Changes – Learn to Make the Most of Them

Changes – Learn to Make the Most of Them

Change Is Inevitable

In your art career, as in your life, changes are constant. How you deal with them will make a noticeable difference on the outcome of your career, and your success in other areas of your life. These days, change comes at us with never seen speed and complexity. If you have been around long as I have, you will recall the fax machine was once considered cutting edge technology.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that having a personalized email address and a website put you ahead of the tech curve. While those are still relevant, the avalanche of e-commerce, rapidly evolving consumer buying habits, the establishment of social media, and the decline of the gallery system all add to the changes visual artists deal with on a daily basis.

Change comes at us in so many ways, and most of them are too personal for me to presume being the best source to help you deal with them. That said, I do have thoughts on dealing with challenges regarding how to get your work seen and sold.

  • First, you need to accept things are changed in the art marketplace, and they are not going back.
  • Second, there is every reason to believe changes are still coming at us.
  • Third, you have to decide to deal with those changes.
  • Lastly, learn to pick your spots and admit you can’t deal with every new fangled development, app, wrinkle in the marketplace.

While Galleries Are Not Dinosaurs, Their Importance Has Diminished

Not so long ago, artists who had their own website and a blog were on the bleeding edge. Now, these things are a necessity for artists who wish to compete for consumer attention. These tools are the best way for artists to establish an ongoing dialogue with their collectors and potential collectors. Do you remember when it was considered career suicide for artists directly to reach out to buyers and prospects? When doing so put them at odds with the galleries and dealers who were on the front lines of selling art at the retail level.

Tech Changed the Rules for Everyone

Technology developments have not only made it possible for artists to affordably and effectively to promote one-on-one relationships with those interested in their work. Moreover, this is not just convenient, it is a must. Counting on any other delivery system to be there for you in the long term is putting yourself in the position of being crushed when certain changes occur.

I don’t buy it’s time to abandon the gallery system because there is still much value in having galleries sell your work. It’s just that relying solely on galleries, or any third-party solution, for primarily distributing your work is dicey. Just look at how many have closed their doors in recent years. This trend will not change anytime soon.

Social Media Is Not the Art Marketing Holy Grail

It is not just galleries. Social media, while terrific in many respects, is vulnerable to change. Look at how Facebook has changed recently to get my drift. It used to deliver your posts there to about 85% of your friends. Now, to generate revenue, it requires you to pay a fee to sponsor your posts to make certain they are seen by your entire list of friends. The cost depends on the size of your friends or fans list. With around 2,500 friends, I have to pay $7.00 per post to purchase extended coverage. If I paid for just two posts per week, that’s more than $700 annually in additional costs I did not have before.

I put Facebook links on posts, my website, blog and email signature to help it build its billion member audience. What’s happened now is I have to pay to reach the audience I helped build. Like it or not, it’s a who moved my cheese change I have to deal with, and so do you. Consider Facebook is flatlining in U.S. member growth, and more importantly, it is losing its hip factor with the very audience that it grew from, namely college age students. The trend is to not use the same platform as parents and other old fogeys, but rather to go back to email and things like Gchat which are more personal. So, if you were planning on using Facebook as your primary way to find new customers, I would recommend rethinking that strategy.

So, What’s An Artist Supposed to Do?

Embrace the change is the short answer. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post titled, “15 Reasons It is a Great Time to Be An Artist.” It’s a good read if I say so myself. If you accept that change is inevitable, then you are better prepared to deal with it. You have a couple of choices, you can learn to control how to use a website and blog together, and how use them to help you promote your work. Or, you can look to hire someone to help you. If you choose the latter, another change that has developed in this new tech age is the emergence of virtual assistants. They come in a variety ways of assisting you. These include organizational duties, writing, sales, tech support, social media and more.

This year, I began giving a live workshop on “How to Get Your Art Seen and Sold.” Because I have limited travel availability, I have put the entire workshop online as a webinar. It goes into detail on the best ways to build a solid core of loyal fans who buy directly from you. In my humble opinion, this is the future. The exciting part about it to me is as an artist, for the first time in history, you have both the affordable tools and unique opportunity to develop a one-to-one buying relationship with potential collectors.

Changes for Me

For several years now, I have been threatening to move Art Print Issues from Typepad to WordPress. As you can see, the blog has a new look. It is now on WordPress, and I could not be happier. When I switched from publishing an email-based newsletter to blogging in 2007, WordPress was not yet the tour de force it has become in the internet world. Typepad provided an easy-to-use and quick start format for someone like me. At that time, my tech skills were nowhere near what they have become today. Frankly, trying to get a blog to work on WordPress at that time would have been beyond my ability to get a satisfactory result.

The new blog look is a work in progress. You can expect to see modifications and improvements over the coming weeks. Use the comment link to let me know your thoughts on this blog and my new look.

Some links in the post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

About Barney Davey

I am an art marketing author, consultant, blogger and podcaster. I enjoy helping others understand and reach their potential. Follow me on twitter.com/barneydavey.com and check out my art marketing e-store at barneydavey.com/products

Comments

  1. Excellent and timely post. In my prior business career I used the phrase – Change Is Here To Stay – often, when communicating a new challenge (opportunity assignment) to my employees. It made it easier to overcome the human nature of resistance to change. I am finding the art world a very dynamic place. Embrace change as a good thing.

    Good move to WordPress. Well done.

    CEC

    • Barney Davey says:

      Hi Charles, Thanks for your comments. They are appreciated. Moving to WordPress is great. I use it for all my other sites. Moving away from Typepad has been a nightmare. I hope it will be finally done today or tomorrow with some final nagging details. Cheers, BArney

  2. Thank you, Barney, for your wonderful posts and inspiration to artists, like me. I like this post on change as being inevitable, and most artists I believe are supposed to be naturally open to change. I think what struck me is the idea of hiring a virtual assistant with all the duties you mentioned above. If I can find one, they are in business….I want to continue to paint and need a virtual assistant. Also, do you have any sources on how to use wordpress? I thought it is user friendly but I do not understand. There is the wordpress.org which I am trying to use and then there is the wordpress.com. hmmm. What template are you using? Thanks again for all your wonderful advise.

    • Barney Davey says:

      Hi Asha, Glad you liked my post on changes. I offer a WordPress Video Training Tutorial series. It contains 40+ 3-5 minute videos on how to setup and use WordPress. It’s great for learning for yourself, or if you hire someone else, so you don’t have to show them everything. The price for the download is only $9.95. You can read more about it at http://barneydavey.com/wordpress. There are tons of resources for WordPress users by searching for them on Google, Bing or Yahoo. WordPress.com gives you a free site, but you are restricted in many ways, including e-commerce and using custom themes. It’s not the best choice most visual artists. WordPress.org is a self-hosted solution and gives you full flexibility to use all the resources of WordPress. I can recommend Optima Web Tools for WordPress hosting. http://wp.optimawebtools.com. They offer 24/7 free telephone support and prices are only $3.99 per month or lower. I use the Prose template from StudioPress.com. Cheers, Barney

  3. Hi Barney….

    I loved this post! As a visual artist, having a website is definitely a must, and building ours was so long and challenging. I had to hire a programmer to add ZenCart to my site, as using Paypal or Google checkout wasn’t adequate for our needs, and after learning HTML and some javascript and working on the site via notepad, I didn’t even want to tackle the part with php!! And now we have added a WordPress blog to the site as well! (I too moved from Typepad just recently)
    So grateful for all your wonderful information that I follow faithfully! We purchased Jason’s book and it is FULL of great information….as is your How to Profit from the Print Market.
    Thanks again….
    Laurel Knight

  4. Hi Barney, I’m passing this post on to friends. Your blogs are an excellent resource, and up to date on how and where art is being sold. Thanks for all you do!

  5. Thank you Barney! I remember how we have said for years, “Change is our only constant.” It is REALLY true today as you have so aptly stated. However, today it is not only the constant change it is the need to constantly tackle new learning curves at every turn (Hmm, that sounds like a good blog for me to write about). No wonder we become stressed/overwhelmed so easily.

    Like you, I have learned how to deliver content online and have been successful teaching color mixing/theory online! I love it though the work involved was huge. 2013 will be an exciting year as I create more offerings. I never thought I would someday be teaching and talking to artists from all over the world.

  6. Hi Barney, I love your helpful blog and feel I also need to move past my website and emails, and am open to change, even though I am in my mature years I am savvy enough to know change is inevitable. I will be looking into all your helpful tips in 2013. Lyn

    • Barney Davey says:

      Hi Lyn, Happy New Year!
      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. There is nothing wrong getting started later. Lots of artists put off turning to their creative urges until other goals in life are met. Check out the website of my friend, Sue Smith. http://ancientartist.typepad.com/ She calls it the Ancient Artist: Developing an art career after 50.
      Best wishes for great success with your career!

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