Artist Shannon Fannin at work

Guest Post
by Mixed Media Artist & Art Marketing Insider
Shannon Fannin

Austin, TX, United States

Twenty years before I became an artist, I had a career in marketing. Through a series of lucky events, I got a job working for a large property management company in California and was responsible for all of their marketing needs. I handled all promotional literature to clients and employees, advertising with magazines and newspapers, the company newsletter, team building events, and much more. During that time, I learned many lessons that have been beneficial to my art career. Now that I'm a professional artist, I believe in passing some of those lessons onto other creatives, as it helps our industry grow and flourish.


I am currently working on an article for a magazine. In order to write my article, I needed to consult with well established, professional artists. They were interviewed and asked to provide me with a few photos of themselves to incorporate into the article. While going through this process, I realized that what I needed from these artists would also be needed for other aspects of their marketing life. Things that all artists should have available just the need arise. Below I share these tidbits of information as they can help you down the line with your career.


From time to time, take a photo of yourself while creating. Take photos that show you creating what you do (i.e. painting, drawing, writing music/book/poetry, bead/textile work, sculpting, dancing, acting, etc.). Let these images show the real you, even the messy hair, paint covered overalls, and cluttered art table. Photograph your creative environment. Have someone take these photos for you, or you can easily take your own with a phone and photo timer app. Make sure they are not blurry. Keep these digital images in a file on your computer for future use.

Artist Shannon Fannin at work


Ask someone to take a photo of you with your work at events pertaining to your career (exhibition, charity event, a booth at festival/convention, with a commission client, etc.). These photos give others a brief look at what you do outside the studio. Be sure to post these types of photos on your social media and art websites. Use hashtags so followers can find your work (Examples: #wip, #painting, #artoftheday, #illustration, #musician, #design). This also helps the venue you are exhibiting with. Make sure to tag the venue in your post (Example: #sdcomicon, #artfest, #dallasartfestival)

Each year, update your professional profile photo. This is a photo where you look your best, is well lit, and in focus. This photo is often needed for promotional literature for an upcoming event, media coverage, etc. You say you can't afford a professional photo shoot? No problem. Why not barter with a photographer friend or fellow artist in your community?

Artist Shannon Fannin at work


Most of us delight in viewing a behind-the-scenes peek when it comes to a creation? Being privy to an evolving concept makes us more appreciative of the final outcome. This is also true with you and your creations. Your social media followers, current and prospective clients, and media coverage readers/viewers want to see your art and YOU creating it. Taking time to photograph and share yourself in the studio or at an event provides a glimpse into your world. They make you approachable and human. Also, keeping these photos readily available will enhance articles written about you, press releases, social media posts, promotions you run, and on your art website.


Many creatives, tune out while creating. It is second nature to shut out the world while we are in "the zone" and not stop to share our process. We don't realize that taking a moment to photograph and share when we are at work can be a great benefit to our career and build our audience. Of course, a perfect world would allow us to concentrate solely on creating and collectors, galleries, and media would be beating down our door. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Continuously marketing, interacting with the public, and promoting art sales are all BIG PARTS of a successful career. Thankfully, social media and a digital camera/cell phone have made doing this work far easier. Granted, keeping up with posts and images takes work and time management. However, the effort does pay off in the end. What you post today may be seen by a future client, editor, or curator. Your image just might find that avid collector or gallery looking for an emerging artist. Finally, remember that a successful art career is a fine balance. When you put in the time and effort, positive results are sure to follow.

Feel free to share this with other creatives you know.

You can keep in touch with Shannon through her social media and webpage:

Shannon Fannin
Expressionist Mixed Media Artist
IG: shanfannin
Twitter: @slimyfishy

Shannon Fannin  - After 25 years of working in a variety of professions from teaching to marketing director, Shannon returned to her true love, Art. She took a handful of courses to reacquaint herself with mediums and started to build on her expressionistic style. Being a great fan of color, Shannon prefers working largely in many media including: pastel, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, ink, and acrylic and usually combines many of them in mixed media pieces. She enjoys bringing chrome and carbon fiber alive through her vehicle paintings, conveying the human form and imagined still lifes. She loves sharing the marketing experience she gained prior to becoming a full-time artist to help other artists be more successful with art as a business.  See more of Shannon's incredible work on her website.

Re-posted with permission by Shannon Fannin.