My Published Article

August 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been writing articles about what I know about the art business. This is to get my writing abilities up to snuff for writing my book. Well, I submitted an article to the Bespoke ziene and they published it in their 7th issue! I’ve posted it bellow along with some photos!

Marketing Your Art

Nikky Illustrates

Painting can be so rewarding. This is true for the artist and the viewer because art gives us more then we expect. It brings people together and shares a perspective that inspires us all. Do you paint without anyone seeing your work? This may be because you aren’t getting your work in front of a receptive audience or any audience at all. Don’t let you talent go to waist and share the passion that drives your brush strokes and brings your imagination to life.

Remember that everyone is an art critic in their own way and so having a piece of art out in the world can be daunting. However it’s thrilling as you art is a great conversation starter as well as a good looking décor item for anyone. It’s the future prized possession for anyone! Unfortunately no one will see or even buy your art if they have not seen it. This is when you put down the brush and get out there with your canvases!

Read, Research, React

When it comes to showing or selling your art, every venue will not be perfect for you. Your art has its own life and will need to find its place in the world. There are plenty of opportunities just right but they need to be sought out. For example you will not show well in a contemporary gallery with a traditionally painted scene. It just doesn’t fit and there will be too much contract between the style and venue so that your painting is forgotten. That’s not what you want. Your art needs to be at home and shine in the best light possible.

So to start the search for finding the right place to hang your art you need to fist find the identity of your art, what type of style it is. Do you paint traditionally, in the contemporary style, decoratively or maybe you work in an abstract way. The list of styles in long but it’s an important step in discovering how your art will be viewed best. Which ever one word you use to describe your art is its style. There are plenty of resources that will tell you exactly what you need to know to categorize your specific type of art if you need more help. Or if you have been taking classes or copy a style, most likely this is the best place to start looking. With the added bonus of the internet there are resources closer then ever.

Utilize these same resources and find comparable artists to yourself. Compare your art to the others similar to your own and makes notes about what makes your stand out from the crowd. You’ll want that information up your sleeve! While your comparing art see who the other artists are working for, what they are doing, where they are showing and learn from your research. This is not about copying their career this is fact finding so you have a direction of possible similar options in you area. If they where showing in family bistros and a local library then family friendly venue may also work in your favor. Does your town hall or local community center show art? Also, don’t be afraid to show in similar venues as other like you, if it worked for them it may also work for you. Make a list of all the locations you know would suit your work and pieces you may want to display.

Now that you have information about your art and where you could do well showing it it’s time to do something about it! It’s not enough to know where you would want to show, you need to use your new knowledge and do something for yourself and your art. This means reacting to what you know and do something about it! Give it some though and make a strategy for yourself. Represent your art and yourself as an artist in the best way to suit the situation. When you go to a place your keen to show at, bring some sort of card or paper with your information and possibly a sample of your work to give out. This does not mean an original!

Social Media

This is a new and exciting event in the world of networking. Social media has made it faster, easier and more convenient to show, promote and get seen. Don’t push yourself to do something your not comfortable with. Do try and escape from a comfort zone you may have built for yourself and explore this new possibility. It’s not always easy to start something new so start slowly and build from there. Some networking venues are free and others are not but whichever you choose, be comfortable with your decision. By reading reviews about the site and the sites own guidelines you will inform yourself about the site and be able to make the best decision for yourself. You wouldn’t paint in the dark so do be in the dark when it comes to spending time on these sites. If it becomes overwhelming you can always ask a friend or get a computer tutor from your local library or community center.

Send Promotions

Sending promotions is not best for everyone. However they can be very useful to you. A promotion is generally a small note or post card that shows you’re a working artist interested in doing business that you sent to prospective clients. It will have a sample of your work, your name, contact information and small description. “Landscape oil painter focusing on light and movement.”

Working for someone for one singular project is also referred to as freelance work. If you want to work freelance you’ll need to target specific art directors and art buyers in the media you’re best suited for. Research who your work would best suit, their names and addresses. Send these people your advertisement promotion in the mail. These are referred to as mailers. The key here is to grab their attention and showcase how wonderful your work would look in their business. It’s about what you can give them! This option is a lot of work and generally little response will come of it right away. Be wise about who you give it too and the pay off will be higher. Make sure to be clear about how to get a hold of you so they can reach you when something you’re suited for comes up. It can take years for some companies to get back to you but when they do, make sure to service them as soon as you can.

Have a good website

A lot of people in today’s business world won’t consider a company viable until they have a good looking, functional website. This is no different for artists! Can you imagine, most people don’t want to pick up the phone or take a walk, they want to search for your work before they get up or pick up. No joke, this little bit of web space will get people to recognize you as something special and someone working. The best part is a small website doesn’t have to be expensive (Although it can be!) as long as it has good design, is easy to use and showcases your work and contact info. Don’t use a lot of wild colour or dancing images. Keep it simple and clean and you’ll get best results because more people will be able to appreciate your work. After all you don’t want to distract from your art!

