper goods, mega-business, Papyrus.
I use stickers as seals when I mail business related envelopes and I give them away on Instagram.
Printed materials can be expensive, so I keep a file of images I want to convert to paper goods and order them when Moo is having a great sale. I particularly like their cotton business cards made from recycled t-shirts.
I’ve also used Snapfish with good results. And if you’re in the position to have some postcards made right now, Snapfish has a 70% off sale which runs through May 22. They don’t do business cards, but their premium postcards are wonderful!
I hope you’ll give some of these ideas a try and let me know how they work for you. And if you’ve used prints of your art as handouts, takeaways, giveaways or in other ways, please share your approach and your results. I’ve love to hear!
I have fun with my grandchildren (what grandma doesn’t?) and part of that fun is art-making. They like to hang out in my studio and work with different media. They experiment and forge their way down untaken paths using new materials without fear or frustration. They’re in that room to have fun and to create for the sake of creation. I learn so much from them and then I step into the challenge.
I learn to give my inner productivity manager the afternoon off and to go where the materials take me.
I learn to create something I hadn’t intended and to see its potential.
I learn to feel joy while I’m working and to take a break or alter my course when frustration proves to be a roadblock.
I learn to be in, and appreciate, the moment.
I’m lucky to live near two of those little boys and to enjoy regular visits from my out-of-state grandson. These relationships add so much texture and meaning to my life, and they help me bring those elements to my art. I watch them embrace and enjoy new challenges every day, and that encourages me to be more childlike and step into the challenges I encounter.
What helps you to step into the challenges you face?
Who do you like to work or create with?
What do you learn from them?
Share with me!!!
Being an artist is a lot more than making art, and sometimes the realities of making and selling art discourage the starry-eyed. Verifying this fact is this hilarious comment by a fellow artist on one of my Instagram posts:
“I refuse to accept your reality and replace it w/my pipe dreams.” 😆😂🤣
I laughed out loud and then realized many struggling, emerging or just-getting-started artists continue to struggle because they share that mindset.
Until you’ve made it to the big-time and can hire-out everything but creating, being an artist involves a lot more than making art. You also must be a savvy business woman, a social media maven, a marketer, a copywriter, and an accountant, as well as a packer and a shipper. If any of these roles goes unfulfilled, your art business will founder.
Heather Miller is a fellow southern California artist (follow her on Instagram @heatherjoymillerart) who quit her corporate job to devote her full energies to art. She quickly discovered that only about 30% of her time was available for actual art-making. The other 70% was devoted to the business of making and selling art. And she’s doing it. Quite successfully. Because she budgets her time and devotes herself to her enterprise just like she did when she worked for a large corporation. One’s level of success is dependent upon one’s level of commitment much of the time.
Within the burgeoning Instagram and social media driven marketplace, displaying one’s art is easier than ever; but actually gaining an audience takes dedicated time and effort. You have to be present, engaging and interacting to earn engagement and interaction from others. You have to devote time every day to making your presence and your work known.
I like working the social media circuit, although I’m careful to budget my time and set firm limits. Because it’s fun and entertaining to interact with other makers and see all the amazing work in the world; an hour a day can turn into many, many hours. Discipline is vital! You gotta do it, but you also have to leave time to create!
So I budget my time
First priority is my connection to other people. My relationships are the most important components of my very happy life. Nothing takes precedence. Beyond that, I’ve defined what success means to me. This is personal and unique to each of us. I don’t want to sell so much art that I have to work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. I want to sell the art that I have time to make. I want to love my life in and out of the studio. In order to do that, I have to really understand my goals.
Key to a successful “artist life” is knowing what you want to achieve, creating the goal, identifying the steps to get there, and doing the work to achieve it.
Have you identified your idea of success? What does it look like for you?
I sometimes feel scattered… I have too many ideas fighting for attention and too many projects demanding “Me! Now!”
Does this ever happen to you?
It can be paralyzing and can stanch the flow of creative work pretty quickly. When it happens, I know I can settle my busy brain and get back on track by planning and implementing a series.
In a series I focus on a topic, a color family, a style or a motif; and I paint several pieces in the framework of that focus.
