Do you think like a small business owner? Whether it’s sourcing the best supplies at low prices or stretching your own canvases, considering ways to cut costs is a must. Keeping tabs on your expenses can be just as important as knowing your sales numbers. Lisa McShane, the artist and mind behind the popular 1,000 Paintings art blog, has a wealth of small business advice. Lisa avidly researches the best materials and do-it-yourself methods to share with her fellow artists. Here are a few of Lisa’s fantastic business of art tips to save and make money.
Save Money: Frame Your Own Artwork
I frame my paintings myself. Online framing resources are so much more affordable. When you have 20 paintings to frame, it can be a big chunk of change to pay someone else to do it. It’s very difficult to make it as an artist if you’re supporting local frame shops. When I’m framing my work for a show, I’m buying my frames online. (Read Lisa’s fantastic blog post on DIY framing here!)
Make Money: Cherish Your Contacts Within and Outside the Art World
Your contact list is really important. I’ve gathered the contact information of people from all my past walks of life. I regularly send out emails to my list with a new painting. It reminds people you're there and shows the growth you're making. I have sold many paintings through my emails.
Save Money: Photograph Your Own Artwork
Artists are often told they need their artwork professionally photographed. All you really need is a good camera and a tripod. I recommend photographing your art early in the morning, in your studio, and on a cloudy day. You get the best light that way. Align your work with the camera as best you can and watch out for glare. I like to process my photos on a basic photo editor in front of the paintings. That way the edited version still looks like the original work.
Make Money: Create an Online Portfolio Specific to Your Buyers
You need to have a clean place to show your art online. Some artists’ websites are cluttered and have black walls. You don’t commonly walk into a gallery with a black wall. Be clear about who your buyers are. A gift shop aesthetic and a gallery aesthetic are both valid ways to approach buyers. You just need to be clear about where your work sits. And keep your biography, resume, and all your artwork up to date. People like seeing current information and pieces.
Lisa McShane's Road to Yakima.
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