Learn how to hire a virtual assistant in your art business in this blog post + download a free recording by Amira RahimRead More
It's Saturday night, I'm sitting in my art studio in Oaxaca, Mexico creating new work and sending out orders to collectors while I get to travel the world.
A few years ago, this would have been a pipe dream. In college, art felt like a luxury and now, it's how I make my living.
So how exactly doessss one transition from simply sharing your art online to actually selling it? I just gave a talk on the topic a few weeks ago and you can access the recording here. Here's a few reasons why you probably haven't sold a painting online yet:
- No one knows who you are.
- Selling art online requires an audience. One of the first things people will do when you tell them you're an artist is Google "your name + art". If nothing comes up then it's problematic. Work on establishing a web presence early in the game and it will be much easier to reap the rewards when you're ready to ask for your first sale!
- You aren't blogging and documenting your journey.
- I get it. You're a painter not a writer. Blogging is a lot of work, and nowadays with Instagram and other micro-blog platforms, blogging seems less and less important. But consider keeping up with a blog if for only two reasons: 1) It's a great way to get used to telling your story and building up momentum in your marketing campaigns, and 2) SEO, SEO, SEO. Blogging is one of the best ways to generate content on the web for free which ties into the first point. Try and blog monthly or weekly if you can't do it more than a few times a week.
- You're not using social media effectively.
- I started offering trainings on Instagram for artists, because so many of us are simply clueless in terms of how to effectively use the platform. And not just Instagram, Facebook is still one of the best platforms to reach buyers and gain a following for your work. FACT: I got my very first sale online in a private Facebook group because I asked (more on that later). So don't sleep on Facebook! And get your Instagram game up :)
- You don't have a shop.
- This almost feels like a no-brainer but the fact is, many artists are still afraid to go ahead and pull the trigger on their online shops. Would you run a store without a cash register? Then get a shop going on your website if you don't have it up already. And if you still don't have your own domain yet, Etsy is still a viable option to start collecting some coins. Make it easy for people to spend money with you. Trust me, it works.
- You haven't asked for the sale.
- The last point I'll make today, but also the hardest. It's so difficult to translate online that you're not just painting for fun, that you're not just a hobby artist. One of the best ways to do this but also the scariest is to actually ASK "Would you like to purchase this painting? If so, email me or DM for purchasing details". Or better yet, put a price right next to your image along with the details and title. This is a subtle but crucial shift that puts you in a category of "professional artist (as in you are collecting money in exchange for your work)" and not just another hobbyist with a smart phone.
Access the recording for an in-depth look at how I transitioned from a hobby artist to a full-time professional artist in this recorded workshop. Bonuses available as well for additional support!
Writing here from the beautiful mountainous town of Oaxaca after weeks of traveling through Mexico. It's been months since I've been back home and yet I can't figure out where the time went. I'm slowly but surely finding my groove here and learning more each day.
Traveling will do that to you. Art residencies will also do this.
My artist residency in Puebla lasted for 5 weeks and was honestly one of the most enriching experiences I've had as an artist in a while. It was my very first artist residency and I see why artists to do them. Not only did I have space and freedom to create lots of new work, but I was also challenged on an intellectual level that I haven't felt since college.
We were given weekly reading assignments that was the equivalent of college Sociology, Archaeology, and World History. Our readings were anything but light, and addressed head-on the topics of colonialism, oppression, representation of women and people of color in art, all the way up to genocide and even a new one that I learned: epistemicide (which is the killing of systems of knowledge). My days were like a mix of painting, eating drinking affogatos, and reading Audre Lorde essays. Yea, it was intense. I cried a lot, and the director of the program told me this was normal. That I should be unravelled. And you want to know the question he asked me that made the tears come streaming down: What are you passionate about?
What are you passionate about?
Years ago, I wanted to be a lawyer and defend the rights of marginalized people. I was and still am deeply disturbed by injustice. Today I am not a lawyer or an activist of any kind so clearly I get to cop out as an artist right? Well, no.
This residency challenged me on such a profound level because it demonstrated so clearly that art is one of the most powerful tools of communication. That beyond the pretty images, beyond the beauty, I exercise a very real level of power every time I pick up my paint brush. Artists have the ability to make people feel but even more so we have the ability to make people think. Even in the most abstract ways of creation. And even more so, the residency reminded me that many of the works in museums (and out) helped define culture, the way we view women, the way we view the poor, the way we view Europe, the way we view Africa, and on and on. My goodness, I'm telling you, it was very moving.
Over the course of 5 weeks I was called to tap deeper into my calling and respond. It's a lifelong process of course. I know that in many ways I am just scratching the surface but somehow creating painting after painting gets me closer each day to that place of true mastery, vulnerability, and authenticity.
After weeks of intense work and reflection, I took a week break with a group of women on a lovely retreat in San Miguel de Allende. It was a nice change of pace not only bonding with like-minded souls and lots of jacuzzi chats under the moonlight, but to switch to my other hat, getting clearer on my goals for Amira Rahim Art.
I am so fortunate to be able to send art all over the world, no matter where I'm living. I am able to send prints at a moments notice for art collectors on a budget, or mail one of my originals to clients as North as Canada and as far as Dubai. Now I feel like it is time to step into bigger shoes and build more of a community with other color lovers like myself. In other words, holding space.
There's something magical about when artists and creatives come together and I would love to host workshops more regularly to share the wealth of art. I have already tried my hand at this in Abu Dhabi when I lived there and online in my PassionColorJoy community. So I will be gearing up for more things like this in 2018.
In the meantime, I just found a new studio space right in the heart of Oaxaca and I'm ready to get busy! The best part is, they are interested in me teaching some art workshops here as well. Anyone up for a little Mexican painting getaway? Stay tuned...
So this long update is just to say that I am incredibly grateful to be deep into the heart of this artist thang. I hope you are (re)committing to your passions too whatever they are. You don't need to travel to do it. But you may need to cry some crummy tears and swing in a hammock after. :P
I also wanted to note that the price of my prints are going up soon. Today only, grab them at the old rate while you can. It's not a sale price, but the price of my prints is about to go up due to increases in my costs to produce them. If you've been eyeing a certain print, such as this one, now is your chance to get it before the price increases.
"All of Your Angels" Fine Art Print available still with 2016 pricing starting at $45.
Let's keep in touch! Sign up for my mailing list for new studio updates and special offers.
A familiar frenemy for most of us. And an all-too-common companion in our studios, businesses, and lives. This blog post is a short opening on a topic that I've been discussing a lot lately.
Last night I did a talk with ModernThrive on selling art online and I decided to lead with the four letter word itself.
Because I think if you can get comfortable with feeling fear, the fear of making an ugly painting, facing rejection, making mistakes, and occasionally failing, that will set you apart as a professional artist. Here's a short clip from the workshop:
While necessary at times, fear has no place in our art practices. When I'm working on a painting, I push myself to move past my comfort zone every time. It's so easy to get attached to paintings in the creation stage but I truly try and practice detachment until I am completely satisfied with the result. Basically, if it's good, I ruin it. I paint over it. I push on.
I ruin something good in order to get to something great. It's a scary process but it has paid off well for me artistically. And I believe it starts to trickle into other areas of our lives at well.
As a small business owner, I make a lot of decisions. Most of which there's no clear right or wrong answer. It's mostly about seeing what works (or what doesn't) and then applying that insight into future choices. What works for one person's audience or clientele will not work for mine and I think it's important to keep that in mind when we're comparing ourselves to other artists and brands.
You can be successful and do it in a completely different way than other people in your same industry.
And in many cases, you should. We should be willing to be a unicorn. Go out on a limb, and take the road less traveled.
It can certainly pay off right away, but it will always pay off in the end if you're doing it for the right reasons.
How do you deal with fear in your studio? I would love to hear from you!
To create this post, I decided to partner up with @methodhome as part of their #fearnomess campaign. I've always enjoyed their soaps and with the many chemicals I use in my studio, it's nice to clean my hands with something people-friendly, animal-friendly, and non-toxic. Do you any of you love their products also?
It's been a crazy year, no? I hope you're well wherever you're reading this, and sending you lots of light.
I wanted to officially announce my upcoming plans for Amira Rahim Art. This show's going on the road and I wanted you to hear it from me first! A month ago, I shared in a video that I was waiting to hear back from an exciting opportunity: I applied for an artist residency in Puebla, Mexico on a whim and sort of unexpectedly. Well, out of nearly 300 applicants, I was accepted into the program!
I will be doing a 5-week long study in the vibrant, culturally-rich city of Puebla, Mexico and I am so excited. The program, Arquetopia, was founded by internationally-acclaimed Mexican artist, Francisco Guevera. The program will start on January 23rd and will go into the first week of March.
I will be painting and soaking up as much as I can in this town. Hopefully make new friends, and embrace this new chapter of my life. In August, I turned 28 years old and took a hard look at my life and what I wanted going forward. I had to let going of a lot but I believe it is necessary to make space for what's truly meant for me. It's been rough. But necessary. Scary. Liberating. Truthfully, I'm still a little frazzled. I don't know how I'm doing it, but I am. I'm stepping into bigger shoes, and tapping into more of who I am each day. And right now, that includes being in Mexico, close enough to my family if I get a little homesick, yet in a new country, starting anew.
I invite you to the journey.
I have decided to close my shop on January 12th. This will allow me to get all orders out in time and put the rest of my belongings in a safe place while I am away. There are some wonderful originals remaining that would make great gifts for the new year. Anything that does not sell by January 12th will be packed up with me and a few suitcases as travel companions for south of the border.
That's all for now! Here are some important dates to recap:
---> Last day to buy an original painting: January 12th <---
Shop officially closes January 16th - January 23 (I will be in Playa del Carmen)
Artist Residency in Puebla, Mexico: January 23rd - February 27th
San Miguel de Allende March 2-7th
For a special treat, use the code: MEXICO to get free US shipping on anything that you order this week! See what's in stock at today.
P.S. If you've been to Mexico, and can offer any tips and suggestions, please leave in the comment section below. Thanks!