TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 125 Famous Artist Formula


Miriam Schulman:
Well, Hey there, passion maker. It’s Miriam Schulman, chief inspiration place officer and host of the Inspiration Place Podcast. I’m here to help you reconnect with your creativity or to create bigger profits from your passion. You’re listening to episode 125, and I am so grateful that you’re here. Here’s what we’re talking about today. Raise your hand if you want more visibility for your art. And I’m talking about without paid advertising. Yeah. It’s not just me. It’s lots of you. So there’s a lot of competition out there and I hear you and you may feel sometimes that it’s hard to stand out from other artists. But there is a way to stand out from all the noise online. So if you want to be a standout artist, otherwise known as a famous artist, there’s definitely a formula to doing it. There are three ways and really only three ways to build a following of raving fans. So I’m going to go through all three of them. And then we’re going to dial in to what I think is really the king of all the formulas.

So first of all, you can have a really big platform like a podcast, popular blog or a huge social media account. However, what I’ve noticed is that people who become famous on Instagram usually are famous off Instagram first. And there are definitely shortcuts for getting there. So don’t worry if you feel like that feels like it’s futile. So let me share with you a really good example of this. Artist, Ashley Longshore was one of my first guests for this podcast. Episode number one, we’ll link to it in the show notes. But in case you don’t know who she is, she does have a huge platform. She has over 300,000 followers on Instagram, but you know what else she has? And she did this first, lots and lots and lots of press. In fact, if you look at her Instagram account and you look at the highlights, those circles up at the top if you click on them, you’ll see she has not only a whole category dedicated to press, but she has a second highlight category just for her press in the New York Times.

This globally recognized pop artist has been compared to Andy Warhol by Town and Country Magazine and The New York Post. And this is not just because of their aesthetics, their similarity with pop culture icons and how they’re branded, but also the way both Andy Warhol and Ashley Longshore understand how to use the press to build their careers. Ashley’s vibrant personality and bold artwork has been featured in major publications in the United States and abroad, including, but not limited to The New York Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, Travel and Leisure, In Style, Details Magazine, DuJour, Harper’s Bazaar and French GQ among many others. This extensive press has also led to collaborations with major fashion brands, such as Chloe, [Meta Portier 00:04:43], Mark Cross, and Judith Leiber is another one that I think was absolutely outstanding. And I also attended, she has a beautiful exhibition. I’m not sure if it’s still there at the luxury retailer, Bergdorf Goodman. She also had an outstanding collaboration with the designer, Diane Von Furstenberg.

She has a very nontraditional approach to marketing her artwork and what they say outwardly it’s via social media. And it’s true. She does have a conversation going on social media. But the second part of it, that’s really what I want you to pay attention to are the public relations that she does. So how did she do it? Now, I imagine when she first started off, she was doing the PR herself, but eventually she hired a publicist. I know this because in 2018, I downloaded her press kit and I saw that she had a designated contact in the press kit, just for handling publicity inquiries. Now her PR rep could have been an in house or outsourced, but either way, she had a dedicated person. So let me tell you what hiring a publicist involves.

Generally, it will run you $3,000 a month or more. And usually the publicists require a three to six month retainer because they know it takes a while to get traction and before you’ll start to see the results of their efforts. So if you’re not in the position yet to pay a publicist and don’t feel bad, most of us, that’s not something we’re budgeted for. You can get started doing much of this yourself in a very, fairly straightforward way to get press. I’ve been doing it personally for years. For years, I’ve been getting lots of press without spending a nickel. And this has landed me features and spotlights in Professional Artist Magazine, The New York Times, Art Journaling Magazine among others. Now I share this with you not to brag, but to show you what’s possible for you. If you’re wondering, hey, but Miriam, does this actually sell my art? Oh honey. It does.

I had an art exhibition at a nature center and the local paper published my press release along with a photo of my painting of two ducks. The fact that I was having an art show, that’s not really news. It’s not really interesting. That’s an advertisement. So if my press release just said, hey, I’m having an art show and here are the details, and here’s a picture. They probably wouldn’t have printed it. So how did I get this printed? What is the media looking for? The media is looking for engaging material that will add value to their audience. They’re looking for stories, stories that evoke a strong, emotional response. They’re looking for stories that are memorable and generate conversation. That’s what sells their newspapers, that’s what sells their magazines, that’s what encourages folks to click on blog posts or listen to podcasts. So what did I do?

