Groundbreaking Insights on Creative Professionals

How to Meet Stakeholder Demands – Holly Van Hart

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Holly Van Hart headshot

Holly Van Hart is a visual artist based in Silicon Valley, and a Clark Hulings Fund Business Accelerator Fellow. In this episode of the Thriving Artist Podcast, Holly and Daniel discuss the ins and outs of building a sustainable business practice: deciding on the direction to take your business, standing out in the online marketplace, and how collaboration benefits a business plan.

Navigate Strategically, Network Intelligently:

  • “I sell my work through galleries and licensing, interior designers, and directly to buyers. With each of these, I get to know the players, which one is a match, and pay attention for when they’re ready to take on new artists.”
  • “It’s important to stay connected with all the people in the art world you want to work with, but also other artists with similar tracks.”
  • “With multiple artists, I’ll have phone calls to trade ideas, referrals, best practices—sharing specifics so I can learn from them in a way that’s beyond what I could read in a book—real life examples of what’s working today for individual artists who are on some track that’s similar to mine.”
  • Staying connected helps you stay accountable. It’s critical to keep these connections and keep learning from other people around us.”

Marketing to Sales:

  • “I have my plan written down and every day I’m looking at what needs to be done to advance the plan. I think ‘OK, what is the next step to get to the place I want to be.’”
  • “I keep a sharp eye out for what seems to be working and what doesn’t so I can shift as needed from one thing to another, or come up with something new.”
  • “There are millions of great artists in the world, you have to do something to get yourself above the noise of it all.”
  • “I don’t mind letting people see the process and where I go wrong, that’s part of the creative process and what people are interested in.”
  • “I had sales experience in the tech world, and you get used to hearing a lot of ‘no’s’ before you hear a ‘yes’, so I learned to roll with that.”

Artist as Primary Stakeholder:

  • “Artists have to be held accountable and produce measurable results—they have a client base to please.”

    Holly Van Hart in her studio
    Holly Van Hart in her studio
  • If you make art as a hobby—which I did for many years—you can just make it and if it doesn’t sell, no worries. But if it’s your profession, you need to have a plan.”
  • “As an artist you are creating your own career and business, it’s a blank slate you can write for yourself.”
  • “The sky’s the limit no matter what you’re selling, that’s part of the opportunity and part of the challenge, because you can get distracted going down a path that doesn’t yield much. You need to find the right combination that works for you.”
  • “You need multiple [revenue] channels: I love making original work more than taking the steps to sell prints, but getting your work out there in a broader way is good for everybody—for the artist and those who are selling the artist.”

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AvatarDaniel DiGriz
Daniel DiGriz is CHF's Creative Director and Director of Educational Programming. He's a founder at corporate consulting firm Free Agent Source Inc., and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe which provides creative direction and marketing leadership to multiple firms. His background in Fortune 500 life is in sales and education. Daniel is a corporate storyteller and collector of brand stories who speaks at conferences and hosts podcasts, including The Thriving Artist™ Podcast. His personal website is DiGriz.com.

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