Playing A Bigger Game
If you were a young artist looking to establish yourself, what would you do?
Put together a portfolio and contact galleries to see if they’d show your work? Put your pictures on your website to display what you’ve done? Enter art shows? That would be the standard approach. And what if that really wasn’t working all that well? Say you’d done all that and still had only a few contacts and clients, a short resume, and your work hung in just one gallery in a small city.
You’re the stereotypical starving artist and everyone and his cousin is telling you how hard it is to make a living selling art. What do you do?
You play a bigger game. You get creative. You get bold.
You create a project to paint 100 paintings in 100 days, each to sell for $100. You write a daily blog about the experience and post the pictures on your website. Kind of like the real-life Julie Porter as portrayed in the movie, Julie and Julia, who recreates all 524 dishes in Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking in 365 days and blogs about it. (Good movie!)
You’ve probably figured out by now that we’re talking about a real person and an actual project. And you know what? It’s working!
The artist’s name is Kelly Medford. She’s a client of mine and she’s had a fantastic breakthrough in her business that I just had to share with you so that you might be inspired to try something new and different with your business.
In her words, “I was thinking about how I have a website, but didn’t know how to get people to it. I make paintings, but how do I get people to see them? I wanted to create some recognition of my work, start a dialogue, gain confidence in showing my art to people, create a body of work, and push myself to start working regularly and consistently.”
“The whole world has opened up for me out of this project! People are seeing and buying my work. I’ve doubled my contacts in 50 days and so far I’ve sold 20 out of 50 paintings, as well as some of my other work!
For me personally, my work habits have changed dramatically. I work more diligently in a more focused way. I take my work more seriously. Having to reflect on it daily in an open dialogue has me really think about what I’m painting, why, and how I can improve on the next painting.
Painting has also become more enjoyable, ironically, even though I have a self-assigned task to accomplish each day. Now my day centers around painting instead of trying to fit painting into my day.”
And the challenges?
“Dealing with my personal laziness or ‘I don’t feel like it’ attitude has been the biggest challenge … to become inspired when I’m not.
I also had to change my attitude about money. I’ve had to give up the idea that making money is hard. Really, it’s easy and fun. It can be a game to play. The game for me now is to see how many paintings I can sell and to really give my all to each and every one.
And I can tell you I haven’t done any selling. I haven’t asked anyone to buy a painting. I haven’t tried to convince anyone to. I just send out my daily post and when I meet a new person I tell them about the project and ask them if they want to join the mailing list. People are inspired by the project. They love following it!
All this time I’ve been waiting for someone else to do the work of showing my paintings. By creating my own project and being pro-active, I’ve taken the first step toward realizing my goal of being a successful professional artist. And that seems to be the hardest part … taking that first step of putting myself out there whether or not I felt ready or good enough.
I thought that I had to have everything together first. But what I realize is that by just getting in the game no matter where I’m at has me get better at my craft and at selling daily, much faster than if I were to prepare for years before launching my career.”
Kelly, I couldn’t be more proud of you. Bravo!
So many nuggets there. I don’t care what business you’re in, sometimes what it takes is to break out of the prescribed mold and play a BIGGER game that gets you out of your comfort zone and pushes the envelope a little. Sometimes what it takes is a little moxie.
All the best,
P.S. To see more of Kelly’s work and read her blog, Click Here.
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