00:01 Here we are. Alright Ashley. So Ashley, I came across your story. You were a painter and you have had great success using Instagram to market and sell your work, but at the end, so that’s what we’re going to talk a little bit about. Before we dive into that, can you just give me a high, like for those who don’t know you, uh, just a little bit of background on where you came from and how you arrived to where you are today.
00:29 Um, well, um, again my name is Ashley Longshore Instagram handle Ashley Longshore Art. I have been a professional artist for 23 years. Um, I’m a self taught artist and uh, my whole career, um, and my marketing for as long as I can remember has revolved around music technology and using methods of getting my name out there that aren’t costing me money. Um, you know, I feel like the world has changed so much in the art world and we don’t have to depend on number one galleries and giving up the deeper and number two, running full page ads in magazines to get our names out there. Now there’s a much bigger, larger audience. Um, and we’ve got so many tools to do that free. So, um, that’s, that’s been a big part of my career and, and, and I’m trying to teach other artists, you know, it only takes a few minutes a day to put yourself out there. You just have to be brave enough to make that step and allow the world to embrace you. How I built my own career and um, ended up doing huge Glo, uh, collaborations with companies like anthropology, uh, the fashion house, Chloe. Um, yeah, I’ve got a huge global collaboration I’m working on right now with a Japanese cosmetics company that I’m very excited about and actually got another big collaboration this morning. So a lot of these things are happening just from putting myself out there and just being brave and just seeing what the world thinks of me
01:54 and it’s working. Okay. So we’re going to go into a little bit of those specific mechanics of how you go, how you would suggest artists go about putting themselves out there. And I would just want to affirm what you’re saying. So you know, a lot of what happened, you know, I used to work in the music industry and MP three s came along and disrupted the entire music industry and actually, so in some musicians really got taken out and some started to thrive and then it happened with publishing. And then some authors who were really locked into the publishing houses, they had a hard time and they struggled quite a bit. And then other authors did what you did, starting to build their own platform and really had some great success. And now it’s time for visual artists to catch up. So you’re a great shining example of, you know, keeping up with the technology. And I want to say one thing about it. It’s not every freaking channel and every piece of technology that you have.
02:50 No, no, not at all. And it’s amazing now how you can link up. Like, um, now when I’m visiting them in Instagram, I’ll just link it in with that Facebook. I’ll link it with my Twitter. Sometimes I’m not, I’m not a big fan of Twitter. Um, I, I’ve just never really gotten into it. But, um, yes, you don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be on everything and you don’t have to spend hours a day doing this. One thing that’s important to me is that people will say, oh Ashley, could you see this online? Did you see that online? And I’m like, no, because a lot of times I’m posting what I’m doing and then I’m back on my easel. I’m back meeting with clients. The idea isn’t that you’re on social media all day long, put make your post, go home, get in bed. I have a glass of wine and then scroll through and look at what everybody else is doing. But you know during the work that you need to be working.
03:35 Right. So let’s talk, let’s take this, let’s take, so what are three things? Let’s say, let’s just say you’re talking to an artist and let’s just say he or she is going to use Instagram as their primary channel. And like you said, you can also link with your content to other channels to say, we’re going to start with Instagram and let’s just say this is intimidating to them or their neck, or maybe they’ve done it. They’re not quite sure what to do. What are three things that they should know about this whole thing called social media, online marketing, which three things they should know and then what we’re gonna do it, we’ll move into three things they should actually do, but what are three things they should know?
04:17 Well, I think, I think what they should know is that their channel is their channel. So your Instagram or your Facebook is your this, this is your, your life. This is not the six o’clock news. This is not CNN. You can say and do whatever you want. This is a platform to use for you to a show. What inspires you, for you to show your process, for you to put things on there that make you laugh, you know? And then that’s really how I use my Instagram is that I really try to capture my personality on there and things. And I’m interested in and thoughts and I’m having, and then I tie that in with my artwork. So they all sort of cohesive. So I think you know, what you need to know is there, there are really no rules here and you can be as creative with your feed as you are with your artwork. Um,
05:03 that’s an excellent point. Yeah. It’s another mode of expression, right? So it’s that simple.
