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Tag: Emerging Artists

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.

Value Proposition for Creative Entrepreneurs

 

Value Proposition for Creative Entrepreneurs

Creativity is a unique skill. Artists have the advantage to create and demonstrate the value they provide simply because they’re creative. This is not a skill available to everyone. Creativity is a currency. Overall, your value just needs to be rendered in the right way, to the right audience at the right time. You know that not all art sells. So what do you promise to deliver to customers should they choose to buy your product or service? That is the definition of a value proposition (VP).

Trending

Sometimes a VP sticks because it's trendy. It pops up at the right time to the right audience. Today, right now, I see popularity sits with graphics and stories about self-care, mental health, and work-life balance – all flourishing on Instagram. We see these in the form of quotes, comics, posters, and strong illustrations with a cohesive colour pallet and brand story. This lands with people because it is human nature to go through emotional peaks and valleys and to try to self-actualize and evolve. We want to relate, we don't want to feel alone, and we want to feel better.

The fact that artists and writers are tapping into a trend, or zeitgeist of the moment (however you see it), is a win-win situation. It is what the audience is craving and the story that artists share. Talking about self-care and mental health also helps to remove the stigma around mental and psychological growth. Health and wellness are universal. In many ways, we know art is also universal.

Do you need a Value Proposition (VP)?

Just because you’re an artist, and "the medium speaks for itself," it’s understandable you don’t desire or want a VP to convey to a potential buyer, manager, producer or client. However, if they don’t have access to your work, how will you hook them and get their immediate attention through a conversation? What will you place in your social media bios and artist statement? Apart from that, how can we know with certainty that your art will land, on its own, into the minds of audiences? Sometimes the art becomes even more memorable due to the story behind it. You write this as an artist statement. But the artist statement is meant for those who more often understand art, which is not always the general public or potential customers, and plus it's quite lengthy. That's where you want to introduce the VP.

Exercise

Check out three artists you admire, review their website, the about, artist statements if they have, and bios.

How would you describe them in one sentence to someone? What stands out to you? Why do you like them? What's cohesive about the value they provide? How would you describe them in three words?

Lost in Translation

Art doesn’t translate to every audience. Similarly, listen to conversations in a museum where everyday people try to interpret the art. However, that is not to say that you can’t get people’s attention. If you’re clear on what you want to convey, chances are it sticks and is something they want to return to (and maybe even purchase).

While the artist statement depicts the deeper purpose and ethos of your work, you need a much shorter 1-2 sentence statement about your work that sounds good when you speak it. For example, Beyoncé’s VP is tapping into the ethos of the feminist women's empowerment movement. Thinking of Beyoncé, you might consider the words strong, beautiful, independent, to ‘run the world’ and ‘get in formation.’ We won’t argue the merits of ‘feminism’ through Beyoncé here, but the point is to the suggestion that her ethos and unique value and message is clear – for independent women to be themselves, and to remember how strong they are. Arguably this is an underlying theme throughout her career, but now more explicitly so.

Banksy, as we all know, is the anti-art graffiti artist whose message can be summed up as social justice and politically driven, with a lot of nuance to each piece. The point is you want to be recognizable without feeling compartmentalized – you are not your VP. It is just part of the story you share today. That VP will change with the seasons if you want it to.

Top Tips for your VP

  1. Don’t bury your VP in meaningless slogans, buzzwords or a story that doesn’t move cohesively throughout your brand and products.
  2. Make it strong because people generally have about 7-11 seconds to latch onto your message and get it. From your website to your in-person ‘elevator’ pitch.
  3. Keep it simple. Be quick and explicit about pointing out how your product or service is unique and powerful. Why do you do it – make sure your passion and truth speak.
  4. Make it even simpler. Test it out on people. Is what they interpret, what you think you are?
  5. Frame it as a relationship. You are creating a relationship with your thoughts and experiences to produce art; likewise, through art, you create a new relationship between the observer (or listener) and the art. What relationship are you creating? What are you building – trust, honesty, integrity, curiosity, inspiration, or a feeling?

So which comes first, the art or the VP? There’s no correct answer to this. With Banksy, he was driven by his artistic vision and the value he expressed to the world and people took note. With Beyonce, she evolved over time into the women’s empowerment movement more explicitly as a society did too during a pivotal time. Finally, in an economically driven society and in the attempt to destroy the ‘starving artist’ trope – your VP is the reason why people will buy from you.

MoMA writes in there about,

“We’re committed to sharing the most thought-provoking modern and contemporary art”

This is simple and different. Ultimately, not all spaces focus on ‘thought-provoking’ art, and this VP will be reflected in the decisions MoMA makes in curation. Likewise, you as an artist are curating not just your work for the sake of creation, but for an audience. Your work deserves to move and stir in people whatever it is that you want to propose to them, just make it clear.

 

3 Ways to Communicate Effectively with a Client

Communicating with a Potential Client

The other day, a new client wanted to have our first phone conversation, which I incorrectly assumed would include a bit of discovery (a process where you define, map and analyze an organization's existing processes or current state). Rather, it was just a formality to chat for about 10 minutes as an introduction to a future discovery meeting in the subsequent week. I assumed a few things when we booked the phone chat in under three days, which were they were in a rush and either the situation was urgent or they wanted to get this prospective consultant off their to-do list. I did my best to listen, ask good questions, focus on their interests and their needs and not mine.

Communication is the foundation of every relationship. It begins before you even realize it. We don't just have in-person conversations, but text, email or phone. Our assumptions can also cloud our perceptions (do they like me?). From what people want, what people speak, and how people earn trust. These all stem from relating to someone through verbal and non-verbal cues.

Did you know, there are four people present in a conversation between two people.

1) What I communicate;

2) How the other person perceives it;

3) What they communicate back, and

4) How I perceive that.

With four people in every conversation, there's a likely chance of misunderstanding. If the gap between perception and speech is big, then the greater the chances of miscommunication and conflict, regardless of intention. The role of consciousness is as gatekeeper and sense maker after the fact, research shares,  so this means that our unconsciousness is doing most of the driving (some research says as much as 95%, you know this when you don't have to think to eat or move your hand off something hot, or can't control your facial expression to something that was said). 

Generous listening, a term I coined as a facilitator, is a step better than traditional ‘active listening’ found in communication books. This is much harder than speaking. Generous listening requires intentional silence, or pauses, creating space for disagreement, and the fine dance in the art of conversation. You're not listening to speak; rather you are listening to understand. Generous listening includes empathy. See from their eyes and walk in their shoes. Opening the floor with strong open-ended questions and getting curious about what a person has to say and what is on their mind is at the heart of generous listening. As expected, this takes a certain level of confidence, practice and relational acumen.

You are not listening to speak; rather you are listening to understand.

If you focus on being curious, then your communication skills will be open and flexible. If you focus only on getting the last word in and getting your point across, chances are your communication style is more rigid and stubborn. In the latter, ask yourself, do you feel heard when you speak? Sometimes being assertive is necessary. If tension and stubbornness exist in the conversation - such as the client not relying on your expertise, or micro-managing, or overstepping your work schedule by demanding a quick turnaround, then first trying to understand where they're coming from so they're heard, which then flows into being listened to. Then you assert your business boundaries.

When building a clientele you have to start off on a date. You do that by showing respect, being timely and communicating accurate plans. These are essential, both to a first date and to a partnership. Here is how you listen to and communicate in a way that is trustworthy and credible.

3 Ways to Communicate Effectively

  1. Generous listening: only listen, don't speak and don't multitask. And don't think about dinner plans. Focus only on what the other person is saying, explicit words and implicit body language. In fact, empty your mind completely. This level of attention and empathy demonstrates you care, i.e. you're not a pushy salesperson.
  2. Paraphrase: repeat back exactly what you hear, this is not an easy task. Think about the last conversation you had and did you repeat back everything they said to truly understand what was said? What if the conversation was a disagreement? Chances are you didn't, and that’s because we have mental heuristics, or shortcuts that our brain takes under stress and we fall into habit. So if we are in disagreement with someone, we don't listen to understand, we listen to disagree and push our own interests. That's why this tip is very important, always repeat back what that person is saying. This works in many ways, not just with a prospect, but also in your market research, or emails. If you're not providing a service or product that clients are really voicing a need for, then you're not listening. Repeat back what you've heard to confirm and validate what they shared.
  3. Ask good questions: to understand someone's perceptions more clearly and deeply. Ask open-ended questions (and not 'yes' or 'no' ones). In the art of business, you're not debating your prospects or clients and you certainly don't want to disagree with them because that will push them away. You're trying to build trust and a mutual understanding of the benefits each party will receive. You're trying to better understand what their needs are, what the parameters or scope of the project is so you can have a good working relationship.

Build Trust through Practice

Similarly, apply these tips in the digital world. If a client is not listening to you – can you trust they will deliver their part? If a client takes weeks to respond, how will you ensure your payment is on time? The art of communication is like a first date. You're trying to woo and impress one another in genuine ways. Can you feel trust and respect?

In the future, practicing your communication skills and giving up some of your old habits can feel uncomfortable and risky. It might even feel like giving up some of your power at first. Every good salesperson (or negotiator) knows giving up power is the key to establishing trust and mutual respect.

Similarly, listening doesn't necessarily mean you agree with everything, or that you must take a specific set of actions. On the contrary, listening actually helps to clarify any incorrect actions or taking actions too soon. You don't want to act on little information only to find out that it is not what the client wanted to begin with. Or, if you're trying to identify what a client needs with their branding, or with their art commission. They're going to be looking for evidence that you generously listened to them and what they want before the project unfolds. Essentially, should they pay or hire you, or not? Notice your resistance to what a client or prospect is saying and how they're saying it and always put listening first.

In the end, take the time to generously listen before speaking. Always take the time to ask good questions, then follow up with your expertise. This will help build your social and emotional courage so you can build trust and in turn, secure a prospective customer or even a long-lasting relationship.

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.

7 Ways to Creating a Memorable Brand For Creative Entrepreneurs Photo by: Suzy Hazelwood

7 Ways to Creating a Memorable Brand For Creative Entrepreneurs

7 Ways to Creating a Memorable Brand For Creative Entrepreneurs  -

Even though we know a Picasso and a Basquiat doesn't mean we can afford one. But they are memorable. A brand is not born overnight. Yes, you will give birth to it, but a brand requires raising, nurturing, clothing and feeding. Only after it has been nurtured for some time, can the brand truly resonate to do good (or make money) in the world. The personality and originality of a brand is not just one decision, but also a series of decisions that build on one another over time. This takes consistent work, and re-work and a desire to find out what you’re great at, why you do it and what influences you – your story.

What is your brand?

Your brand is the following

  • Who are you?
  • Who are you helping?
  • What problem are you solving?

Let's take Picasso, he was a Spanish artist who did things differently (cubism among other forms) than many artists during his time (his uniqueness). His story was folded in with his personal and political philosophies (what he was trying to solve), and he was attempting to open the world to new ways of seeing, art admirers and collectors (the problem of we need new forms of art).

Now your turn. When you have solid answers, you can then consider how other elements of your brand fit in, such as copy, or logo. Remember, people who have thousands of followers on social media do not translate into paid clients.

You need to prioritize who you are and why you exist first – not do 35 edits of your logo. Perfectionism is overrated – choose progress over perfection.

Service is at the heart of all successful businesses. That includes timely communication, clarity, value and the why, how and what of your work, and not just the optics. Another thing more important than a logo is your website or another platform to help resonate what you do, how you do it and your credibility. This might mean do a few free or low-paid projects to build a portfolio.

The more intuitive you get with your brand and your message, not just what you know, but what you can do, the more windows of opportunities and insights will open for you to see through. Find what makes you different. What can you do in a way that others cannot – this way you cannot be replaceable.

7 Ways to Creating a Memorable Brand

  1. Engage: actively engage with leads, potential clients and clients. Be prompt and professional to establish credibility and trust. What is your brand promise?
  2. Invest: take the time and inspiration to invest in your branding, or your online image because that is what everyone sees first, and they will form an opinion within the first 7-11 seconds. What do you provide and is it clear?
  3. Educate or inspire: there are a lot of things companies do, but first they need to capture attention. In a sea of distractions – you have to work hard at this. You need to educate, entertain or inspire your target market – you must attract them somehow, kind of like going on a first date. What is that customer connection you’re willing to make?
  4. Brand story: what is your brand story, what, why and how did you start? Share this story in your campaigns.
  5. Simplify: make your tools and approaches are user-friendly and easy to access, including emails, processes, scheduling and finding you. (Do ALL of your links work?)
  6. W.I.I.F.M.: What’s in it for me? There are so many illustrators out there, painters, and music producers. What are you offering that is unique and personal? This doesn’t have to be grand; it just has to be obvious and consistent, so if others were to refer you, they get you and what you do easily. How would someone speak about you when you're not there? "They’re great… but their turnover is slow." Think about it.
  7. Hearts and Minds: a brand lives in the hearts and minds of people. Use your story effectively to touch on emotions, thoughts, and frustrations.

Activity

Choose your favourite brand and dissect it. What makes it memorable for you? When did you first see it, and purchase that product or service? Why? Now choose a product that is similar to yours – or your industry and reflect on the same questions. Do you see some common themes? What is their social media like, or their website, engagement or collaborations like – what story or themes do they draw on? They should fall under the list above.

 

You Will Evolve

Firstly, nurture your own voice and story. Through the brand tips here. You don’t have to be static – you will evolve your colours, logo and brand over time, but you need a firm and simple place to start, so do it right.

Secondly, nurture the community close to you – your family, friends, teachers, network, and any immediate potential clients and referrals. Then build-out.

After all that you do a re-assessment, every quarter. You need to answer the questions, do they not like you and why? They cannot find you and why? Or they do not feel compelled to interact, follow, subscribe, or buy, and why? The answers to these could be something as simple as your shopping cart process doesn't work well or you don't post consistently, you don't have a website, or your buyers aren't on Instagram, or you don't have a marketing budget (or a marketing plan for that matter). Break down parts of your business and tackle the most pressing first. Here is some marketing advice from artists. Or you can try a new marketing tactic.

Remember, creating art is only part of the career, the other is making a living off of it. Not every artist is lucky enough to achieve overnight success. That means you need a balance between art and the business of art. There won’t be a Drake co-sign, or viral content, but there will always be the opportunity to tell your story the way you want and to transform in the process. Starting from the bottom.

 

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.

How To Stay Motivated In Your Business

How To Stay Motivated In Your Business

Loss of motivation is normal, but trying to get it back and sustain it is like Draymond trying to remember if the Warriors had any timeouts left in the NBA finals. What will affect you is when you have a setback, someone says no, or you compare yourself to others.

When you’re Feeling Demotivation

Damaging thoughts, feelings, or barriers that prevent you from persistent action can cloud your decisions. What direction should you take next? But first, you need to understand yourself and those feelings more closely. Essentially, you have to know why you’re unmotivated and why you want to be motivated.

 

What will happen if you do not act on your goals?

Starting a website, learning about budgeting, or just starting a new goal. Yet, you haven’t started. Motivation is the reason you feel or have for acting, achieving or completing a goal or task. Motivation is when you keep pushing through, the barriers or pain, even though it gets tough. It can feel like you're behind, dragging behind your opposition, but you never really lose if you went after your goals. The point is you need to differentiate between what you want to do, and if you don't do it. Fast forward ten years in the future, looking back, ask yourself would you have done things differently? Would you have given up on yourself?

 

What do you feel unmotivated about most today?

Most of the research on motivation confirms it’s not extrinsic rewards motivating people such as money or awards, but intrinsic ones. Internal drives such as a specific goal. For example, supporting your kids and saving for their college, or partaking in something because you find it fascinating. In other words, are you following a trend, to gain social status, or do you want to trust your intuition to create something unique that’s long-lasting? Do you create to gain fame, or do you create because you enjoy the process? First, uncover what you do and do not want, and then answer why.

Kick start your motivation with the tips below. Knowledge is your currency if you have a goal in mind, just make sure you can see the goalposts.

 

Knowledge Needed to Stay Motivated

  • Know yourself - what connects you to your goals, your likes, dislikes and what you’re good at. Assess where you’re strong and where you’re weak in order to grow yourself and your business. This includes everything from energy, skills, to wellbeing and knowledge. Why do you really want that career or goal? Try the Igaki Venn diagram.

 

  • Minimize distractions – what are your distractions right now? Friends who call you as you sit down to work - learn how to say no.  Social media, Netflix – use it as a reward after you finish your tasks. Discipline and sacrifice mean you know what your priorities are.

 

  • Label your emotions – anxiety can be useful to a certain extent, but not when it’s overwhelming. Anxiety is useful before a performance or during planning because it’s a signal you need to provide your very best effort and to be aware of what may happen or to rethink the approach. Likewise, boost positive emotions. Listen to your hype song, dance, use meditation music or have a positive mantra taped to your bathroom mirror. Use your emotions as fuel, understand them better.

 

  • Identify your rewards (they’re not what you think) – extrinsic rewards such as money, friends, status and moving up a ladder do not sustain motivation as research confirms. Instead, intrinsic motivation helps – what’s the emotional reason behind your goals? Is it the A+ or are you curious to learn? You don’t want social cache; rather you want to highlight an important issue. Do you feel great when you’re sketching or taking photos that you zone out and lose track of time? Continue to focus on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow.

 

  • Get Inspired – sometimes we get stuck in our own bubble. Writer’s block or no new ideas landing? Do something completely different. Read a good book, go for a walk, hang out with friends, go to a local gallery, go support your friend’s business, meditate. Slow down and trust that your intuition will lead you back to yourself and the ideas and inspiration will appear under less stress. The point is to keep moving.

 

  • Work Schedule – it’s hard to get motivated if you don’t know where to start or what to work on. List all your tasks, make a schedule, and plot them for the week. I like to prep the night before and plan only three priority tasks I need to get done for the following day (I also work 9-5). It’s top of mind when I go to sleep and wake up. Do you need to update your portfolio online? What are those pieces? Who do you need to email? Break it into manageable pieces.

 

  • Failure & Success – if your failure is real, you need to change your behaviour, but if your behaviour is imagined (for e.g. imposter syndrome), then you need to change your thinking. Retrain your negative thought patterns, find your support system, meditate, or to a greater extent assess if you need to seek a therapist. Challenge your interpretation of failure, fear, or doubt because the opposite of failure is resilience - to bounce back even better because you learned what you didn’t know before.

 

  • Progressive Approaches – we no longer live in a hunter-gatherer world (though it feels that way sometimes). We're living in a time of collaboration, curiosity, open-mindedness, and discovery. If you always approached things one way, try a new way just for fun, even if you’re not going to marry it. In a world where people embrace their multiple interests and gifts, be a ‘multi-potential’ don’t risk remaining small. Be okay with cooperation, community, and understanding yourself, over scarcity, individualization and thinking no one understands you. If you show up, you haven’t failed.

 

  • Buddy System – accountability goes out the window when it’s me, myself and I. You don’t really have anyone to disappoint, but yourself. Find a like-minded friend or a mentor. Building a responsibility mechanism can give you a boost because there’s healthy pressure to complete something (in a way that’s realistic), or for someone else to review or give you feedback. If you don’t have someone, join a community, or share your work with friends: ‘website launching end of summer,’ and hold yourself accountable to that date.

 

Progress is a marathon, not a sprint and you have to define your own destination. This process will spark motivation in the direction you want to be taking. Over time, you will sustain the momentum around what fuels you, and overcome what does not.

 

Bringing it all together, the research on behavioral psychology behind motivation points to the mind-body connection, if “your brain doesn’t understand both the costs of inaction and the benefits of action, you won’t feel very motivated” (Medium).

 

To sum it up, this is a mental game. You’re not failing you’re always learning. You're not lost, you're curious. You can be demotivated today, but tomorrow is a new day. To improve your motivation, understand what does and does not motivate you as carefully as to how you create your art. Do all of this until it becomes second nature.

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.

A 3-Point Checklist for Analyzing a Business Opportunity

Every time we say yes to a new project, we’re saying no to other things – our own projects, our friends and family, our self-care. There may be pros to saying yes, but what if there’s a method to figuring out what to say yes to?

Instagram tips for business are good, but what do you do when you need to negotiate multiple business opportunities? Which one’s do you say no to?

You might be thinking, why would I want to say no to an opportunity? There are plenty of reasons. The most being, do you want to spend more time creating based on the visions of others over your own? Do you want to own your work, or give that license to others?

The least being, partnerships can go bad, bleed beyond what you originally agreed to, or they may contradict your values. Certainly chasing a cheque makes sense to ensure you have a roof and food, but if the work compromises your principles the deal might not be as sweet as it looks. Above all, don’t hit the nail on the wrong project just because you have a hammer.

Before you decide, know the three C’s of analyzing a business opportunity. Being in the thick of the moment – you’re sitting across a brand, or fun opportunity that might blind-side you. Also, negotiation from execs who spend and hire are not to be over looked. Or, they’re your friends, and you have a difficult time saying no. As a result, you need clarity, conviction and choice.

  1. Clarity – Understand what the business opportunity is very carefully. What’s the ask, the budget, scope, and who owns the work? Will more work be added later, how will that be billed? Are there additional expectations you need to know about?
  2. Conviction – understanding the opportunity might be simple , but does it align with your values, mission and where you see yourself in a few years? What are your principles and will this impact your reputation in any unforeseeable or irreversible ways? Will it help you, or will it exploit you?
  3. Choice – consider your options before anything. Negotiate terms you don’t like. Saying no might mean you’re putting yourself in a better position in the long-run to work on your ideas, your longevity, and not just the immediacy of an opportunity bait dangling in front of you like a carrot.

Say no, and focus on the attention your craft needs, such as quality and reputation. Say yes, and sacrifice time, and possibly creative vision and values – but above all, only you know what will work for you. You might have to go through some experiences to grasp your convictions. Or, speak with an established artist for mentorship.

Finally, think the opportunity through, and see with new eyes using the three C’s. If possible, negotiate the terms of the work to reach a middle ground. Perhaps you’re building your portfolio, but will it benefit you? You can’t say yes to everyone – your talents and vision won’t evolve that way.


 

 

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

raycreates.com

and my Instagram is

@raycreatesart