We've all been there... You see a great opportunity and jumped right in. You spend money to do everything right, with the expectation that there's going to be an almost certain return on investment. You prepare, travel, and take time away from our studio. The excitement is palpable... and then... nothing. You're left with a sense of, "What did I do wrong?" The fact of the matter is that any art venture is a bit of a gamble. There really are no guarantees. We've heard from artists who have always sold out at a show only to sell nothing for a year. We've heard about artists who sank a lot of money, time, and resources into a show only to have terrible turnout. While there's not a lot you can do to guarantee this never happens there are things you can do to be more mindful of your choices and set yourself up for as much success as possible. Here are the 8 Important factors to be considered for making smart choices for Shows and Exhibitions:
1: Has the event been well attended in the past?
Before committing to any art event, investigate its history. Has the event been well attended in the past? A well-attended event indicates that there's potential for a broader reach and more exposure for your artwork.
Also read- How to be Professional as an Artist: 4 Key Skills
2: Is the event promoted well?
Even the most exceptional artwork can go unnoticed if the event isn't adequately promoted. Effective promotion is crucial for drawing the right crowd. Evaluate how well the event is being promoted through various channels, including social media, newsletters, and traditional advertising.
Artist Pro Tip: Don’t leave all the promotions to the venue or organizers. The more people talking about it the better. Make sure to promote events you are involved in on social media, your website, and your newsletter. You may even want to send postcard invites to your collectors or take out show-specific ad space in magazines like Art of the West.
3: Does the event have a good reputation?
A good reputation speaks volumes about an event. Events with positive feedback from both artists and attendees are more likely to provide a favorable experience and potentially better sales opportunities.
4: Do you know any artists who have participated in the past that you can ask about their experience?
Connect with fellow artists who have participated in the event before. Their firsthand experiences can provide valuable insights into what to expect, from the setup process to the type of audience the event attracts.
Also read- An Artist’s Guide to Gallery Representation
5: Does the event, venue, and target audience match your target audience and style?
Consider whether the event's theme, venue, and target audience align with your artistic style and goals. Exhibiting at events that attract your ideal audience is more likely to lead to sales and connections that matter.
6: If this opportunity doesn't turn out how I hope with sales will it still be a worthwhile event to be a part of?
While sales are essential, remember that not all benefits are monetary. Sometimes, a venture that didn’t result in profit can still provide non-monetary returns that are equally valuable. Ask yourself if you've made valuable connections, added impressive entries to your CV, gathered emails for your mailing list, exposed your work to your target audience, or learned valuable lessons for the future. These intangible gains can be immensely valuable in the long run.
Artist Pro Tip: Even when things don’t go well, do your best to be positive and professional. Your attitude will speak volumes about you and your art business and may influence onlookers if they’d like to do business with you (i.e. your behavior affects your reputation).
7: Do the expense and time requirements match what I am currently able to handle?
Consider whether you can comfortably handle the expenses and time commitments associated with the event. Overextending yourself can lead to burnout and financial strain, so choose opportunities that align with your current capabilities.
Also read- Art Marketing: Creative Tips and Strategies to Promote Your Art
8: Will this event push my career goals forward?
Evaluate whether the event aligns with your long-term career goals. Will it help you reach the next milestone in your artistic journey? Sometimes, an event's value goes beyond immediate financial returns; it can be a stepping stone towards achieving your broader ambitions.
Artist Pro Tip: When a venture seems like it is a total waste of time and money. It can leave you feeling defeated and confused. Don't forget that some benefits are not monetary. Of course, we all want more money in our pockets, but there are other benefits that can have a lot of "ROI" in the long run. Ask yourself, did I make good connections? Do I have something worthwhile to add to my CV? Did I gather emails for my mailing list? Was my work exposed to more people in my target audience? Did I learn something that will influence my decisions and direction in the future? All of these things can be immensely valuable. Don't forget to count them when you look at the benefits of a particular event.
