Art eXposed for Friday Feb 19 2010

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Art eXposed for Friday Feb 4 2010

Art is still going strong!. Sotherby’s breaks all art records with the sale of a sculpture from Alberto Giacometti “L’Homme Qui Marche I” (“The Walking Man I”). It was sold for $104.3 million USD ,way above the expected price of $20-$30 million.

Selling your art

This month we look at the basics of how to sell your art, but before getting into details it’s worth thinking about why people buy art in the first place. The serious buyers willing to pay higher prices generally buy art as an investment, so it should be evident that the more future potential you offer, the higher the price you can sell for. The general public will often buy lower priced work just to hang on their walls, but they should not be ignored because of this, since they can keep you going through the tough times.

Agents

The agent will typically take around thirty percent of your profit, but a good agent will work hard for that money. However, artists who display in galleries already lose up to fifty percent of their profit to the gallery, so you can understand their reluctance to give away any more money to an agent.

Consultants

An art consultant is an industry insider who will, for a fee, give you advice on your work and how to take it further. This can be extremely useful if you are not getting the success you think you deserve, but the price can be prohibitive. Talk to your fellow artists and find out if any of them know of a good local consultant.

Places to sell your work

The options of where to sell your work are really limited only by your imagination. Anywhere it can be displayed there is the potential of a sale. Galleries are obviously your first choice and we will be discussing them next month, but for now you shouldn’t be averse to other opportunities even if they don’t seem quite so prestigious.

Open studio

The open studio is becoming more and more popular. It simply involves allowing the public free access to your studio where you have a range of your art on display. Some artists find it a distraction or an invasion of their privacy, but it can work very well. Even if you don’t choose to allow public access, you should still keep a clean and tidy studio with priced work hanging on the walls. If someone important shows an interest in your work it means you can invite them back to your studio to see it first hand.

The internet

The global reach of the internet makes it a tempting option for selling your work, but you should remember that selling art is different to selling goods online. Most people will want to see the art before buying, or at least know the artist’s work well enough to know what they’re getting.

Art eXposed provides an easy means for artists to get exposure on the Internet. Working with the Art eXposed professionals, artists receive different types of promotional packages that suit their needs; from the ability to catalog their artwork in searchable databases on the Internet to a Public Relations Toolkit that provides them with the resources (news releases, media alerts, letters) to reach the media and organizations that can further support/endorse their efforts.

Another option is to simply sell giclee prints of your work. They are easily shippable and relatively low cost, so can be a nice way of supplementing your income. Make sure to use a specialized giclee printer and, as ever, talk to other artists about their experience.

Public buildings

Cafes, restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies and the like are always looking for work to hang on their walls. There are many artists who make their living exclusively from selling in these sorts of places, so there’s no need to feel any shame. What’s important is that the work is on display, not where it is. Try to make sure that the work has your name, a price and telephone number. If not possible then at least make sure the people who work there have your contact details

Maintaining integrity

You will only sell your art if you put time and effort into finding ways to sell it, but don’t become obsessed. Art shouldn’t feel like work, you should always be enjoying it no matter what you’re producing. However, if you find a certain style of painting sells well but you don’t think its worth much artistically, bite your tongue and keep producing them; in the end, you will always be judged by your best work.

Your Website

Artists have been utilizing the internet in new and creative ways since its inception, but in recent years the advent of broadband, the low cost of computers and increasingly user-friendly software has meant that the professional artist has no excuse not to have a presence on the web.

Why you need a website

For the most part your website will serve as an online portfolio, but it can also have other uses. It can be a backup of your catalog and an updateable blog that lets people know of your artistic activity.

Your Art eXposed site

The first place to start is with your Art eXposed profile. This is the easiest first step to creating a professional presence on the web. It includes a gallery, information about your art, pricing and your own personal blog that are all easily updateable without the need of any technical skill.

Getting a personal site

If you wish to go further and have your own personal website and domain name, your first step is to find a capable and trustworthy web designer. The best solution is going with the recommendation of a fellow artist, but whoever you choose make sure they have already produced at least one artist’s website that you like.

Next, you should search the internet for online portfolios and find a few simple, tasteful designs that your web designer can use as a guide. Ignore anything that uses flash or other fancy visual effects. Visitors need to have quick, easy access to your art, so make this clear to the designer. Talk to him about simple solutions that enable you to easily update both the gallery page and the blog. The rest of the site can stay static, but it’s essential that you can update these two sections on your own.

What the website should contain

Home page

The front page design can utilise a few pieces of your artwork, but don’t let it get cluttered. Keep the information to a minimum. It should have your name, location and discipline as the title, with your brief artistic statement underneath. If you have a blog, there should be three or four titles (no body text) with links to read more. You can also include discreet contact details on the front page if you wish.

