This is the third of three “Just Steal It” series emails on stealing like an artist. You can check out part one and part two by clicking the links if you missed them. 

It’s important as an artist to pop your head up from your desk or canvas for a bit and take a look around. 

Look beyond even what your competition and other artists are doing in their businesses.

Look to industries beyond the artistic. They can offer some great transferrable ideas for marketing your art that can help you stand out from the same old, same old.  

The Cosmo Factor.

Look to the magazine rack at your local grocery store. 

It’s sitting right there while you wait to check out your frozen raviolis and Ben & Jerry’s. In that regard, they have you captured – you’re stuck there… but honestly those magazines have the BEST headlines in the world. (Click here is you want to read the NSFW feminist version of a Cosmo cover. LOL!)

They’re provocative and ask interesting questions… how can there POSSIBLY be 100 ways to “pleasure your man”? 

…hrmmmm …how many do I know?  What am I missing? *furiously pages to article*

“Yeah, She Squats…” paired with 3 bootylicious photos of the most perfectly round derrieres I’ve never seen in my bedroom mirror. 

What is THIS? I must know immediately. 
(I am surprised to learn it’s less about how to lose weight and get a great ass as it is about how there’s pages on Facebook and Pinterest devoted to ample bottoms and a more natural figure – hooray!)

And then there’s this:

“Know a dude in the sweet spot between average weight and overweight? He’s probably following the trail of cheese cubes I left for him that leads to my vagina.” ~ Anna Breslaw

How can I NOT want to read that? 

…oh, just me then? Okay.  haha… moving on. 

The point is.. (and I have one – wait for it), is that the trashy magazine rack is a gold mine for provocative headlines that you can use when you write to your email list, title blog posts, share event and news links on social media… 

Ask provocative questions. Create interest and intrigue. Pair seemingly disparate things together (like my headline on this email – “What does Cosmo, Cosmetics and Cars have to do with your art?”). 

I wrote a whole article for the email list on headlines. Click here if you missed it. 

Look to the magazine rack (or just google the online versions) to get immediate inspiration on how to spice up a clickable link. 

Because you’re worth it.

My assistant Elizabeth just recently left the art world to pursue a career in the competitive high-end cosmetics world of Holt Renfrew & Louis Vuitton. (It’s actually still art – now she practices the art of cosmetics.)

This is a completely different world from the one I’m used to. Her stories boggle my mind.  

Appearance is so important.

Clothes and make up are an essential part of the sales process and must meet brand expectations. You can be sent home if your clothes or make up do not meet the minimum standard expectations for the cosmetics counter. 

Full make up is required everyday and Liz has been asked repeatedly by her boss to wear more. (Liz never wore any makeup working with me and the first time I saw her made up for Holt Renfrew I thought she was going to a night club. Her makeup is beautiful and flattering… it’s just so much.)

The image is the point at the cosmetics counter.

They are selling an image and selling the feeling associated with that image – so the employees need to be reinforcing that image and feeling as well.

The image they’re selling is one of beauty, glamour, specialness, VIP, unique, cherished value… 

Cosmetics counters offer free makeovers to introduce us to the products, but also to be able to create the feeling associated with the image by the cosmeticians. 

We are seated in a chair and a beautiful woman pays attention to our beauty and enhances and praises and compliments and we begin to feel beautiful, glamorous, special and cherished. 

The cosmetician also has the magic cosmetic knowledge of how to minimize our faults and hide our flaws. 

Getting a makeover is an intimate experience – and one that almost always guarantees sales. 

That’s because the connection of image to feeling is solidified through the makeover.

A really good salesperson will be able to sincerely see and mirror the beauty and value of the customer back to them.  

The customer associates that feeling of value with the cosmetics.  Buying the cosmetics allows the customer to capture a little bit of the magic they felt during the makeover and recreate it for themselves at home.

This isn’t truth. It’s all created.

There is core truth to the cosmetic industry – everyone wants to feel valued and beautiful and cherished and special. 

Cosmetics tap into that.

They can actually help by enhancing appearance –  but we’re actually paying much more for the feelings we experience (the marketing), than we do for the actual products. 

Cosmetics are brutally expensive and regardless of what the manufacturers have claimed they’ve added to the mix to make it cost more than it’s weight in gold, most cosmetics are actually simple products with relatively the same ingredients. 

