Who Is Your Prospect If You Are Marketing Your Artwork?

This is probably the most frequent question asked by artists out there. If I’m selling artwork, who do I talk to? Who is my target audience? Who is my prospect? These all seem very intelligent questions to ask when looking for clients or doing a marketing campaign. However, often these same questions lead to paralysis by analysis. Why? Because they give the small business owner (artist in your case) the impression that you are doing some real research and that your approach should be as sophisticated as the big companies that can afford such data.

Look guys, the reality is that this idea at best looks good on paper, and at worst can ruin your business. The idea that there is a small group of people so niched out that could be the perfect prospect for your pitch almost always results in you hoping for business to show up in the door. When you are starting out, EVERYONE should be your prospect! This does not mean that everyone is a client, customer, or ardent art collector of your work. It means that everyone should go into your funnel, so that you can start sorting out who actually raises their hand and says; I love your product. Pick me!

“Cherry Picking” prospects is a sure fire way of not getting anything done. I had to learn this the hard way. While there are countless people saying that not everyone should be your prospect; you are much better off considering everyone your prospect. This will insure 3 things! 1). you will always have new traffic coming in. 2). You will always have new clients (because some of those will become your clients, and if not will tell others who will). 3). It will keep you moving forward, maintaining momentum by insuring a full pipeline.

My name is Jose Trujillo and I'm a full time artist. For art career coaching and consulting contact me at jtrujillopaintings@gmail.com

The Idea of Doing What You Love!

How many of us have heard this idea before and maybe even been guilty of saying it to other people? This idea tends to suggest that you have to do what you love and that, that is the way to a happy work environment and or career. I'm gonna be honest here with you; hate this sort of passive BS!! It makes people believe that they're missing out on something! Sure, you must be thinking - it's easy for you to say, since you're an artist and you're actually doing what you love. However, that was never the case in the beginning. I love painting and creating art in general...don't give me wrong, but the truth is I never did it enough in the beginning to win at it (aka get better) and make a living from it.

Nobody loves something they're not winning at! How many artists love to paint or sculpt, sing, dance, etc. and never make a living at it. It's a sad idea that gets told over and over by so many people. Just do what you love and it's all going to be fine. However, we don't take into consideration the amount of effort something requires in order to get if off the ground...let alone make a living at it.

Look, am all about doing what you love...but not the way most people see it or talk about it. I've learned that what you gotta do is first, get good at something so you can start winning at it. Be it whatever it is; making art, playing an instrument, selling homes, cooking food, etc. Then, once you get good at it - get great at it and all that it encompasses so that you begin to love it. I don't think love comes first. I think commitment comes first and love follows.

Process Is Key to Running a More Productive Art Business.

Most of us (artists), tend to work on the fly; unless we are full time artists - we'll try to be a little bit more mindful to allocating time to paint. However, I've noticed in my own life as an artist that having a process in place makes all the difference in the world when it comes to getting things done and moving forward.

Having a process in place will move you beckoned the stigma between; busy work and true production. A process is also the difference why some artists thrive while other don't. While the idea of being free is a necessity in artwork; it may not be when creating it or when working on other aspects of your career. 

Having a process in place does not necessarily mean; having a tight schedule full of things to do. But rather a program in which you get done 3-5 crucial things per day in order to advance in your career. This way you don't spend 4 hrs. stretching a canvas or 12 hrs building a website in one day.

Try to put a process in place as to how you do things...I know that it does not come natural to artists, since we tend to be more free and emotional about how we work. However, if you want to take your artwork to the next stage, you have to be willing to do things differently than how you've done them! 

Are You Being Too Fancy and Picky Too Early? What's Stopping Artists From Action by Jose Trujillo

As artists we're all about images! We're either trying to sell our artwork, photography, or our personal image. However we tend to get lost in the idea of a perfect self-image and this may cause us to not move forward. I remember doing this when I first started working towards my art career. I wanted everything to look nice and perfect. This idea came from the notion that if everything was elegant and clean cut, designer-like - I was going to be perceived more valuable and thus my artwork too...and as a result; sell artwork at higher prices. I made sure to take the best possible photos of my art, use the best materials, and labor more on my artwork as well. I also made sure to have the most elegant business card, the best written artist statement and biography, and even the best suit I could possible afford.

This sounds good all and all...however it really only sounds good in theory. When we're starting out; one of our invisible stoppers is exactly that - getting too fancy and picky too soon. This is also known as putting the cart before the horse! Getting this right is part of the process of being a successful artist. We should strive for making things better in our art and brand; however this is the natural result of effort. We need to put the muscle in first in order to make things move, and then add those other layers. Also, in the initial steps action is raw and unpolished and that's ok; because the first goal is to move forward. Next time you're ready to take on a project, music gig, or marketing piece ask yourself; 'I'm I being too picky...too quick?' and then listen to your gut. 

John Singer Sargent by His Famous Painting Madame X

John Singer Sargent by His Famous Painting Madame X

What Is An Art Commission?

