Guided Goals Podcast #25: Launching Your Art Career with Alix Sloan

Alix Sloan PodcastAre you an artist?

Looking to launch your career in art or another industry?

Want to know what you need to do?

Alix Sloan joins us on the Guided Goals Podcast, and we’re going to talk about Launching Your Art Career … or any career. As an author and arts professional, Alix writes both fiction and non-fiction, lectures at art schools and organizations, coaches artists, curates exhibitions and works with a wide range of freelance clients. She is the author of Launching Your Art Career.

Alex shares tips for getting started, pricing, networking, and more. Although these tips are geared at launching an art career, many of them are relevant for everyone.

Getting Started

The first step is to identify what you want, because it will help you figure out your path. Once you get you head around that, you can move forward.

Next, be prepared. Get any material you need together (artist statement, protfolio), because you want to be ready

Then network. Build a community. Your best community are the people you go to school with now. Cultivate those relationships, because you never know who will be where down the road.

Pricing your Art

Alix says for a detailed insight, check out the lecture she did on pricing art at the New York Academy of Art. Watch it here.

Art is worth what you can get for it. “If you want to get paid to paint by the hour, paint houses,” Alix says.

It relates to where you are at in your career. Time and materials don’t matter. Price it as low as you are comfortable. Your art isn’t working for you when it’s sitting in your house.

Another way to figure pricing is to look at people who are at the same level you are at, whose work is similar. Also, look for guidance and feedback if you are showing at an art gallery.

Once you are established as an artist, then you can raise your prices.


Regardless of price, material, or type of art, you have to get your work out there and market yourself. Start where you are going to start and grow it from there.

Marketing applies to everyone.

Alix talks about how after she self-published a book, she realized they have to market it. (Pet Sitter, cowritten with Amy Eyrie.)


Build a community. Find people who share similar interests (even those that have nothing to do with your main focus), and build relationships on and off line.

Remember, nobody wants to have an empty opening. If go to other people’s events, they will show up when it’s your turn.


Alix shares some of the mistakes people make in their art careers.

  • Pricing work too high. Being too precious about it. You can’t go backwards on pricing.
  • Isolating, not going out. Even as people’s careers grow, they may become isolated. Don’t do that.

Also, put yourself into other people’s shoes. If someone at a gallery or show doesn’t get back to you, be considerate about what may be going on in their lives.

A gallery is a relationship. You need each other. Keep it positive.

Work/Life Balance

When her gallery was open, in January 2008 – November 2011, Alix says she had no life. It was great, but her whole life revolved around her business.

Her decision to close the gallery had to do with a massive raise in rent but also because she realized she needed to find work-life balance. Plus, she wanted to do other things too. Also, in 2012 she met the man who is now her husband, and he has more of a 9-5 schedule. Unless she needs to, she tries not to work on the weekends.

Time blocking, which she learned about in an article on Entrepreneur magazine, has helped her be more productive. She hasn’t totally done work-life balance, but she is getting better at it. Alix realized she needs flexibility and boundaries.

Personal Goal of the Week: Don’t be hard on yourself. Even better, be kind to yourself. Take a whole day or a weekend off and give yourself a break.

Professional Goal of the Week: Put your ducks in a row, so your materials are together, for when you get a yes, they are ready for you to send out.

Bonus Goal: Go to someone’s opening, booksigning, anything. Support them. Then you’ll start building your tribe of people to support you.

Want to learn more about launching your art career? Listen to the entire interview on iTunes or Stitcher.

Download the podcast.

Watch the video:

The Guided Goals Podcast gives you the tools, direction, and resources you need to pursue your passion project. Thanks for tuning in.

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About Debra: A project catalyst, Debra Eckerling works with individuals and small businesses to create a strategy, set goals and manage their projects. Follow Debra @GuidedGoals, Like Guided Goals on Facebook, Subscribe to YouTube.