Friday, May 9, 2008

Tips for Artists: Guest Blogger Alyson Stanfield of Art Biz Coach

Today, OVAC is hosting Alyson B. Stanfield, author of I'd Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. Alyson is here as part of the blog tour to help promote the book and is also giving away a free copy. She's invited OVAC to ask a question related to the book, so we thought we'd ask a question that we hear from Oklahoma artists a lot. Her response is below....

OVAC has a lot of artists who say they've made good connections and shown their artwork within the state of Oklahoma but don't know how to begin to expand beyond state lines. How does an artist begin to show work outside of their home state? Where do they begin to make the connections?

"This is a common question and brings to mind how we so identify ourselves with our geography. But the Internet has blown all of that away! I'm happy to tackle this question, but be aware that there is no magic pill. It's going to take some work.

Okay, let's assume you're talking about bricks-and-mortar shows: galleries, art centers, museums, and even juried exhibits. Getting venues like these outside of one's home state is a matter of effort. You must begin by identifying the venues appropriate for your work - the Internet and publications like the Art in America Annual Guide make this relatively pain-free. The next two steps can be done in any order: visit the venues of interest and add appropriate venues to your mailing list. Visiting is important because you get a different vibe in person than you do from a publication or website. Adding prospective venues to your mailing list is valuable because you want to keep your name in front of them! It's much easier to ask someone for something (an exhibit) if they're familiar with your work. Don't delay this. Add them right now.

I encourage clients to start visiting places within driving distance. For Oklahoma artists, that would be Dallas, Fort Worth, Kansas City, and perhaps Santa Fe and Houston. Visit regularly and get to know the art beat.

I also encourage clients to use the Internet. What a valuable tool! And it's so underused and misused by artists! Start blogging and get yourself on Facebook. Visit the blogs of artists in other cities and start leaving comments and getting to know them. Contacts are critical to an artist's success. I've seen relationships cultivated quite effectively over the Internet. The more you have an online presence, the more contacts you will make outside of your home state.

My final word of wisdom is to create some sort of system that allows you to track your marketing efforts. Use a notebook, file folder, or database, but use something. Keep up with whom you're contacting, what you send them, and how often you're in touch. You don't want to send the same thing twice to the same person or, worse, be at a loss when you're contacted about something you sent."

Interested in winning a free copy of I'd Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion? Visit this site:, read the instructions, and enter. Your odds are good as she's giving away a free copy on most of the blog tour stops. You can increase your odds by visiting the other blog tour stops and entering on those sites as well.

Or, if you'd like to purchase Alyson's book right away, you can use this link: This will direct you to a page for purchasing Alyson's excellent book, plus Alyson has been generous enough to share a portion of the sales from this link with OVAC. Thank you Alyson!


Donna PierceClark said...

Alyson, you mentioned putting galleries on your email newsletter list. Should not we ask them if they want on our list first? If so, I anticipate alot of "no" answers. If so, what then?

Alyson B. Stanfield said...

Donna: No, I didn't say "email list." I said "mailing list." You should only email galleries if the email is personal and to a specific person at that gallery. Don't spam them with bulk emails. On the other hand, sending them stuff in regular mail is perfectly okay.

Good question. Thanks for letting me clarify that.