The term art commission gets thrown around a lot in the art world, and at times it may feel a bit intimidating by people who are not around that scene. It really means nothing more than a custom artwork. See, the term art commission was mainly used in the old days when the Catholic church or the marquee use to be the patron (main client) of many or most of the artists…and when they would get a job (sort of like a government job today) it was called a commission.

So next time you hear an artist or an art snob use the word commission, just know that they are still using some old fancy word to refer to a custom or on demand artwork.

Ok so how does a commission work? Very simple; a commission is created when an client/collector likes the way the artists creates art, but does not see one that he/she wants. In other words the artist does not have that ‘special’ piece in stock! So usually the way this goes is that the artist would offer to create a custom piece for the client. This includes specifications of size, medium, color, and theme/subject.

If the client agrees with the proposal to have a commission created, then the artist gives the client/collector a due date of completion, (shipping/delivery if applicable), and fees.

I hope this was helpful to understanding what a commission is and how it is done. 

What is art? How do you know when you’ve experienced 'real art'?

With so much artwork in the world, one cannot stop to think is all of it real? Or what is real art? I believe that these are valid questions, especially with so much artwork out there… all of the artwork from museums, galleries (both online and brick and mortar) and so many artists constantly creating it on a daily basis. Not to mention all the different Medias; like painting, sculptures, photography, etc.

Not only is there lots of art out there, but also – there seems to be a bit of uncertainty in the marketplace in regards to the magic question ‘What is Good’. Also, the whole industry or as they say ‘The Art World’ can feel a bit intimidating for most people, since the right of passage many times requires a person to have a certain developed taste. And if you don’t acquire that taste for some reason, you may be looked down as unsophisticated or uneducated (even worse).  

Ok. So I painted the extreme picture of the art crowd…but many of us can certainly relate in one point or another. The point I’m trying to make here is; with so much information out there (good or bad), one can feel a bit lost when it comes to figuring out what is art. The go to for the great majority is; does it look real – meaning 3 dimensional or does it mimic a photograph in any way. But this is not the way either because so many great artists did not paint, drew, or sculpt in a realistic way.

So what made them so great and they’re art revered as well ‘art’. Well I believe that it was the way they were able to connect with others. See I believe that art is the language of the heart. And it is used to express what the mind cannot conceive or communicate. I believe that when a person sees a piece of art and is moved (especially with the element of peace) not just shocked or happy but peaceful; he or she has experienced ‘real art’.

So next time you walk into a museum or a gallery, or even browse online – try this; pay attention to how you feel when you look at the artwork. Do you experience a level of peace inside of you? This is beyond the shock value of the art, or how beautifully crafted it is. Peace transcends all of that. I believe that a work that can express that is a real work of art.

The reason I believe this is because as an artist myself; I’ve experienced how the act of creating art is only achieved by suspending the mind. And when an artist suspends the mind only pure attention (no thinking) can be used. We can see it expressed in Monet’s Waterlilies or Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, or Vermeer’s Pearl Earring. I believe that without understanding the feeling of peace ‘Real Art’ will remain relative to the viewer.



10 Things To Know Before You Start Collecting Art

Collecting art is a very rewarding activity and one that can bring lots of happiness to your life. However, there are some things to keep in mind in order to get the most out of your experience and I've made sure to put together what I believe to be the 10 most important ones.

I just want to point out that there is no right or wrong way. So with that being said, here we go.

#1 Know What You Want To Get Out Of Collecting From the Start. Example: You may want to collect to decorate your home/office, or you may want to collect as a hobby with no decor intention, or you may want to collect for financial gains. Knowing this will help guide in the right direction.

#2 A Little Bit Of Research Will Go A Long Way. This includes buying a book or two on art history and learning the main terms or the art styles. Visit local museums and galleries. A good idea is to get a subscription to prominent art magazine or your local museum newsletter. This will help point you to the right direction as well.

#3 View As Much Art As Possible. You can't see enough art...and this will help you find out what you like and what makes your heart happy. Make sure to view different art. (Example: Different art movements (Cubism, Impressionism, Classical Realism, and Dada). Doing this, will not only help you recognize the many different art movements but also the different art themes (ex. Landscapes, Portraits, Still Life, etc.).

#4 Rarity Equals Value. An original will always be more valuable than a print. This will always help you determine price. It is also a good idea to do some homework on the different types of mediums and format in which the art is presented and sold.

#5 Always Seek Proof Of Authenticity. When you're ready to buy a piece, always seek proof of authenticity regardless of the medium or format of the artwork. In the art-world this is called Certificate Of Authenticity or a Certificate Of Provenance. 

#6 Patience Is A Virtue When Buying Art For Investment. Unless you know exactly what you're buying, try not to rush it. Buying art for financial gains is a skill that must be developed.

#7 Find An Artist Or Dealer You Can Trust. You want to make sure you are ALWAYS working with professionals. This will ensure that you are covered in case you change your mind or something goes wrong.

#8 Get The Price Right. The art market has a reputation for uncertainty in price. The way to avoid this is to find reputable galleries and/or artists. While there's always skepticism in the price of art in galleries (online/brick and mortar) it is no secret that the value of art has little to do with the art itself and almost everything to do with the prominence of the artist and it's provenance.