In conclusion, the art world can be unpredictable, and success is not always guaranteed. However, by making informed and thoughtful choices when selecting shows and exhibitions, you can increase your chances of achieving your artistic goals. Remember that while monetary gains are essential, non-monetary benefits like connections, exposure, and personal growth can be just as valuable in the long run. So, when you're faced with an art venture that didn't go as planned, don't lose heart. Evaluate the intangible benefits, learn from the experience, and continue to make smart choices that propel your art career forward.
*Art of the West has been a supporter and sponsor of CGA. Thank you so much to Art of the West Magazine for all that you do for CGA and Western artists!
As an artist, you need to dedicate your time not only to creating artwork but also to managing the practical aspects of your career. You need to learn effective time management and organization skills so that you can balance both creativity and productivity. But, finding a balance between creativity and productivity is crucial. Organizing your time as an artist is not just about scheduling tasks; it's about creating a harmonious work environment where creativity can flourish.
5 Strategies for Artists to Stay Organized and Productive
1. Set Clear Goals and Prioritize:
This is the first step towards staying organized and productive as an artist. Define what you want to achieve in both the short and long term. After setting goals, break down your larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. Once you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, you can prioritize your work and focus on the most critical tasks, ensuring that your time and energy are effectively utilized.
Recommended for you- Trust The Process And Embrace Your Artistic Journey
2. Create a Structured Schedule:
Creating a structured schedule is vital for you to maintain productivity. Set aside dedicated time slots for different activities such as:
→ Administrative tasks
By allocating specific time blocks for each job, you create a sense of discipline and ensure that you devote enough time to every aspect of your artistic practice.
Pro Artist Tip: It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can be flexible with your schedule and still be productive. 99% of the time this will not work for you. As an artist, you do have some flexibility, which is a great perk. However, you can’t be flexible all the time. Remember to honor your work and your working schedule.
3. Utilize Task Management Tools:
In today's digital age, a plethora of task management tools are available to artists, offering efficient ways to stay organized and productive. Consider exploring project management software, to-do list apps, or calendar apps that can streamline your workflow and help you stay on top of your tasks and deadlines. These tools help you to manage your projects efficiently, set reminders, and even collaborate with others if needed. Experiment with different tools to find the ones that align with your creative process and integrate them seamlessly to enhance your overall productivity.
CGA Affiliate: At CGA we use and love ClickUp. ClickUp is a productivity app that has checked all our boxes and we couldn’t get by without it. If you are interested in trying out ClickUp please consider using our affiliate link, which supports CGA through ClickUp’s affiliate program: https://clickup.com?fp_ref=megan57
4. Organize Your Physical and Digital Spaces:
An organized workspace can significantly impact your productivity and creativity as an artist. Take the time to declutter and organize both your physical and digital spaces. Ensure that your art supplies, tools, and materials are neatly arranged and easily accessible. Similarly, organize your digital files, including artwork, reference images, and project files. By eliminating clutter and creating an organized environment, you reduce distractions and save time searching for what you need, allowing you to focus on your creative work.
Recommended for you- How To Organize Your Art Studio Space?
5. Embrace Time Management Techniques:
Various time management techniques can help you to optimize your productivity. Two popular techniques are:
→ Pomodoro Technique -. The Pomodoro Technique involves working in focused bursts of 25 minutes followed by short breaks
→ Time blocking - It involves assigning specific time slots to different tasks or activities.
Experiment with different time management techniques and find the ones that resonate with your work style and maximize your productivity.
Artist Pro Tip: Work with the natural rhythms in your body. We are all different, but pay attention to when you do your best technical/office-type work, and when you do your best artwork. Try to schedule your days to accommodate working on the thing your body and brain will do best at each time.
Choosing the Right Tools for Artists: Hands-on vs. Digital
When choosing the right tools, one crucial factor you need to consider is how they can help organize your time effectively. In this digital age, you have many options available, from traditional hands-on tools to digital alternatives. Choosing the right tools is crucial for you to bring your visions to life.
Hands-on tools are tools you access in the physical space. These could be a paper calendar, a whiteboard, a journal, etc. These tools have a tactile quality that is great for many people, especially artists.
