Tag Archives: Artist’s Square

Turning Art into a Career

Artists Square’s CEO, Racquel Cruz, asked fellow artist and member, Jimmy McKinnon the following:

“As an experienced artist, what goals would you advise a new artist deciding to make a career of their artwork?”

The ever changing art world can be intimidating to the up and coming artist. When I first started as an artist, my goals were few. We didn’t have high speed internet as we know it today so getting work out for public view was not a matter of placing things on the web. You loaded your artwork into your car and brought it to a show or gallery.

Career tip #1: Setting long and short terms goals will give you focus.

The first goal that I set for myself was to have the supplies on hand to do the project with as little interruption as possible. I kept my tools ready. Knowing supplies were expensive, I made sure to clean and preserve them so they would last as long as possible. In fact, I still have some of my first tools and even kept the old worn out brushes as they tended to give the best effects when looking for new textures.

The no waste goal became essential when figuring material usage and profit margin. Additionally I recommend keeping receipts for all supply purchases; having receipts available can help when pricing a finished piece.

Building a body of work is a challenge for an artist just starting out. Think about it, you have several pieces you want to sell, you want to do shows, and eventually present your work to a gallery as well as build your ever-expanding and always impressive portfolio. With a solid portfolio in stock, you will be ready to pick and choose from your stock and tailor your presentation to say themed shows or galleries.

Another key to artistic success comes in the form of time management. No matter what’s going on in your life, always setting aside time to paint or work on your creative pieces, even when life gets in the way. Work, doctor appointments, food, sleep (which is what I gave up most just to get some painting in) will pull you away, don’t let it. Whether I worked on any one piece for a year or more or did two finished pieces a day, time does get lost when the creative thoughts are flowing.

Career tip #2: Time management is both a long and short term goal no matter how you look at it.

Other than great artwork, nothing impresses a potential client more than a well presented portfolio.  This goal came later in my career only because I didn’t think I needed one. I was wrong. The fact is: everyone wants to see your portfolio and it’s more or less expected. A well-organized portfolio could be the difference between show and sell or no thank you.

Organization is the key: Titles, dimensions, media, and sometimes location are important to document as you’ll need this information to decide pricing, selection for shows or galleries and generally just keep track of your growing career.

Thoughts to consider: Finding the right people to work with is imperative. Will your rights be protected? Are the royalties fair? Is the presentation worth it? Will the quality of the reproductions do justice to your work? These are important considerations when either approached by or searching out a possible publisher.

Networking and a good support system is a very important goal. A click of the mouse can bring your artwork to millions of possible opportunities.  Artist’s Square is a great site to work with. It is secure, has a wonderful host, and is easy to post. I enjoy the input and feedback I get from everyone.

My friends and family are also very important to my continued success.  I value them all greatly as I continue to reach for new goals.

As I found success, the next generation is finding the same tools and goals useful for their success. My daughter, Rhiannon, at seventeen, is already an accomplished writer, poet, artist, and photographer. Early on, she set most of these same goals. She has published poetry, awarded artwork in local shows, and publishers are interested in her short stories. Her portfolio grows everyday as she is tireless in her creativity. Setting goals and having a plan has worked well for her and will for you also.

Thank you Racquel for your question and special thanks goes out to Jimmy. For those wishing to reach out directly to Jimmy and/or view his work, he is an active Artists-Square member, http://artists-square.com/m/photos/browse/album/McKinnon-s-photos/owner/McKinnon. For those not part of Artist’s Square, join and let me know your thoughts.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Art and Local Involvement

Catering to our talented concentration of artistic and creative professionals, Artists Square’s CEO, Racquel Cruz, asked member Dyanne Parker, owner/founder at “Canvas and Cheers, Inc., (where u paint and pARTy) the following question:

Does volunteering and local involvement greatly enhance your art sales for your career goals?

Building relationships is the most important component in building any business. Art is adopted and not just purchased because a client falls in love with the color, subject, style, and mood of the piece. When someone acquires a piece of your art, they buy a piece of you and become extended family. It doesn’t get any more personal than that.

Career tip #1: The art business is personal and involves more emotion than selling a service or a retail product.

Spending almost twenty years in building a community and businesses as CEO of the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, building relationships, serving on Board of Directors, committees and organizing hundreds of volunteer networks guaranteed not only the success of the Chamber but built a network for business to succeed. As a new business or new business leader, a business plan should spell out a plan for acquiring and building a database of key potential clients and how that network of leads would be reached.

Local involvement can greatly enhance your art business.

Involvement is a commitment and has to be built into your schedule whether weekly or monthly. Track your time spent and always track the leads, sales and contacts you make.  Don’t commit to an organization and not follow through as it can cause more negative perception than positive.

Volunteer and donate to great causes. Some of the greatest exposure is not only volunteering your time but also your creative work. Grab attention while contributing to events where your work is exhibited and displayed. Giving back always come back to you.

Auctions are a great venue to showcase your art as many will see it, several will place bids to attain your work, and someone will become the new owner. Donate brings ripples of positive return!

The more people you touch, the more potential you have. Remember that it’s more than just a numbers game; it’s truly building a network of people that you know.

Career tip #2: The key is identifying organizations to build relationships with potential clients that will also create referrals.

Get out there, contribute time and art. It will come back in great relationships, success in business and friendships.

Thank you Racquel for your question and special thanks goes out to Dyanne for her helpful insight. For those wishing to reach out directly to Dyanne, she is an active Artists-Square member, http://artists-square.com/DyanneParkerArt. For those not part of Artist’s Square, join and let me know your thoughts.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Artist Agora

Throughout our Career Breakout series, career professionals from across the country offered to take the reins now and then, sharing their career expertise and diverse background for your benefit.

As today’s question comes from a fellow artist, I asked the founder and CEO of Artist’s Square (www.artists-square.com), Racquel Cruz, to frame a response onto this canvas for everyone’s benefit.

“Being an artist, I am finding it difficult to secure employment. Is there a virtual gathering site for artists to share and explore in the Greater Central Florida area?”

Yes, there is a virtual gathering site for artists to share and explore artwork in the Greater Central Florida area.  In fact, Central Florida is the native location of an online social networking site for artists, called Artist’s Square.

The site was based on the idea of online technology, mixed with the concept of creating an ancient Greek agora, known as a “meeting place” or “marketplace.” Just as the ancient Greek agora, it is a gathering place for artists and people who love art.

Not only does the site provide local tools and resources for artists, but, Like WONO, its heart and purpose is connection, affording artists career opportunities as well as career guidance designed specifically for this unique group. Thinking Artist’s Square is just for the locals? Think again. The site extends its services for artists and art lovers internationally and globally.

Career tip 1: Artists looking for opportunities can take advantage of a social/career network.

As an artist you will have the opportunity to create a free profile, submit ARTicles, add your own blog, and this is just the beginning. Even physical art galleries can add their locations (tied with Google maps) and update images for exposure.

The site certainly cannot make an individual dedicate themselves to their dreams, but with its available resources and technology, it can create better opportunity for an individual. It can also change negative statistics for employment, hobby, and artwork all around the world.

Take a look at the site and let us know your thoughts. I know how difficult and struggling finding work is, especially for an artist. Artist’s Square is dedicated to encouraging, assisting, and partnering with you as your journey blazes new trails. Together, with West Orlando News, we will give fellow artists the tools they need to succeed.

Career tip 2: Passion and dedication will take your dreams as far you want to go.

Thanks Racquel, the road to artistic freedom and expression is becoming more accessible. Being a fellow artist, I am also an artist’s square member.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS