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Art-Business Training for Visual Artists

Home 2018

Equipping Visual Artists to be Self-Sustaining Entrepreneurs

Mastering the scrabble of Digital Marketing

Instagram, Google and The Creator Economy

Straight from the thought leaders in digital marketing: John Lincoln, CEO at Ignite Visibility; Daniel Digritz, Digital Ecologist®, and CEO @ MadPipe; and Sheila Dang and Elizabeth Culliford from Reuters—we’ve curated the top reads for Q2, 2021.
 
1. Instagram Ads: Tips & Tricks to Build Your Following
From John Lincoln via the Search Engine Journal, here’s a resource outlining how to run Instagram ads and build a fantastic following.
  • Use Ads to Determine Cost per Acquisition for New Followers: more reach and greater details on who you are targeting.
  • Identify Your Audience on Instagram: The niche may cost more but it is worth it!
  • Create a Persona: Define your Customer.
  • Build Your Audience by Knowing Your Audience.
  • Use Facebook Audiences: Track and learn from the reports and built-in analytics.
Follow the article with our own Thriving TuesdaysTM Instagram for Artists: Build a Storied Brand with Daniel DiGriz.
2. Giving It To You Straight: Make these SEO Changes for 2021
Daniel DiGriz demystifies the new SEO Changes for 2021 by breaking them into two simple areas: welcome mats, and page-to-page redirects. A welcome mat is a full-screen overlay that slides over the top of your home page or a landing page and obscures the content underneath. In the near future, they may negatively impact a website's treatment in search engines. Next up, page-to-page redirects can’t be branded—or at least not indexed—but there are additional tools to keep some of them. Next, watch the insightful Thriving TuesdaysTM by Daniel DiGriz Search Optimization for Drag-and-Drop Artist Sites where he lays out a set of simple, repeatable SEO skills that won’t cost you a dime to implement: just an extra minute per piece of content you upload.
3. Facebook Reveals New Features for Creators to Earn Money from Ecommerce Sales
Sheila Dang and Elizabeth Culliford from Reuters outline the why and how content creators can earn ad revenue from videos as short as one minute, and expand its 'Stars' virtual currency. Then, you can watch Thriving TuesdaysTM List Building for Artists: Build and Grow Your Email List with Carolyn Edlund, where you can follow up the purchase by making sure your email list continues to grow.

Want to keep learning? Don’t miss out on our Digital Campus.

 
Tips and Tricks

Five Stories You Don’t Want to Miss

Here are five must-read pieces summarized for the busy entrepreneur. The Clark Hulings Fund has incredible amounts of content available for you to learn, prepare, and face the art business journey. In order to make it more accessible, we have a committee of CHF Advisory Board Members who are working to make all of this content hand-selected and bite-sized: just for you! We want to thank our committee members for their continued support with this Tips & Tricks series! Sofia Perez, Paula Mele, Donna Lee Nyzio, Rickie Leiter, Mitchell A. Cohn 1. Hunt With a Pack—Daniel DiGriz
  • Network with other artists who have different business skill sets than your own, then trade services.
  • Don't try to go it alone! Find your people, work together, and help each other.
  • Daniel DiGriz reviews the nuts and bolts of professional networking.
2. Making the Gig Economy Work for You—Angela Heath
  • Adapt to the gig economy.
  • Different ways to make fast cash can also be used to leverage your skills and segue into new business opportunities.
  • Entrepreneurs plan ahead for the natural ebbs and flow in their income, and are strategic in their thinking.
  • Relationships with buyers are better than a one-stop sale.
3. Manage Your Time Effectively by Decluttering Your Work-Life—Joshua S. Ehrlich
  • What's really going on when we say that we are "busy," and how it is often a smokescreen for other less-desirable conditions.
  • Seven useful tips for better time management so that we can have the kind of freedom that allows us to be effective creators and entrepreneurs.
4. Overcome Magical Thinking to Succeed as an Artist—Carolyn Edlund
  • Debunks the theory that “If I make good art, customers will appear, and sales will happen.” Carolyn explains why committing to ongoing business training and staying engaged are the keys to a successful art career.
  • Keep true to your goals, have intention behind your actions, and achieve a higher level of success.
5. Break Down Your Business Goals into Actionable Steps—Daniel DiGriz
  • "Reverse Engineering 101"—a method of working backward from an artist's dream to the specific objectives, milestones, and tasks that will help achieve goals.
  • There is a step-by-step template with 3 key questions artists must ask: What do I want, how does that get done, and what do I need for that to happen?
  • Insights on short-term goals become long-term goals and how to manage the process.

