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How to Use Self-Awareness to Design Innovative Art Marketing


The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

– Walt Disney

Walk Your Talk with Innovative Art Marketing 

How you market your art has everything to do with how you live your life as an artist. For example, you can imagine that a serious hobbyist with a day job will make different decisions than an MFA candidate or an artist fully supporting themselves by employing innovative art marketing strategies throughout their art business. And those are a few among myriad examples of how artists use art marketing differently to suit their needs.

One Size Does Not Fit All.

There is a reason why most programs that offer ABC how-to courses don’t work very well. For example, some methods may pitch themselves as modern art marketing programs. However, they still teach the same step-a-by-step-b techniques to every student. The disconnect is not recognizing most artists consider business a necessary evil as it often is their least favorite part of the art industry. And others don’t need formulas to do well on their terms.

Students get bored or disillusioned in cookie-cutter courses and do not follow through with the course training, which means they do not get the results they hoped for when they joined. The training may be excellent, but the problem is mismatched expectations. Excitement about results usually ends when how much needs to be done sinks in. Reality is harsh and freeing at the same time.

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe

Stick to What You Need to Know

It’s common sense that there is no value in learning about marketing strategies and tools you will never use. As such, it’s a waste of time to provide training that recommends all artists do blogging or create lead magnets to build an email list if there is no follow-through.

I don’t want to devalue doing those things because when performed well, they are advantageous. But not done well or half-heartedly, they become confusing and intimidating and are often the cause of needless guilt and angst. The way to avoid traps like that is to have an honest assessment of what you can and will do. By all means, if you are up to it, go for it! And it’s okay if you’re not right now because you’ve always got options.

You can’t lead a joyous, well-lived artist’s life if the opinions of others bind you.

– Barney Davey

Unlike Mick Jagger, You Can Get Satisfaction.

Satisfaction comes from using your creative gifts well and to your liking. Sales and marketing results that make you happy might disappoint overly ambitious artists. And others who have yet to realize what makes them happy look at your results in awe. With such disparity in artist experiences with marketing, you can see why you must live your life on your terms as much as possible. And again, unlike Sir Mick, you CAN always get what you want within reason.

Sometimes we can’t avoid commitments restricting our ability to live our most creative lives. A sick child or spouse is an example, and duty comes in many other forms. Even in cases of extreme duress, you can still find a few minutes to work on projects to keep you in the flow of living your most creative life now.

Living your most creative life starts with a mindset that you choose to live your life creatively. You can use that simple personal decision as a guide to making the best choices for your life as an artist. Choices will lead you to a satisfying experience of marketing art innovatively and living creatively.

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Marketing and Promotion Are Cut from the Same Cloth.

What you say about your art matters more than you know.

– Barney Davey

How do people get opinions about your artwork and you? They might have an educated response due to classical training in fine arts, have professional experience in the art business, or be talented artists themselves. They could be skilled collectors with a knowing eye for art they love, or they might be occasional or never-time buyers who encounter your art in some setting or online.

Regardless of who they are, you have the power to influence people with your words and actions. Some can try to ignore your messages however they receive them, but they can’t unsee, unread, or unhear them.

When people experience you and your art, they form opinions. How they express those opinions to others is your brand as they see it. Can you see why what you say about yourself and your art matters in this context? You have countless ways to communicate if you choose to use them. Even sticking to a basic formula is helpful.

Branding, Storytelling, and Labels.

A typical description of branding says it is the words people use to talk about you when you aren’t there. What you say and do can make you the source of their words.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Your messages and communications are often included when your art is displayed online or in print. Or sometimes, you have the chance to convey your history and the details of specific pieces in person. Either way, it’s your chance to provide a story that makes an impression on others.

Clear, concise, and solid communications always make an impact. Messaging is most valuable when conveyed in stories. You can say you have no stories or only dull stories, but you’re mistaken. You haven’t acknowledged the beauty, trials, tribulations, triumphs, and uniqueness of your life or discounted your life experiences as mundane. While it’s a shame, it’s also typical, so you are not alone, but you can break from the pack by breaking out your stories.

Create and Own the Message.

As the artist, you have the first word about your creations. What you say and how you describe your art, emotions, imagination, process, and more have an impactful influence on the thoughts of others.

Once you send it into the world, your message is there to speak for you and influence all who encounter your art. Because you get the first say, you never leave it to others to brand your art and you. And precisely that happens when you ignore the opportunity to create a brand, tell your story, and describe your art the way you perceive it.