Biography page

At the top there should be a short biography written in the first person (we all know you wrote it). Avoid jokes, but keep it friendly. Explain any great influences and key themes in your work. Beneath the writing should be a list of the key milestones in your life that are related to your art, including qualifications, awards, events and shows etc. You can also include a photo of yourself if you wish.

Gallery page

This should be a simple HTML (not Flash) slide show with both thumbnails and high resolution images of your work. Make sure relevant information is included such as the size of each piece and the price. It is essential that you can easily update your gallery yourself with new work or price changes.

A mission statement

All those notes you made while writing your artistic statement come into play here. You should aim for around six hundred words detailing what your art means, where it has come from and where it is going to

Contact details

Self explanatory, but make sure it includes telephone numbers and an address. Do not use a form for emails; a simple email address link is fine.

Blog

The blog is optional, but highly recommended if you are able to keep it updated. It should not be filled with your personal life or general musings, it should be a diary of your activities as an artist. Ideally, it will be as active as possible including any new work you’ve created, where people can see your work, events you’re attending, etc. Remember though, the activity of the blog reflects your real world activity, so if you don’t think you will be able to update it at least once a week then you shouldn’t have one.

What you should pay

Assuming you keep the design to a minimum and steer away from flash and other trickery the website should cost between $400 and $600. If the designer is asking for more than this, try to find out what the additional costs are and decide if you need them.

Hosting

Unless you are technically minded, it is best to let the web designer arrange the hosting of the site. Make sure you have an easy to remember domain name, preferably yourname.com. Finally and most importantly, when you find a good web designer make sure to remain on good terms with them, they will be invaluable in the future.

Networking

The solitary artist isolated by his eccentricity and social ineptitude is a myth. Artists have always gathered in groups, and you will gain immeasurably from constant contact with as many other people in the art world as possible.

Making friends with artists

Networking is more than fawning at the feet of dealers and gallery owners, local artists should be first on your list of people to know. From them you will gain invaluable advice, support, inspiration and hopefully lifelong friends.

The best place to start is not by trawling the internet for artist’s discussion groups. Certainly the internet has its place, but it can in no way substitute for real human contact. The more you interact with successful artists in your area, the more you will learn about your local arts scene and the people within it.

Industry people

Every aspiring artist dreams of a chance meeting with an industry bigwig, and you shouldn’t be afraid of approaching them if the opportunity arises. However, there are some important rules of conduct that you should keep in mind:

Never push yourself onto them, however tempting

This is not because these people are unapproachable, but because for the most part if they are interested in you they will find you. If you are able to be introduced to them, do not immediately start talking about yourself and your art.

Be natural

Nervousness of any sort is a sign of the amateur. You should be as natural as possible, even if it’s your own show or gallery opening that they are attending.

Do not lie

A seemingly simple rule, but so many artists make the mistake of trying to enhance their appearance when under pressure. Be assured, you will be found out. It is always better to be honest about your achievements and about what you know. Never get out of your depth by talking about something you have no knowledge of. You will gain far more respect if you simply say you don’t know but you are interested to learn more.

Do not put down their views

Of course you can disagree with them, but don’t do it aggressively. If they like an artist you don’t, ask what they like about them and show a genuine curiosity. The best way to give the appearance of being interested is by actually being interested. Find out why they like certain types of art and always be open to their opinions.

Don’t get drunk or misbehave

We have already stressed many times the importance of appearing professional in order to further your career. Your reputation is everything, so don’t jeopardise it by acting foolishly.

Places to network

The best places to begin networking are local arts events, and ArteXposed members get several services that help you to do this. You should also check out local newspaper listings and ask in libraries and local government offices for upcoming arts events. You should aim to be a regular face at every event you can make it to. Many events have competitions which are also an excellent way of meeting new artists and getting yourself known.

Begin local, then spread wider. Once you have established yourself on the local arts scene, reach out to more distant towns and cities. Visit as many galleries as possible and talk casually with the people there about art. If you have the courage, you can even try creating your own arts event with a few fellow artists you’ve met, and ArteXposed will often sponsor such events if you are a member. If your reputation spreads to the right people, you may even find yourself being invited to join a member’s only arts club, which is another excellent opportunity for meeting new people.

Finally

There are no great secrets to networking. Simply try to meet as many people interested in art as possible, whether they are in the industry or not. Don’t forget there’s always the chance of making a sale or two from anyone, and you never know where it might lead.

Power of the News Release

Dan Fenelon, an Art eXposed artist, uses the power of Public Relations (news release development and distribution) to land an article in The Daily Record.  We worked with Dan (aka Wavedog) to create a news release related to the work he does with a youth shelter in his area.  When the news release went out, we immediately received calls from local papers in Dan’s area.  Art eXposed was able to secure an interview and a photo shoot with The Daily Record.  Kid Robot, the maker of the vinyl dolls Dan uses in his art, was also very excited to be included in the “Tree of Life” project and our promotional efforts.

You can view the News release at: Dan’s News Release

Check out The Daily Record article at:  The Article