Episode 304 – New Markets for Artists / New Frontiers: The Non-Visible Museum

Chapter 14

New Frontiers: The Non-Visible Museum

New methods of online communication keep emerging, and you can also invent one yourself. The current forms of communication continue to undergo revisions that are often necessary, and we are all challenged to use these updated versions.

Learn the Code

This is a last word on social networks in the Art World’s final frontier; a hyper-complex world of algorithms that determine how we communicate online, changing based on which services we use, or news sources we read. Understanding how new systems are written is the code, like in The Matrix. We must all learn how to speak this new language and adapt along with it if we do not want the systems to rule us. If you are reading this book, you are aware of online social networks and may be using them. They are part of your language now, and that language will be used more and more. I am sure that parts of what I’ve said in this book are dated already because things on the Internet change so fast. There will be new online games, new ways of sharing information, new apps for your smart phone, and much more that will effect how your work is communicated to the public. You can develop a stance on many of these new ideas, such as being a student forever, or being opposed to new forms, or limiting your time on new formats or even being an entrepreneur or pioneer in the field.


Of course I fall on the side of being a type of entrepreneur, or the path of the Do-It-Yourself artists, but this is wide open territory. A project I did with my wife that describes one new frontier, is coming up. Online business practices are constantly being revised and will most likely continue to do so. That means you are on the frontline as a creative person and an artist with the chance to do something potentially amazing and historic. From creating new applications that can work on smart phones and tablets, to new ways for the millions of online consumers to see and buy your artwork, the way the world connects through the Internet continues to evolve. The people who create these new systems are pioneers because we all want better ways to share and communicate. Ironically, it seems an interactive touchscreen is one of the best ways to accomplish that.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 103 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Small Donations Add Up

Small Donations Add Up

Winning friends is certainly a social grace, but for the moment, consider the 2008 presidential election. Obama began running for the Democratic nomination for president against Hillary Clinton, who already had all the big Democratic donors in her pocket. Like the waiter in the previous example, he needed to raise a lot of money, ideally even more than Hillary Clinton! We know now that he did just that, and it was largely because he used the Internet extremely well as a networking tool. He went beyond traditional friends and supporters to generate new revenue and used all the social platforms to make bridges. Instead of getting the large donors, Obama raised enough money to outspend Hillary Clinton by seeking the small donors. And, as we now know, he was successful. Everyone wants a friend that will give them a break, but it isn’t always about an introduction or who you know; in fact, it is as simple or as complex as making a friend. How does one go about making friends?

Well, in the online community, there is a strategy that, again, is very similar to dating. In the business world, when you want to get some- one’s attention, you think to yourself, “What do they want?” So if you are in the business of selling golf balls and want to reach the organizer of the U.S. Open, you have to figure out what they want. Perhaps in this case, the organizer of the U.S. Open would like more sponsors, or maybe you have researched this person well and notice on their Facebook page or in the news that they have an interest in watching birds or some other hobby. One of the ways to get to this person is to ask him or her a question about birding or tell them a bird story. Does that sound strange? It is human nature; we are interested in our own ideas, hobbies, and dreams, and if someone else asks us about them or helps us, we become very interested in that person.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 84 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Selling Art Online

Selling Art Online

There is an artist called The Me Nobody Knows or TMNK who sells his painting on the streets of the city and also on the Internet. He is always near his paintings and has made his living by selling work that is generally under $500, but sometimes more. He is also actively selling his work on eBay, and there, he shows images of himself selling work on the street, and the fact that he is auctioning his own work on eBay makes sense in this context. He is an outsider, generating his own sales on his own terms, and we buy it because it is working and he is a professional. What makes him professional is his consistency. He continues to exhibit his work, and has built a website that promotes his paintings and prints and drives people to eBay. The mystique that he cultivates is that he is a nobody and makes his art in relative obscurity. Of course, he has become just the opposite, but by building that mystique—of a nobody—he is able to play the card of the artist cliché and lead others to believe that he labors in obscurity, which helps to sell his work to the public.