05:08 Oh yeah, absolutely. Don’t, don’t be too, you know, you don’t have to take this thing to seriously. The thing of it is if you put yourself out there and somebody doesn’t like you, all they have to do is unfollow you. Okay. Or, or you know, I mean, I’m speaking in terms of Instagram because I think it’s so easy. They just unfollow you. Like if you’re, if you’ve got somebody on your feed, they’re boring you to tears that Preston pictures of babies and food. You’re over it. You want to follow him. It’s very easy. If somebody says something nasty on your feet, he may be worried about that. You just block them. You know? I mean it’s, it’s really, it’s simple. It’s harmless. And the bottom line is there’s no harm that can come of it. Putting yourself out there in this way. This is a platform for images.
05:50 So if you are, no one’s going to die. Yeah, I mean this is, this is an, and just let me say this. If you are a struggling artist and you’re trying to pay your rent, this is three. So there’s nothing that can come out of this that is going to do any, not going to do anything but get your name out there more. You know, I think too, a lot of people don’t understand hashtags. So when you’re, when you’re starting out with Instagram, you know, you don’t go crazy with hashtags. I usually don’t do more than three or four. Um, also if there’s somebody that you really love and you start putting, add this and add that, that can get, you know, that can get a little aggravating. So you know, don’t, don’t worry about hashtags in the beginning. Maybe always Hashtag your name with what you’re posting. That way when someone is looking you up or trying to find you, they can find your hashtags. And then go directly to you. That’s something that I do, but don’t be intimidated. That’s the main thing. Don’t be intimidated by social media.
06:50 Okay? So one of the things, so we talked about the three things that people should know is that first of all, no harm is gonna come. Nothing’s gonna. No planes are going to crash. So people are going to die. You can die and you can block people to do that because it belongs to you. I think I heard you say about what they should know is just have fun and use it as a vehicle of expression just like you do any other form of art. Right? And then, um, the other thing that you suggest that people should know is don’t go crazy with hashtags. Keep it to three or four and always include them
07:26 aided by hashtags. If you just get it, don’t worry about all that. You’ll catch on to all that. Okay. So just put your toe in the water is what I’m hearing you say is I’ll post something and I’ll say on the easel or in the sketchbook, you know, people that are not artists are fascinated by that whole process. So you could post an image of yourself drawing or racing something. I mean, now with technology you can do a little video, can do something in slow motion. And so it’s so easy and it’s so creative and it’s such a wonderful marketing tool. So the other thing you should know is it’s easy and it’s free and it works. That’s our goal not to utilize the social media.
08:04 Okay. All right. So let’s pretend we’re talking to someone who hasn’t done this yet. All right? They haven’t, they haven’t. They haven’t. Um, maybe they tiptoed or maybe they haven’t even started. What are three things they should do before, either before they do it or as they’re doing it? What did, what should they actually do? Great things that they should do to get started with their Instagram. Yeah. Who just restarted with, yeah, and we’ll start, we’re going to, we’re going to focus on Instagram because that’s what we’re talking about here. But yeah, just pretending. You don’t know, you’re talking to your grandma or you’re talking to someone else. Just test, use this
08:40 post post things that you love, posts. If you’re trying to get people to follow you and for people to understand you post images that you love. If it’s a New York City skyline, you post that it’s San Francisco, the bridge that’s all lit up. The led light to shoot a little bit. He said, God, look at this bridge. It’s so beautiful. You know, if it’s a picture of something another artist has done that inspires you, posts that maybe start off that way so it’s not so intimidating and then work up and to putting in your own artwork on there. So I like that. I mean it’s, this speaks a lot to just be in you. Like that’s your, how are you going to be successful is just be yourself. You can’t be anybody else. Just like you knew what you are uniquely drawn to his place to start.
09:25 Okay, a purple is your favorite color post something that’s the color purple and say, isn’t this just divine? I don’t know why, but I’m just, I’m fascinated by this color. I mean, it could be something as simple as that. It could be a picture of Mick Jagger or anything in the world. The world is your oyster here. So we will look at the basic mechanics. I’m assuming no one knows they’ve done the [inaudible] done this before. Some, sometimes you’re left with the impression you addressed this a bit earlier. They gotta be doing this all day long. So let’s talk, when we talk about the three things they should do, how often should they do this? I mean, I think you could, I mean, when I have feeds that I really love, I could have aggravated if they’re not posting a lot because I, I, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m into it, I’m inspired by and I love it.
