845-887-3156 debra@debracortese.com

Balance Your Life, Sell Your Art

part review and part personal commentary


More often than not, I get overwhelmed with the choices of how to make a living from my art. I read and research every day (perhaps too much?). There are so many options. Every week, a new exclusive marketing opportunity is presented (usually way beyond my budget). I’m already feeling guilty for not blogging enough, not getting my monthly newsletter out on time, not building my mailing lists fast enough. ARGHHHH… makes me want to just hide in my studio or, as my teenager refers to it, “Are you still in your cave, Mom?) 


For the past week and a half I’ve been participating in a smARTist telesummit along with over 200 fellow artists from all over the world. In this program, more than a dozen highly qualified speakers present practical and realistic marketing strategies for artists of all mediums. This is done via live, phone line conference sessions. 


This afternoon was the final live session and I am somewhat relieved that the class has ended only because, as I stated in the first  sentence, I’m overwhelmed with ideas and fully realize that NOW, I am responsible for choosing and implementing the marketing tools that best fit my art business goals. It’s time to sort out the choices, clarify my goals and create a realistic business plan. This means a plan that outlines and addresses specific actions to get where I intend to be with my career in 6 months, a year, 5 years and beyond. I HAVE done this before. Have journaled, visualized, written business plans (but really only outlines), set goals (but not specifics and not backed with actions) and certainly invested thousands of hours and dollars in promoting and fine tuning my work. None of which I can measure or justify in terms of return on investment because I didn’t have written specific and measurable goals.


I’m not a novice when it comes to business. I ran my own design/advertising agency for over 22 years, employed several full time, part time and even more freelance people. That business took at least 5 years to show a profit, went through many incarnations and always provided a respectable income. But this business of earning a living from my art is different. This is much more personal. I’m too close, perhaps not objective enough to work this out alone. Isolation is necessary for my creative work, but I dearly miss and need regular contact with business minded associates. This experience with the smARTist telesummit has definitely clarified a need to network and, the importance of establishing measurable goals.


If, as an artist you don’t believe or understand that your work is also your business, this information may be irrevelant. However, for artists that are serious about earning a living from the work you love, I highly recommend this program for the depth of the information and the experience of the speakers. (Note: all of the live presentations were recorded for participants to download, and every speaker provided digital handouts which covered their topic and often additional information applicable to their area of expertise.) The cost of this program was under $300 for the basic level. 

Here is a list of the speakers and their topics:

Joan Stewart, The New Rules of Press Releases

Molly Gordon, 5 Money Dramas That Keep You Broke

Michael Woodward, The Changing Face of Licensing

Geoffrey Gorman, The Hidden Resource: How to Sell Your Art Through Art Consultants

Mark Silver, Create Strategic Alliances to Sell Your Art

Alyson B. Stanfield, How to Generate Buzz on a Shoestring Budget

Claudine Helmuth, Blogging Landed Me on National TV and Other Reasons Every Artist Needs a Website with a Blog

Jennifer Louden, 10,000 Way to Kiss Your Creativity into Life

Waverly Fitzgerald, Creative Rhythms: Are You in Sync?

Aletta deWal, From Part Time to Full Time, How to Make Your Art Support You…

Leonard DuBoff, Art Law: What Do Artists Really Need to Know

Michael B. Stanier, From Amateur to Professional

Eric Maisel, 12 Career-Building Habits Every Artist Needs To Know


I don’t know when the next program will be presented, but am sure you can contact smARTist founder, Arianne Goodwin for more information.