Artist Interview Series: Judy Clement Wall
For this week's artist interview, CAN invited artist Judy Clement Wall to share her behind-the-scenes process and her promotion strategies with all of us. Please join us here for a weekly perspective on the many ways our artists market and sell their work, from licensing to online shops to social media, and everything in between. Let's hear it for artists!
Q: What marketing approaches have worked best for you and why?
A: Being on social media (mainly Facebook and Instagram for my art) has been the best strategy for me -- not just for selling my stuff, but also for sharing my process and myself. Especially on Facebook, my goal has been to be as authentic as possible and to build community. On Instagram, because it's so visual, I've been more art-focused, but even there, I try to infuse my posts with as much of 'me' as possible. On all my social media platforms, I'm very conscious of my post mix: a little bit of selling, and a lot of art and shenanigans.
Q: Does marketing yourself and your work make you feel uncomfortable?
A: Yes, very! I wish there was a way to do this without having to market myself.
Q: How do you get past that discomfort (if you do)?
A: Besides paying attention to my mix and posting a lot of non-marketing stuff, I mostly try to just be myself. I acknowledge my own discomfort when it's appropriate, and I use humor a lot. Once, in my plea to have people come to a library event to hear me speak, I said that I'd intended to have a box full of puppies for them to pet, but my brilliant idea had been nixed by the library. (Because libraries.)
Q: How do you make money from your art (full-time job, freelance work, selling things online, and in what balance, etc)?
A: Most of my art-related income comes from publishing (fees, advances, royalties) and commission work; only a small percentage comes from online shop sales. (I might do better if I paid for advertising, but so far, I haven't.) I've begun to teach classes and speak at events, which I'm hoping will grow into a more significant part of my income, but I'm just getting started on that. Think good thoughts for me!
Q: How important is making money from your art?
A: It's important. It validates me, gives me confidence. And as much as I love what I do, I'm not rich enough to do it for the love of the work alone; finances are always a concern. I keep my eyes open for new non-soul-sucking revenue streams, and I'm willing to try things to see if they work. I think artists/illustrators have to throw a lot of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.
Q: How often do you share your work and on what channels?
A: I try to share work online every day, although I don't always make it. I share work on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on my site/blog. Even when I don't have work to share, I try to post something every day. I think you can only get from social media what you put into it, so I try to be attentive. I like and leave comments on the posts of people I follow when I have time, and in my own feeds, I really focus on engagement. People have a lot of choices online, so I'm grateful when they've taken the time to like or comment on my posts, and as much as possible, I make sure they know that.
Q: Do you share in process/finished work vs more salesy promotional content?
A: I share way more process/finished work than salesy promotional content. And even when I'm sharing sales-focused promotional content, I, as much as possible, infuse it with humor and heart.
Learn more about Creative Action Network artist Judy Clement Wall and check out all of her CAN work. For more artist interviews, visit our blog.