*International award-winning artist and writer Synthia Saint James has written a practical, easy-to-read book that is chock full of practical advice for artists and others in the creative arena who are seeking to reach that “next level” in their careers.
“Living My Dream: An Artistic Approach to Marketing” is certain to become a “must have” book for any creative person who is seeking useful and effective methods to market their work to a broader audience.
The book is rapidly gaining kudos for its down-to-earth, practical advice. So much so, that “Living My Dream: An Artistic Approach to Marketing” has been nominated for the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work–Instructional. The awards will be presented on Feb. 12.
Saint James, a self-taught artist who has been widely recognized for her regal and colorful portraits of the African American experience as well as her vibrant depictions of world cultures, has risen to become a global brand–many consider St. James to be the “Oprah Winfrey” of the art world. This feat is not only due to the artist’s renowned talent, but to her incredible work ethic. That unbeatable combination has won her numerous recognition and awards over her prolific 40-year career.
“I wanted to share my journey,” said Saint James, who spent several years writing the book. Her advice for artists was candid. “You have to be your own public relations person,” St. James maintained. “My favorite Kwanzaa principle is self-determination. The most important thing is you must be prepared.”
And Saint James is a living example of her beliefs. She is the award winning author and illustrator of 17 children’s books, three poetry books, a book of affirmations, and a cookbook. She was honored with an Oppenheim Gold Award for all of her written work.
Among her many accomplishments, Saint James designed the first Kwanzaa Stamp for the United States Postal Service.
Her colorful artwork has graced the covers of over 70 books for popular writers such as Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker and New York Times bestselling authors Terry McMillan and Iyanla Vanzant.
Saint James also created an award for Africare which was presented to His Excellency Nelson Mandela for Lifetime Achievement. She also created an award for Diversity Woman Magazine’s “A Mosiac Woman Award”, one of which was presented to Dr. Maya Angelou.
Ever seeking new horizons, Saint James’ talents have expanded to include the title of architectural designer. She has become an in-demand speaker across the country and supports historically black colleges and universities and numerous charities by donating her time and work.
Saint James said she had a burning desire to pursue art from the age of five, and recounts the trials and tribulations she encountered as she attempted to reach her vision. Saint James recalls early in her career she endured the rude behavior of a gallery owner who dismissed her work without a second glance.
“You will encounter all kinds of people during your life and career; some will be very positive and unfortunately, some will be very negative,” she pointed out. The lesson, according to Saint James, is to stay focused, continue to network and to not get discouraged by negative feedback.
Saint James noted that early in her career she received some very valuable advice from renowned former NFL football player and fellow artist Ernie Barnes, who said that that artists have to be proactive if they really want to be successful. “Ernie made a place for his art,” noted Saint James. “That taught me to don’t sit back and let someone try to find you. You let them know that you are available.”
Saint James, a self-taught artist, chronicles her own stumbling blocks to success—everything from not having enough money to ship her paintings to an exhibition to Paris to encountering art gallery owners who dismissed her work. She tells her readers to let go of fear and doubt and to follow their dreams and passions. Throughout the book, she chronicles her own trial and tribulations as she climbed the ladder to success.
- – Among the advice Saint James offers is that artists should establish their signature style or style so that art enthusiasts can recognize one’s artwork on sight.
- – She also advised becoming part of or establishing a small group of artists in order to share information and exhibition activities.
- – The serious artist must carve out time to paint. Saint James recounts rising at 4 a.m. early in her career to paint before going to work.
- – Saint James said it is important for the artist to let people know that they are an artist, and that creating a website for one’s work with listed contact information is essential. She emphasized that volunteering the information that one is an artist could lead to a commission or other artistic work.
- – The creative person should pay as much serious attention to their finances as their art. Artists should always have a signed letter of agreement or contract with anyone they allow to exhibit their artwork. She urged having an attorney or legal consultant go over the details of all contracts before agreeing to a verbal or written contract.
- – It is also important to keep a copyright on all produced work and that before selling an original painting, one should have a high resolution digital file, a tiff and a jpeg scanned.
- – The creative person should utilize any new skills they learn on their day jobs to further their creative work. For example, Saint James revealed that she once worked in an advertising office compiling advertising media kits. St. James used this skill to personally put together a professional package/media kit. She also learned the importance of creating business cards and personalized stationery to maximize interest in her artwork and sales.
Above all, Saint James is a big believer in affirmations and ends the book with 31 positive sayings that uplift and inspire. Her motto: “Life is magnificent! Accept, release, relax and enjoy!
Synthia Saint James will be on hand to sign her book on February 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, call 323-208-8911.
Synthia Saint James’ numerous awards include recently being honored with the prestigious Trumpet Award for the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. She was also inducted into the National Organization of Women Business Owners Los Angeles, Hall of Fame. She received her first honorary doctorate degree (Doctorate of Humane Letters) from Saint Augustine’s College, Raleigh, North Carolina, where her foundation, the Synthia Saint James Fine Arts Institution, is being established.