Digital Strategist. Storyteller. Troublemaker.
Tell me about the moment that the Abundant Artist became a reality. How did it evolve?
I was working in digital marketing and I have a lot of artist friends. They kept asking me questions about how to sell art online so I started blogging about it. It was pretty bad at first because I was just posting occasionally and about any topic that came to mind. After a while I put some structure to it and then people started asking me about classes so I offered them. The whole thing snowballed from there.
Now TheAbundantArtist.com is the biggest resource for artists learning to sell art online. We have over 400 pages of content, dozens of interviews with artists from all over the world, web design services and courses on selling art online. Sometimes I look back at what we've published and have no idea how we even got where we are!
How important do you feel it is for an artist to have a strong and supportive community?
Every person needs a support network. Most artists need a money person, a tax person, at least a few friends to pull them out of the studio now and again, a business advisor, a spiritual advisor and probably a person or two have some fun with.
We need this because we can only know so much. We are much better off when we specialize and let other people fill in our knowledge gaps.
You can get bogged down in a community. If everyone around you is of a similar mind. Keep it diverse. Make friends who aren't 'creative types.'
What's your feelings about society's perception of the "starving artist?" How must this change?
I've written about this extensively here and here and here. Did you know that the idea of the Starving Artist was really introduced by a poor writer in 17th century Paris named Henri Merger? Henri wrote La Vida Boheme, about the poor Bohemian artists. He died in obscurity, even though his book was a minor hit. His book was turned into an opera, La Boheme, which inspired the musical Rent.
I have met hundreds of artists who make a great living selling their art. There are lots of artists who don't make a living, but there are also far more entrepreneurs in every field who fail to make a living wage. The Starving Artist is just an excuse used by those who won't take the time to learn to run a business.
How has social media played a positive role in the income of artists?
Social media, and the internet in general, has made it more possible to connect with art buyers and collectors directly. Where galleries used to be the primary way that an artist built up a following, now any artist can put up a website and with a lot of hard work, create their own following. I've known artists who refuse to use galleries because they make plenty of money on their own without the gallery owners.
Tell me about ArtEmpowers.me. How will this help other artists?
ArtEmpowers is a site I started with Melissa Dinwiddie. It's all about helping artists learn the skills it takes to successfully sell art online. There are 10 lesson modules on mindset and marketing, nearly three dozen interviews with artists making a living wage from their art, and monthly coaching calls meant to help you take action on a consistent basis.
Cory Huff is a storyteller, actor, director and digital strategist. He teaches artists to dispel the myth of the starving artist. Cory lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two cats, Kieran and Laoch.