10:12 It makes me laugh or they’re funny. I think that that could be a personal thing. You may want to make one good post today in the beginning and then you may want to work up where you have more followers and you’re getting more reaction on there. And then maybe once you’re having that, you want to post more than once a day or you, or maybe you’re like super inspired and you have a budget of images in your phone and you can’t wait to post them. Maybe wait a few hours in between posts, you know, but the people that are responding to you, number one, most of my collectors are on social media now. You know, they’re going to want to follow you out of the ghetto because they love you as an artist, um, to your friends and family are on there. They’re going to be a fan of what you’re doing and hopefully supportive of your art career.
10:50 They’re going to give you some love on there and you just really thought on that whole exchanges. It’s awesome. It’s fun and it’s what you’re saying is find your own pace, but just fine. Just keep a pace. Right. Okay. Is there anything else they should do or not? Do, I mean, I mean if we’re, if we’re just talking about using social media to further your art career, you want to put yourself out there as an artist and that’s what this is all about. Using social media eliminates the gallery and at the, at the end of the day, what I hope for all artists is that they stop giving up 50% 200% and that’s been the crux of my career. If I keep 100% of my profit margins, I can have my own team, I can hire my own publicist, I have a lot more capital to go out into the world and be creative and being inspired.
11:40 So when we’re talking about using social media, this is about if at the end of the day you having a broader reach and the world being very small. I mean for me, when I make certain posts on Instagram that relate directly back to my website, I’ll pull up my Google analytics and I watch, I watch what page they’re on, I watched where they are in the world. I watch, they’re in Japan, they’re in China, they’re all over Europe. London’s firing up Canada. I mean, it’s amazing when you really look at the science of what we’re doing here as far as marketing, which is free, how small the world is and how great your reach is. And that is the thing about artists. We just want to be loved, accepted and understood. And what that translates into is dollar bills. Benjamin Franklin’s putting himself out there, you have nothing to lose. Just go for it. Don’t overthink think it. Like you’re wanting me to give these specific steps. I don’t think that there are any, you get the account, start putting pictures, look at how other people are doing there.
12:40 No, I think that that’s a valid way to talk about this because everyone, it’s like paint, right? Like how you use paint is a way the hell different. I use pain, right? Both use paint.
12:52 Yeah. So like you go in and you start to, let’s say you want to search, um, let’s just say Karl Lagerfeld or somebody and you go in and you look at, um, you know the users for Karl Lagerfeld. You Go, God, I really love that feed. I love how there’s pictures of flowers. I love how there’s pictures of Paris. I love how they’re showing shoes. I love it. Have the accessories. I love these other painters on there. Thank you. Say God, I love the way that feed looks. I kind of want math need to look that way. I mean I find myself looking at my images and going, Ooh, there’s too much black and white. I want a pop of color. You can really be creative with this. And then
13:26 they just singles tool. You can treat it as it. Yes, you can treat it as a catalog or a or a or is a canvas itself like that, a whole montage of images and you get rid of creative inspired by it. So it’s, so I think what, you know, the big takeaway here is that this is really built for creative visual artists.
13:44 There are no rules. There are no steps really other than to just do it. When as artists, when we wake up and we are, we are doing our craft, we don’t go, okay, here’s this step and that step. We just do it. Follow your heart. And you do it and using social media is the exact same one.
14:02 That’s awesome. That is awesome. I think that’s great advice and the mechanics are not that complicated and there’s plenty of instructions if you’re hung up on that, but I think your, your advice is spot on. So if you could give other visual artists one piece of parting advice, like if you look back on your life, right? Let’s just pretend you’re looking back on your life. You live this fabulous life, been as successful and impactful artists and you, someone brand new comes in and says, give me your wisdom. What would you say to that person? What’s one piece of parting advice?
14:32 My wisdom for that would be that although it may seem as though I’m the, I’m a successful artist now I and, and I do have success, but I have a lot of goals that I’ve yet to reach. What every artist out there needs to know is, is that there was a decade of my career when it just struggling, it was struggling and it was working. And understanding this business, understanding who my collector is, maybe not being able to pay my rent and, and realizing, okay, somebody wants to see my artwork, I’m going to take every painting I’ve got. I mean, there were times when somebody would want to see a painting. It, I would take 50 over there because I would knew if I take 50 I could probably sell something. So, you know, so much of my success that I’m having right now is based around the fact that, number one, so many galleries told me that I was not marketable, which is hilarious now that I was named one of the leading female entrepreneurs at the south by Forbes magazine.
