Many people have the idea that being an artist must be fun, and certainly not a "REAL JOB". Because, hey, we just sit around and make art all day. It's not really work, it's play, right?
I wish! Unfortunately, that's far from the truth. Here is a list of some of the art business tasks I have to perfprm, not including actually making the art, or any general "life" stuff (like cooking, laundry, shopping, cleaning, gardening, etc.). Like the general life stuff, almost all of it is ongoing; you don't just do it once and cross it off your list. It's like once you're finished doing it, it's time to do it again.
1. Organize art photos on the computer, so I can find what I need when I need it.
2. Spray all the small collages, and all the big pieces that haven't been sprayed. (Lots and LOTS!)
3. Update images on my website.
4. Update images on pinterest.
5. Update images on facebook.
6. Make sure all work is labeled and signed.
7. Post something on instagram.
8. Post something on twitter.
9. Write a new blog post.
10. Photograph artwork and edit images with photoshop.
11. Re-photograph everything with my phone, including the small ones that have already been scanned, because you can't post to instagram except with your phone.
12. Spray feathers so they won't be eaten by little bugs.
13. Scan and edit images of small pieces.
14. Look for shows to apply for, and apply for them.
15. Figure out how to sell more work online: etsy? facebook? other sites like Saatchi, or Fine Art America? What?
16. Somehow figure out how to keep all my collage materials organized, and put stuff where it goes - ha!
17. Send out newsletter/e-vites. (This exhibit is now closed; I hope you got to see it.)
18. Frame work for shows.
19. Get more gallery representation.
20. Ship stuff to buyers or exhibits.
21. Figure out how to set shipping costs for ecommerce.
22. Find a good app for inventory/tracking artwork, and implement it.
23. Work on expanding my email list.
24. Set up cart feature and prints on demand feature on my website.
I'm sure I could come up with more, but you get the picture, right? It's not all fun and games, there is a lot of hard work involved, and much of it tends to be either: a) things we don't know how to do (these things definitely weren't mentioned in school), b) things we hate to do, because they're boring, tedious, and a pain in the butt, or c) both. And for me, since I have mostly sold through galleries, the "business" parts of this list seem obscure and completely overwhelming.
Of course, I do realize just how very, very fortunate I am to have time to work on my art, and I'm grateful for that every day. But it seems like there should be some better, easier way to sell it. Right now I'm trying to get serious about figuring all this out.
With that in mind, I posted a kind of survey question on my facebook page. My question was,
Have you ever taken courses or read articles by any of the many art business coaches out there, such as Ann Rea (Artists Who Thrive), Alyson Stanfield (Art Biz Coach), Gary Bolyer, Jason Horejs (Red Dot Blog), Renee Phillips (The Artrepreneur Coach), Barney Davey (The Art Marketing News), Kym Dolcimascolo (Creative Visions Rising), etc., etc.... And, if you have, which one(s), and did you find them helpful? Most people who responded to this question had never used an art coach; therefore, I didn't get much information where this is concerned. Of those who did use them, it seemed the cost would be prohibitive, at least for me right now. Though most of them do have blogs or videos where they provide some free coaching, these seem to be an entry into to the whole program, which you must pay for. And who can blame them, this is how they make their living, right? Alyson Stanfield was recommended, and I'm going to see if she is offering any online workshops. Feel free to share here if you have any pertinent information.
artwork waiting to be sprayed
I know there are several programs out there that are specifically designed for artists, including Artsala, which is put out by Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery. There are several others listed online, such as Artwork Archive , Art Cloud, Gyst, Artwork Inventory, Tessera, Art Engine, eArtist, Working Artist, Artworkspro, vBook, ArtSystems, Artlook, Artist Organizer Pro, and more. Here is a quick comparison of software that is mobile-device friendly, Art Inventory Software Compared by Andrea Buckland. Another comparison article by Christine Wong Yap is here. Artpromotivate has a comparison article here. Some of these systems are Cloud-based, and some are not. Also there is a wide range of prices; some have monthly fees, while some have a one time purchase fee. Some of them will also host a website for an additional fee. However, almost all have a free trial, which would be very important to me, since I'm not at all sure what all of this mumbo-jumbo in the reviews and ads mean.
I haven't looked at any of them in depth yet, but that will be one of my next chores. If you have used any of these, or know anything about them, please share here; there are probably others trying to figure this out as well.
Also, this post has gotten so long that I've decided to divide it into two separate posts. I will be posting another question on facebook, and investigating answers. Please stay tuned for the next post, where we'll get into some other things you may want to know about.
Stay tuned for part 2 of my art business saga! Happy arting!