Want to keep learning? Don’t miss out on our Digital Campus.

The Man From Spain - by Clark Hulings

Confidence is Key

self-confidence

/ˌsɛlfˈkɒnfɪd(ə)ns/ noun a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment. The definition of self-confidence is quite clear. We should all have the confidence in our work to be able put it out there and embark on an entrepreneurial journey.

Inspiration.

In her “Director’s View” column, “When Mindsets Shift, Big Things Happen” Elizabeth Hulings provides in-depth looks into her and Mary Hulings’ founding vision for CHF. “When my mother and I established The Clark Hulings Fund, our long-term goal was economic viability for independent artistic practice. We believe in the middle-class artist as an essential member of our society, and a strong contributor to our GDP. What drove us in this pursuit? Well, for starters, we’re the widow and daughter of an artist who was unafraid of the business world; my father never equated financial success with selling out, because he knew how to achieve the former without doing the latter. (Yes, it’s a perpetual balancing act between market and muse, but it’s entirely possible to maintain that balance over a long, successful career, if you are willing to do it.)”

Motivation.

The Man From Spain - by Clark Hulings
The Man From Spain - by Clark Hulings
Back in 2017, CHF’s Art-Business Accelerator had kicked into high gear, and there was repeated confirmation about how crucial CHF’s work has become. Fellows are accomplished, hardworking artists well into their careers, yet they are still searching for the knowledge and support they have not received elsewhere. In the interview, Building Confidence, Building Businesses – Q&A with Elizabeth Hulings, CHF Executive Director Elizabeth Hulings talked to Advisory Board Member, Writer, and Journalist Sofia Perez about the tangible and intangible impacts of business training. Here is Elizabeth’s response to a question about confidence. “SP: That confidence is crucial, but it’s often beaten out of artists for calculated reasons. EH: Take the analogy of buying a car. There’s no set price, so when you enter a dealership, their entire goal is to throw you off-kilter, to put you in an insecure psychological state so that they can gain the advantage. Oftentimes, the result is that you don’t push for the right price, and you end up paying more than you should. We also saw it with the mortgage situation prior to 2008. A lot of people were buying homes and applying for interest-only mortgages. Many of those first-time buyers were preyed upon, and they were not equipped to sort through those agreements. Why? Well, that’s a much larger question about our educational system, but the fact is, there was a deficit of knowledge and experience there, and the lender was willing to exploit it. Similar things happen in the art world. Artists don’t tend to come in with a strong business background or the confidence that comes from that kind of experience. Right from the beginning, they’re at a disadvantage, and there are people in the industry who exploit that.”

A Game Plan.

Need a place to start? Listen to this Thriving ArtistTM podcast Find the Best Representation for Your Art with Stephanie Birdsall. “I see a lack of confidence standing in people’s way, they don’t trust what they’re thinking, they don’t trust what they’re painting, and as soon as they get a little confident I see a huge change.”
James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce. Cover by Clark Hulings

What is an “Artpreneur”?

James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce. Cover by Clark Hulings
James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce. Cover by Clark Hulings
Etymologically, it’s obvious, right? Artists who sell art embark on the entrepreneurial journey—thus the blend of the two words—but is that really it? Clark Hulings worked for years as a successful commercial illustrator creating covers for iconic books, like the Mildred Pierce example here, before carefully planning his emergence as an easel painter. And even with the huge success he found in the “fine art” world, he went for years without representation and insisted on staying at the helm of his own career. The following three pieces provide insights into what an “artpreneur” is, give some inspiration, and showcase advice that could have come straight from Clark Hulings’ playbook.

Inspiration.

Elizabeth Hulings provides in-depth looks into her father’s experience as an artist and an entrepreneur in her “Director’s View” column. Today, we revisit Elizabeth’s article “Death of an Artist.” Elizabeth elaborates on a couple of the assumptions found in William Deresiewics’ article The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur. “This argument has more assumptions than it has labels. Let me point out just two: 1. artists won’t create fine art if they have to function in the business world; 2. only trained experts can know what fine art is. The idea that ‘fine art’ can only be produced if its creator is removed from the business world and allowed to ‘create’ may seem simply an overly romanticized notion, but, in fact, it is much more sinister. Artists have always produced poor, mediocre and absolutely stunning work, no matter what they’re called or the system under which they operate. Those ‘artisans’ mentioned above created what we now consider some of the world’s all-time greatest masterpieces, and they did it as much to earn a living as in service of creativity. Was it recognized as such at the time? Maybe. Was it commercially viable? Some of it. Were they pandering to their ‘target markets’ or following their muses? Yes. I am thrilled that today’s artists might be allowed to compete on a level playing field to have their work displayed and to encourage people to purchase it. If the people don’t know any better and purchase things that are not ‘fine,’ so be it. It’s still the best way to ensure that all the potential masterpieces may be born. Deresiewics is absolutely correct that the market underpins all of it, so let’s give our artists the business training as well as the artistic training, place the reins of their careers in their own hands, and then let our free market decide.”

Motivation.

Fast Company got their start in the mid-90s by chronicling new rules of business and have provided a set of rules to reflect business today. Painter and CHF Board Member Jack McGowen explores these innovative rules underlining their importance and value for artpreneurs in Curiosity is Currency. “There could be no more poignant backdrop for discussing the change in the art business than this time of COVID-19. The idea of developing an art-business plan that can adapt to rapidly-changing conditions means that we can’t simply rely on business as usual. Anecdotal data today shows galleries in freefall and many traditional sources of income such as competitions, exhibitions, teaching workshops are either unavailable, pivoting to new platforms, or severely limited. In spite of all that, however, the cardinal rule of business is to plan, regroup and invest during the market down-cycle if you want to come out stronger on the other side. It is key to rethink our entire approach to the business side of our art, and embrace new ways to sell our work.”

A Game Plan.

Need a place to start? Listen to this episode of The Thriving ArtistTM podcast where painter Robert C. Jackson digs into what it takes to be a five-day-a-week working artist and get the practical advice you didn’t know you needed. “Most artists never talk about business and, as a result, most artists never make a living from their art.”

Our Programs

Turn Working Artists into Thriving Artists

Art-Business Fellowships

Art-Business Fellowships

Art-Business Fellowships

The CHF Art-Business Accelerator Program is an intensive and interactive business-education program for working artists. Fellows plan pivotal business projects, produce an Investment-Grade Proposal, and acquire a business skill set that's designed to serve them throughout their careers.

Art-Business Summit

Boots-on-the-Ground Education

Boots-on-the-Ground Education

CHF partners with art and business organizations that have a strong presence in a geographic area to bring face-to-face entrepreneurial learning to working artists where and when they need it most. The result is a growing network of partners and resources that ensures widespread reach for crucial labs, workshops, and training.

Digital Learning Portal

Self-Directed Digital Learning

Self-Directed Digital Learning

CHF's Digital Learning Portal provides education in formats that working artists already consume. Portable podcasts, expert columns, and how-to videos are here. More detailed and structured Accelerator learning modules are available by registration.

Learning Communities

Learning Communities

Learning Communities

Like sticks in a bundle, artists are stronger together. The Artist Federation is a growing professional peer network of visual artists that's managed by artists. Individual chapters engage in skill and referral exchanges, joint entrepreneurial learning, and organization to achieve and maintain centrality in their industry.

Featured Profiles

Executive Fellows in the Art-Business Accelerator

Gregg Chadwick
Executive Fellow

Gregg paints trains and cars with historic significance. It's not just a love for things that move; Gregg sees the incredible draw of these subjects as entry points for collectors who might otherwise be alienated by the tiles and splatters of post-modern aesthetics. There's a whole world of would-be fine art lovers and aesthetes for whom physical objects tied to place and time are a door. [profile]

Willy Bo Richardson
Executive Fellow

Willy puts art in commercial spaces. But how many times do people walk by a framed painting, barely looking? By contrast, how often do people sit in a busy lobby to study art on a pedestal? Willy deletes the distractions–not of the space, but of the trappings of 'artness'. By implanting fine art as fabrics, he produces the full effect and experience of fine art emerging from the space itself, sans the stiff presentation. [profile]

