Tag: Artist

5 Websites to Sell Art Online in 2020

Websites to Sell Art Online

Online art sellers have a goal in common with you, which is to find qualified buyers to view and purchase your art. They're your business partners. Here are a few sites to start and what they have to offer.

Saatchiart –  boasts over 12 million monthly page views and an extensive marketing plan that includes mailing printed catalogues. Additionally, they have editorial features and art advisory services. Their commission is 35% on every artwork sold. If you price your pieces slightly over your general asking price to offset this, you might get great exposure. Otherwise, you can create your own website and for the cost of the domain, host and marketing budget you might lean on your networks and marketing. You can sell anything from paintings, installations, sculptures to prints. Founded in 2010.

Your cut: 65%

Etsysupport independent creators’ is the go-to marketplace for vintage, art, and handcrafted items. While it has gone through a lot of changes, including the questionable nature of 'hand-made,' Etsy still boasts total visits of 208 million in September (similarweb.com). The majority are from the US at 60%, and 10% of their traffic is from social with Pinterest at number one. Founded in 2006.

Your cut: all of it, except the 0.26 CAD cents fee per items posted, and a 5% commission.

Society6selling your art reproductions on a variety of products such as prints, mugs and shower curtains – this is the site. You retain the rights to your work, and they manage order fulfillment including packaging and shipping. Just upload, select products and dimensions. They had 3.97 million visitors in September. Founded in 2009.

Your cut: you set up a markup price only for three products in their catalogue: art prints, framed prints, and canvas. And each other item has a flat rate, and then you decide what your profit is on top of that.

Artfinder - with over 10,000 artists from all mediums (digital and sculpture), this site has work ranging from $26 to $65,000. The website is simple and easy to navigate. As well, they had 348 million visitors in September, with high traffic in the UK recently (similarweb.com). Founded in 2011 and based in London and Miami. 

Your cut: 67%


Art and Prints

Some POD sites (print on demand) might be free (ArtPal has no commission, some are curated such as French-based Singulart that has a global list of artists; and there’s even a space for digital art to buy, Daata Editions that posts original, digital artworks by established and emerging artists, allowing you to stream or download high-quality digital artworks on any device” among many others, Tappan Collective, Artfinder, Zatista, or Azucar), but don’t expect to sell out of your work. There isn’t a lot of data that guarantees success. Use these tools as a platform and aim to bring visitors to your website or mailing list. Review the social media accounts, reviews, and if the site is marketing through ads and other means to keep their website traffic going. Check to see if your aesthetic or medium fits, review the costs, and other perks offered by each.

Ultimately, if you place yourself on an existing platform that has an audience in the millions – you might get the exposure you will not through your website traffic alone. As a result, you might benefit from having both a personal website and another account, as well as social media, where buyers might find you. Be strategic with your time. As well, you can always add more accounts later. 

Bounce Rate

Know your bounce rate - the percentage of visitors who enter a site and then leave after visiting one page is the bounce rate. This could mean people are just visiting, but it also means the remaining users are serious buyers and remain longer. The numbers range from a 31%-50% bounce rate for Etsy and other similar arts markets, which is an excellent rating. I previously discussed how to improve your bounce rate here

Selling your art online today is a bit of trial and error. There aren’t enough reliable reviews to know which site will work best for you. Often, they’re user-generated and buyers searched (be sure to use your tags and key search terms). Browse the website, and review the quality and shopping experience.

Firstly, ensure you have one popular social media account such as Instagram or a Facebook group, for instance. Secondly, join other sites that work best for you. Ultimately, if most of these sites can charge the customer for the shipping fees, I think it pays to remove the guesswork out of marketing to a wider and more global audience.

5 Marketing Myths For Creative Entrepreneurs

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Creating art and running a business can feel like two full-time jobs, but it doesn’t have to be if you work smarter and not harder. Sometimes I see creatives put energy into non-urgent tasks, such as, why won't people follow me on Instagram?


Our good pal Ross from the show Friends once yelled, 'Pivot!' when moving a couch up against a corner staircase. Pivoting is important. A lot of business owners refuse to pivot and thus become unsustainable. Most businesses dissolve before they hit the two-year mark. Pivoting is vital as an entrepreneur. While you might not be well-versed in all things business, you can definitely learn, try, repeat, and adjust. You must assess what you did, such as when you wrote those reflection papers in school. You need to be reviewing your actions. Think back, what did you learn?

