Cover of Alyson B. Stanfield's Book, "I'd Rather Be In The Studio"

Who’s got the map?

Vision and goal-setting for my art career was at the top of my pri­or­ity list when I retired as Pro­gram Man­ager at Abo­rig­i­nal Lead­er­ship at The Banff Cen­tre in late Decem­ber, 2010.

I started by ask­ing myself:

  • “Okay — you did it. You made the leap.
  • You GOT that wish that you’d “rather be in the studio.”
  • Now what are you going to do?

That has to be one of the biggest and most impor­tant chal­lenges for any artist or orga­ni­za­tion. Even on a per­sonal level, it’s quite some­thing to really think about what you want from life, suc­cinctly define it and take the action to get there. It’s another thing to get to the action of vision­ing, get­ting orga­nized, plan­ning it out and doing it.

I real­ized that I needed some help, guid­ance and sup­port in this endeav­our, despite my years of expe­ri­ence as an artist, entre­pre­neur and project/program man­ager. It’s totally another thing when you are the head of  your own orga­ni­za­tion, and I took the advice I had been giv­ing out for years to oth­ers but was so bad at tak­ing myself when it came down to it.

Get help.

Find a coach that you respect and who has more expe­ri­ence than you, to help you focus, move into action and achieve your vision. Find some­one you can relate to. Now…where would I find such a gen­er­ous coach who really under­stood me as an artist and what the spe­cific chal­lenges may be in a cul­tural indus­try in a bad econ­omy? There are busi­ness coaches out there who are a dime a dozen, all ped­dling the same wares. WHO is focussed specif­i­cally on us creatives?

In Decem­ber, I started scour­ing the art book and busi­ness sec­tions of Chap­ters, Indigo and Ama­zon to find some use­ful resources and read up on the lit­er­a­ture out there with the pur­pose of design­ing my own plan of action. After all, hang­ing out with some hefty aca­d­e­mics after six years, you learn to do the lit review first!

Before  Santa even fin­ished his last toy and got into his big red fly­ing vehi­cle, I had a pile of shiny, freshly printed new books sit­ting on the cof­fee table in my stu­dio. Merry Christ­mas to ME! I began to read, look­ing for that one Secret that would moti­vate me to suc­cess­ful action.

The “One True Ring” …and my Gandalf!

While some of the books were excel­lent, none of them stood high above the oth­ers and shone with the same prac­ti­cal advice and per­sonal man­ner as “I’d Rather Be In The Stu­dio”, by Alyson Stan­field.

From chap­ter to chap­ter, this no-nonsense approach, jam-packed with valu­able tools for orga­ni­za­tion and busi­ness strate­gies were famil­iar and yet seemed per­son­ally tai­lored for my own art prac­tice and style. This chick is up to date! She blogs vora­ciously and well on Art Biz Blog with even more tips and con­tent than I could absorb in years and she is gen­er­ous with

Alyson B. Stanfield

Alyson B. Stan­field — photo credit: Ellen Nelson

her advice, adored by her fol­low­ers and “gets” the social media scene. You really feel that she is involved and per­son­ally dri­ven to help you suc­ceed as an artist.

I’d found my coach!.…and then the hard work began.

Find out how I start the jour­ney and set my own Big Hairy Auda­cious Art Goals for 2011 in an upcom­ing blog­post by sub­scrib­ing to the Jan­ice Tan­ton Blog.

P.S. - HOT OFF THE PRESS — Alyson’s first edi­tion is com­pletely sold out. How­ever, she has an e-book ver­sion is you just can’t wait for that spank­ing new edi­tion release in April 2011  for “I’d Rather Be In The Stu­dio” (which include new chap­ters on social media!)

Thanks Alyson. I’m in your debt.


  • Alyson B. Stanfield

    Jan­ice: Thank you for your gen­er­ous words. I’m so glad that what I share res­onates with you. I am grate­ful for your pres­ence in my classes and in the Artist Conspiracy.

    • Jan­ice Tanton

      It cer­tainly does, Alyson. Keep on doing what you are doing. We are all lucky to learn!