As always see what others in your field of art are doing. Compare and contrast what you think works for them and improve on these critiques to make your work stand out online. With globalization, anyone from anywhere can hire you and will if you have a good working website.

Show in a Gallery

How daunting it can be to show your art in a gallery for the very first time! Everyone has an opinion and will feel free to give it without the least consideration. This can see harsh at first but once a thick skin develops it become useful to any artist. Think about what people are saying objectively and you will see only half is said by someone who knows anything of art. Then take that half and work on the negatives to improve yourself. Reject the overly harsh and always remember the good. See, showing in a gallery is a lot more fun and exciting then you thought!

The great part about showing in galleries is the ability to enter artist groups. The hard part is that a lot of high end, popular and prestigious art groups won’t accept an artist who has never show in a gallery. This is because galleries are prestigious and a lot of work to show in. It shows the art group you work at your art seriously. Don’t worry about this for now and keep record of your displays no matter the location.

Entering a gallery is easy; you just walk in the door and look around. To show in a gallery is a whole other world! To do so you must talk to the gallery coordinator to find out who they accept. Some galleries wont accept artists who haven’t shown before but don’t despair! Most galleries have a submission guideline which makes the process easy. Some galleries ask for what is called a proposal. This is a type of essay broken into sections explaining who you are, what you do, what you want to do at this gallery, when you want to do it, how you plan to do it and other such questions. Your proposal can be up to several pages (always typed) including images. The key marks you’ll need to hit are who, what, when, how, why and how much $. Take one bite at a time and go slowly. Once this is done you’ll feel much more confident in your work!

Generally galleries will charge %50 TO %65 of the sale price of each piece sold. Make sure you’re being paid fairly for your time, supplies and effort then double this price for the gallery. For example if you used $38 of supplies, spent ten hours of your time which you deem is worth $15/hour and you want an extra $100 for your efforts your calculation would look like this; $38 + (10 x $15) + $100 = 288. Since the gallery agreed upon %50 of your art you would then double this price selling your art for $576. However your number should be round. So you may want to price your work for $600 in the gallery.

Finally you MUST have a contract for your and the galleries protection. Don’t sign your soul away for a little wall time and make sure you understand every word of any contract! Finally don’t go into the agreement unprotected and make sure the gallery is insured.

Galleries can be fun to be in but they are a lot of work. Once all is said and done you’ll be happy for the experience and a little richer for it too.

Be Creative

You’ve already proven you’re a creative person, just look at your art! Now you get to put it to use like never before. There are several ways to show your work that you may never have thought of. Think up new, eye catching brain teasing, and intriguing ways of promoting yourself. Talk it over with some friends and have fun! The most out of the box idea can be the most successful so don’t reject them too soon. You’ll also want to research crafts, characters and fun things you can do to get noticed. This is the most fun part of marketing, finding a jewel of a scheme and making it happen! It will be a lot of work but will more then pay off if done right.

If the worst should happen and nothing comes of it, get critiqued by some professionals in your field. Ask them why they think it didn’t work and you’ll be glad for the feedback. They know your situation and will more then likely be considerate. We have all been there at one time or another.

Network Socially

Take some time to reflect upon yourself. Do you talk about yourself as an artist? What do you say or why don’t you say anything? Take yourself seriously and people you want to work with will too. Networking still means going out and meeting people, despite the internet. Bring a pocket sized portfolio, business cards and a good attitude everywhere you go! Don’t know where to go? Let them come to you by doing art in the open at a public place. It doesn’t have to be a full painting or anything requiring a lot of stuff. Doing lively drawings is a great ice breaker anywhere so utilize it. Doing this in a place you know is near publishing houses or creative houses and facilities may get you best results.

Go to art openings, craft and art shows, galleries, events and mingle. Talk to the good people and take interest in them. They will likewise do the same to you and you’re instantly a success! You never know who knows who and what amazing things will be said after you’ve met. Not a people person? Practice makes perfect so trying is a good start. This is the hardest skill for most people to learn but by far the most important. After all, how can you talk about yourself to a client convincingly if you never talk about yourself to other who isn’t going to pay you?

Get out there

Step away from the artwork, put down your tools, wash your hands then your face and get out of your studio. Sure you’ve read this article but what are you going to do about it? Take a walk, clear your head and think about what you want and what you’re going to do to get it. Before any marketing can be done you need to have a goal for success. This is going to be a small goal like achieving a client who is a stranger to you and your family. This is a realistic starter goal. Next, get more clients, work hard and stay in touch with the world outside your studio space. Stay in touch with the world and they will stay in touch with you. Most importantly have fun. You’re an artist!


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