Marketing Artwork, How to Market Artwork
Marketing artwork, or how to market artwork, has become a very big challenge for me. When you create, there will inevitably come a time when enough of it builds up, that a place must be found for it. From my own point of view, that wasn’t the first thing to think about, but after a couple hundred pieces built up, it became difficult to wend a way through the house. There was just too much of a buildup of reverse painting on glass.
Even though I wasn’t quite ready to come out of the closet yet, the abundance of work I had built up, that was too good to throw out was pushing a little too hard. There was no chance of quitting as far as I was concerned, so while I was shopping in a local bookstore, I asked the owner how he would feel about hanging a few of my paintings in his shop on consignment. He thought about it, was agreeable, and the two of us worked out a deal. I left the shop in a cold sweat,(on a hot day) but sold my first painting by doing it.
That gave me almost enough confidence to approach a local bank manager with the same proposal in marketing artwork, no idea where the rest of it, the confidence that is, came from. After seeing some of my work, she agreed that some of my paintings might look good in the bank, and that was where they went for a while. One of those did sell, too. This was definitely enough of an ego booster to run with it. On this thought, other venues or a site for your work would include Gift Shops, local restaurants, and your workplace.
At this point, I decided to try a local craft show. That was a bust. People don’t go to lower end craft shows to buy or even look at art, let alone reverse painting on glass, a whole nitch within art. Not a good venue for marketing artwork. However, I continued to paint, and my mother reads the paper from cover to cover, so now and then she mentioned that there was a local restaraunt or bistro seeking art work . A few of them were answered, but I also have a full time job, and there are only 24 hours in a day...
By now another hundred or so paintings had built up, and the situation was closing in on desperate. This was when I knew I had to do some quality craft shows or even art shows. Anything, but not nothing.
I had built a 22' x22' Gallery to display my work, but living in an economically constipated small town in upstate New York, still have no traffic coming in.
At this point, I’ve been doing not to frequent shows for three years. Some have been culled, but more have been kept, and I’m still on the waiting list for a few. There are 3 criteria needed for me to set up at a show. You may come up with more, but this basic guideline works for me for marketing artwork.
1)How expensive is it going to be? Granted, you do have to spend money in order to make money, but, if it’s going to cost more than one hundred dollars to get there, you need to rent a motel, and the booth rent is steep, you would really need to do quite the business to make it worthwhile.
2)How convenient is it likely to be? I signed up for one show that I’ve been trying to get in for over a year. How could I have known that it would be the same weekend that my daughter was going to be married? I’m still working on that one. Meanwhile at this moment, I’m on their waiting list.
3)Can I get time off from work? That one really can be tough, but I have a very understanding and encouraging man who helps with that part, which helps immensely.
Now, what to expect. Expect nothing and you wont be disappointed. There may be no electricity inside on a dark day. There may not be a tent set up on a rainy day. There might not be any chairs, and a day taking care of business is going to be a lot longer than you might expect if you’re on your feet for all of it. The size of the booth will be well defined before you rent it.
Don’t try to display so much stuff that your setup becomes messy, or worse, dangerous. They’ll never ask you back again. The whole thing fits into a nutshell. Go prepared.
While we’re on preparation, dress like a professional but don’t be unreachable. Potential clients are going to want to talk about your work, and they need to be able to reach you for marketing artwork. Be polite too, or as polite as possible to everyone at the show. It seems as though there is always someone listening, whether or not you notice.
How to best display when marketing artwork, in my own case was determined by trial and error. I now use a hand made display board that folds up on hinges in three sections. It took some thinking to design them from pegboard, but after a couple coats of paint, and some not too obvious drapes over the gaps, they look nice and display about 9 paintings on each side, but they take up the entire walls in a 10' x 10' booth. It will work until I find something better.
What you see over here on the left, is my neighbor's booth, backside, marketing artwork of their own. The show was in Liverpool, N. Y. Had that been my booth, I would have hung paintings on the backside too.
The final thing to discuss about the marketing artwork here would be how to price your work. How much do you have invested in not just material, but also the time. This is not to say that John Q. Public should pay for the self taught educations. I’ve made my share of mistakes and burned or broken them. I feel it’s better to look at the future, and learn from the mistakes. If you have what you feel is a really good piece that you’ve invested way too much time in, who’s fault is it? Mine may be my own fault, but if I feel that if they are that good, I’m going to hold out for the price. Then there are some that wanted to be good, but fell short. Cut a deal with the first or second person who likes it, market the artwork, and let it go! I never let myself feel bad about that, because I don’t like to look at the paintings that fell short of what I wanted. In any event, don’t sell yourself short. You did do the work, and when the right person sees it, they wont mind paying for it. Keep trying how to market artwork, Good luck, and happy painting !
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