All start-ups go through an iterative process, which essentially means you learn from your mistakes. The process by which you get closer to creating exactly what is needed in the world (a product or service) and having it stick. For example, concerts are no longer just about musicians, but also the art, outfits and light installations. An experience they can charge twice as much for.

In the art world, we also see it as the turn of the century artists who push new forms, or politics, or trendy mediums. For example, there's a trend in life-like sketching. There's also an interest in graphic design, web design, book design, and storytelling. Big brands want to collaborate with local artists because they have authentic fans that big brands could never cultivate. You should know what you do and do not want.

Knowing what to do and what not to do is key. These will change for your medium, industry and geography generally speaking. There might be more once you dig a little deeper into what you or a similar competitor is or is not doing.

5 Marketing Myths

1) Hashtags: Once a business owner asked me, how can I use hashtags to get customers? Tags don’t convert a person to purchase something or even some of the time. Hashtags are one step in attracting people to pay attention to you. Then you need a call to action – a follow, a subscribe, a message, or a newsletter sign-up. The engagement and call to action are vital steps that build up the relationship into a sales funnel. After this, you have to continue to build trust before selling. Unless you get a celebrity endorsement - people need to build trust or be referred to you.

2) New is best: vintage always makes a comeback (hello 90s hip-hop), and certain forms of art, such as macramé and life-like sketches are trending. We also see a return to analog photography. New is not always best but can be where used appropriately. If your story is aligned with vintage, old, or analog – play on that theme authentically in your marketing. Don’t try to be “new” because contemporary art says so.

3) Don’t make mistakes: failure is just another learning opportunity. You might shy away because of fear and doubt, but historically art and inventions were born out of repeated attempts at simply trying. You learn from who you are and what you know in order to evolve. Some of those learnings might be from doing it wrong, so you get closer to how to do it right. If it's worth your goals, you won't give up.

4) Marketing = sales: sometimes, but not all the time. If you’re a visual artist who’s only posting on Instagram, you might find out gallery representation is better. If you’re a graphic designer, you might find out cold-calling agencies to provide contract work or collaborations with brands might be your bread and butter. Just passively posting on social media or buying ads does not translate into direct sales, unless your marketing budget is in the five-figures. Above all, your story has to land. Your artistic medium might be saturated with competition - do you stand out and in what ways?

5) A portfolio is enough: if someone asks to see your portfolio, and you have one, but never returns, what do you do? If you do nothing, you’re not doing enough. Engagement is key in nurturing relationships over time. Remember the sales funnel is a process where someone is attracted, interested and engaged, which might translate into a sale over time. Typically, a sale is not the first step. An interested buyer might come back 6 months from now to have you interior design their whole house if you left a strong impression on them. If you don’t maintain relationships with interested parties, through professional and timely follow-ups, you might be losing a sale or referral. Just parking your work on the world wide web does not translate into sold-out tickets to your concert.

The Right Way

Social media, SEO, or word-of-mouth are each individual means of marketing, not a single one is the answer to a lucrative career. You need to find out which tactics will work best for you and your target market. If you might do best through gallery representation, and if your target market is retired women 55+ with a master’s degree, who enjoy travelling and documentaries, they might not be on social media let alone using hashtags. Are you spending too much time on Instagram?

Put aside time to research and learn about marketing, test, and gauge the impacts and results. What did you do, what didn’t you do, what worked and what didn’t. Always get feedback. Don't be shy, ask others, specifically your ideal clients, what do they like or dislike about how they can find out about your art and purchase it. Do they prefer an email, shopping in-person, or shopping online through a secure e-commerce site? Where will they hear about you or where do they frequent?

Marketing is a spectrum of approaches and tactics, from competitive analysis to pricing, to your promotions. The answers won’t come through a magic ball, but understanding the myths can help you pivot.

How to Use Instagram Effectively in 2020

Instagram is a Free Platform to Grow

This is not an article about how to pose in photos. This is about how to create a professional and branded Instagram (IG) profile. There are 1 billion Instagram users as of 2018 and over 700 million monthly active users. Not everyone had the chance to get famous off of Vine and translate that into an IG fanbase. However, there is plenty of room for everyone to grow.

