Category: Workshops

4 Critical Points to Help You be Successful in the Art Business

4 Critical Points to Help You be Successful in the Art Business

Art is Everywhere

Art has taken over the world. Look around and there isn’t a single industry that does not require the visual music of an artist. Luxury brands appropriate street art. There are dozens of online sites to sell your art - you just need a modest marketing budget. Simply put, a lot of art today takes place outside the art world entirely and no longer take place only in galleries.

Artists can be laser-like in their work that they forget the larger world they can mold and shape. You are not an amateur, you the artist can shape the present and the future. Artists shape how people think, what people buy and how people consume. Don't underestimate the ways art speaks to the masses.

Don't Just Play it Safe

If you’re not playing it smart, you’re playing it safe - and safe artists seldom make history. Remember the art world is like any other in the game of life. Move the chess pieces in your favour regardless of what your objectives are. Many artists want the respect and esteem of their peers. Artists hope people will appreciate the ethos behind their work in some shape or form. However, artists must answer: what do you do well and why do you do what you do? (aka your value proposition).

Ultimately, you must notice when you assert yourself confidently and when you retreat. Are you playing a game you enjoy or a game that's set up to make you fail? Return back to why you’re making art. Don’t ignore how the world thrives on changing the rules for womxn and for people of colour, and so it’s more important than ever to invest in your game.


Game Recognize Game

Whether you’re pursuing creativity for yourself or a higher purpose, recognizing game gives you the advantage of changing the game. You can make new rules, and put up goalposts for others to also take their shot. More importantly, be sure to invest in your art mentally and spiritually so that others will do the same.

  1. Learn to play chess: think ahead, plan and learn the difference between making decisions and making the right decisions.
  2. Rules: make a list of rules you see others following and break some of them to stand out.
  3. Be a radical: rebel against ‘that's the way things are,’ be inventive and different, share that passionately with someone in the industry.
  4. Seek sage advice: identify a mentor who’s successful at the game.
  5. Find a community: if you don’t belong to a group (online or in-person) join one and exchange ideas (or create one and enhance your own credibility).
  6. Points: scoring doesn’t make them win, training and playing so you can’t lose does - so balance competition with others in favour of competition with yourself.
  7. Getting called out: in an era of PC language, of being misunderstood and of cancel culture (which can really destroy your reputation), if you’re unsure of an idea wait a few days. If you’re still really unsure, ask someone about the ethics before moving forward.

Ultimately, base business decisions on your present and future needs, and not on the needs at a point in time where you felt small and unsure. Artists don't want to drown in labels. Artists avoid societal cages that diminish the creative process. Similarly, and do not overlook the counterpoint, you get to define what playground you want to play in, and what labels you want to wear. If you don’t, someone else will do so for you.


Move with the Seasons

Above all, while the art industry is subjective and what’s considered ‘great’ art likewise, you can still create ways in which great can shift with the seasons. (We don't all want to see comic strip art forever.) Similarly, that’s not to say that the few people with decision-making power will always be the ones moving the dial in the art world. After all, you’re an artist and you know exactly how to create something from nothing.

Podcast – Let’s Make Another Potluck/Meetup Happen on Saturday, May 26th at 720 Bathurst

Podcast - Let's Make Another Potluck/Meetup Happen.


Saturday, May 26th

Hello Unicorns Karen Swyszcz here, part of Research and Development with Creative Unicorns of Toronto. I'm excited to be part of CUTO podcast and our monthly Meetups. I can't wait to cover more topics that can benefit you and your business at our next Potluck Meetup


These topics include:

  • How To Analyze A Business Opportunity
  • Networking Effectively/Strategically
  • Saving Money While Running A Business
  • Things Learned in the First Couple of Years of Business
  • How To Stay Motivated In Your Business

What are you working on?

  • Do you have any topics you'd like to discuss? Sell your art, workshops, services, exchange skills & information 

We record the conversation for our podcast


  • What food are you bringing?
  • Let's connect, let's eat

Join CreativeUTO Marketplace on Meetup

Meetup on last Sunday at 6:00 pm

  • Bring your own food/drinks
  • Free to RSVP

(RSVP through link below)
The next Meetup in on Sunday May 26th at 720 Bathurst St.