The Art Should Speak for Itself Argument.

You are free to have the opinion that art should speak for itself. However, you should know that doing nothing to help set the stage for how you and your art are perceived is also a message. It’s called a void. And viewers, buyers, analysts, professionals, and academics are left to fill it without any input from the creator when you fail to act and control your brand. In an overstimulated and crowded marketplace, such a high-minded approach gives the artist zero chance of establishing themselves as they wish to be known.

Them: "Who are you?"
You: "I don't know or have words to tell you."
Them: "Okay then, I'll make up some stuff  use it to tell the world about you without your input."

Outsiders may think they can brand you without considering your position or opinion, and they are right; they can, but they cannot take away how you feel about your art and express yourself. You own that, and by sticking with your story, you will prevail and benefit far more than those who choose to let others tell humanity who they are and what their art is about.

I have a tough time imagining why one would give up so much power. But like everything else we’ve talked about here, it’s a choice you get to make. And there are consequences for doing something or nothing.

You Have More Power Than You Realize.

I beg you, please never worry about labels you don’t give yourself. What you say about yourself matters. It’s your brand and reputation to control. You do it, so others don’t do it for you. It starts with a mindset and conviction to work on and improve what you say about yourself and art.

Personal storytelling is a mighty, self-supporting task with lifetime mileage. By that, I mean your storytelling and stories can improve in time. Nothing diminishes your accounts or your ability to communicate them effectively. On the contrary, both get better, gain value, and add power to your presence as an artist.

What Is Your Innovative Art Marketing Plan?

Whether you are a veteran or a novice, it doesn’t take long to discover selling original art is a challenging task. Selling art starts with finding viable prospects who have available discretionary income, appreciate your art, and are ready to buy now. What happens after finding them is critical to your success.

You’ve identified good candidates or groups representing your customer avatar, but now what? Demographics may show they can afford your artwork, while other statistics or insights indicate they have an appreciation for the type of art you make. But you are still clueless if they have a need or are in a frame of mind that makes them open to buying your original art.

It takes much effort to get that far where you know who is your ideal customer persona and where they hang out, but it’s not enough to generate art sales. So to sell your artwork, your prospects must see your work – nearly always more than once – and know something about you and your art. And that is where the strength of connections becomes your innovative art marketing superpower.

Connections and Social Influence Are the Future for Artists.

As the world evolves, artists have more opportunities and responsibilities to sell their work directly. Using innovative art marketing techniques gives themselves the best odds of living their lives creatively while selling their artwork with efficient methods they are comfortable using.

I believe personal connections and the second, third, and fourth degrees that result from them represent artists’ best potential buyers. And I contend working with social micro-influencers is very effective in attracting new connections and prospective buyers. Lastly, inclined artists can become micro-influencers to help them build a micro-tribe of interested and engaged followers.

Next Topic: The Problem with Labels

Having an innate sense of who you are as an artist and knowing your expectations for the art business adventure you choose invalidates unwanted and unsolicited labels. It’s the topic next week. The subscribe button is on the top right.

AMTP Membership Provides Unique Art Marketing Perspective.

If you can benefit from learning more about connections, social influence, micro-tribes, and innovative art marketing, I invite you to become an AMTP (Art Marketing Toolkit Project) member. You’ll gain access to a world-class library of comprehensive art marketing information. And additionally, you’ll join a worldwide group of artists and me in a community where we seek to help each other learn to market art effectively and live our lives creatively.

As a payback to the art business that has been instrumental in my life for 30 years, I priced it for all artists no matter who they are or where they live.

PS. The AMTP focus is making connections, leveraging micro-influencing, mastering art marketing skills, and encouraging you to learn enough about yourself to know how much marketing, connections, and influence you need to succeed. It happens when you see what you want is realistically attainable, and you know how you can make your reality and dreams match.

PPS. The share buttons below work well, and I will be grateful if you honor me by using them.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

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  1. Fine article with concise tips that one must test for themselves.

    Reminds me of a quote in my book, An Artist Empowered:

    Are you one-of-a-kind or one-of-many? When
    you’re one of a kind, there is no competition.

    —Sam Horn, POP! Stand out in any crowd

    1. Thanks for your observations. You are right about competition. The more unique you are the less you have. However, as soon as it is apparent that one’s uniqueness is an advantage that drives sales, the copycats will soon be out in droves. There’s a fine line between borrowing creativity and outright stealing.

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