BLOG*January 5, 2012

I love people whose passion is to inspire and empower others. This is one of the reasons I enjoy bringing special guests to my workshops! There is such a wealth of knowledge to be gained.

As a writer, private art-career coach, and entrepreneur who grew up in a family of artists, Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D., has learned that it is possible for an artist’s creative right-brain, and career-strategy left-brain, to become smooth-as-silk dancing partners. Ariane considers herself an artist’s ally, especially when artists understand that presenting artwork with confidence and credibility is as basic as good art supplies. Ariane uses the knowledge from her doctorate in Human Development and Creative Behavior to create a wide range of art-career materials, and events, to help visual fine artists catapult their careers to the next level. Besides authoring, “Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work” – she is also the founder and host for a professional development conference for visual artists— the smARTist Telesummit.

Greg: Tell me why you love what you do?

Ariane: Here’s what I deeply believe: What artist do for our collective society is essential to our humanity. Many studies show us that wherever the arts are thriving, the entire local economy around those arts is also thriving. This reality has to fight tooth and nail against the multiple myths of the starving artist. The outsider. The rebel. And even though these myths have sprung out of Zeus’s head of truth, it is not the whole story – or even a major portion of the story. Changing this collective perception begins at home, with the artists. My work is about all the ways I can support visual artists to do this by successfully putting their work into the world.

Josephine A. Gieger- Middleton Courthouse Majestic Oak- smARTistTelesummit Alumni

G: I love that! How would you define artist empowerment?

A: Empowerment is a state of being activated by every decision and choice we make. As we make our choices, if we pay attention to the small, quiet flame of life energy in our hearts,  we can easily feel, or see, when a choice is increasing that flame of life energy, or decreasing it. That’s where our true power lies.

Empowerment is an inside -> out reality.  A big mistake in our current culture is the way making money – an outside -> in phenomenon – has become the benchmark for how we value ourselves and what we create. Money is an essential element that supports us best when it’s in harmony with the rest of our life. However, when money flow runs the show, it steals our ability to be self-empowered and blinds us to the creative power that is the elemental wellspring of all empowerment.

G: I agree with you completely. Living from the inside out is the foundation of empowerment. Prosperity flows from that place too. Tell me about your book, Writing The Artist Statement, Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work .

A: An artist statement is a first person account of what, how, and why you do what you do, from the artist’s perspective. The secret lies in how an artist statement builds a psychological bridge between the artist and the audience. An effective statement creates a personal connection to the artwork and stimulates our human thirst for story. This in turn triggers longer memory storage about the artist by immersing the viewer in two languages: visual and linguistic.

For people who see your work, a well-written statement keeps your name in front of them even longer. Name recognition, or branding, as it’s know in business-speak, is nothing more than remembering — out of a virtual storm of cultural stimulation — what has struck a deep chord within us. Another secret is that the artist statement is not just for art patrons and gallery owners. It is also for the artist. Writing an artist statement gives artists another way to reflect on their work. When you dare to climb this small, professional Mr. Everest, a surprising view of your own work awaits you at the top.

Tricia Simmons- Silver Pod with Australian Boulder Opal- smARTistTelesummit Alumni

G: Speaking your truth this way sounds like a perfect fit with living from the inside out! I am curious about the smARTist Telesummit this January 26/27 with MasterMind Panels and January 30 – Feb 3 with 10 Keynote speakers. Tell me more.

A: Seven years ago, when I trolled the Internet, I searched in vain for a professional development conference for visual artists. I couldn’t even find the term “art career” connected to the key words: visual fine artist. Oh sure, I could find it in the “How to Have An Art Career Illustrating Children’s Books” categories, but not in the fine art arena. That took me by surprise in the same way I was taken by surprise years earlier when I discovered that artists thought artist statements were a worse fate than having a root canal. In fact, until the first conference (for that’s really what smARTist is: a virtual conference), you simply could not find anyone talking to visual artists about a “career.” About a business, yes. About how to market, yes.  But a “career?” It just hadn’t evolved to that point in our collective consciousness — yet.

My opening remarks at that first conference, January 2007, was all about the need for artists to embrace what they did at the level of a career because that was the key for turning around the starving artist myth. It was the key to shifting our cultural, collective awareness of who artists really are! In 2007, “telesummit” was part of a new, online vocabulary designed to create a clear distinction between events in our non-virtual world and our ever-expanding, transforming online world. Today, the word “telesummit” has morphed way beyond the concept of a brick and mortar conference. But the event of smARTist is still that: the equivalent of an offline, professional development conference for visual fine artists and artisans.

I tell all my keynote speakers, “Give all the deserving artists, who come year after year, the best material you have in you! After all, they shower our collective humanity with the magic and power of their creative flow, and deserve nothing less.”

Judith Gleason Glover- Hollyhocks- smARTistTelesummit Alumni

G: Bravo! How do you feel the Telesummit differs from what participants may learn in college, or other art institution?

A: First off, college and art institutions have, for the most part, completely neglected any preparation for the reality that an artist is simultaneously an entrepreneur, a business person. Even if an artist manages to find someone to take on that role for them, they are their brand. They are inextricably tied to their art even after they’ve produced it. In many ways, college and art institutions have fostered the myth that an artist shouldn’t “soil their hands” with the dirty business of business. It’s a hierarchy of myths slapping each other on the back: that somehow business is a lower order of human experience/expression than art. The result is that many artists have become handicapped because of a mindset, a perception, which, as far as I’m concerned, is as easily shifted as one shifts a camera’s focus from a mossy stone to that soaring eagle.

At the smARTist Telesummit, we aim to expand an artist’s creative experience from the studio to the artwork’s journey into the world. There is no reason for any artist to stop respecting the vision and gift of their creativity because the artwork has been produced. In fact, ushering your artwork into the world is a vulnerable and tender act of continued commitment and care. I liken it to having a baby and not leaving it in a basket on someone else’s porch.

Each year, this professional development, online conference has a new focus. This year its about learning how to connect with collectors and communicate with confidence so you get more sales.With a doctorate in Creative Behavior and Human Development, I hold a strong belief that we learn best when it’s combination of practical art-career information (with 10 leading art career authorities speaking to you over 7 days you get a lot of “practical”), and raising our inner awareness (which, this year, centers on how to define and establish your value as an artist).

Barb Beckman- Angular Reflections- smARTistTelesummit Alumni

G: It has been my experience teaching at colleges that the business of art is neglected. Most higher education teach art making skill sets with an eye on preparing artists for the gallery world, or  publishing  and entertainment industries. What would be your suggestions for artists graduating with this mind set and do you feel its sustainable?

A: There’s always room for multiple ways to be successful. Publishing, galleries, and the entertainment industries are all viable options. However, there are even more options. However, an artist’s survival depends on multiple ways to create cash flow, which is another reason the conference is so critical because it introduces artists to new ways to create income with their art.

G: I read that one of your participants came up with an idea for a TV show focused on ‘Plein Air Painting’ where he could combine his passion for painting with travel. Within a few months he had negotiated an agreement with a television network. Those kinds of stories are a testament to the inspiration your conference brings to artists. Can you share another promotional strategy that has helped artists?

A: I could pull out specific strategies, only after five conferences over five years, 46 speakers, and 62 topics, it would be like offering you one grain of sand instead of the whole, crystal white beach.What seems much more valuable to me is the huge shift that happens in an artist’s mindset. Because the conference offers such a wide expanse of ongoing, information (especially about how artists can best interface with the New World online), and 7 days of lively connection and exchange with fellow artists (the forum is a goldmine of stories, shared resources, priceless feedback, brainstorming – artists all a buzz with each other about what they are learning and how they are going to apply it to their art careers-right now!)–an artist’s entire career can catapult forward.

You can see why I’m juiced to get up every morning to do this – spend 10-hr days for months at a time preparing for one event—because I hear back from artists about how it transforms their entire vision of what’s possible for their art careers.

Laura Muir- My Garden Next Year- smARTistTelesummit Alumni

G: Sounds like a treasure trove of inspiration and ideas for artists to build from. Thank you Ariane, for your artful wisdom and information concerning the smARTist Telesummit. Artists can save $60 right now on registration until this Friday, Jan 6th. Read testimonials here.