1. Tangible Experience: Working with hands-on tools provides a direct connection in the physical space, which can help your brain connect with planning and organizing in a real way. The tactile experience of holding handwriting can be profoundly satisfying and therapeutic.
2. Versatility: Many hands-on tools can be modified, combined, and changed to meet your specific needs.
3. Unplugged Planning: Working with hands-on tools allows you to disconnect from digital distractions and immerse yourself fully in your planning and day-to-day work.
4. Get info at a Glance: Tools like paper calendars and whiteboards can help keep your goals in front of you and allow you to see where you are going “at a glance” without the necessity of opening an app.
1. Not at Your Fingertips: If you’re away from your office your planning tools will not be with you. Need to know if you are free on a specific day? You’ll have to wait until you get back to your office.
2. Space and Storage: Physical planning supplies take up space and need to have an organizational system to keep them accessible.
3. Undoing and Corrections: If you are using a paper calendar or have written out your yearly goals on a whiteboard it may require a lot of shifting, erasing, and rewriting to make one change.
Recommended for you- How To Be Productive When Working From Your Home Art Studio
Digital tools can be invaluable for artists when it comes to time organization. You can use Project Management Apps (Ex. Clickup, Asana, or Monday.com), Calendar Apps (Ex. Google Calendar), Time Tracking Apps (Ex. Toggl or Harvest), and so many tools to manage your tasks, projects, and schedules. These tools help optimize productivity, reduce time wastage, and create a more structured and efficient workflow. However, it's important to find the tools that best suit your needs and workflow preferences, as everyone's creative process is unique.
1. Efficiency and Productivity: Digital tools streamline the time management process, allowing artists to track tasks, set reminders, and organize their schedules more efficiently. These tools help optimize productivity by providing a centralized platform for task management, reducing the time spent on manual tracking and coordination.
2. Improved Organization: Digital tools offer artists the ability to categorize, prioritize, and organize their tasks and projects in a structured manner. This promotes better organization and ensures that important deadlines and commitments are not overlooked. Artists can easily access their schedules and task lists, allowing for a more systematic approach to time management.
3. Enhanced Collaboration: Many digital time organization tools facilitate collaboration and teamwork. Artists can share project details, deadlines, and progress updates with team members or clients, improving communication and coordination. Real-time updates and notifications keep everyone informed, reducing the chances of miscommunication or missed deadlines.
4. Integration and Accessibility: Digital tools often integrate with other applications and platforms, providing seamless access to relevant information and resources. Artists can sync their calendars, notes, and tasks across multiple devices, ensuring accessibility and continuity in their time management efforts. This flexibility allows for effective time organization even while on the go.
5. Scheduling, Contracts, and Forms: Many digital tools help artists with scheduling and contracting with clients. These tools often integrate with existing digital tools, such as google calendar, that you may already be using. Honeybook, for example, is a popular tool among photographers.
1. Learning Curve: Some digital tools may have a learning curve, requiring time and effort to familiarize oneself with their features and functionalities. You may need to invest time upfront to understand how to best utilize these tools, potentially slowing down your workflow initially.
2. Dependence on Technology: Reliance on digital tools means being susceptible to technical issues, such as software glitches or connectivity problems. If a tool experiences downtime or malfunctions, it can disrupt an artist's time management efforts and potentially lead to missed deadlines or lost data.
3. Overwhelming Options: The vast array of digital tools available for time organization can present a challenge when it comes to selecting the most suitable one. Artists may find themselves needing to invest significant time in researching and experimenting with various tools to identify the ones that best align with their unique needs and preferences. This process of trial and error can consume valuable time and potentially divert attention away from actual artistic work.
Pro Artists Tip: Find a consultant, such as New Leaf Digital to help you choose and set up your digital toolbox. Or, another great option is to reach out to the CGA community in our member’s space.
4. Distractions and Overcomplication: Digital tools, if not used mindfully, can become sources of distractions and overcomplication. You may find yourself spending excessive time customizing settings or exploring additional features, taking away time from actual art creation. It's important to strike a balance and use digital tools in a way that enhances productivity rather than detracts from it.