For more info about CreativeUTO

Workshop – Generate Leads on Social Media for Creative Entreprenuers


You end up with a two-page project outline that clearly defines your idea, the story behind it, why a customer should buy it, and the project's objections. It includes a sales funnel that clearly defines how to receive your customers and how to turn followers into buyers. The outline will also include your social media strategy for the big three: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You’d be able to implement this outline right away.

DNA of a business

If I had to build a business infrastructure--no product, just infrastructure--then the business would have two departments: research and development.

Research gathers and interprets the info and, in my opinion, should be 60% of the business.

Development would be made up of three departments, all working in sync to process the info. Those departments are customer service, sales, and advertising. These can also be represented by people who have all three skills.

This structure can be applied to any project and it would remain a viable construct. Something as simple as starting an online business would require you to research the best way to present it, best places to host, and then you have to advertise that business. It's the same idea with a wedding, or something as simple as cooking new recipes for people. When you advertise, you have to receive the potential client and sell them on your product.

Growth Hack Marketing is the sales algorithm you develop to run your business sales and is the most viable way to know if your business is worth your time.

This workshop is designed to teach you

  • How to sell without burning yourself out 
  • Know Thyself (find your passion)
  • How to setup your value proposition
  • Keywords advertising algorithm system (KAASy)
  • How to sell yourself in 30 seconds + objections
  • Reverse engineering social media algorithms (what feeds them?)
  • How to use Facebook and Instagram to sell (without paying)


  • You end up with a two-page project outline that clearly defines your idea, the story behind it, why a customer should buy it, and the project's objections. It includes a sales funnel that clearly defines how to receive your customers and how to turn followers into buyers. The outline will also include your social media strategy for the big three: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You’d be able to implement this outline right away.

Registration process

Note that all podcast will be taped and may be republished on all CreativeUTO and and affiliate projects

Service – Do You Know The 80/20 Rule of Job Searching?

Job hunting is grueling and draining and it's easy to fall into the trap of simply submitting applications on Indeed or similar platforms. But when the results are not there, what other options are available? 
Would you believe considerably more?
What if I told you that 80 per cent of jobs are not advertised and that I tell my clients not to spend more than 20% of their time applying for advertised jobs. The rest of your time needs to spent finding the backdoor. 
My latest service package covers exactly HOW to do that.  
Ideal for someone thinking of quitting but staying put due to lack of perceived options.

Job Search 80/20 package you will learn the research, reconnaissance necessary to build and leverage your network and uncover opportunities hidden from traditional search means. 

What to expect

  • You will learn the research, reconnaissance necessary to build and leverage your network and uncover opportunities hidden from traditional search means. 
  • In the first of 3 strategy sessions (of 45 minutes each) we will review and evaluate your current job search tactics, networking efforts and results. 
  • We will then discuss the starting points for lines of inquiry and best ways to reach out and expand.
  • At the end of each session, you will be issued a list of action items and asked to complete it before our next meeting. This may include but will not be limited to, journalling themes, research of industries, businesses, strategic contacts, networking groups etc.
  • Second and Third sessions will consist of reviewing your progress and results of your previous action list modifying as needed.  

Pricing information is included in the attached service description. The package may be expanded to include Linkedin profile as well.
CSI members and CreativeUTO Members receive a 10% discount on the one-time payment.
Visit her on Facebook or on Linked In

Online Co-working Space for Artists, Coders, Creators & Developers

CodingUTO - Online Co-working Space for Artists, Coders, Creators & Developers

Coding Unicorns of Toronto is an extension of CreativeUTO an online collaborative space for coders, artists, creators and developers focussed on developing in house, client projects or their own projects.

For more info about CreativeUTO

Weekly meetup 

The next meetup in on Sunday April 28th at 3:30 PM

  • Every week members of the community can log in to Zoom and use the time to collaborate on projects based on the SMARTER system. Simplified Methods Achieving Results Through Exact Rhythm.

Agenda for the meetup:

  • What is SMARTER? Simplified Methods Achieving Results through Exact Rhythm
  • Creative Unicorns of Toronto memberships
  • looking for WP Coders - Free Minds in Motion - FMiMBranding
  • What are you working on? (do you want to monetize it?)

AGENDA - If you have anything you'd like to present, your idea, project, workshops, service please contact me.

Join our meetup group (free to join) 



Memberships Start at $30 per month,

that gives you access to:

  • Coding Unicorns,
  • Branding Workshops,
  • sell your services,
  • be vendor/presenter at The Annex Art Party, 
  • and profit share on projects you participate on.

For membership options at CUTO Incubator

Moving Forward

  • Ideally we'd like to be open and have events, workshops, projects going at different times
  • To launch we meet weekly Sunday evenings
  • 1nce per month in person time and dates for all meetings set with initial meet groups

Next Steps

Creative Community + Positive Vibes

Top 5 Social Media Tips for Artists

Social Media Advice for Artists in 2019

Social Media Advice for Artists in 2019


Social Media has become an invaluable resource for artists.

From inspiration and networking to collaborations and sales – creatives all around the world have benefitted from the accessibility of online communities.

By building an online audience, artists have been able to elevate their “brands” into sustainable businesses while truly living out their dreams!

To create a platform as an art-preneur, however, it is essential to understand the formula for success.

Here are the top 5 social media tips to growing your art business online:




Social media research has proven that posts written in first person with actual people in the photos generate a significantly higher amount of likes and shares.

To put things simply, people WANT to learn about the “who” and not just the “what”!

Don’t be afraid to share your story, your background and your ongoing journey online.

As people want to connect with each other, the simple things that make you “you” are the things that will deepen your relationship with your audience!

From behind-the-scenes footage to rough sketches of your ideas, start sharing the “process” and not just the finished product.


Posting for the sake of posting is one thing, but is your strategy contributing to your goal?

Whether you are looking to grow your audience or generate sales, it is important to identify your intentions and develop a game-plan around it.

Take some time to research those who are successfully navigating your niche. What tools are they using to reach their target audiences?

From ideal posting times and photo quality to hashtags and interaction, there are a number of ways to optimize your use of social media.

Once your strategy is clear, you can use the “tried and tested’ tricks to further grow your audience.


Although “consistency” may seem like an overwhelming commitment at first, it is just a matter of building a routine.

Think about it in terms of brand awareness: the more often you post, the more frequently your audience can engage with likes, shares and comments!

There are a variety of tools and apps that you can use to help keep you organized. Consider apps like “Later” to schedule your posts in advance, so that it doesn’t cut into your workflow!

It is important to note that some social algorithms (such as facebook) do favour consistency. By keeping a regular posting schedule, these algorithms can help expose your content to a broader range of people!



Social media analytics offer valuable insight when it comes to measuring your efforts.

As these measuring tools are built into pretty well every social media outlet there is, these insights can help you understand which strategies are successful and which could use some tweaking.

You can learn exactly what time of day your audience is checking their feed, which countries you are reaching and how each post performs in real time.

Taking some time to consult your analytics can help you identify what works best and how to present your art going forward.


The greatest advantage to social media is the ability to actually BE social!

Whether you are responding to comments, commenting on other people’s posts, retweeting and/or sharing, you are actively joining the conversation.

Share your opinions, ask questions and have fun!

This form of communication will help you develop relationships, increase trust and of course, improve sales for your art.

- - - 


p align="left">Are you interested in joining a collaborative community of like-minded individuals? Become a Creative Unicorn to participate in profit sharing projects, events and workshops within the city!


5 Steps to Painting a Mural in Toronto

5 Steps to Painting a Mural in Toronto

The winters are long and harsh for the average Toronto artist. After a number of ice storms, TTC delays and snow days, many of us are already daydreaming about the hot summer days to come!

From Kensington Market to Underpass Park and Graffiti Alley, the warm weather also brings the promise of beautiful new street art to bond and honour our city.

With programs such as StreetART Toronto (StART) (partnership applications open until Friday February 15th), local artists can start preparing their colourful, vibrant and inspiring mural contributions for 2019!