You want to translate your IG into meaningful exposure, partnerships or customers. They say a potential customer has to see your branded content at least 7 times before they buy into it. Others say, you don’t need to attract all your potential customers, but just 1000 true die-hard fans. Either way, know that people will fall in love with your art, or they will have to warm up to it before they even decide to make a purchase. Most people will not make a purchase on the first click alone (that’s where your target market comes in, but that’s another topic entirely).

Take your profile seriously as a whole, the bio, wall, stories, highlights, posting, hashtags and interaction. Focus on a good mix of all that IG has to offer, without overspending your time – your business solution is not just Instagram.

7 Ways to Boost your IG Effectively in 2020

  1. Bio – explain what you do in a creative way. Don’t over-explain or laundry list all your traits, make it short, sweet, relevant, and memorable. I’ve noticed a lot of people have a link tree in their profiles with over 5 links to choose from. You only want to initiate one call-to-action. Options can decrease follow-through. Have all the other links on your website, until you amass a following. Make sure your thumbnail photo is memorable so it stands out. Every detail is important – look at how artists you admire do it.
  2. Stories – show what you do, why you do it and how you do it in a creative way. Visual storytelling can be images, videos and the branding or feel and look. What are you trying to evoke or capture and why? A sense of identity, nostalgia, or a look of analog, or minimalism? Make sure to use a hashtag and location, especially at events, as this will boost attention. Here are some IG story hacks.
  3. Highlights – save pertinent business info here, such as an FAQ, about, processes, inspiration, freebies, or other behind the scenes looks. Your videos and exclusives of your work process can be housed here so people get hooked right away, as these highlights sit right at the top of your profile.
  4. Posting – provide a consistent mix of content, photo and video. You don’t have to post every day, but be consistent. Don’t post once this month, then every week, then ghost. The trends on IG change with the seasons, there is no right way. Choose what feels best to you based on your industry and your goals. If you want to sell items, you must photograph your products well (look at how the big names do it). More often than not, images with human faces get more likes and interaction - use what works. Post at peak times depending on where you located geographically and your audience - you will figure this out through trial and error. Typically it's the first thing in the morning. Also, include post comments that focus on education or inspiration, more hacks here.
  5. Hashtags – always try to use a saved set of 30 hashtags (the max) on each post immediately after posting as a separate comment. This can increase engagement from people outside of your followers and attract attention. Don’t get stuck up on this, do it and move along. Change it up every now and then. Target your industry or what you think a buyer might search if they’re on IG. Hashtags do not translate into buyers. This is for impressions and brand awareness, and other growth secrets.
  6. Interaction – most artists don’t have the time to run a business let along run a social marketing platform while creating the art they’re talented at. However, the interaction does lead to engagement, trust and relationship building. Interact with immediate comments right away, and schedule time weekly to just review your account (don’t get sidetracked), to better understand who follows you, who do they follow, what are the like?
  7. Collaborate – one of the best ways to boost brand awareness is to make engaging and authentic work with others who also have a following. You can cross-pollinate and share your marketing reach this way by tagging one another. Whether with pop-up markets, such as Etsy, friends or magazines, try to tag, DM or get noticed by engaging with companies and people you like every so often. This beats paying for ads. If someone significant shares one of your posts, their followers can see it and might get curious.

Be Consistent, Build Momentum

There are many more ways to build momentum and excitement, from shout outs to launches and building anticipation, to giveaways (be sure to like, share and follow!). Ensure you mix it up and stick with what works. Set quarterly marketing reviews to see what has been successful and build on that. Always review your competition to get curious and learn - not put yourself down.

Ultimately, IG is a platform to build awareness. Be consistent with your story and aesthetic. Don’t post your everyday life adventures, your siblings and what you eat, when your aim is to sell your art. You can introduce more about yourself as you grow and develop. As long as you keep your IG focused with a clear purpose, you will gradually build a strong following and soon-to-be clients or referrals. A tree doesn’t finish growing in one season.

How to Use Your Energy Wisely Running a Business


Spending time on social media is enjoyable until you realize time doesn't stand still, and you didn’t finish what you originally set out to do. What did you achieve?

What about all the times you avoided planning and organizing your business? Instead, there’s Netflix, reading, friends, the mall, online shopping, to name a few. You don't have to spend every waking hour operating your business. Rather, you want to spend the limited day-to-day energy you have, apart from art-making, on business priorities. What is the most pressing issue in your business? Selling art is not the answer by the way, because before that you need a marketing strategy, awareness and engagement. Here we tackle the question, how can you open up space so you don't spend your energy carelessly and indiscriminately. Where are your energy leaks?

