power artist excellence in art and social mediaTara Reed is a marketing dynamo who’s passion for art licensing is infectious. I had the opportunity to speak with Tara a last week and really was impressed with her art marketing knowledge and her use of social media. Tara shares her secrets to success below and shows us how she encompasses the definition of a #PowerArtist.

“PowerArtists are the social media ‘rockstars’ of the art world! Not only are they talented creatives, but they understand how to harness the power of social media and use it to promote their art careers. #PowerArtists are inspiring and freely share their knowledge with others.”

woman artistMy name is Tara Reed and I’m a self-taught artist with a background in business – I believe this is why the art licensing world clicked for me. Licensing is art for commercial purposes and I love both the design and business sides of it. I’ve been creating art for licensing full-time since 2004, and began sharing what I’ve learned about how to license art online in 2008. I’m an artist, a salesperson, a writer, speaker, teacher, mom and more…

1. Describe a typical day in the life of a #PowerArtist.

Most days start with a plan and end having changed the plan several times. I always have a “to do” list with projects I’m working on, people to contact, and things to get done. But in my business I find that things can turn on a dime and I have to be ready to turn with it! Art emergencies do happen!
It isn’t uncommon to receive an email from a client mid-morning asking me to tweak some art or fit it to a template – “yesterday if not sooner please!” It’s important to be flexible and respond quickly or opportunities can pass you by.
Generally my day starts around 6:45 am when I check email, check in on social media and do some basic “get organized for the day” tasks before heading down to breakfast with my son. Once he’s out the door to school, it’s back upstairs to work.
I don’t stick to a strict “business hours schedule” like many that I know – I like to keep my days flexible so I can work-out and grocery shop mid-morning when it’s less busy. Of course that often leaves me working into the night. I find I do my most creative work early in the day or in the evenings and allow myself some downtime if needed in the afternoon.
If I’m at my computer, I regularly jump over to Twitter or Facebook to interact with friends and feel connected to the outside world. I don’t know how I survived without this link to others – it’s a constant source of help, inspiration and banter.

tara reed

It’s hard to describe a typical day because each day brings different projects, different time schedules and different opportunities. I love the variety and having control of how my hours are divided – I always get my work done, but not always in traditional time blocks!

2. Give an example of how you use social media to promote your art business.

I use social media in a variety of ways, my two favorites being Twitter and Facebook.
I consider my art career to be two pronged:

  • creating art that I license and teaching about art licensing.
  • I use social media primarily to promote the teaching side of things as well as socially.

I use Twitter (www.Twitter.com/ArtistTaraReed) for real-time interaction with others so I feel less isolated working from home. I equate it to chatting across cubicles when trying to explain it to people who work in offices and just don’t get Twitter. Twitter is also a great way to let artists know what I’m up to on the info side of my business – I tweet links when I blog, make sure people know about upcoming events, new products, links to useful information I find online and more.
I have three Facebook portals:

One thing I do in my art licensing info business is a free monthly Ask Call (more about that in the Giving Back response.) Last year I started getting artists interacting on Twitter and Facebook during the calls. Thankfully I love to multi-task so while I am interviewing experts or answering questions myself, I can also keep my eye on the streams and see what artists are connecting with, what other questions they have and what might need more clarification. It also helps them to connect with other artists with similar interests – it’s a great way to interact in real time and get feedback!
I am on LinkedIn but don’t use it much. I prefer real-time interaction to forums but do plan to look into how I can use it more effectively for my own art licensing.

3. If you could meet any artist: past, present, or future, who would it be and why?

This was a harder question to answer than I anticipated! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some of the artists I would have listed two years ago – what an amazing realization! But today, I wish I could have met Norman Rockwell. I’ve loved his art for as long as I can remember – I think it’s the expressions on the faces and the emotions they inspire when you look at them. He created “feel good art” and I think it would have been great to have lunch with him and talk about his background. What made him want to paint, why he painted what he did, how he looked at life, etc. I imagine he’d have many great lessons to pass on!

4. If your art could be displayed anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Lori you ask the tough questions – especially for an artist who doesn’t think about her art as “being displayed”. I love nothing more than “visiting” my art in stores – where it is on products. So I guess I aspire to do a large line of products with retailer – where it isn’t just one or two products but a full line of coordinating things for the home.
Macy’s – if you are reading this post, feel free to contact me! Same goes for Target or any other retailer looking for an artist who gets the business, has the design experience and works as a team player to create what you need to sell products.

tara reed

5. What sage advice would you give an artist who is just starting out in his/her career?

The best advice I can give someone starting out is to believe in yourself, be open to critiques, do something every day and always, always, always keep learning.
Confidence is key and learning to accept critiques that are meant to help us improve and move forward in our art career of choice is so important. At the same time, know when to take things with a grain of salt so you don’t lose sight of who you are as an artist.
Doing something, anything, every single day is also incredibly important. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Apple or Microsoft. Continual effort towards a goal will get you far!

I can’t remember where I heard this first but the idea is this, “If you are doing the same thing in the same way you did it last month let alone last year, you are probably falling behind.”

Things are changing and it’s important to keep learning about new ways to create, to market your work, to connect with others and more. What if I’d never tried Twitter or started a blog? My life and business would be so different than it is today! Become a life-long learner and you will be constantly amazed at what you can do.

6. As a #PowerArtist, what do you do to ‘give back’ or ‘pay it forward’ to your community.

While teaching about art licensing is part of my business, I do a lot of ‘pay it forward’ things for the art licensing community. I blog extensively, speak and write articles about how to license art but I think the thing I’m most proud of is the Art Licensing Monthly Ask Call Series.

  • Each month, artists submit questions they have about art licensing to me or other experts in the art licensing field. I’ve had website experts, an attorney and agent participate.
  • I’ve had the extreme honor of interviewing artists like Paul Brent, Mary Engelbreit, Debbie Mumm, Jill Seale, Drew Brophy and his wife and business partner Maria, as well as Dena of Dena Designs.
  • The calls are free each and every month for anyone who wants to listen live. The mp3 replays are free for each experts first call and available for a nominal fee for subsequent calls.

The time and energy I and the other experts put into these calls is probably much greater than most would imagine. But the end result is great information and inspiration for the artists and very rewarding to be able to give back for the experts involved.

  • When I did my first call in December of 2008 I couldn’t have imagined what this series would turn into and I am humbled with the response from everyone involved.
  • Artists can learn about upcoming calls as well as past replays at www.ArtLicensingInfo.com/audio-archives.html


I personally want to send out BIG thanks and a hug to Tara for being so generous and for sharing such powerful inside information with us here. It will be fun to go into the stores and look for Tara’s great designs! I pinged Macy’s and Target…so who knows, let’s keep our fingers crossed! ~Lori 🙂


To learn more about Tara, art marketing and art licensing information, please check out the links below.

You might also enjoy these other articles:
#PowerArtists Interview with Maritime Painter, Annie Strack
#PowerArtists Interview with Painter and Sculptor, Robert Girandola
Announcing the First #PowerArtists for Excellence in the Arts & Social Media
Why Artists Should use Youtube Video Marketing
10 Important Things Every Aspiring Artist Should Know: Part 1
10 Important Things Every Aspiring Artist Should Know: Part 2
5 Reasons Why Artists Need Social Media & Eye Opening Stats to Back it Up!
Newsletter Art Marketing Tips that Work!
5 Common Traits of Successful Artists
The Importance of Value and Tone in Painting
Selling Art on Facebook: One Artist’s Way
PS. Let’s meet on Facebook and Twitter!

Privacy Preference Center