I may paint a week’s worth of 4 x 4-inch mini paintings using only three colors and their variants.
Or I might force myself to create at least three abstract paintings ( a REAL challenge for me right now!)
And if I’m really struggling with that internal push and pull, I make greeting cards.
Limiting myself to small simple spaces and designs often soothes my angst and helps me move back into feeling productive and on track.
All creatives get caught in the mental merry-go-round. Some call it being blocked, and that’s certainly the end result. Others call it creative anxiety, angst or an inability to focus or commit.
Whatever you call it, or if you’ve never given it a name; as a creative you’ve undoubtedly experienced it.
What do you do to settle your “spilling over the edges” energy flow?
Share your ideas! I’d love to hear them!
I recently spent time with a group of So Cal women artists, networking, learning, strategizing and supporting. If you have the opportunity to meet with a community whose goals and aspirations align with yours, I highly recommend it! We talked about everything: Materials and media… studio space and scheduling… local sources and exhibition spaces… and so much more.
Interestingly, the topic generating the strongest emotions was pricing. None of us is a world-renowned artist with a massive following, benefactors and patrons; so we talked about how to determine a fair price. How to decide what our art is worth.
WHAT IS YOUR ART WORTH?
It was interesting to note our varied and diverse perspectives and value systems. Some people wanted an hourly rate. Others wanted to cover costs plus make a living wage based on average sales. Some worked another job for the money and made art for the joy, so would practically give away their art. Some of us had sold our work for years and others were just jumping into the game.
There were so many ideas…
There were so many questions…
- If you price too low will collectors be dissuaded, assuming the work isn’t worthy?
- If you price too high, will anyone have a look and make a purchase?
- If too low, are you demeaning yourself, your talent, your value?
- If too high, are you overestimating the same, feeding a pipe-dream with no end-game success?
- How much is a fair profit? Is art a profit and loss industry?
- Is it valuable to use online resources like Art Price Calculator?
- Should you base your pricing on similar art you see on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter?
We ran the gamut.
The discussion was clarifying for me. I had to evaluate why I made art and why I wanted to sell it. In the end, I clarified my personal philosophy.
- I love to make art.
- I have to make art.
- I will make it whether or not I sell it.
- I want to share the art I make.
- I want art to be affordable to everybody.
- I want to make things that even the most limited budget can access, because I firmly believe that art should be in every home.
- Art creates mood and atmosphere, energy and light.
- Art makes a difference.
- Art matters.
So I looked at my site and made some pricing adjustments. Some items were too low, costing less than the price of materials. I rectified that. Other items were too high, based on the price-per-square-inch formula a local artist suggested when I moved to Southern California just over a year ago. I made sure there was something for everybody, beginning with original art at only $25.00. For those who simply cannot afford even a $25.00 piece of art, I sell handmade cards, greeting cards, prints, pillows and other “functional art” in my print shop. And I’ve been known to barter and trade, so don’t be afraid to ask!
I feel good about offering a wide range of options, while also honoring my value as an artist.
By The Way… If you see a painting here or on one of my social media accounts that you simply must have, contact me directly. I’m willing to negotiate! 😄
Underneath It All is a visual testament to women, collectively, as the firm foundation of civilization and the basis of strong, successful societies. It’s empowering.
Art does that. It empowers. It incites curiosity, excites passions, encourages dreaming, and prompts those who experience it to consider their own creativity, abilities and talents.
We each have talents and characteristics enabling us to contribute to the world in a unique way, sometimes grand in scope and scheme but often small, quiet and generally unnoticed. And we’re each prompted and prodded by an inner voice or drive to use our talents, exercise our creativity and develop our characters for the higher good
Do you listen to that inner voice? Do you pay attention to your intuition and your better judgment? Doing so is exercising self-respect and honoring your goodness.
These acts of self-respect and confidence, believing in oneself and trusting one’s gut, enable us to grow and develop our personal traits and strengthen our abilities to use them effectively. And when we do, we contribute in meaningful ways. We do our part. We co-create. This is how a healthy society develops. Each member does his/her part to add that which is essential or desirable to a strong foundation. Each of us honors ourselves and honors one another. Underneath it all, respect and support reign.
Please share your thoughts!