HELPFUL INFORMATION FOR ARTISTS
If you are an artist or student artist and you are browsing my website, this may be of interest to you.
Promotion or marketing of your art work
This is probably the one area that is most difficult for artists as their work is very personal to themselves. Believe in who you are and what you are doing. Chose a subject and medium that you are passionate about and learn all you can about both. Don't let rejection (and you will face some) hamper your creativity and production of work. Develop a strong work ethic and stick to it. Remember if you want to be a professional artist, you must look at your work as a proper job in which to earn your living. Plan your hours of work and stick to them. An artist must be able to self manage and be self disciplined. You have a responsibility to your clients and collectors and these tips will help you achieve this.
An excellent way to promote your work is through the major auction houses. The publicity is fabulous and the documentation very valuable. It helps to set documented pricing on your work for future reference. There are fees so read the small print before signing anything. Once being accepted by an auction house and selling work through them it forms a baseline for other auction houses to follow.
Galleries provide a wonderful showcase for your work and with established well known galleries you also have their regular clientele who may purchase your work. Always check a galleries terms and conditions before leaving your work with them so you have no nasty surprises later. Galleries will take their commission plus sometimes many other expenses including framing so be sure you understand all of your costs. Never leave your paintings with a gallery unless you have a signed receipt from the gallery as this is the only proof you will have of your paintings remaining with them. Check to see if their insurance covers your artwork or do you need to have insurance of your own. Most reputable galleries insure your work while on their premises but you should check. Remember you own the copyright on all of your artwork unless you decide to sell it with the piece or give it to the purchaser.
Never sign exclusive rights to anyone!
Libraries, banks, insurance companies, public buildings, doctor and other professional offices and restaurants are all good venues that are usually very inexpensive to show your work. Most artists can negotiate terms on an individual basis with venues such as these and they can prove to be very lucrative as well as giving you good exposure to the public. Many public buildings also provide good publicity for your exhibition.
Major art exhibitions
Look for local exhibitions that include the type of work you produce. Many areas, societies and galleries hold 'open' exhibitions. Art magazines often list upcoming national and international exhibitions you may want to consider. Most of these are juried so make your presentation of your work to them as professional as possible. 'Open' exhibitions and juried exhibitions usually charge a fee for each painting submitted. Be sure to read the rules carefully as you will have to pay even if your artwork is not accepted. There are costs usually involved in major art exhibitions especially for the opening night or preview. Check to see if the exhibition is sponsoring this or if you will be required to pay toward this extra cost. This also applies to many Gallery openings.
Art Clubs and Memberships
Join local, national and/or international art groups. The networking can be valuable. Most art groups sponsor their own exhibitions for members so this gives you another venue for exhibition of your work. Many art societies have guest speakers and artist demonstrations that are most beneficial. I have been speaking at local, national and international art events for many years.
When you specialise in a certain subject such as portraiture, marine or wildlife as I have done, in time you build up your reputation and the best collectors of all are return customers. They also enjoy showing their work so through word of mouth your popularity will spread. Let people know you will paint specifically for them. Spend time with your client so you understand what they are looking for regarding composition, size, colour (to go with their decor...you may laugh but to some this is one of the most important factors in the purchase of your work), framing etc. and then offer your pricing according to your time spent, costs and painting reference set by previous work sold (or your fair market value). Check with your client when you are ready to begin their painting. It is always advisable to request a deposit with full payment prior to shipping or on delivery on the condition they are pleased with the final result. Never assume someone wants a commission. A written contract is always advisable especially with a large purchase. Never complete a full painting unless you are absolutely sure the client wants the final artwork. Commission work is usually the clients personal choice and could be difficult to resell due to the subject matter.
Very helpful tools are business cards, leaflets, brochures and a website. Go to exhibitions of other artists work and look at their techniques, style, use of colour and artwork presentation. Speak with the artist whenever possible for hints on his/her success. Many are reluctant to give information but sometimes you get lucky (like now) when an artist of experience is willing to share with you what works and what doesn't. ALWAYS FOLLOW-UP ON ANY LEAD. Never miss an opportunity no matter how small it may seem...many wonderful things have come through someone who knows someone who can put you in touch with someone!
The internet is a fabulous tool to use. Use your website to show what you are doing and have on offer. Private clients can be notified quickly via email but a hand written letter is always my method of choice. It shows you care enough to take time out to hand write just to them and that they are special. I also recommend even in large mailings through the postal service that you hand write the name and address instead of using printed labels. Most people are apt to open a letter that someone has taken the time to hand write.
There is nothing better than personal contact. Personal telephone calls and visits if able are the most valuable of all. You can learn so much more when you can see and spend time with your collector. Never appear to be in a rush and give your client plenty of time to ask questions or just have a pleasant chat. You will make many lifelong friendships along the way too.
It always amazes me to see the pricing on beginner artists work when they think their new piece is worth a fortune. It takes time to develop a portfolio of sold work. Don't sell yourself short but don't expect to be 'Rembrant' overnight. You need a starting point and then as your work sells you set your pricing. Work should go up in price with experience. Show your clients your work is a good investment. Develop a resume showing your achievements (refer to my 'Biography' page for an example)
Keep accurate records. You will need these anyway for your business financial statements. To help you determine your pricing you should also consider 3 size ranges: large, medium and small format. You will find only a very small group will purchase the large paintings as well as the small paintings. The majority of purchasers seem to select the mid range example: 20" x 16" overall. By giving your client 3 choices, it helps them decide what they want.
Printing your artwork
Large limited edition prints (offset multicolour lithographs that are signed and numbered by the artist) can be costly to produce and finding a good printer is proving more difficult these days. Many excellent fine art printers have reduced their artist clientele as they find it is more difficult work and there is less profit in this type of printing. So when you find one be thankful. Giglee prints can be done as a one off or in a run and cost is determined by individual companies as is quality. Digital cameras and computer technology have opened the door for small printing jobs for
many artists as well. The print business is huge so it is a very competitive area. So think carefully before investing large amounts of money to produce prints of your work. Some artists find it difficult to sell their own work and will require an agent for selling purposes. This can be costly so check on their commission fees (usually a percentage of sales).