CBC’s Marketplace aired an episode called Price Tag Confidential exposing the reality of cosmetics cost versus perception of value. 

…and there’s the part that you need to pay attention to:

Perception of Value

The cosmetics industry can teach artists a lot about creating perception of value. 

Look to the image and the feeling that your art creates. 

Your created image:

What does your art look like online?

• spend some time first considering how you want your art to be seen by your online audience

• spend some time first considering how you want your audience to feel about your art

pay attention to the photography of your art

• consider the surroundings of your art

add backdrops and props to your photographs to enhance the feel of your art

• look to your own appearance when you’re on display showing your art (this one bothers me and I’m going to have to write about this later because I’m conflicted…)

• consider whether your style and appearance in photos on your website and in person at shows and conventions portrays the kind of image you want to create with your art.


Your created feeling:

How does your art make people feel?

• spend some time considering the “feel” of your product

• is the image and feeling of your art synchronized across all areas of your business?

• at shows and conventions, create price cards and displays that represent your brand effectively.

• put some effort and thought into it – you don’t want to come off cheap and half-assed

• show you’ve got quality

For your art – choose quality materials. Don’t buy shitty intro paint and crappy canvas and expect to have the same perception of value as someone who’s taking more care when choosing their materials.

It doesn’t mean you can’t use intro products – just don’t expect to create the same level of value as good quality.

There is no objectivity in business and marketing.

It’s all about what you create and what you force the buyer to see. 

I’m not suggesting that you lie. Not at all – I am suggesting that you use what you’ve already got and emphasize it. 

Also – look to the cosmetics industry methods to create high value and price to your art products. 
Watch how they photograph, present, package, write and speak about their products. 

All those same methods can be stolen and transferred to your art. 

The POV.

POV is point of view. 

And point of view is the car industry’s number one method of creating feeling and connecting us to their vehicles. 

The Ant’s Eye View.

 This is common with the pickups and big, beefy, masculine-y cars and trucks. 


The purpose of the ant view is to make the viewer feel small and vulnerable – that in turn makes the truck in the ad appear to be the solution to our feelings of insecurity and weakness. 

Case in point – every single one of the pictures on this home page sets the view at below eye level of the truck.

Several of the images make it look like we’re seconds away from being run down. 

The message is clear – are you going to get run over, or are you going to be doing the running over? Buy this truck and that problem is solved. 

The Bird’s Eye View.

 This is common for fast, performance type cars. 


They offer us views of winding roads and often compare the car to airplanes and jets.

This evokes feelings of flying and speed which represent the freedom offered by these cars.

Google Nissan and BMW ads and they’re rife with bird’s eye views. 

The Stable Minivan.

 Compare the above with a search of minivan ad images. 


The stable minivan keeps us reliably at eye level and wows us with interior room and storage capabilities. 

We’re friendly, reliable and will keep your family safe. No running anyone over. No escaping on oceanfront adventures.

We’re safe in your driveway with a back full of groceries. 

What’s your art POV?

Do you create a point of view for your buyer? 

• consider how you set up your photography for your art and products

• What is the perspective of the viewer?

• make sure it aligns with your larger brand goals

• Do you include detail shots?

• Do you allow the viewer to really experience your work?

• What feeling are you creating by your perspective?

• What connections are implied to your artwork by how you display it – on the internet, at shows and conventions?

What’s your art position?

How are you positioning your art in relation to your buyers?

• not just in photos, but in your language and writing too

• be aware of snobbery or condescending tone when you’re speaking or writing about art.

• conversely, be aware of talking or writing about art like your audience is a bunch of idiots. 

• use language that’s comfortable and natural for you

• write in a casual speaking tone

• talk to your potential buyers like they’re good friends

• imagine particular favourite collectors and customers when you’re writing promotional materials

• direct all images and feelings and writing about your art to those specific people

• they will “get” you and your message and brand and you will attract more people like them to you art. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg for stealing from outside industries. 

Start watching what promos on tv or print ads or offers/specials catch your attention.

Start asking yourself why you’re interested, what about that connects to you. This will start training your brain to consciously see the marketing that’s everywhere.

Once you see it – you can start stealing the ideas for yourself. 

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