Another example is Abbey Ryan, an artist who sells a painting a day on eBay and earns almost $100,000 a year from it. She has a blog, a website, and has created a way to remain in the studio all day and make a living at it. She was written about in business blogger Seth Godin’s book Linchpin as an example of a businesswoman cutting out the middleman and bringing her work straight to market.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 69 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / How the Book Can Be Used in Different Countries

How the Book Can Be Used in Different Countries

To be an artist in any of the cities today, as well as tomorrow, you need to earn a living in one way or another, and balance that with your art. As rent prices increase and living looks like it will not get any cheaper, we must all find ways to earn money to support our dreams as well as our monthly expenses. Many artists end up bitter at having to give up their practice of art to settle for a reliable job. It is a difficult choice. All the while, artists and creative people are seeing other creative people make fantastic livings at what they do, getting plenty of press attention and reviews, and think in some form, “Why can’t I do that?” Herein lie some of the answers for many artists.

Almost all of the resources mentioned in this book apply to international artists. Because of the online presence of slide registries in New York and elsewhere, anyone that has access to a computer can use resources that will offer them more expo- sure.

But more importantly, no matter where you live, there are people around you that can help in some way. In chapter 4, we discuss how to map the entire area where you live and make lists of important places and people for you to contact. This is a universal concept: how to make a friend. In all walks of life and in any town, the issue of how we befriend people and make good business contacts is essential. One of the guiding principles that will run through this book is how to be direct and polite in making new relationships. And that idea can be used in any city in the world, or any town, provided there are people there!

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 38 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Weaving Your Own Mystery

Weaving Your Own Mystery

This chapter will not just help with writing, but with understanding how to create a story about yourself that invites others to ask questions.

Writing, for most artists, is one of the more perplexing tasks they face. In this chapter I will discuss approaches to writing anything online. That would include getting media attention as well as critical attention for exploring ideas and issues that may be present in your work.

Writing is not a skill that comes easily to most artists, which is why you so often hear the phrase, “the painting speaks for itself.” However, thinking is something that artists must do. Thinking about the world of ideas, the world of colors and context, or poetry, politics, the environment, and more. These are all ideas that may already be present in your work or ones that you have thought of to some degree. If you can think about these things, then you can write about them, too. Perhaps not as well as you paint, sculpt, make photographs or installations, but nevertheless, you can write about issues that are important to you.

Social Media

Think of how a social media platform like Facebook contains so much writing by people who do not consider themselves writers. I find the most interesting posts on Facebook are about what someone is thinking or struggling with in their mind. It usually doesn’t relate to their work, but to thoughts and ideas we all have. The posts about loved ones dying and about how much they meant to someone is an example that resonates with most of us. But comments and fairly long status updates can include writing about art and how someone feels about a recent show, or a recent political event, or something much more personal—about struggles in the studio, or struggles with health and more. This kind of writing works on Facebook, meaning it gets comments and interactions with other Facebook users. The artists making all these posts mostly do not consider themselves writers, but are indeed writing about art and life in a way that relates to their work. Part of the reason artists seem to write well on Facebook is that they are not thinking that they are “writing,” but are rather communicating to others in a way that is not so self-conscious.

Looking and Writing

Being an artist is about looking at the world in a peculiar way, a curious way, and then reflecting some of that investigation in the work itself. It does not matter if you are an abstract or figurative painter, or a photographer or conceptual artist: the work an artist makes reflects the culture around them and how they perceive it. From the grotesque to the political to the poetic, visual artists offer new ways of looking at how we all perceive the world around us. The more every artist is aware of this process, which is often intuitive, the more there is to write about and explore.

If you are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media, there is often a question of what to write and how to meet people that you want to talk to on these platforms. For most artists, the questions is how to meet collectors, curators, and others who could help them in their career.

Writing for Online Audiences

The method I would suggest for writing on Facebook and most other online platforms is to be at least sincere in what you write (as opposed to sharing jokes and videos), because if you want to meet people and attract them to your art, then show off how thoughtful, kind, and sensitive you are. When I get a comment on one of my images on Instagram, for example, and it is more than “awesome shot,” this catches my attention. Perhaps it is something like, “this is my favorite, it’s beautiful,” or even something longer and less vague, like, “this reminds me of those ice cream trucks when I was little and the music they played.” That last one was not particularly descriptive, but it showed that the person writing had a particular memory and feeling associated with the image I posted. If someone wrote that on one of my images and “liked” a few others, I would notice. I would read their comment, and the next thing I would do is click on their name because I want to know who this sensitive person is. Is it an artist, a curator? I will find out by looking through their images, and in my case, I will begin to look at their images and might even comment to return the gesture. It is really that simple in the broadest sense, but is harder to do than it sounds.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.