Your energy is your currency - when time passes you don't get that back. If you overexert your energy and place it anywhere and everywhere this will impact your ability to tackle what really needs to get done this week. This can then affect your confidence, your decisions, and your future goals - these are all interrelated. Where do you even start, you might be wondering.

Your energy is your currency - when time passes

you don't get that back.


Do you want to make sure you understand exactly what needs to get done? Or, are you asking how to do something better? We all want to work smarter, and not harder, but in a hyper-capitalistic and productivity-driven world, this hamster race can be difficult to hop off of. Before diving into the deep end of the business, the biggest issue I see owners struggle with is time management, which is also another way of saying energy management, or self-steering. If you're the captain, first mate, gunner, sailing master, and all the other roles of a ship (aka your business), then you're responsible for self-steering your energy and talent towards reaching your destination.

Where is your Energy Going Exactly?

How does your energy flow with your day-to-day life? When is it low, or high? What are you doing? Which foods are you eating? Who are you hanging out with? This isn't a question of just productivity, but it's about your lifestyle, and living in a way that nourishes who you are, and the art you want to create. In other words, you want to invest your energy in ways that bring you joy and success, however, you define them.

Intentional Energy Use

  1. Reflect - Where are you spending your energy? What are you doing that is not fulfilling your goals or your purpose? Look at your life through what you do, how you think and how you behave. Is there self-sabotage or low confidence at play? Do you feel you don’t deserve success or that you might fail? How can you lean into these emotions and non-identify with them? Have energy check-ins frequently until you establish new habits.
  2. Plan - If you want to invest your money in profitable stocks, you have to plan and research carefully. Think about what matters to your business today. What do you need to know?  This might include better time management, a business plan, a mentor or marketing help. Maybe you need a calendar, or an invoice app, or a better workspace. Research and eliminate things that are not working.
  3. What do you value? - Being able to make good decisions about where to spend your energy requires you to know what actually matters to you. What is your definition of happiness, of work, and success? It shouldn't be your parent’s or society's definition. Knowing how you want to use your energy towards what you want, depends on how that makes you feel. Focusing on other people's perceptions is misspent energy.
  4. Eliminate distractions - What are pointless ways you’re spending and draining your energy? Are you hanging out with unfulfilling friends every day? Do you rely on external validation? Are you expecting your parents to give you confidence and the go-head? Addicted to social media? Is your house a mess? Do you expend a lot of energy getting into arguments and judging people? Where are the energy drains? Write them all down, and start tackling them in the upcoming weeks realistically. Don't take part in what triggers you until you resolve the issue in a way that matters to you. The time you spend bouncing back from energy drains is also a leaky area, and we don't want this ship to sink.
  5. Good enough move forward - The perfectionist in any artist might have them convinced things to need to be 'just right' or even perfect. This can be counterproductive. You need to focus on progress over perfection and good enough, move forward. You can iterate and refine as you go, otherwise, you will stay stuck where you are, an anchor weighing you down.

If you're spending the time reflecting on a consistent basis (mark it in your calendar) and intentionally making a choice to do think, know, feel and act differently, you're holding yourself accountable to change and growth. Welcome that new energy.

Pivot and Adjust

As you pivot in each area you will get better at developing positive habits over time. Genetically you have some power to alter, i.e. turn genetic expressions off and on through concerted effort. Even though traits can be passed down from generation to generation such as stress, you can still adapt and resolve them over time - this requires focused energy and the right environment.

This does not happen in one day, nor is it the same for every person. You will still pick up that phone to play Wordscapes. Social media will distract you. You will still binge-watch entire seasons. You will have emotional peaks and valleys. But you need to be aware in order to change those behaviours over time. You must ask yourself, what will happen 5 years from now if you look back today and did nothing?

If you want to be an intelligent investor of your most valuable currency, you must understand who you are and where you're spending your energy. Don’t lose the opportunities in front of you when you’re creating your own life's purpose this doesn't always happen twice – keep your talent alive.

8 Ways to Automate Your Business & Help Increase Revenue

Saving Time Can Mean Making Money

If you don’t respond to an email quickly enough the odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 21 times, identified in a lead response study.  As a result, timeliness plays a significant role in growing a business. For instance, if you don't have a personal assistant, as most don't, automate parts of your business especially if they're free and simple.