Well, I told the story of those two ducks. They had names, Ozzie and Harriet. They were in love. They lived at the pond behind the library and one of the ducks was relocated to a nature sanctuary and one was left behind. And the one left behind was so sad without his lover. And finally, they were reunited. I had the fortune of painting the ducks, creating their duck portraits before they were moved. So when I had a solo show of my animal paintings, I sent the photo of this artwork and the story of the ducks to the local paper. The local paper loved this story because first of all, if featured local ducks and a beautiful love story illustrated by my painting. They featured the artwork in their newspaper, along with the story and the painting sold before the exhibition even opened. I got a call from someone who saw my art in the paper, read the story and felt a deep connection to the duck. Why is that? It’s because of the story, the power of the story, and this is not a single go standalone example. This happens all the time.

Now for Ashley Longshore, her press has led to celebrity collectors like Blake Lively and even bigger press opportunities like being a guest on Project Runway. Also collaboration’s with Diane Von Furstenberg and all of these opportunities are opportunities for more stories, for more press. Now, if you thought that her success is due to her huge Instagram account, you wouldn’t be alone. She promotes that myth it’s about the Instagram. And there are so many journalists who like to write about the success of her Instagram. And the truth is in between her splashy articles, she does keep the conversation going on Instagram. But, and here’s the kicker, the big driver to the account are the articles in these major publications, which get tagged and shared on those publication’s news feeds and share it to their big accounts.

For example, Ashley had a feature in Harper’s Bazaar. Their Instagram account has over 4 million followers. Her press in The New York Times, remember all that press she has. She has her own highlight reel just for the New York Times. New York Times account will get you in front of 11 million followers. Her spread in Vogue Magazine. Well that was worth up to 30 million eyeballs and so on and so on and so on. So here’s the thing, my passion maker friend. Stop wasting her time researching hashtags, stop wasting your money on Instagram courses. If you want to build an audience and sell more art, focus your attention on getting more publicity. Now, if you’re still not convinced that publicity works, I want to give you another example.

One of my favorite things to geek out on is art history, which is why you’ll find me many weekends at the museum, even if I have to wear a mask. And often, I come away with lessons that I love to share with you, either on my podcast or in my Facebook Lives. Some of these lessons come from the exhibitions themselves or this week, my museum musing was inspired a book I picked up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop. The book is called Think Like An Artist Don’t Act Like One, Koos de Wilt. I actually think you should act like an artist as well, but that’s probably another podcast. I’m going to link to this gem of a book in the show notes, in case you want to check it out. Now, there were lots of stories inside this book that I flagged. And some other of these stories may make their way onto this podcast as well. But the one that I wanted to share with you today is a story about how an artist, recession proved his business. And he did this 400 years ago.

So what he did to get more recognition for his art still works today. So let me tell you a little bit more about it. You’ll know this artist perhaps. Peter Paul Rubens. He was working in the Dutch Golden Age. Obviously he didn’t have Instagram or Facebook, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t shrewd about getting more eyeballs on his art and building attention and buzz. Here’s what he did. He was an artist, diplomat and shrewd entrepreneur. Just like now, he lived during a time of great political upheaval, but he didn’t let that get in the way of his art sales. After a truce in the Dutch Revolt, his workshop could barely keep up with the orders, but since he was also involved in politics, he was a diplomat remember, he knew that the peace wouldn’t last and that was going to be bad for his art business.

So he had engravings made of his finest works and distributed them around among the royal courts of Europe, meaning he did publicity. As a result, he generated demands for commissioned paintings throughout Europe. Other countries weren’t suffering financially from the war inside the Netherlands. So neither was Rubens. It’s one of the many reasons why Rubens is now famous. And what worked for Rubin’s 400 years ago, what works for Ashley Longshore today, what works for artists like me, can also work for you. Now, remember at the start of this podcast, I said there are three ways to build an audience. So one is your platform. Your platform, if you have a platform. But remember I also said the best way to build that platform is publicity. That’s number two, that’s the number two way to build an audience and publicity is free. I just want to make sure we mentioned the third way.

