A Bit About Art Coaching

In addition to being a full time artist, wife and mom and other self induced labels,  I also have been a marketing coach to artists for years.   Locally I am a consultant to the Humboldt Del Norte Small Business Development Center. Its a great little gig…I get to meet with artists at various stages of their careers and help them launch further.     Its interesting because I’ve found that it has as much to do with coaching as consulting.   Artists sometimes need to know they are as ready and worthy as they think they are.   Sometimes they need guidance and a little remedial training before putting out a full scale effort.     Whatever the case may be I truly love watching these artists succeed.    In addition to the marketing advice I am their hand holder, mother, guide, cheerleader.   I am truly inspired by these artists and their willingness to try at all cost to make their livelihoods creating art and for the most part I’ve been duly impressed by their work.

When I was just getting out of college in 1982 my expectations were low but I put my work in juried shows and had some beginners luck in establishing myself in the corporate collector market.  I parlayed that into further gallery exposure combined with teaching for a while.   In the late 1990’s the internet opened everything up and access to information was like a gift from the universe.   No more going to the museum bookstore to purchase the latest book on art marketing.   I was in heaven and completely overhauled my business plan.    I was about as happy as a parent maintaining a career could be until this bloodbath of a recession blew across the planet.  Though it has been rumbling for a while I’d say that for most it hit hard this past fall.   I’ve ridden through a few recessions in the past without incident but I dare say this could be different.   I have no illusions and neither should anyone else.   This is serious.  I’m still in the holding my breath phase as it hasn’t had a deleterious affect as of yet but I wonder about the upcoming months and even years.

  On the flip side its also a very good time to produce your best work in the studio, network, reassess, and revisit your business plan.    Social networking has produced a brave new world for artists to source out new audiences and perhaps new venues for exhibition and representation.   Take advantage of Facebook, Linkedin and even Twitter (which I am slow to learn.)    Or start a blog.   I admit, I’ve a little lax on developing my own but hey, I’m wearing many hats these days and didn’t feel the need until, well, last fall.   But I am the eternal optimist and I continue to plug along and encourage others to do the same.   Collectors still want their art and when all this messiness is sorted out we artists will still be here, producing away.   Ultimately its not about marketing at all but rather the creative impulse, the urge to forge ideas and visual delights.  I’m hanging in there and encourage everyone else to do the same.

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Victoria Ryan