The business of the art business

If you're a self-supporting potter or artist, you might be interested in a recent presentation I was honored to give for the Ventura County Potters Guild.

Here's the link: What do you make? Who is it for? What are you REALLY selling?

Being a self-supporting artist is not for the faint of heart, and the climb can feel like just too much on some days. On other days, you're already at the top of the next hill and it's a fabulous view.

It takes a certain kind of entrepreneurial spirit to enjoy this kind of climb. I've been working as a studio potter and workshop leader for more than two decades, and I still feel the excitement of making this dream come true. 

To be clear, I didn't jump head-first into being a full-time potter-artist. Instead, my path included many years in a "paycheck career," running a design/marketing firm as I steadily learned my craft and built the foundations of my studio practice. 

I'm often asked what advice I'd give to potters just starting their own studio practice. Before issuing any sage advice, I ask the money questions: Do you need to support yourself with your art? Have you prepared a business plan with an outline of your expenses and a clear path to cover them?

It's not magic. And, yes, it can be very discouraging to take a hard look at the bottom line. But it can also be empowering. 

If you'd like a few tips, and some suggestions for resources to learn more, check out this discussion on zoom I was honored to have with members of the Ventura County Potters Guild. There's a step-by-step about my own journey with photos of my studios through the years as well.

You'll see specific examples of how to identify possible markets for your work and ways to reach and work with your collectors.

The presentation is free and is one of a line-up of talks available through VCPG Videos on YouTube. (Note: Please feel free to fast-forward through the introduction portion of the talk with my rather tedious explanation of my background.)

Here's the link:

What do you make? Who is it for? What are you REALLY selling?

A few images from my talk with the Ventura County Potters Guild on the reality of running a studio... and how artists can succeed by providing experiences and creating memories.