Offering support, mentorship and funding to large-scale projects, StART aims to reduce graffiti vandalism by showcasing local artists and their innovative designs, deliveries and messages.

With street art season just around the corner, here are 5 helpful steps to painting a mural in Toronto:


Step 1: Preparing For Your Mural

Before you start planning, take some time to evaluate your space!

Whether your mural will be on the side of a building, a concrete barrier or a traffic signal box, get a good feel for the canvas you will be working with.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will be seeing your mural?
  • What do you want them to feel?
  • What message do you have to share?

The project will be a lengthy one, so take a deep breath and enjoy the process of creating!

Step 2: Gather The Appropriate Tools

As a mural artist, you will need a very specific set of tools.

From paint, primer, varnish and brushes to paint rollers, sponges, ladders and stencils – consider the colours and textures you would like to achieve so that you have all of the necessary tools ahead of time.
If your mural is going to be exposed to direct sunlight, you might want to check the lighfastness (UV) qualities of your paint as well. Where quality acrylic mural paints may be ideal, traditional household paints are also a great way to handle blocking and/or under layers while being a bit more cost-efficient.

Be sure to bring along some protective tarps, aprons and goggles as well.

Step 3: Sketch Out Your Idea

Take off the pressure by having a plan in advance. This visual reference will help you transfer your ideas right onto your mural wall!

One easy technique is to divide your reference image and your wall into proportional grids.

Painting the image one square at a time will be much more straightforward than transferring a large image to scale all at once.

Step 4: Scan Your Mural Canvas For Imperfections

Take a careful look for mold, decay, old paint, warpage and/or imperfections before starting your project.

Once the area is cleaned, spackled and sanded, you should have a sufficiently smooth surface to finally start painting!

Step 5: Painting Your Mural

The background is always the best place to start. Feel free to cover large areas with large brushes and/or paint rollers! The faster the bottom layer goes up, the faster it can dry.

One helpful tip is to apply each layer and/or colour with periods of rest in between. This will allow for the paint to dry without the risk of smears and/or bleeding! Take a moment to step back and review your work from different angles as you go.

While you work your way to your final layer, you will find the opportunity to clean up your lines and cover up any accidents that may have popped up along the way.

Once you are happy, you can apply a layer of varnish sealant to protect the paint for years to come!

Interested in joining a collaborative community with like-minded people? Become a Creative Unicorn to participate in profit sharing projects, events and workshops within the city!

5 Great Steps to Photographing Your Art for Social Media

5 Steps to Photographing Your Art for Social Media

5 Steps to Photographing Your Art for Social Media

As artists, we spend a great deal of time learning, practicing, exploring and perfecting our craft.

One skill that we can always sharpen, however, is the art of sales.

With social media platforms at our finger tips, artists all over Toronto are in a great position to advertise and sell their creations online!

With a love for all things visual, we know how important it is to portray your artwork in the best way possible. This means taking photographs that will do justice for the colours, textures and aesthetic you have created!

Knowing how to properly photograph your art for social media can make a world of a difference in exposing your style to potential customers, galleries, grants and/or art competitions.

Here are 5 great steps to help you photograph your art like a pro:



Step #1. Show Off Your Artwork

Many artists like to hang their artwork on a neutral coloured wall or shelf for their photographs. This technique provides a nice, clean background that doesn’t take away from the artwork itself.

If this is not possible, an easy solution is to invest in some affordable white foam core to create the same sleek backdrop effect!


Step #2. Focus On Your Lighting

The lighting for your photographs should be soft and evenly-distributed.

While a blurry, dimly-lit photo is difficult to see, overexposure and too much light can also compromise the hues and saturation of your masterpiece.

If you are shooting your work indoors, try to find a space with plenty of natural, indirect sunlight.

If you are shooting outdoors, cloudy/overcast skies will provide some great lighting without appearing too harsh!


Step #3. Play with Your Camera Settings

Feel free to take advantage of all the helpful features that your cameras have to offer!

From grids to help with framing to timers to help with shake, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best with your workflow.

For DSLRs, your ISO and aperture will be very important in capturing bright, clear images of your artwork.

