Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ask Nice old Mr. Stape

A reader asked me,
What are the 5 most significant actions you took that increased your income?

Now there is another great question. actually they asked me three of those name five questions. Last nights was the first and this is the second. I have just arrived in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. That's a long drive from New Hampshire. So this is going to be a short but hopefully useful post. Bullets please!

  • Opening and running my own gallery was a big thing. It gave me my own one man show, running full time that had to be there and had to be constantly updated. I had to learn so many things and develop so many skills. It was a forced grad school for me.
  • Because I had my own gallery showing only my own work, I got to interact with thousands of visitors, observing them taught me a lot about how people who knew less than I did about art, thought about painting. It is a good thing to know your market, not because you will paint for them, but you WILL market to them.
  • Not having a job, a backup or any savings helped. I was deadly serious, If I didn't sell, I starved. That puts your mind on your work, for sure. Having to paint to survive was the greatest teacher I could have had and has made all the difference. I don't recommend it for the faint hearted though.
  • For a period of years I advertised a lot. I advertised in the American Art Review, a great magazine, It cost a lot but it really did build my reputation. I don't have my own gallery so I do less of that now. I think I will start again though, I miss it. If you are not a pro, this is not useful.
  • Doing demos, workshops, being president of the Rockport Association, writing blogs. All of these outreach things build your reputation. Sometimes I think you are paid for your reputation not your art! You need to get out into the world and do things for people. I really believe if you want more from the world you have to give more. Go out and give things away. Do things like these to build your reputation.
Earl Nightingale suggests being a leader, and expert in your craft, to lead the field. I again suggest that you get his material. It is one of the major things that increased my income. Might work for you too. This blog is partially done at the suggestion of Earl.



Deborah Paris said...

Excellent, as always Stape. Especially the one about not having a backup income and how it focuses one's mind- so true! Funny, I was just thinking this morning before I read this that you are sort of the Earl Nightingale for artists. I am sure he would be very proud of what you have accomplished and what you are giving back.

Robert J. Simone said...

All right already, I'll get the I-tunes version of Earl can stop nagging!

Just kidding and seriously, thanks for the advice and encouragement. Good to hear from an established pro that I am not totally off track!

billspaintingmn said...

Well put Deborah! I look up to you and Stape for your proffesional display of art, your understanding of basics, and advanced areas in art.
I'm at a crossroads, do I go this way or that?!
I am my own back up, I do a variety of commercial art and production art to keep afloat.
Some refer to me as a bumble bee:
Scientifically I should not be able to fly, but I do!
Tenacity I guess.
I want to move forward, I earn as I learn.
I'll listen to Earl, Thanks! said...

My Boston studio is also my Boston gallery. There is open studios in the building every first Friday and so I do get to interact with clients and visitors quite a bit.

I do like having control over the work I show and how I show it. I can understand why you miss having your own gallery. There is something very satisfying about being "self publishing". (and as you know I think the gallery scene is an old model). It would help if my established market was bigger because most of my work is sold to my repeat collectors. But I've only been in the Boston space a year and I'm working on building that rapport and painting to the best of my ability. Now,I've got to find a CD player to listen to the Earl tapes.I forgot that I don't have a CD player or an MP3 player or a car or a TV, but I have a GREAT paint tube wringer!

Mary Byrom said...

Great chain of blogs Stapleton!

Another question. At what point in your process did you "brand" yourself? What did you decide? How did you arrive at that brand ? How did you decide this? (Example- Are you a NE landscape painter? Rockport school? Stape school...etc)

Does everyone identify you as this - the moment they see your name, see you , see a painting of yours ? Did you brand yourself and then change brands?
Now in 2010 at this stage in your profession how are you known to your personal public? How are you known to the vast public who have yet to meet you? Do you have any way of finding that out?

willek said...

I have been reading back issues of American art Review and those old ads of yours stick out as being very professional. Of course, the art is terrific.

willek said...

BTW, yesterday I drove wieth a buddy to the Clark Institute to see the Boldini Exhibit. It was OTW to say the least. Also the rest of the museum was super OTW. I had not realized the depth and breadth of the collection. The numerous Sargents, Homers, Monets and Renoirs. and, of course that exquisite Bougereau, Satyr and Nymphs.. One of the best bargains around right now and until June is is FREE!

The coast has been awesome

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am sure Earl would think I was flakey and needed a haircut.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am making it all up as I go along, you know.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is good you have that ability.I had no dependents and no overhead.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Maybe you can get the Nightingale material put up in tubes and then wring it out with that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Another weeks worth of questions , thanks.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That was soooo long ago. How time whistles by. The Clark is such a great museum. There are so many little treasures in there that I rediscover when I visit.The Nymphs and Satyrs is outlandish. You can watch it like a TV.