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.”
- 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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- How to Collaborate with Museums – The Booth Example - October 27, 2017
- How to Meet Stakeholder Demands – Holly Van Hart - September 8, 2017
- Making Your Art Economically Viable – Elizabeth Corkery - September 27, 2016
- Project Management: An Impressionistic Art Form – Ghost of a Dream - September 23, 2016