#9 Start By Collecting Smaller Pieces. The reason for this is because you can "Test-Drive" the artwork and the experience of the gallery/artist. Typically these smaller pieces cost less and are more available. Once you're satisfied you can always move up to more or larger pieces.

#10 Collect What You Love. There is plenty of skepticism in the art-world and I believe this is due to the lack of information art dealers and artists provide to their collectors. While this is hard to correct, I believe that the best way to remedy it when starting out (and make sure you always win) is to to collect what you love. Don't go for the hype, go for what you love! This will ensure you always win in the end.

I hope this article was both; entertaining and educational. 




How Do You Improve As An Artist

Being an artist is no different than any other profession. No matter who you are; a plummer, doctor, musician, or artist; improvement comes from repetitive action. Also, this is so misunderstood because people have used all kinds of excuses as to why they should not take action or in this case, repetitive action. I believe that the reason for a lack of improvement is the result of countless excuses. See, most people (no offense) in order to avoid taking action; will come up with all kinds reasons (aka excuses). One of the deadliest ideas is the following: For example the idea that only 'good' or 'well calibrated' action will produce the best results. That is true....however, people stop themselves at that 'the best'. Of course you want to produce the best results and perfect your approach, but most people never get started or stop right away because they bought into the idea that they rather not do something if its not going to produce the best results. That idea will paralyze even the most creative people in the world. Action!!! ANY ACTION! Is infinitely better, than no action towards improvement. This does not mean you will not improve, on the contrary - it means that because you are taking so much action, you will inevitably find ways and resources to improve on that action. 

Do this if you want to improve; take any action and do it with persistence and you will inevitably improve and along the way find the best ways to improve at higher levels. However this will not happen unless you continue to take what I call 'Raw Action'. Yes! You read right...take raw imperfect action and begin to fly away from the masses!


What to look for when collecting original art

A rule of thumb of what I use when collecting art is to look at sufficient art. Start by going to local art shows and local galleries. Don't dismiss going online as well...because although you can't touch the art or you are not in front of it physically, you will be surprised what great pieces you can find on sites like etsy and eBay.

Once you've seen some art, now its time to pay attention to your feelings. When you look at a piece find out if you have a feeling towards it. (I believe the feeling has to be joy or a sense of peace). I believe that the secret ingredient in a good piece of art is peace. 

I believe that artwork should give you a sense of peace, and if you find that special art piece, artist, or artists you should move towards that; because you will end up living with the artwork! So, might as well be something that brings joy and peace to your space. 

So there you have it! Go out there and start seeing and feeling! 



Huge Mistake to Avoid When Commissioning An Original Painting

Commissioning is simply a custom piece created for the client (you). So, when you have a piece created by an artist to your specifications (size, colors, theme, etc.) you've acquired a commissioned artwork. Sound fancy!! 

However, if you want to have a pleasant experience when commissioning a painting; here's a huge mistake to avoid. Always look at the artists' work first! I know, I know you're probably thinking this is too obvious, but I promise you it isn't. See what happens many times is that a patron (client) will want a painting created, he/she is excited and has something incredible in their mind as to what the artwork should look like. And the main mistake is that they'll usually go to the nearest artist (someone they like and trust), and blindly trusting on the fact that their friend is an artist...they'll ask for the painting done without making sure if the artist is suitable to create this special artwork.

There's nothing wrong with going with an artist you like and trust, but make sure to find out if they create the type of artwork, skill level, and discipline to create the artwork you want. For example, you may want a portrait of your little girl done in a very lovely classical or Impressionist manner (like John Singer Sargent's work), but the artist you contacted is an abstract cubist painter (like Picasso). And you may end very unhappy. Because the artist told you that he/she could painted what you were asking, but never showed you how you would be painted. 

Either way, you get the point. Always check the type of work of the artist first, so that you have no unhappy surprises. I'll leave you with that for today. 




How To Find Inspiration If You're An Artist


The question of 'how do you get your inspiration' has always bugged me. I've heard it over and over thru all of my art career. I never knew how to answer that and it never sat well with me. When people (especially artists) asked me that question, I knew they were being nice and trying to have a conversation but I also knew that they thought I was some kind of magical being that was born talented and inspiration came to me like something out of a romantic movie.

The idea of inspiration is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the art world. Here's why; because it make you (the artist) believe that inspiration will come to you and then you will get to work. But inspiration does not work that way!! You see the idea that inspiration comes to the artist is a diluted idea that makes you believe that you don't have to do anything and that somehow you're simply blessed to receiving it without giving something for it. And Although, I believe that inspiration is a blessing it only comes to you by working.

In other words, inspiration is like energy. You will have more energy the more you move. That's why an athlete has more energy than someone sitting on a couch all day watching TV. In the same way, inspiration comes to those who take action. Like in the words of Chuck Close; 'Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up'.

So next time you find  your self without inspiration, please know that it is perfectly normal. You will only receive it by taking constant action.

I hope this helped unveil this often misunderstood concept and you can finally get yourself into the studio and reap the benefits of simply showing up.