Nadia Fairlamb
Executive Fellow

Nadia uses what's in front of her and teaches others to do the same. Her work is aimed at hospitality and commercial spaces that are interested in local themes (what's in front of you) and art that utilizes locally sourced materials. This is part of Nadia's theorum that the world's success depends on working together and that depends on working first with who and what you see. [profile]

Kristin LeVier
Executive Fellow

Kristin uses the detailed research methods of a molecular biologist to produce wood and metal sculptures that are vastly detailed but elegantly simple, and which connect us to the extraordinary, strange beauty of the natural world. [profile]

Belgin Yucelen
Executive Fellow

Belgin combines ancient aesthetics with high tech tools & processes to address a core issue–what kind of future we want. As cycles of innovation accelerate, we rapidly replace past achievements but, in the process, risk increasing alienation from the civilizations from which we've emerged and polarization toward each other. Just watch the news. [profile]

Blake Conroy
Executive Fellow

Blake exposes the absolute uniqueness of seemingly identical things, so we will care about them. We don't fight hard enough to save things we regard as mere forms or perceive as simply "one of" something. Blake uses layers to unmask otherwise hidden particularities in living things–debunking the notion that every sunflower, cornfield, or monarch butterfly is interchangeable. [profile]

Featured Insights

Columns, Podcasts, Views & Spotlights-On

Get Involved

Fill the World With Art By Making Artists Thrive

Sponsorship

A Wider Audience By Sponsoring Art Events and Broadcast Learning

Sponsorship

CHF has multiple opportunities and sponsorship packages that include sponsoring local and regional events, broadcast learning episodes, digital learning content, and Fellowships.

Learning Partnerships

Energize Your Constituency Through Learning Communities and Content

Learning Partnerships

CHF works with organizations, agencies, and firms to create learning communities, hybrid educational programs, licensed content, and virtual and live events, with data-demonstrated effectiveness and expertise.

Social Mission

Collaborate With CHF to More Fully Serve Your Constituency

Social Mission

CHF extends organizations' existing social mission and enables firms to fulfill corporate social responsibility through meaningful programs that concentrate on the arts and entrepreneurship.

Philanthropic Giving

Fund the Arts and Economic Change with Demonstrable Philanthropic ROI

Philanthropic Giving

CHF facilitates tax-free avenues of philanthropy for funding the arts and creating economic change through the entrepreneurship of working artists. Fill the world with thriving, self-sustaining visual artists who beautify our culture. 

CHF's Impact

Transforming Artists' Careers

Gregg Chadwick - Painter

"I have more confidence as an artist and my sales have increased dramatically this quarter."

- Gregg Chadwick
2018 Executive Fellow
Nadia Fairlamb headshot

"My sales have significantly improved because of all of the work I have done with CHF."

- Nadia Fairlamb
2018 Executive Fellow
Kristin LeVier headshot

"I had more sales in the past two months than in all of last year. I am so grateful to be part of this."

- Kristin LeVier
2018 Executive Fellow

2018 Artist Impact Data

CHF Art-Business Accelerator Program

0%

Increased Their Total Art Income

0%

View Their Art as Their Primary Income Source

0%

Increased Their Prices or Profit Margins

Source: CHF 2018 Annual Report

These Results Depend on Your Gift

Working artists already have a job. They aren't looking for a handout. But to become self-sustaining, thriving artists that fill the world with art and fortify our economy with lifelong careers, they need BUSINESS training. YOU can ensure a dozen businesses thrive.

Tune in to The Thriving ArtistTM podcast.

Artists, collectors, & art-industry experts address topics impacting the careers of working artists.

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Why Clark Hulings

The Quintessential Artist-Entrepreneur

Clark Hulings - Master Painter

The keys to Hulings’ success form a template for how a working artist thrives. The ingredients were the integrity of his craft, the brilliance of personal vision, his refusal to compromise on the essentials, and an unwavering understanding of the fact that, as a professional artist, he was running a business.

Practice Areas

CHF’s educational programs utilize the very practice areas that were key to Hulings’ success, including Sales Strategy, Financial Competence, Marketing from the Brand Narrative, Technology, and Peer Networks.

See Examples

The Examples

For insight into the ingredients of Hulings' success as a working artist, and for stories—from how he took on the unjust taxation of artists, and how he negotiated a vendor relationship with galleries, to how he got an interfering creative director removed from a project—dig deeper into the Example of Clark Hulings or the Career Blueprint Of Clark Hulings.