There are all kinds of opportunities for artists to show and to sell their work.
Your inbox probably has an email from a rich oil sheik in Qatar who wants to buy your art right now.
What do you do? How can you tell the good opportunities from those you should avoid?
My advice is always to trust first and to be cautious second and most importantly.
Janice McDonald, Helen Hiebert, and Alyson. Helen had a fantastic working experience with a Denver-area library that purchased her piece (above) titled The Wish.
As with everything in your art business, the onus is on you to verify all of the facts. Here’s how you do that.
Visit When You Can
Peruse online gallery sites for signs of business legitimacy and also to see the range of art they’re showing.
Do you like the work?
When you ask to show your art at a venue, you need to be very clear about what you are offering. People don’t often say Yes to vague offers.
Think about what ties the work together. This is your curatorial thesis – your big idea. Writing it out, as you’ll see below, helps you find the clarity you need.
Before sitting down to write your exhibition proposal, ask the venue if they have a particular exhibition proposal format they prefer. If they do, follow their instructions. If they don’t have specific guidelines, you’ll have to compile an exhibition proposal for yourself.
The details of your proposal will vary depending on whether you’re proposing a show at a coffee shop, a pop-up space, or a nonprofit gallery. You will have to judge what is appropriate for your situation.
One of the biggest excuses artists give for not being in more frequent contact with their lists is that they don’t want to bother people. You know what it’s like to receive tons of email and don’t want to contribute to the overwhelm.
I understand. Even though everyone on your list has opted in to hear from you, it still doesn’t feel right to email so many people if you haven’t established a marketing groove.
There’s a solution: Send emails only to people for whom they are appropriate. In other words, target your messages rather than sending every email to every person on your list.
All of the attendees at my Nashville workshop are grouped together on my list. Photo courtesy of Mary Claire Crow
Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Emma have the capability to
You know I love email, right?
I don’t necessarily love all of the spam that hits my inbox or the countless hours I spend reading and replying to email, but I can’t imagine running my business without it.
How would I ever be able to help as many people as I do for such a bargain rate?
And as much as I love email, I love real mail even more.
The supplies arrive.
Why You Should Rave About Real Mail, Too
Here are three reasons why I’m raving about real mail to my students, members, and private clients, and why you should, too.
1. Real mail is tactile.
Envelopes and postcards are things you can touch. You can cut, tear, and unpack a package (sometimes you can even smell it).
Add a Continue Reading…
A strong artist statement is essential to the effective marketing of your art.
There’s no skating by on this one. You need at least one artist statement for each body of work you create.
Writing your statement is a process. Like any other type of writing or artmaking, you can’t expect to nail it in a single sitting. And, like all good things that take time, it will be time well spent. The process helps you gain clarity about your art.
©Terri Schmitt, Lemons and Ball Jar. 16 x 20 inches.
If you can’t define your art in a statement, you will likely face difficulty marketing your work. Where else will you get language for wall labels, brochure and website text, informal presentations, and conversations?
Answering these three questions will help you write a better
There are all kinds of places where you could show your work.
Coffee shops would love to have your art! Salons would fawn over it! Professional offices would think they’d died and gone to heaven!
This is great news for you, especially when you are just starting out. It’s a stamp of approval when public spaces want to show your work.
©2014 Ginny Herzog, Relic 12-514. Oil, cold wax, and collage, 30 by 40 inches. Used with permission.
Almost every artist does the “free” circuit. It’s where you get your toes wet.
These seemingly low-risk venues offer a place for you to learn how to install your art correctly, while introducing your art to new people.
You’ll test your conversational skills, your pricing, and your negotiating skills.
Because these non-art venues are considered “less serious”
As I write this, I’m sitting with an inbox with far more messages than is comfortable for me. I usually keep a relatively sparse inbox, but the messages accumulate from time to time.
Here’s the ugly truth.
I know that 177 messages isn’t a lot for most people, but it is for me. Instead of beating myself up over it, I’m going to hold myself accountable to under 20 messages before this post is published. Because, I’ve learned . . .
I am the boss of my inbox.
I refuse to let email messages control my life. I’m in charge. You, too, are in charge. You have to be.
If you’re going to be in control of your art career, you have to control every aspect of it. Stop allowing things like email to monopolize your time. Become the boss of
Many people become entrepreneurs because of the freedom it affords them. When you own your own business, you are free to set your own goals, get out of bed when you like, and control your brand.
Of course, most people who seek this path of independence have no idea what they’re getting into. They don’t realize how much harder it is to be a successful entrepreneur than to clock in for an 8-to-5 job.
©MG Ferguson, Summer Walk Home. Oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches. Used with permission.
Still, on this (almost) Independence Day holiday in the U.S, we should celebrate our entrepreneurial freedom and all the things we are free to do.
May you be . . .
Free to explore new creative ideas. To not be tied to the past. Tradition
Is your marketing too passive? Are you putting your art out there and hoping someone will see it, buy it, or give you a show?
Jack isn’t always interested in being active.
I’ll confess that I’ve become complacent with my marketing. I write my blog posts every week and post to Facebook and Twitter. Then I sit back and wait for something to happen.
And I rely too much on my existing list without reaching out to new potential audiences.
Fortunately, my coach is correcting my ways. She’s amazed that I have had such good results, and pointed out that I could help a lot more people if only I’d become more active with my marketing.
This got me thinking about all of the passive marketing that we do. How could we approach it more actively in a way that puts us in the driver’s seat of