Tara Reed – Licensed Artist Extraordinaire – got into art licensing from a marketing perspective. She was a trained marketer, and not so much an artist. But she liked the idea of art and marketing as a union and is now a very successful artist and art licensor: Licensing via marketing.
Artists, from the great masters like Picasso and Van Gogh, to more recent popular painters like Thomas Kincaid, were artists, not marketers, and now their art can be found on so many products! Licensing via artisanship.
There’s an expression: Bloom where you’re planted. It took me a while to get what that one meant for me. Now I know. I’m an artist; that’s where I’m planted. And I must be a good gardener if I'm going to bloom in a healthy and lush way. So, that means pruning the bushes. What are the weeds? Simply my ignorance, and it's easy to deal with that. I just have to know what I don't know, so that I can find out! In the interest of honesty, then, here it is: I’m not a marketer. But I can learn. I can plant some of those brand new seeds now, while I prune the bushes of my ignorance.
Letting myself share my art, benefit from it financially, and love my life is the whole point of this exercise! That's my intention. So, to bloom where I’m planted means (1) letting myself accept the opportunities that come my way, and (2) figuring out – or just being honest about – what I don’t know, so that I can learn.
More honesty: I’m not a businesswoman…hold on. Wait just a minute there. I just sold 20 greeting cards for $2 each to a local book shop. They additionally asked me to be their artist of the month this coming August; my work will be in their window for an entire month! An artisan shop in Livermore, CA (The Artistic Edge) is going to carry my cards and giclees, and also asked me to be part of some art events in January and February where I will sell some of my work. And someone hired me recently to make some artwork for them to use on a flyer for their workshops, and paid me $250! Do you know what this means? I’m a professional artist!!!!
And in case you’re thinking: Well, that’s not art licensing, I’m sticking my tongue out at you, because I have just moved so much closer to my first licensing contract. The buzz is starting, about my work. It’s a small buzz, but it’s real. Feet-on-the-ground real. And not only my confidence, but my faith in myself and in the process is rising like mad! And my determination is on the rise, and that’s what it takes – we have to feel certain, and passionate, and determined and sure! Not “hopeful” and “wishful” that something “might” happen, because that puts the entire thing out of our hands; hoping and wishing always feels to me like expecting a likelihood that my dreams won't come true.
I deserve better than that. Rather than hope, I am going to make damned certain that I will be recognized, because I can!
I started from a place, once upon a long time ago, where I drew, but did not consider myself an artist. Then I went to a place where I felt like an artist, but not one that anyone might pay attention to. And then I started to admire my own work, after which I was able to talk glowingly about it to others, and accept opportunities and walk into them. Amazing. And now I am paying attention to teachers like Tara Reed and others who know about the world of art licensing, and offer guidance. I now know that I need to have at least 12 images of each collection to present, so that is what I am working on. And I am knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that my steps are meaningful and exciting and purposeful because they are growing me along with my art so that when I take off – and I will take off – it will be with my feet on the ground. Incredible.
You can get there from here, wherever your “here” is. It doesn’t matter where you start. Knowing that you are an artist, start looking for anything that allows the expression of that reality. Don’t insist that that opportunity (or opportunities) look like you think it ought to. Forward movement – that’s the ticket. And being humble enough to see how what you’re doing right now is perfect for the development of your person. That person that is going to reach your goals step by step, right from where you stand.
Glorious! Aren't we?
You bet we are.