Responding quickly matters even if it’s automated.

What processes are repetitive in your business? For instance, emails, DMs, client interactions, invoices? The time spent on these adds up if you’re not automating. Ultimately automating means more time to create your artwork and secure sales.

8 Ways to Automate Your Business & Help Increase Revenue

  1. Email auto-response – did you know you can auto-respond to emails so you don’t need to be checking emails every hour of every day? Check your emails on set days of the week, that way you can tackle them all at once. Constantly dividing your attention is not effective, and neither is multitasking. Here’s how you set them up in Gmail and Outlook

“Hi, [Name]!
Thank you for contacting us. I wanted to let you know that we received your note and working on your request, hang tight! Someone will be in touch shortly.”


Social media links

Subscribe (newsletter)

  1. Email signature – this small, but mighty task is important. Include your name, and working social media links, but keep it simple and visible. Don't include every platform, but the main ones. More importantly, include the possibility to sign up for a newsletter because email lists are gold in marketing. Target them in the future to improve engagement and client retention rates. Return customers are higher than marketing to a new one. Message them well before the holidays for promotions.


  1. Instagram message auto-replies – auto-replies on Instagram can be saved if you have a business account. You save a bunch, and the next time you need to message someone, just type in the keyword and that reply will automatically pop up, here's how you do it.


  1. Lead process – a lead is someone who may potentially become a client or paying customer. Create a process for each lead you interact with. Are they: a new opportunity, someone you’re contacting, or engaging, or are they a qualified customer? People don’t always have the budget and authority upon first interaction – you might be selling artwork in the thousands. Keep track of this process with a clear excel sheet marking down the details, such as name, number, date and stage of lead processing.


  1. Automate to current customers - the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. Attracting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one, which falls into building brand awareness and trust. Make sure you are sending out consistent email marketing because Keap shares that when marketed through email, people spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers. You can use MailChimp or another marketing tool such as Keap, or others.


  1. Surveys – this is a very important feature for any growing company. Customer feedback helps you pinpoint any blind spots – what is and isn’t working – before making drastic changes. Every so often be intentional about sending out a survey to your email list, perhaps once a year to get feedback in return for a discount code. You can use SurveyMonkey which is free for up to 10 questions, or Google forms. Some are free for students and non-profits such as SoGoSurvey  Depending on your service whether it’s website building or an e-commerce site, here is a list of 15 questions and a longer one of 65 organized by type and purpose. Do not include more than 10 questions, and do not repeat questions - make them useful for your business.


  1. Automate your social media posts – automate your social media posts through Hootsuite or another app. This is a time saver if you need to cut out any extra work. You can still post in real-time in between scheduled posts if that's a worry. With this app, batch content (grouping similar tasks in one sitting) each month to maintain consistent brand awareness across platforms. This website allows for 3 free accounts to be linked, with a total of 30 posts scheduled at once. You can even schedule a Facebook post.


  1. Finances – automating finances will save you a lot of stress and hassle of doing it in retrospect. Receipts, billing, invoices, and follow-ups. If you don’t want the headache and you're unsure of what exactly financing entails, check out Wave (free) or Quickbooks (as little as $2/day) or FreshBooks and their tutorials to understand what they can offer and if you need it, or if an excel works for now.

Remember, automate what will help you - you don't know if you don't try. Ultimately, don't make it hard for people to find you. Don't delay if there are free tools out there. Use these and other automating tools to help you focus less on mundane tasks so you can focus on putting your artwork out in the world.


How to Overcome Fear & Anxiety picture by Pixabay

How to Overcome Fear & Anxiety: 5 Strategies

"We know what we are, but not what we may be" - Shakespeare

Does starting a new project, building a website, or networking sound daunting to you?

Trying something new means getting uncomfortable because it’s something you’ve never done before. But there are a lot of things you didn’t know how to do that you learned, right? If that's the case, then fear was learned too.

The other side of the fear coin is failure, but failure of what? What if you fail, what if you don’t know what you’re doing, what if your parents don’t approve. However, these are assumptions you have no control over. If you give your dominant thoughts to failure, what you're doing is rehearsing for it. Is that the script you want for your life?

Face the Fear

Fear is about control, and what you can't control, an outcome, how things will play out, leaves you with doubt. You have 'what if...' thoughts. With that line of thinking, you also miss out on what if you can achieve, or you can focus on things you can control - like being in the present and taking one step at a time.

