The Marketing Tools Of Non-Starving Artists

Over the years, I have received little email ‘gems’ from Denver artist, Bob Ragland. Known as the Non-starving Artist in Denver, these emails are clever, concise, and loaded with nuggets of art marketing tools and information. 

Marketing Tools Of Non-Starving Artists

This post is a compilation of those emails along with Bob’s Marketing Tools Of Non-Starving Artists list below. Bob has been featured on NPR, he has his own YouTube channel (see video at end of post), and he is active on Facebook. I hope you enjoy his wisdom and wit.

Bob says he has found the secret to weathering a financial crisis:

  • He is big on doing simple business tactics and works on PR (personal relationships with customers) and marketing moves every day.
  • Bob gets up everyday and gives his art career the best that he can give it.
  • He may not be the best artist, but he gives the best effort.
  • Bob says, “Art schools ain’t gonna do it.”
  • Workshops would be great, if they had a nuts and boltsbusiness component.
  • Bob insists that people will spend money no matter how hard times are.
  • During recessions – people buy less, but they buy better.
  • The most neglected part of art life is the mechanics of business. Please see Bob’s good ‘art brother’ Dean Mitchell. He’s a brilliant BUSINESSMAN.
  • Send career updates to people.
  • Live cheap, have skills and low, low bills – don’t have to do no bad art deals!

Work on some home shows.
Table top shows.
Be practical.
Keep cash.
Business tactics win!
Just do it.

One of the other things that he notes is the idea of 10,000 hours.
Every single person who has perfected his or her art form (athletes, computer programmers, and musicians) each has managed to put in 10,000 hours of practice time.
This number has been one of the most notable patterns.
However, each of the above people were also given unique opportunities to that allowed them to reach 10,000 hours of practice time.

Here are Bob’s Marketing Tools Of Non-Starving Artists

The Marketing Tools of Non Starving Artists

Check out to learn about Art Futures. 

***Let’s meet on Twitterand on Google Plus, Pinterestand join in the fun at Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page! Please checkout my art too, or find me on Instagram lorimcneeartist.

About Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Artist Ambassador to Arches/Canson/Royal Talens. As the owner of, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses. Lori is also a member of the CBS Entertainment Tonight & The Insider Tweet Team.


  1. Art futures?

    • ART FUTURES- I asked some of my fans, to front one hundred eighty five dollars each. I went to Jamaica.
      I promised a painting from the trip, valued at double the money I asked for. I paid back the money with art.
      I did it 60 days after my return. I needed time to make the work. I made each painting the same size.
      I chose 12×16 inches. I framed half of the 44 works. I offered a trade back in 6 months.
      No trade backs. I( was able to work on the paintings from sketches and photos.
      It pays to keep lists of one buyers.

      • Hello Bob! I hope you have a chance to read the comments that are trickling in. You post is fresh and popular. I thank you again for sharing your advice. Thanks for following up with the Art Futures information. That is something I have not tapped into myself and look forward to learning more about that approach.

        Happy shoebox paintin’
        Lori :)

    • Hello Lucy, please read Bob’s follow up comment with regards to Art Futures. I hope his added thoughts help…

  2. I liked the photo when I saw it on FB this morning, great wisdom in the post. Thanks Lori/Bob

  3. Wonderful Article including great art marketing advice!

  4. naturegirl says:

    All really great advice here. I think Mr. Ragland has discovered that by getting his fans involved in his work before it’s done, makes it all the more special once they receive it. I like the whole Art Futures idea because it is such a great interaction between him and his fans/collectors. And they are beautiful, as well.

    I am an autodidact, I started out painting on smaller things until I got better at painting with acrylics. So I sort of stumbled into the “smaller the easier” way to sell when getting started; not realizing it can make a difference in sales.

    Thanks Lori, and Bob Ragland, for such a fresh way of looking at the business of being an artist.

    • Hello Nature Girl, how fun to see you here on my blog besides Twitter! This blog especially appeals to artists such as yourself who are basically autodidact. I am happy to know that Bob’s ideas are helpful to you and hope you can find a way to implement them into your business.
      I also started painting wildlife with acrylics. Do you have a site where I can see your work?

      Happy painting,

      • naturegirl says:

        Hi Lori :) I visit your blog all the time, just don’t always talk “out loud”. As for my backstory, I do have pictures “the old fashioned way” LOL – multiple photo albums that I’ve never uploaded onto the internet. There are a few other things, like the plaster statues (which is also how I learned how to paint) and alternate painting projects that have been on Twitter (now on my personal Pinterest page ). My Twitter eagle is the very first attempt at painting on a flat wood board, and the 3rd thing I ever painted. I look at it now and see all the mistakes, LMAO, but still show it because I amazed myself at how well it turned out “considering”. I have tried oils (and watercolors) as well, but like the acrylics since I needed the faster drying time. Back in the beginning I worked mostly with custom orders, so it would be spoken for before I even started it. Everything I have ever made, painted or otherwise, has all been sold. I know, I should have kept something for myself but it didn’t turn out that way !

        I haven’t been able to paint for the past few years due to everything being in storage and I’ve been “homeless” -in transition, whatever you want to call it- for a while now. Plan is to move back to Denver, start all over again (including waking up the painting muscles) and seeing where it takes me next. Maybe I will run into Bob one day, too :)

        Thanks for asking! :)

  5. I have read a great many art business books but Bob’s ideas are innovative and fresh, ones that I will put into action. His business plan is right on. Thanks Lori for forwarding this info on.

    • Hello Ernie,

      I can’t wait to let Bob know! I really have enjoyed following him on Facebook too. He share new ideas everyday. Thanks for taking time to comment.

      Lori :)

  6. Very nice post! Enjoyed Bob’s video and common-sense approach to marketing. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Speak Your Mind





Enter your email address: