Artist Spotlight: Shawna Elliott

Artist Spotlight: Shawna Elliott

Shawna Elliott - Shawna C Elliott Art, Fayetteville, AR

Shawna Elliott has lived in California, Idaho, Oregon, Wisconsin, Colorado and currently resides in Northwest Arkansas. She is an award-winning artist, selling and exhibiting her work nationally. Shawna has taught acrylic painting workshops and classes since 2010, and she currently offers creativity coaching, and workshops along with online courses. Although mostly self-taught, Shawna continues to expand her knowledge and skills by taking workshops from today’s art masters.

Describe your work.
I primarily work in acrylic paint and some mixed media. My art encompasses a broad range of subjects including animals, flora, people, the ocean, and pure abstracts. I gather inspiration from my personal experiences, unique landscapes, nature, and what I dream of being or doing. You’ll notice three recurring themes in my artwork. First, vibrant and bright colors are trademarks of my style. By using cheerful colors, I seek to inspire joy in the viewer. I also love texture, so I use a lot of paint, which invites viewers to touch my artwork. I enjoy seeing people physically engage with my pieces. A third theme you will see is movement. I often use defined brushstrokes, texture mediums, handmade papers, and thick paint to evoke a sense of energy.

How did you get started in the crafts business?
You could say that I stumbled upon my art career at a one-day summer acrylic painting workshop. I had no idea that I could paint or whether I would even like painting. It turned out that I loved painting, and I couldn’t believe I’d lived 42 years without it! After a couple of years, I was teaching others how to paint. Then, it wasn’t long until people started purchasing my art.

How long have you been wholesaling?
I am new to wholesaling this year (as of Sept 2017), so I look forward to working with buyers and expanding my product line.
What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
I consistently work to build my email list. I grow my list at all my live events and shows, with an opt in offer on my website, and by offering free training on my social media. Nurturing the relationship with my followers is an important aspect of my marketing. I also create a marketing schedule, which I use throughout the year. Each month I use various promotions. They can be related to upcoming holidays, seasonal, and/or exclusive offers. I sincerely believe there is no better way to market my brand than meeting people face to face. I exhibit at juried art shows throughout the nation, display at trade shows (like ACRE), and reach out to prospective clients with a quick chat over coffee.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
Currently, my wholesale is about 15%, as I’m new to this part of the business. 50% is retail and about 35% is commission. I plan to expand the wholesale part of my brand this year.

How has IndieMe helped your business?
IndieMe provides me a cost-effective way to expose my brand to a large number of boutiques and shops that appreciate high quality art and unique art-gift items. Their marketing and online platform is the perfect way for me to reach new buyers.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?
Never give up on doing something you love. Just keep going. Eventually you will get the right opportunity. Always have your business card handy. Follow up on every lead you receive. Even if that lead doesn’t “pan out,” it may set you up for something even better. And, remember to treat every client like he/she is your best client.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
Host events that foster relationships with your clients. Events like “Meet the Artist” night, “Artist Autograph” session, or a “Demo Art Day” lets your customers get involved. Use social media. It’s such an easy way to connect with your audience. Hire a social media assistant if you’re too busy to schedule posts. Build loyalty by developing relationships with your clients. Birthday and Holiday cards are a great way to let your client’s know you care.

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