As you increase the ISO, your camera sensor will become more sensitive to light. This means that the higher the number the more coarse your image will appear. To keep a clean, crisp shot of your art, try to keep your ISO low around 100.

As the aperture (f-stop) adjusts how much light is allowed through the lens, higher numbers allow less light to pass through. A great DSLR range for shooting artwork is around f-8 and f-11.


Step #4. Consider Composition

Focusing your camera right on the centre of your work will give a great, parallel representation of your artwork. Avoid distortion with unnecessary angles, as potential customers will want to have a clear view of what they are buying.

Position your camera in a way that will fill the frame with your art, but also leave some background that you can crop and adjust in your editing phase.

As different social media outlets accommodate different photograph dimensions, leave some space to customize your crop lines.


Step #5. Minimize Your Editing

Although photo editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are top choices for the pros, there are plenty of free and inexpensive options out there! 

While many smartphones actually offer editing tools right in the phone's features, you can also take a peek at your app store or online reviews for more options!

Essentially, you want to enhance the presentation of your artwork without compromising the integrity of the colours or appearance.

Stay true to the authentic feel of your work and allow your audience to fall in love with your style!


Interested in joining a collaborative community with like-minded ideas? Become a Creative Unicorn to participate in profit sharing projects, events and workshops within the city!



5 Success Principles From Freelance Artists in Toronto

5 Success Principles From Freelance Artists in Toronto

Making the decision to become a Freelance Artist is an incredibly exciting experience. From work flexibility and being your own boss, to improving your talents with an unlimited earning potential - there is a definite sense of freedom to freelancing.

However, the personal accountability and lack of routine can feel like a nightmare when you are just starting out. With thousands of freelance artists working in Toronto, we had a chat with 5 talented hustlers to learn their tips for success:



Tip #1: “Build a Routine ASAP”

- Adam Tobias (Guitarist/Producer), @AdamTobiasMusic

“Get yourself into a rhythm as early as possible” says Adam Tobias, talented Guitarist, Composer and Producer. “Making work feel like a habit can take a while to train”.

The best thing to do is to approach freelancing as if it were a full-time job. Discover the hours that you are most productive and use them to your advantage.

According to Adam, “the sooner you develop a routine, the more time you can spend in a state of productivity”.


Tip #2: “Don’t Be Afraid to Promote Your Work”

- MER (Rapper/Producer), @MerHipHop

It is no secret that the freelance world has become incredibly competitive. With the internet at the forefront of our daily routines, it can also be a powerful tool in promoting yourself.

According to Rapper/Producer MER, “You just need to maximize your visibility. Whether you are promoting your work on social media outlets, emails, forums, specialized groups or even direct messaging - the more consistent you are, the more likely someone will take an interest in you”.

Essentially, the more people who KNOW what you do, the more accessible you are to the people who would enjoy and/or benefit from your work.


Tip #3: “Know Your Value”

- Vanessa Giorgio (Visual Artist/Photographer), @VGiorgiiiooo

While building your portfolio, you are bound to start off with some free, discounted, and/or collaborative work. However, be careful to not sell yourself short for anything that will not benefit you in the long run!

Visual Artist and Photographer Vanessa Giorgio encourages artists to “recognize not only the value your work provides or the time spent creating it, but also the time and energy spent honing your craft and finding your unique style”.

According to her, “there are plenty of talented artists in the city, but a client will choose you for your individual perspective and execution”.


Tip #4: “Invest in a Website”

- Cassandra Goltsis (Director/Photographer), @RoseGoldProdu

“It’s a lot easier to create a portfolio website than you think” shares Cassandra Goltsis, Director/Photographer at Rose Gold Productions.

With platforms such as Pixieset, Wix, WordPress and Squarespace at our fingertips, these user-friendly web builders have helped hundreds of thousands of professional artists claim real-estate online.

As portfolio work is essential to freelancing success, building a website to showcase your creations is an incredibly effective tool.

As Cassandra shares, “your website will be the first place a potential client will look before making the decision to hire you. So take the time to make sure that it is a great reflection of who you are, and what you have to offer!”