Artist Pro Tip: Choosing the right tools for you is a personal decision that depends on individual preferences, your working style, and the desired outcome. Both hands-on and digital tools offer unique advantages and challenges. Many artists find value in embracing a combination of traditional and digital tools, blending the tangible and the digital to expand their creative horizons. Ultimately, you should explore various tools, experiment, and find a balance that allows you to stay organized and reach your goals.
5 Super Tips to Prepare for Deadlines
As an artist, you have lots of deadlines to keep up with. It is crucial to deliver your best work, apply for shows, and follow through on steps for your goals on time. Meeting deadlines not only demonstrates professionalism but also reduces stress and ensures a smooth workflow. Here there are five tips to help you prepare for deadlines effectively and increase your chances of success.
1. Plan and Break it Down:
You need to plan and break down your project into smaller, manageable tasks to meet the deadline. First, you need to understand the requirements and expectations of the project. Then break down the project into smaller tasks, you can allocate time more effectively and track your progress along the way.
While this may feel unnecessary, it makes a huge difference in knowing where you want to go and how to get there. With a plan and timeline, you are much more likely to make positive gains in your career and move toward accomplishing your goals. Make sure you have a good system for recording all of this and making a plan.
Artist Pro Tip: When scheduling out the small steps, take into consideration the time needed for each step. You may only need a day for the first step, but one week for the second. Keeping this in mind will help you plan in a way that allows you to succeed, instead of leaving you scrambling at the last minute.
2. Set Realistic Timeframes:
While it's essential to challenge yourself and push your creative boundaries, setting unrealistic deadlines can lead to unnecessary stress and compromise the quality of your work. Be honest with yourself about the time required for each task and consider any potential obstacles or unexpected circumstances that may arise. Set realistic timeframes that allow for unexpected delays or revisions. One of the benefits of following the advice in #1 is that you will be better able to determine how much you can accomplish in a given time.
3. Prioritize and Focus:
When working towards a deadline, it's crucial to prioritize your tasks and focus on the most critical aspects of the project. Identify the tasks that are essential for the project's success and allocate more time and attention to them. Avoid getting caught up in non-essential tasks or getting distracted by unrelated projects. By prioritizing effectively, you can ensure that you devote your energy and resources to the tasks that will have the most significant impact on the outcome.
Pro Artist Tip: When you feel overwhelmed with all that you have to do, try stopping everything and asking yourself, “What is going to make the most impact to push me toward my goal right now?” Stopping and asking yourself this question can help you clarify what you need to prioritize and get off the hamster wheel.
4. Break it Down into Manageable Chunks:
Large projects or looming deadlines can be overwhelming, leading to procrastination or paralysis. To combat this, break down your project into smaller, manageable chunks. Focus on completing one task at a time, and celebrate each milestone along the way. By dividing the work into smaller parts, you'll find it easier to stay motivated and make progress. Additionally, completing these smaller tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you stay on track. This is different from the first tip because it is about where you are putting your focus. Instead of focusing on the small task for the big goal, you are quieting your brain to focus on the one thing that is before you.
5. Allow Time for Review and Revision:
Don't underestimate the importance of reviewing and revising your work before the deadline. Leaving ample time for this crucial step ensures that you can catch any errors, make necessary improvements, and polish your work to perfection. Schedule dedicated time for reviewing and revising, and consider seeking feedback from trusted colleagues or mentors. This extra step will elevate the quality of your work and increase your confidence in meeting the deadline.
Artist Pro Tip: One of the things we find ourselves saying to artists all the time is, “Don’t wait until the last minute to apply.” So many artists put off applying to art shows and competitions that are important to them only to discover that they have a tech issue, or don’t have time to submit their best application. Apply earlier so you can go back and check or refine your work if needed.
