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Art Marketing Experts Are Full Of Shit

Klee and I get asked a lot of questions by artists from all around the world. Just about every day we get a question in our inbox about the personal struggles that some of these amazing creatives are having. Most times we have some kind of insight or experience on the subject, sometimes we don’t.

Listen, no one is an expert at how to deal with your situation, the best any of us can do is give our two cents. We are all just figuring out our own way to make this thing happen. Recently, someone contacted me about marketing their art and having a website. They had signed up for a mentorship program for artists that cost about $2000. Part of me was like “I’m an idiot for talking about this stuff online for free, and the other part of me was like “What could they possibly be giving for that much?”

As it turns out, it’s the same cookie cutter bullshit marketing program that people have been promoting to artists all over the place. Facebook ads, niche marketing, find your audience, targeted marketing, blah blah blah.

An artist contacted me saying:

I am an artist and someone referred you to me. They said that you encourage artists to create their own way and screw what others might say. I just fired —— as an art mentor because he wants me to only market my wall art and nothing else. I can’t do that. I am having good success with selling my art and crafts. I just want to get more into marketing online because so many of my venues got canceled this year because of COVID19.

Artist

I responded with:

Hi ——-,

A lot of those programs have to do with the way a lot of people market products online, which works if you have a niche that you fall into. That way you can do targeted marketing. I think —- does great as a marketing guy and a writer because you can really target your market with books, especially if you are targeting marketing books to artists who want to learn marketing.

I have an issue with this type of marketing because it niches you, which I seriously doubt an artist can be niched for very long. Yet if you are putting yourself out there consistently as a creative you form a following of people who are interested in you and what YOU create. This takes a lot longer, but slowly you create a loyal following. It took me ten years to get where I am, and honestly, I’m not a big deal at all. 


The trick is thinking long term and understanding that it will take time.


I don’t really have a mentorship program because I make my money from my art, the videos I share are simply because I wanted to give my perspective and share things I wish someone would have shared with me.


To be honest with you, I’m just figuring it out as I go and sharing whatever I learn. I have a community of people on Patreon that support the video side and support one another. 


Please feel free to contact me when you have any specific questions and if I can I will most definitely answer in a video. 

Rafi

She wrote back and this made me a little pissed.

Rafi:
Thank you so much for answering me back!  I like the idea of watching your videos.  That would work just fine.  It is very generous of you to be willing to help other artists without charging money.  Thanks!


—- wanted to put me into a very small niche that I didn’t feel I fit into.  That may have been ok for me 30 years ago, but I’ve grown as a person and as an artist.  I need more than that now.  I read his book and it was helpful,  but working with him in person is a big NO.  He has this attitude that if I don’t do what he wants me to do that I will fail.  Then he gets rude and instead of listening to me, he just says, “Suck it up!”  Not cool at all.  I like people with confidence, but I get the sense that he has TOO much confidence and maybe a bit egotistical.  

Should I run more than one website if I want to do more than one thing as he suggests?

Artist

Honestly, it doesn’t sound like confidence to me. Truly confident people don’t behave that way, but arrogant people are usually riddled with insecurity underneath a layer of false confidence.

I can’t tell you if it is wrong or right, but I can tell you what I do… again, I don’t officially know what I am doing, but I like making things simple for myself. It would be a pain in the butt to run more than one website. On top of that, I don’t care about marketing a niche. I would much rather have a following that identifies me as a creative. It’s true that if your site is concise, it is easier for people to navigate because they are trained by most websites to just focus on one thing. Most people identify things they experience in the world by labeling someone or something a specific title, for example, “She does nature art.” So a lot of marketing people go in this direction because it is easier to market.

But most people know that if you go to Etsy or Amazon you are going to look for what you want, and most times you look through the various products to find what calls to you.

My website is a behemoth. It has Klee’s jewelry, my art, T-Shirts, Our Music, Stickers, Posters, Made to order artist prints, Short motivational MP3’s for artists, A section for our Patreon following and who knows what else.

We love our website, it is so much more than just a selling platform, it is a maze that contains our story and communicates what we’ve done, who we are, and what we believe in. Some people get lost, but most navigate it just fine.

I’ll be honest, for years I tried to make things as simple as possible on my site, and as it turns out you’ll never be able to make it simple enough for some… and most people know how to navigate a website and don’t get confused if you have more than one item type.

I could follow the status quo of marketing 101 if I wanted to. Honestly, it is super easy to get fast results if you just focus on one thing and that is ALL you are focused on, which is why these marketing courses usually go this route in order to prove themselves to the artist. They get fast but temporary results that are not sustainable for the artist. Artists are dynamic, but promoting yourself as a multifaceted artist takes time; it is for the long road.

I think as artists, it’s all about taking our awesome imagination and just going for it. Getting our work out there and thinking about ways to get it in front of new people and people who already follow you. There isn’t an art collector store, there are just people. You have to give people the opportunity to find you… have fun with it and quit thinking that these idiots that call themselves “marketing experts” because they are good at marketing a “marketing course” to people who desperately think they don’t know anything about marketing are right about anything… they’re just as confused as you are about selling art. That’s why they try to force everyone to fit the niche marketing route.

I, on the other hand, am not a good marketing person. I would rather be called an artist than simply identified as a niche artist. This statement makes a lot of artists who follow the marketing doctrine of “focus on one thing” very upset with me. But art is NOT a product and artists are NOT just salespeople selling a product.

I think artists that are truly successful pave their own way and don’t allow some jerk to pretend that they are better than them at marketing (because they are marketing to artists who are desperately seeking a way to market their art which is an easy target market).

Pave your own way, do your own thing, not the shit that EVERYONE is already doing.

For example, one of our awesome Rogue Artist Family On Patreon is doing a facebook live and showing her art! So Awesome! If you want to join us in supporting her putting herself out there during a pandemic go to:

The live streams are on FB in the Tish Johannon Creations FB group @ Join the group to be able to join in https://www.facebook.com/groups/tishjohannoncreations
7/30 @7:00 EST is for her paintings – 8/6 @7:00 EST is for all her crochet work