15:29 I get the last laugh and these are all people that not only would have taken 50% for me, but it looked right at me in the eyes and told me I wasn’t marketable. So I’ve got the last laugh of them now. Um, but my greatest advice is that this entire, this entire career Aqi compare to planting a garden when you were first starting. If you’re first starting with Instagram, when you plant seeds in your garden, you’re not going to get fruit the next day. We have to tend the soil, we have to keep the rabbits out of there. We have to make sure that we’re not distracted and we had to make sure the water is right. The Sun is right, the environment is right. We have to tend to our garden so that eventually we do have the fruit, the fruits of our labors. Then I can tell you this from where I am right now, once you have the fruit, you got monkeys and all kinds of things trying to get the fruit. Well, circle this, the goals that you set for yourself as an artist out there, you will, you will go through the circle of achieving that goal and then you will make another goal and this circle will never stop. I want all of these artists look at their career as, as a garden or like fishing. How many lines do you have in the water? You know, the basis of being an artist is not different than being an entrepreneur at all. Entrepreneurs fail as much as they succeed.
16:46 Well, actually I this to this point, I insist that artists don’t refer to themselves as having a career because they don’t ever have a w two they don’t have a career. They have a business and you’re very much treating. You are very much an entrepreneur or Forbes doesn’t highlight you because you got a career, the hell that you, cause you have a damn business and it’s profitable.
17:06 That’s right. That’s right.
17:08 Right. This is so, so true. And I love the fact that you’re talking about you’ve got to do this and it’s an iterative process, right? You start with that goal, you go around and then you get, you meet the goal and guess what? You gotta do it all over again with a whole new set of obstacles and a whole new set of criteria.
17:26 That’s right. And the cool thing about social media is, is that once you start to collect some great collectors and you make sure and let them know that you’re on social media, then they will tag their friends and I’ll go, oh my God, I’d be falling as an artist is or this is really cool. You know, and then, and the next thing you know, you don’t know who’s looking at your feed. And then you know, like for me, I get emails all the time for people and I’m like, oh my God, had no idea that person was even following me. And then these massive opportunities are happening and it strictly is from putting myself out there, right? Height, the step. You have nothing to lose. The social media, it’s the greatest tool I preach. This is the time of the artist. This is the time to maintain control of your career and 100% of your profit margins, screw the gallery.
18:12 You do not need them anymore. And I will tell you this, if you do use a gallery, you make sure that you’re taking 50% from you, that you, you position yourself as a business person. You say, okay, well if you’re taking 50% for me, what full page ads in you running for me? Where are you going to be promoting me? What? What work are you doing? What collectors? What VIP appointments are you bringing you to? Are you going to let me know who my collectors are? Do you have the leverage to negotiate if someone sees you as being marketable out there? Right. And if they love them, you go do it yourself.
18:43 You know, in a way, Ashley, it seems like the biggest favor those galleries did for you was telling, you know,
18:52 well I’ve got galleries all over me right now.
18:54 No, I mean, initially when you started, when you were talking about your story first started, you got no, no, no. I mean, in a way that turns out, it looks like that was a big fat favor.
19:05 I love proving somebody wrong. I love it. And I don’t want to call it revenge, but living well is the best revenge and you know, being written up and you know, huge magazines and being recognized by Forbes, I just, um, let’s put them in my alumni hall of fame from at Boarding School. I mean, it’s insane. I’m not even 40 yet and it’s all just from putting myself out there and, and, and proving people wrong. 100% yeah. Well, wonderful.
19:33 All I want to thank you very much for your time. We’re going to put this, we’re going to put this out into the blog. I’m going to actually share this with you, the recording, and we’re going to put this out and artists who thrive great and on Facebook channels and people are Facebook page so everybody can see it. Great. I congratulate you for your success and I’m not surprised based on the things that you talked about and how you talked about it. I’m not surprised. Thank you so much. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna I would lay money down. There’s going to be a lot more success to come
20:05 in your, you know, when it’s all that hard work. Um, I’m up at 6:00 AM and I worked till about nine o’clock every night. And so, um, that, that when you’re American or not, if you’re a successful artist, if you’re successful at anything that you do, you work.
20:18 Yeah, that’s right. There is no way around it and want to remain relevant.
20:24 That’s right. On that note, thank you so much, Ashley. Thank you. Have a wonderful day. Thank you. Bye Bye.