Tip #5: “Create a Work/Home Balance”

- Robin Wright (Cosmetics/Makeup Artistry), @WACosmeticStore

“It is so easy to fall into burnout” shares Robin Wright, certified MUA and owner of Wright Artistry Cosmetics.

As a freelance artist and business owner, you must also become your own receptionist, marketing strategist, social media expert, contract writer, invoice sender and funds collector. As a result, you might even feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day!

However, the value of “personal time” will be essential to maintaining your mental and physical health.

“Be sure to leave time for friends, family, hobbies and self care” Robin insists. Above all else, your health and happiness will help keep you inspired, motivated and on the road towards continued success. 


Interested in joining a collaborative community with positive vibes? Become a Creative Unicorn to participate in profit sharing projects, events and workshops within the city!

artists, toronto artists, creative discipline, art, creativity, creative entrepreneur

5 Great Ways Artists Can Strengthen Creative Discipline

5 Great Ways Artists Can Strengthen Creative Discipline


Pursuing your dreams as a Creative Entrepreneur can be a challenge when it comes to consistency.

With a thirst for freedom and imagination, it can be difficult to tame our creative chaos into routine productivity without compromising our health, art, workflow and ability to pursue new opportunities.

As a result, the mere thought of creative discipline can sometimes spark feelings of dread, anxiety or guilt for those struggling to find the right rhythm! With the pressure of time, deadlines and bills, we are always searching for better ways to stream-line our process to its highest potential.

Fortunately, the word “discipline” does not have to be synonymous with an unenjoyable experience. Instead, we can address creative discipline as a commitment to our dreams, intentions and goals!

By exerting routines, boundaries and control over our actions, we can harness the potential to optimize our talents and turn creative blocks into strategic productivity.

With that, here are 5 great ways that artists can strengthen their creative process through the art of self-discipline:

1. Work During Your Most Productive Hours

Whether you identify as a night owl or an early bird, take the time to discover your most productive conditions.

By blocking off specific time frames to devote to productivity, you can train your brain to anticipate a routine and minimize the threat of unwanted distractions.

Alternatively, many creatives find that specific environmental factors can also have a positive impact on their ability to create. Whether it is a particular location, mood or genre of music - the trick is finding what works best for you and weaponizing it.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Let’s face it. Life can be stressful sometimes, causing us to feel distracted, overwhelmed, or even trapped in our heads.

While mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved through conscious awareness, this therapeutic technique can offer incredible benefits to relieve stress, increase resilience, improve sleep, enhance emotional intelligence and of course, promote creativity.

Take a few moments each day to observe your thought patterns, physical sensations, or even the details around the room.

This healthy habit will not only help you stay on task, but it will help curate a positive mental space for productivity to thrive.

3. Plan Ahead

The benefits of a checklist are severely underrated. With a bit of organization, we have the potential to organize our thoughts, time and energy into a personal system.

From smartphones and calendars to notebooks and post-it notes - there are a variety of options to suit just about any workflow.

Carve out some time at the beginning or end of each day to jot down a list of “to-do” items. This will help you prioritize the most pressing tasks and time-slot them accordingly.

4. Balance Work & Play

The biggest risk for creative burnout is overworking without a healthy balance of leisure and fun.

While the previous tips are incredibly helpful in growing your creative discipline, they can also be applied to your personal life!

Be sure to spend time doing the things you enjoy outside of your creative work. Whether it be spending time with loves ones, nurturing a hobby, cooking a new recipe or just passively relaxing -  taking the time for yourself will give you the mental (and social) break that each of us need.

Not to mention, you will also find better focus when you are ready to create!

5. Build Your Network

Expand your social circle with people who inspire you. By sharing thoughts and ideas with like-minded individuals, we can easily gain fresh perspectives that help fuel our creative approach.

Create friendships with people who have a similar or inspiring vision. Collaborate and support each others goals. Create, celebrate and repeat.

With a few changes, you are bound to witness an improvement to your creative workflow.

Looking for a great place to start? Join our Branding Workshops or become a Member of Creative Unicorns of Toronto and join our vibrant community of artists and creative entrepreneurs. See you soon!