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The Business of Art: Three-Way Interview with Melita Noël Cantú and Starla Halfmann

The Business of Art: Three-Way Interview with Melita Noël Cantú and Starla Halfmann

Ready to talk about the business of being an independent artist?

In the first 20 minutes of this 50-minute interview, Melita Noël Cantú and I discuss the multi-city project that she and her husband have developed called Art on the Roof, a unique, one-night gallery event to highlight and show the work of high-tier artists. We talk about the strategies they’re using to promote the event, as well as some of the business and creative collaborations she has built with galleries, artists, and even government officials in different cities to help promote the event.

Then, I conference in my good friend Starla Halfmann. Starla is an emerging artist who has already built a strong foundation for success, but hasn’t cracked the code to quit her full-time job and live out her artist career full-time.

The three of us discuss:

  • How to create gallery and print sales opportunities for yourself by developing a network of other artists and fans, even if you’re a shoe-gazing introvert who hates leaving your studio
  • Why having a professional-looking website is absolutely essential and can mean the difference between success and failure
  • How leveraging online resources like Pinterest can boost your print sales and introduce you to thousands of new followers and fans
  • Some little-known secrets to putting on your own shows and getting tons of people through the door



Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 52:43 min — 50.7MB)



Resources and Follow-Up

Melita (and Javier) Noël Cantú:

Starla Michelle Halfmann

Additional Resources Mentioned:



  1. I think the reason Pinterest works so well for propagating interest in artists is its visual format. Each “pin” is a personal endorsement. If viewing an image stirs interest, the consumer can wade more and more deeply into the world of the artist. Maybe into a blog, or a website, or an etsy store. The natural “buyer’s resistance” is completely eliminated.

    Faith-based systems have proven this practice to be true. I could try to model what others do, or research and read, even dabble in trying to experience different theories but hearing about life-changing moments from someone firsthand allows me to trust more easily. When I feel comfortable enough to trust, I want to know more about you.

    Sometimes art has a high-brow reputation that intimidates some people and can cause less-artist folks to feel foolish. So they resist even looking at art. Visual media like Pinterest lets the art consumer navigate ideas and styles and personalities without risk.

    I discovered Starla Halfmann’s work on Pinterest while searching for images of birds. Then I saw her blog. I began to look through her site and sent her an email to find out how to buy her paintings. That led me to finding out how she receives her inspiration to paint and a friendship was born. Now I’m telling others about her, posting her work on my Facebook feed, and planning to purchase prints of her work to give as gifts to my friends.

    Thank you for using the skills you have to coordinate an arena which supports and promotes Starla. I agree with Melita, artists deserve respect. Each one possesses a unique and special gift.

  2. Very well said, Kimberly.

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