Surrender to what you can control and leave the rest behind. Regardless if some of your assumptions have merit or not those are not your thoughts. Rather, you’re being influenced by outside sources. Do not seek external validation before you determine your own inner worth because then you're already setting yourself up for failure. You will never start, or you will never be satisfied. If your thoughts are racing on everything, it's very difficult to focus on just the now. Shift this over-think - meditate, journal, create a voice note, dance, let it out and then recalibrate.

Despite that, we habitually rely on opinions and validations for our own happiness and talents. Habits take time to break. Ultimately, we get rewarded for doing the familiar and if we move away from the fight-or-flight, chemicals in our brain surge. Yet, fear is often an area artist (and non-artists) voice as a challenge and barrier to starting something. From showcasing your work – now people really can judge your work, or what if they don’t like it? But what if they do!? To business skills such as negotiating, sales, pitching, all seem scary, but remember everyone was first an amateur. You don’t have to know all things at once – you will learn them over time and when you’re ready.

Take it one step at a time (it's a lot I know)

There are a lot of steps to the business process, not everyone gets rich or noticed overnight, you might have to rebrand, or research your ideal client, or hire an expert - these are things every business owner learns. You have to know why you want to start a business first. You just need the first step, which is name the fear, know you have the courage and create positive change. Look at your inspirations they started from the bottom.

We want to be a whole person and as a whole person. Fear is a normal emotion, but it's also a message.

This post isn’t going to tell you to recite positive affirmations or that staying positive is the key to overcoming fear because it really isn’t. Anyone who tells you that is considering only part of the picture.

Similarly, diving in the deep end won’t always work. You typically have two choices; you either develop the skill, or accommodate it. Developing the skill can look like networking. If you're an introvert, you can develop the skills of practicing what you're going to say and approaching people one at a time. You can also start by attending small, cozy events and not large conferences. Alternatively, if you accommodate and justify that fear by meeting people and doing all of your business only online, (I'm unsure if this is possible), and you might end up achieving a sufficient amount of business online. Now, while the second option is rare because your art and marketing will really have to speak for itself, you don't necessarily want to use crutches to accommodate your fears.

You want to be a whole person and as a whole person, fear is a normal emotion, but it's also a message. It's telling you to go for it if you really value what's on the other side of fear - your dreams. Fear will always be present and that's okay, it's a healthy signal that you are interested or alert.

Some strategies to overcome fear

  • Understand the brain: our brains prefer predictability. Back in the day when we were just surviving, we chose fight-or-flight responses, and now, we still use those shortcuts. Our brains prefer to reward us for things familiar and routine. That’s why it’s difficult to take the first step into a new, unfamiliar routine, but doing so is important. Imagine what the first step might be. But also what will happen if you don't take that step? Look 5 years into the future - are you ok with that decision?


  • Question who you were before: you might have learned the fear of groups as a child, maybe the pressure or embarrassment was too much. As much as you learned all things, you can unlearn things as well. We forget to access our hearts and minds and tend to let our fears overwhelm us. Write down where you learned to fear.


  • Listen without attachment: your emotions do not define you. They come and go. Listen to what your fears are, understand them, acknowledge them and decide you are going to work with and around them. Read, meditation, research, and speak with other artists.


  • Reframe your fears: journal and write out all of your fears. Why are they fears? Where did you learn them? What event in your past created those fears? How can you respond differently today?


  • Create a sense of community: connecting with like-minded artists, and speaking on challenges you deal with, can make you feel less isolated and is self-affirming. Fear is something a lot of new and professional artists deal with. You might also receive advice from those in similar situations.

Finally, reflect on your newfound life that is choosing courage over fear each step of the way. Remember to return to your place of reflection. What did you learn, what are you proud of, what are you grateful for? Focus on progress and not perfection. This will help you stay focused on the good in addition to the inner work you’ve been doing.

Now, you might not be the person to jump off a plane, parachuting down into fear. But letting go of fear patterns and becoming friends with fear will create a new response. Developing other skills such as patience, compassion, and courage will help you focus on who you do want to be, and are. Every habit can be developed. Take your time, put in the hours, and wait for these habits to emerge as you pursue your art.

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.

Shop – Black Love: The Passionate Art of Ray


Who are you?
Ewart Raymond (Art Ray) or just simply Ray. 
What do you do?
I produce and sell original artworks. I also sell canvas prints, paper prints, and framed paper prints of various sizes, etc.
Why did you get started?
I was always creating art. When I was young I wanted to replicate what I saw and to make it perfect. When I became an adult, the art I made was to speak to me from the walls as a form of motivation. I now create the same type of art using different elements that continue to speak to me as well as others. 

Describe your creative process?
Most of my creations are based around couples, intimacy, families, and love. I mainly work from references. I then add my own twist to make them into what I see in my head. I use mostly acrylics, some oils, and some pastels to bring my creations to life. 


Who is your art for? Why is it important?
My art is mainly for adults, but I also create pieces that are family oriented which are for all people. I use my art to speak to the mundane aspects, as well as the metal aspects because both aspects are important to us as human beings.


If you could tell your younger self anything what would it be and why?
I would tell my younger self to create more and to try and reach as many people as possible. I would also tell my younger self to be interactive with proactive and productive people, predominantly.



What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on finishing up a few pieces on families. I am also working on some pieces of couples that show intimacy, love vibrations, and connectivity.


What are your views on homelessness and mental illness in the arts community?
A home is what houses you and your body, and all your creations. Homelessness is a big issue and it shouldn't be based on all the wealth in the world but nevertheless, it is a huge problem. Mental health is very important since the mind drives the body, and if your mental state is affected, then you cannot advance as you would expect. I think art plays a very important role in soothing the minds of most individuals. It can bring about a calmness from everyday chaos.


What is your Instagram (or portfolio/shop) Url? *

my website is


and my Instagram is




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!

Interview – The Gracefulness of Singer-Songwriter Shanika Maria

Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Shanika Maria is a young up and coming singer-songwriter. Releasing her first EP Childish Games in 2017, Shanika’s songs have an eclectic folk/pop vibe that’s impossible to categorize. The melody, lyrics and attention to detail has the listener in a trance that you rarely hear elsewhere. The closest to be able to describe her style is like a blend of Florence and the Machine and Nina Simone. “A Proud Woman”, the second single from her upcoming album Subtle Uncertainties just got released October 19th 2018. It opens with a narrator daring to be vulnerable in the face of new love. We sat down with the singer to talk a bit more about her inspirations and her work as an artist.


What type of music do you perform?

I originally was playing folk and acoustic music, performing my original music with a mic and an acoustic guitar. My first EP really embodied my solo performance. It was very stripped down, minimalistic and vocal heavy with accompanying guitar. On that album I played guitar and piano. Lately I've been performing a more eclectic array of genres that borrow from pop, dark country, beach rock, r&b and jazz. I've been able to add new elements and interpretation to the music I write by incorporating these styles. My first album that’s coming out really shows the growth of my writing process and my development as an artist.

What first got you into recording music?

I started recording music in my bedroom as a teenager. Around the middle of highschool, I would use my laptop camera and record songs and put them on youtube. That was my first taste of recording music. Around the same time, I began playing around on garageband, recording rough versions of songs with my vocals, guitar, and adding harmonies. I started performing as a solo artist a couple years ago. I really wanted to do a record and release it - to have a snapshot of where I was at musically at that point in time. Out of that, came Childish Games.

Have you had the chance to tour and/or perform any shows? If so, what has the experience been?

I have performed in Hamilton, Toronto and in Victoria. My experience has been mostly positive. I really enjoy performing even though I do get really nervous before shows. My best performances are when I escape into the world of my music and it becomes this really intimate experience.

When did you realize this was something you wanted to do?

I've always been interested in music as a hobby. I never thought it would be something I would pursue. 6 years ago I was asked to sing back up vocals for a band. From then on, I really enjoyed performing. I decided to start performing solo and for the past two years, make it something I actually pursue.

Is anyone in your family a musician?

Not really, both my parents have dabbled on the guitar and my sister played piano as a child, but none of them have really continued playing music.

How do you find the music industry in Toronto?

I think it can be very daunting navigating the music scene in Toronto especially as a solo act. There are many artists with similar styles and it's hard to stand out. I think focusing on what I'm doing is the only way to keep level headed about it all, but I'm still figuring it out.

Who are some of your musical influences?

I have a lot of musical influences, like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, Emily Haines, Feist, Lianna La Havas, Marvin Gaye, and there's a lot more.


Shanika Maria on social media:



Official Website

Where to listen: