Side Arts | Blog

One Thing Today

One Thing Today

Getting started doesn’t need to be an elaborate ritual. Sometimes it’s best to do just one thing today, no matter how small. (Like checking out the new call for artists listings on Side Arts!)

Artist and podcaster, Michael Nobbs presents a range of things that can help you. Check out his podcast, One Thing Today, now past its 1500th episode, the podcast provides a regular nudge to remind you to live gently and to take a small daily step with your creative work.

Nobbs offers a series of books for artists. We recommend checking out Building a Sustainable Creative Life.

Here’s more on Nobbs

I’m an artist, podcaster and tea drinker (not necessarily in that order!). Back at the end of the 1990s I was diagnosed with ME/CFS, a chronic illness that severely limits how much I can do each day.

Over the years I’ve learnt a lot about living the best life I possibly can by accepting what I can’t change and working with what I can. I have built a successful creative career and am continuing to learn how to combine that with a gentle and fulfilling life.

Click here to check out the Go Gently website and One Thing Today podcast

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Geniuses Who Use Blogging To Promote Their Art

Geniuses Who Use Blogging To Promote Their Art

You know that using a blog can help elevate your art practice, but how do you do it? Check out this list from Smart Blogger of 48 creative geniuses who use blogging to promote their art.

It’s more than just status updates, images, and works in progress. Readers what to know about YOU. This doesn’t require an advanced degree in English and literature. Just be you. How natural! The more you practice, the better and easier it will get. Start small.

Here’s some advice from Leanne Regalla at Smart Blogger and their list of geniuses who use blogging to promote their art.

The one thing artists need to be successful today

The Internet has turned selling creative work on its head. No longer can you simply get good at your craft and then find someone to champion you, manage you, or sponsor you. Want a publishing deal? You better have built a solid fan base for your work first.

Want a chance at a record deal or even just make a decent side income from your work? You’ll need an engaged audience and good-sized list. For today’s artist, building a tribe is non-negotiable. But how?

It’s not about schlepping your art or begging for attention

Like a first date, you need something more to talk about other than just your work. People connect with people. Your blog is the place where you give fans not only the emotional experience that attracted them to you in the first place, but also ways to get to know you as a person and artist.

Your audience expects to see a different side of you on your blog. Your job is to find these hooks – the things that your people are most curious about. Perhaps what lens you used in a photo or what inspired you to write that song. Or hilarious personal stories from your travels. Or exclusive material not available to the general public.

And since artists learn from each other, you could help others by teaching what you know. But the secret is to get fans, clients, and customers interacting with you on many levels. Let them get to know you and what matters to you. Let them into your world as an artist.

What works for artists in the real world?

The theory’s nice. But how does this work in real life? How do artists succeed online? The problem with theory – creative people are so diverse in their talents and interests that seeing how this advice applies to your own situation is difficult. What works for a musician might not work for a painter. What delights the fans of a writer might be a complete turn-off for the fans of a filmmaker.

Even creative people in the same field might need to relate to their audiences in different ways. But let’s say you do have some concrete ideas for your own creative blog; how do you know if they will work in practice? What you need is some help from artists who’ve already blazed a trail and discovered what actually works. Because some of those ideas might work for you too.

So check out the following list of excellent role models for tons of ideas. And don’t just stick to your own field – cross-pollinate and explore ideas from other disciplines. After all, great artists draw their influences from many places and you never know where your next killer idea will come from.

48 Creative Geniuses Who Use Blogging to Promote Their Art

Need help with your blogging strategy? Click here to learn how Smart Blogger can help.

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Affiliate Programs for Art and Craft Bloggers

Affiliate Programs for Art and Craft Bloggers

For many artists and crafters, an additional source of revenue can be earned from the blog portion of their websites.

Affiliate programs (like the one Side Arts offers) are designed so that bloggers can earn revenue by sharing information on products and services. If someone clicks on that link and buys the product or service, the the blogger receives a commision on that sale. Often the commission is somewhere between 10-50%!

Check out Justine Grey’s list of over 59 affiliate programs for art and craft bloggers:

Finding stellar art affiliate programs to join is time-consuming, which is why it’s remained at the bottom of your lengthy content creation to-do list for some time now.

Plus, you’re already part of the popular craft affiliate programs. Why branch out?

I hear you. Careful curation is wonderful and responsible. You want to promote products and companies you can feel good about and build trust with your readers.

Here’s the thing. Not all products will resonate with all readers, no matter how much you may love them. A better affiliate approach would be to experiment with a new product promotion each month or quarter. See how your readers respond and how your commissions are affected and keep tweaking until you find the most profitable product mix for your unique situation.

To help you start experimenting, I’ve rounded up a list of 59+ art affiliate programs for crafty and creative bloggers.

59+ Art Affiliate Programs For Art and Craft Bloggers

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Resume Service For Visual Artists – Side Arts

Agreed, it’s much more fun to do almost anything than write a resume. How can you summarize what you do all day long into a short phrases? It’s not easy to see all your hard work in concise bullets with no context. It’s even harder for artists who strive to be creative and tell a story. And yet, you need one to apply for a job, to network with peers and colleagues, and to apply for your next award.

Ultimately, the objective of the resume is to highlight your strengths. It gives you the opportunity to move on to the next step.

Resume

Resume Tips From Jessica Saragovi

Before you start your resume, I suggest beginning with these questions. Taking the time to answer these questions will ultimately help you with your resume, the interview process and other aspects of the job search process. Write these answers down, revisit them, it’s an ongoing list and will be adapted as needed.

  1. What do you WANT? Is this for a grant application or for a bridge job? A different job will require a different focus and sections. This includes EVERYTHING from commute, salary (what salary structure – base, bonus and / or commission), hours, responsibilities, manager style, office set up. What’s your perfect day like?
  2. More importantly, what do you NOT want in your next role?
  3. What are your skills? These are things you know HOW to do, abilities, expertise, talents, competencies. These include both hard skills (measured, teachable and defined) and soft skills (not-measured, personality based and subjective).
  4. More importantly, what are your STRENGTHS? From the skills above, which ones do you LOVE to do? Strengths are skills that include an element of passion. What lights you when you talk about it? What comes easy to you and you enjoy doing?

The good news is that once you have a good foundation, it’s easy to update with your awards, exhibitions and additional work experience. It’s important to have clear, legible fonts, the right amount of white space, and eye-friendly headings. A well-crafted, easy to read resume will help you open doors to jobs. It shows that you’re ready to be submitted for the next juried exhibition, grant, award, gallery show, commission and residency program.

Free Resume Support

For members of Side Arts, I offer a 20 minute complimentary conversation to answer questions and provide support exactly where you are in the job search process. Please reach out via email at systemichr@gmail.com and can also be found on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jsaragovi.

Jessica SaragoviJessica Saragovi is a Human Resources professional with more than two decades of experience across various industries and companies across New York, Miami and Philadelphia. Jessica’s deep insight into how organizations hire, train, manage and develop employees allows her to be a skilled resume writer. Jessica partners with clients in developing a resume that fully encompasses who they are, what they’ve done and where they want to go with their next role.

 

 

 

Click here for additional artist resources

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Snail, Snake, Scorpion

Snail, Snake, Scorpion by Jerielyn Mao

Snail, Snake, Scorpion

 

Elements from various animals combined into a portrait of a woman to create the design for a wicked and interesting character.

Click here to enter your art for the Side Arts’ Fall Into Halloween online art competition.

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Diversity

Orna Hatzor is an artist based out of Israel. This artwork is titled Diversity.

Diversity, Orna Hatzor, 2014

 

“This print depicts two basic images: a home and a leaf representing our natural environment, which symbolize our basic needs as human beings. although they are very different, they both are essential for our well being. likewise, no matter how different we are , we are essential to one another. My art seeks a common ground that we can all relate to and consequently come together.”

Orna Hatzor

Side Arts Call For Artists

Join other artists and art professionals promoting their art. Side Arts announces a call for artists on the theme of diversity. Side Arts fosters a conversation through the visual arts on social equity including diversity, inclusion, affirmation, justice, access, mental health wellness, safety, and consent. This call focuses our attention on how art addresses diversity through social equity. The next call for artists will be announced September 1, 2019.

Learn more at sidearts.com/subscription

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The Word Within

Greetje van den Akker is an artist based out of the Netherlands.  This artwork is titled The Word Within.

“The work is made in mixed media [coffee, acrylic, ink, biblepages] on paper on canvas and is 160x160cm. Someone called these series of works once ‘golden conversations’, and my hope is that they will speak to everyone’s heart and leave their golden glow there.”

Greetje van den Akker

Side Arts Call For Artists

Join other artists and art professionals promoting their art. Side Arts announces a call for artists on the theme of diversity. Side Arts fosters a conversation through the visual arts on social equity including diversity, inclusion, affirmation, justice, access, mental health wellness, safety, and consent. This call focuses our attention on how art addresses diversity through social equity.

Learn more and enter at sidearts.com/subscription

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What Do You Use For Calling Cards?

Calling cards, takeaways, handouts, exclusives – no matter what you call them, they help your patrons understand your identity and keep them coming back. It’s all in the important details, the signature things that your supporters find surprising and endearing. Whether you are preparing for a vendor event, exhibition, or an online storefront, try to think about the extras that would make it special for your supporters.

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Ideas for Calling Cards

  • Packaging: Consider how you can elevate your packaging and delivery – customize the box (something patrons can use in case they need to move or ship the item), add a personalized and signed thank you note, emboss, gold leaf, and detail the package.
  • Business cards: If you are going to go the extra mile and spend more on business cards, make sure that the concept aligns with your art. Although typically, a basic card size is all that is needed. Include your name, phone number, email address, and website. Remember to include white space to write additional details.
  • Signage: Banners, flags, and table covers are always important. Consider the height, having things at eye-level can catch the patron’s eyes more frequently. Draw the attention to your art.
  • Postcards: Believe it or not, some folks just don’t use the internet or email, try to make this an option for them. You want to be inclusive in your marketing. Even for those that are digital natives, receiving something of value in the snail mail can be a special occasion.
  • Gift tags: Most art is purchased as a gift for others. Make it easy for them by not having to also have to purchase a gift tag, card, box, or bag.
  • Return address labels: If you are mailing marketing or shipping artwork, you might want to add a unique identifier to the item. That way, the person doesn’t have to guess who or what they have received before needing to open it.
  • Certificates of Authenticity: Your art is special. Share with patrons how special it is with a letter of provenance. It elevates the art and provides another means for patrons to remember you. Remember to include the item’s description and story, your contact information, and personalized signature.

It is especially important to think about things that have value beyond one use items. For example, stamp a business card with a unique qualifier for an online storefront discount. Gift bags and totes can be re-used. Certificates of authenticity can be saved and framed with the artwork.

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Vistaprint

You already have your artwork and know your details. Try incorporating them into your takeaways. Vistaprint has a range of products and services that can help you do just that. Business cards, banners, flyers, and printing services are available. All products have a wide possibility of standard formats to customization. Wizards take you through the process and you can save details for later use and second print runs. Often, there are discounts for return users and special sales throughout the year.

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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Are You Ready For An Online Store?

A majority of art is sold through a variety of online store platforms. You can choose any sales methodology you like. It depends on where and how you best reach your audience. You may have to experiment with several platforms and strategies before landing on the one that works best for you. There are many details and options to consider as well as new opportunities and platforms launching regularly.

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Sales strategies

Email: Sometimes all you need is a large enough dedicated following. Try sending announcements of new works available to your email lists and provide them a means to buy (either by reply to the email or a payment processing form). Inform your audience about upcoming exhibitions, vendor events, and pop-up galleries.

Social: There are many ways to sell art through social network platforms. The challenging part is keeping up with the platforms’ ever changing features and algorithms. What may work today may not work tomorrow. Staying on top of the trends is important and can make a big difference with acquiring new patrons. For example – Try promoting new artwork for sale on Instagram. Provide a rich description including title, process, size, price, and inspiration. Add instructions for buyers – the first to comment with their email address will be sent a payment processing invoice (PayPal / Venmo). They have 24 hours to purchase the art. First come, first served after that. Update the description if the item is sold.

Web: You may want to consider selling through a web platform, using your own website, or integrating a web platform into your website. The benefit of having an online store sales platform that you manage is that patrons can purchase at any time rather than waiting for an email or post from you. This can often make a difference between an acquisition and someone’s lost interest. Keep in mind, just because your art is up on a website or web platform doesn’t mean that it’s the platform’s job to promote it. Promotion is still up to you utilizing your email and social networks.

Things to plan for in advance

Sometimes with an online store, it is best to jump in and learn as you go. Other times, a little bit of preparation goes a long way. You will rarely know everything you need to in advance because situations change from person to person.  Here are a few things to consider:

Photography: A good photo of your work can inspire patrons to purchase. Most mobile devices have above-average photo capability, but stand-alone cameras and photo editing software can make your work stand out. Setting up a dedicated area or having a set process will be helpful.

Pricing: Research can help. Knowing your costs and time associated with creating your work is important. The most important aspect is always valuing your artwork for what it is truly worth.

Description: Each piece of artwork should have a unique and rich description including keywords and hashtags. This takes time to develop. Often, the story behind the artwork is just as important as the artwork itself.

Shipping: Visit your local shipping center (USPS, FedEx, and so on) in advance. Try to determine what materials you should always have on hand and what needs to be purchased on a one-off basis. If you anticipate bulk shipping, explore what discounted pricing is available.

Taxes and bookkeeping: You may want to consider consulting a certified public accountant to help understand what taxes to account for and how to do so. Determine if you need bookkeeping software to help keep track.

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Shopify Online Store

Check out Shopify as an online store. It has eCommerce and point-0f-sales features including card-readers for when you are online or on the go. Set up your shop as a standalone or integrate it securely with your website. Ready made templates help your store look like it was designed by a professional. Run social media campaigns. Manage orders, shipping, and payments.

Click here for a free 14 day trial.

 

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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Total Marketing

What if you could do all your marketing in one place? Forget all the log ins, passwords, am I forgetting to do things? As an artist, wouldn’t it be ideal to have a total marketing service that does it all? Let’s be honest, perfect solutions rarely exist and one size does not fit all or else we would all be using them. Fortunately, there are a few services out there that bundle together several features that artists use together in convenient and efficient ways.

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What is marketing?

But first and in order to understand what you may need, what is marketing? There is no single definition which applies to all.

One way to think about marketing is how you attract and retain those that might be interested in what you have to offer. This is different from sales where they are already interested and you negotiate a transaction involving a trade of money, products, or services. In both cases, the process is educational and transactional. Although in marketing, the action is suggested, while in sales, the action is explicit.

In marketing, the outcome is engagement or how often someone interacts with you. In sales, the outcome is financial whether direct (a trade of money for products or services) or indirect (a trade of products or services for a relative equally valued products or services).

One goal of marketing is to increase engagement (interactivity) in order to increase sales. Total marketing may be valuated based on the ratio of dollars spent marketing to net profit.

Marketing activities common to artists

You might want to think about marketing as asking for the least to the most amount of effort. Another way of looking at it is the least to the most amount of privacy given.

Most start with social media. Choose a platform or two with which you feel comfortable. Engagement is measured by the relative number of clicks, likes, and shares to your current number of followers.

Depending on your goals, having a website can help build a following. It can be a one-page landing page, a profile page on an eCommerce site, or your own dedicated art website. There are any number of  ways to measure engagement, but a good place to start is the number of pageviews per month and, if there is an eCommerce section, the total sales generated from the website per month.

Social media and web searchability is good, but you are still at the mercy of the platform’s algorithms. Take control of your how and when your content is seen by collecting your followers’ email addresses. A great place to start is by sending a monthly newsletter. Email engagement can be measured by the average percent of your followers open and click through your emails.

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Mailchimp Total Marketing

One total marketing platform that combines social media, websites, and email is Mailchimp. It’s a favorite among artists and crafters because it is relatively easy to set up, has clear tutorials, and they can pick and choose which options work best. It integrates with many other utilities, sales platforms, survey tools, social media ad management. There are so many great features that can be integrated, often in clicks or less.

Mailchimp has reports for measuring engagement and customizable email templates. They have flexible plans for growing your creative practice.

Click here to learn more about Mailchimp

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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