The third way to build an audience is through paid advertising. Now paid advertising works like bonkers for selling things like art classes. It’s a lot trickier to do it for selling fine art, which is why I always encourage my clients to focus on building their own platforms and getting publicity. Now to help you out, I actually have two resources for you. First, I’ve curated the top 20 media outlets for artists. Obviously there are literally thousands of media outlets that you can pitch to. And I do suggest that you start local for best results. However, to get you acquainted with the kinds of stories published in art magazines and blogs, I wanted to make sure we started there and that will help get your creative juices flowing for what you need to pitch elsewhere. So in our potpourri of media outlets. We made sure to include media that’s outside of the US, as well as inside the US. I did not include podcasts on this list. These are just either blogs or print publications.

If you want to get your hands on it, totally free, Again, we’ll link it in the show notes, but I do suggest you pause this podcast now and get it before you forget.

The second resource I have for you is time limited. So if you’re interested in getting more exposure for your art, I’ve got another free publicity guide. And this is from my friend, Selena Soo. So the first guide I have for you is just a list of the top 20 blogs and magazines for artists. The second resource is a guide. Now, like I said, it’s only available for a limited time. And so that I won’t have any broken links, what I’ve done is I put the download for Selena’s guide on the thank you page of my media guide. The media guide will be there whether you’re listening to this podcast, as it goes live or years later,

Now, let me tell you about Selena Soo. She is a publicity strategist, and one of the most connected people I know. She asked me to share this with you and since I know that the best way to build a huge audience is through publicity, I was more than eager to partner with her. So this guide contains 40 pages of story ideas that you can tailor to pitch to the art magazines and blogs we talked about. And it also, in the guide, will tell you when to pitch them, you can use these ideas to map out your social media and newsletter content for an entire year. So even if you think you’re not ready yet for publicity, you certainly should be working on content for your own platform. What do I mean by that? What are the captions on your Instagram posts? What are you posting on Facebook? What are you sending in your email? So all these ideas can be used for all those things.

In addition, in the guide, Selena shares her top three insider secrets for scoring major media coverage for your art and classes. Now, she doesn’t say this is for your art in our classes. She’s talking in general about how to score major media coverage. Now her first two insider secrets are great ways to approach creating your content, as well as your pitches. I do want to share with you that I did get a message the other day. It was in my DMs, asking me why the guide is being pitched to the artist community if it’s not specific for artists. And to that, I think the artist who wrote to me, isn’t thinking creatively to bend these ideas to her art. Let me give you some examples that members inside the artist incubator are using to create their own content for their blogs and to pitch stories for the press.

So an idea on page 13 led to an idea to create a pitch about how art improves mental health. An idea on page 14 led to an idea for pitching art to interior design magazines. And an idea on page 17 was perfect for the pet portrait artists in my community. So while the examples in the calendar may not be art related, they’re there to demonstrate the spirit with which one can make these topics speak to their audiences and desired media outlets. The gold is in using the variations offered as inspiration for how to bring your artist’s mind and soul to timely topics.

By the way, Selena is also going to be a guest on the podcast this spring. And I can’t wait to share her wisdom with you. Trust me. You’re not going to want to miss it. So make sure you hit the subscribe or follow button in your podcast app. We’re wrapping up so if you want more recognition for your art, you can get publicity too. The right kind of media attention can sky rocket your art sales. And that’s what I want for you, my passion maker. Don’t forget to grab your free resource that helps you identify the best art blogs, and magazines for artists. Get started today. You can grab it at, and make sure you grab Selena’s guide on the thank you page for even more insider tricks and inspiration. If you enjoyed today’s show, please tag me. I’m at Schulman Art on the gram. I’ve loved to say hello to you. All right, passion maker. Thank you so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you the same time, same place next week. Stay inspired.

Thank you for listening to The Inspiration Place Podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at, on Instagram at Schulman Art, and of course on


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