Recommended for you- Trust The Process And Embrace Your Artistic Journey
Make Sure to Rest and Avoid Burnout
Taking care of your well-being is essential for maintaining creativity and meeting deadlines successfully. Schedule regular breaks during your work sessions to recharge and prevent burnout. Engage in activities that help you relax and rejuvenate, such as practicing mindfulness, exercising, spending time in nature, or pursuing hobbies unrelated to your art. By prioritizing rest and self-care, you can ensure a healthy work-life balance and sustain your creative energy in the long run.
Remember, maintaining your mental and physical well-being is just as important as meeting deadlines. By incorporating regular rest and self-care practices into your routine, you'll be better equipped to handle the demands of your artistic career while avoiding the detrimental effects of burnout.
Applying for the opportunity to participate in an art show or gain access to grant money can be really hard. Decision makers accept your applications based on many factors, including your artwork, your art style, the appearance of your application, and many more. When applying for calls for art you need to take the time needed to present a professional-looking application. This may feel time-consuming, but in order to avoid preventable rejections you need to take the time to do it right.
Quick note: For ease of writing this article we use the term “art shows,” but this can refer to fairs, events, exhibitions, and even memberships and grants.
Tips To Improve Applications For Art Shows
Make Sure The Art Show Is A Good Fit
When you are looking at art show applications, it is important to make sure that your art is a good fit for this opportunity and that the opportunity is a good fit for you. For example, do not waste your time applying for an art show that showcases very traditional work if your work is more contemporary. Applying for shows can get pricey and time-consuming, so you need to have a strategy for choosing which shows are a good fit and will be most beneficial.
Always check the following points:
Recommended for you- Importance of Branding for Artists
Know the requirements
Before beginning the application process, it is important to be aware of the requirements for the art show. Do research on the art show and jurors or curators. This can help you understand if it is worth your time to apply. Each art show application has different requirements, so it is important to read the rules carefully and be sure to meet all the criteria. To increase your chances of acceptance you may want to customize your application for specific shows.
A few requirements that are generally included in all art show applications are
Present your work and application in a professional manner.
Once you understand the requirements of the show, the next step is to fill out the application. Many organizations use websites like CAFE or ArtCall.org. These can be helpful because they save some of your information from previous applications so you aren’t constantly uploading artist statements, etc. Make sure you understand the specification of the application. If you do not follow the application instructions you may be disqualified from having your work presented to the juror, or it may count against you in the final decision-making. It is essential that your application is presented in a clear and professional manner.
Some events are stricter than others, but if you are a professional you should present yourself in a professional manner. That includes reading through the prospectus, following any rules, and submitting a professional-looking application. Some prestigious and selective shows and memberships require the utmost care and attention to detail. Remember, competition can be high, and it is up to you to present yourself and your work professionally.
Recommended for you- Why Is Goal Setting So Important For Artists? How To Set And Stay Organized With Your Artistic Goals?
To Wrap Up
Applying to an art show can be both scary, exciting, and daunting; but being accepted can be a huge boost to your career. There is no guarantee that you will get into a show. In fact, rejections are just part of being an artist… really!
No matter what happens, keep trying, keep improving, and keep growing. Rejections happen for all kinds of reasons, including juror preferences, available space, etc. Most shows do not give you feedback, but if you do receive feedback consider it with an open mind and see what you can learn from the feedback. Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged, keep applying, keep working, keep going. Perseverance and determination are key. We’ll even share a few more tips to help along the way:
We know applying for a show can be stressful. We hope this article will help you feel more confident and better equipped to apply for the right art shows for you. We wish you all the best!!
Do you have any other tips for applying to an art show? Drop your comment!!
Special Announcement For Members: Want to dive into the nitty-gritty of applying for shows and grants? We will be hosting a Panel discussion on March 2nd at 3:30 Pacific. RSVP in the member portal.
As an artist you are expected to wear so many hats, and some days the task list seems never ending. I could tell you about various tips and tricks for being more productive and getting over a motivation slump, but I none would be quite as delicious as the advice I'm going to give you today.... HOT CHOCOLATE.
No, really, hear me out... Chocolate contains caffeine, but in much lower levels than that afternoon cup of coffee that makes I hard to sleep Chocolate is linked with a release in endorphins and can regulate your immune system! Besides all of that it's delicious and oh so enjoyable to drink.
"But all the sugar is bad for you," you might argue. Oh, boy do I know that! My body and sugar do not get along. The recipe I'm going to share is my personal recipe and is allergy friendly, sugar free, and 100% delicious. I don't have specific measurements, but it should be made to your preference anyway. I don't eat dairy, and prefer oat milk, but you can use whatever you prefer.
Just a reminder that measurements are approximates so taste it as you go.
Megan's Allergy Friendly, Productivity Boosting, Hot Chocolate
In a sauce pan, heat the following on medium low heat. Stir continually, until the desired temperature is reached. Do not heat too high, or heat without stirring. yuck...
1.5 cups oatmilk
2-2.5 heaping spoons of 100% dark cocoa
two big dashes of cinnimon
a big dash of vanilla
sweeten to your liking with maple syrup
Optional: Top with your preferred whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon
Bonus 1: Use a special mug. It always makes me happy to drink out of the mug pictured because it was a gift from my good friends.
Bonus 1: Also delicious as a mixed drink with peppermint schnapps
Disclaimer: I'm not doctor or nutritionist. Read about the affects of chocolate on your own and consult a doctor or nutritionist if needed. :)
Have you had one of those days where your body is alive with inspiration and you are creating with ease and joy? Goodness, I love those moments. For me the hours go by in the blink of an eye because I am so tuned in to what I am doing. Those days feel really good. But the fact of the matter, is that everyday is not like that. More often than not, there are a million other things that have to be taken care of that make it hard just to get started with art making.
If you struggle with creating when you aren't feeling inspired or motivated this is for you. I want to share a few tricks that I've learned over the years that might help you stay consistent with your art making and art business.
1: Work with yourself not against yourself.
None of us are exactly the same, yet we often try to work within a framework that was set up for someone else. Are you a night owl? Then why are you forcing yourself to wake up at 6 AM to paint? Are you way too busy to have a spotless house without sacrificing your art making time? It's okay if your house isn't spotless. Are you super forgetful? Set all the reminders, and write down the systems you are establishing so you don't forget steps.
See what you can learn about yourself. When do you have the best focus? What is your sweet spot for number of hours in the studio? Do you need quiet and solitude, or lots of hustle and bustle? Do you need to do a little desk work every day or a lot at once? There is no wrong way to be you (unless you are acting in harmful, unethical ways-- you should probably work on that). Embrace who you are, embrace how your brain and body function, and find ways to work with who you are. You will find more success and less frustration.
I did an experiment when I was first getting back into running. I decided that I would listen to the same album every time I went out for a run. This was so effective that I could be driving down the road and my running music would come on and I literally wanted to pull my car over and get out for a run. I do this with art making too. I make a playlist and then I listen to that for months and months while I paint. This primes my brain to paint. I hear the music and my brain is like, "Oh yeah, I know what's happening! Let's get to work!" What are some routines you can put into place to prime your brain for art making or business tasks?
3: Set a timer.
Often the hardest part to a task is the act of getting started. If you are really struggling to get a task started, set a timer for 15 min. to an hour, and tell yourself you only have to work until the timer goes off. Often times, once you actually get started you want to keep going. Or if it is legitimately a challenging task this helps you break it up into manageable parts.
Inspiration is a fleeting friend. If we only work when we feel inspired we will likely not be successful. The difference between a professional and a hobbyist is professionals always come back to the work, whatever that looks like. So get out for a walk, take a nap, read a book. Maybe inspiration will spark and maybe it won't, but keep on creating. When you are feeling creative take notes of your inspiration so when you are having a dry spell you can come back to it. But whatever you do keep doing the work. Horse trainer, Marijke de Jong reminds us, "If you wait for perfect conditions you'll never get anything done."
There are exceptions to all of these, and they simply may not be what works for you. The biggest thing is don't worry about perfection, embrace the mess, we are all a work in progress.
Do you have any other tips and tricks? Feel free to post in the comments.