The Mural in America

The iPad is all the hype this week, but I would like to talk about a web book.  Francis V. O'Connor  has done a great job in creating a FREE web book at www.muralinamerica.com.  He has been working on this book since 1980 and the site went live in late 2009. The book chronicles murals in the US from the early American Indian murals to today.   Enjoy this gem of the web.

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Keep Breathing, video art

This is a great video from my 14yr old step daughter. Maybe it’s nepitism, but I think this is just awesome. My wife and I went to Event camp 2010 in NYC during a snowstorm in Central New Jersey. Around 12noon we left 4 teenagers at home just hoping the house would still be standing when we returned home. When we returned home the house was as I expected, it was still standing 🙂 and the sink was full of dishes. But we were surprised on Sunday Morning when the kids woke up around noon and Megan showed us the video. ENJOY!!!!

Pricing Your Art

The blank canvas is the bane of artists since the number of options seems limitless, but worse is to come on completing the work. After putting the final touches to your work, you are presented with the equally open ended problem of what price to give it. For the inexperienced artist it can seem impossible to fix a price, so they ending up making wild guesses (almost always too high) and then wonder why their art is not selling.

The first thing to understand is that the price of art is simply the highest amount that someone is willing to pay for it. However, the second thing to understand is that only people who see it can pay for it. The price is circumscribed by the wallets of those who view it, hence the importance of having your work seen by as many people as possible.

Why price at all?

Many artists refuse to put fixed prices on their art, but they lose sales because of it. If you keep an open studio where people can enter and browse your work it is imperative that every piece hanging on the walls has a price tag on it.

People hate to talk about money, especially where art is concerned, so many buyers will choose to walk out rather than face the indignity of asking how much a piece costs. If they do have the courage to ask and the price is not written somewhere, they will assume you are making it up based on how rich they look.

Creating a baseline

So where do you begin in setting a price? The first step is to work out what your minimum monthly income is. Be realistic about this and always estimate high. Keep this figure in mind at all times as it will act as a deterrent for unrealistically low prices.

A preliminary price

Next, add up the cost of producing the art work you’re trying to price, including all expenses. Then add up the total amount of time spent on the work and multiply it by a sensible hourly rate – 20dollars an hour should be a minimum. Simply adding these two figures together will give you a fairly sensible estimate for a price. Dividing your minimum monthly income by the price of this work will tell you how many pieces you should be aiming to produce a month to keep you going.

Better methods

The best way to price work is to base it upon previous sales, hence the importance of keeping the catalogue of your work we discussed last month. The more you sell, the more you will get a feel for what your work is worth. You should compare your prices with those of other local artists and those on the Art eXposed website, but remember to take into account their experience and reputation.

Another method is to talk to art consultants and galleries. Galleries will not display your work at unrealistic prices, but keep in mind that visiting them without any idea as to the value of your work will mark you out as an amateur.

Maintaining and raising prices

Always maintain consistent prices. Inconsistency shows you are unsure of the value of your work. If you cannot bear to part with a work for a low price then keep it hanging in your studio without a price tag, and if anyone asks about it let them make you an offer. On the whole, larger works should be valued higher than smaller ones. This may seem arbitrary, but it is the law of the market.

You should only consider raising the prices of your work: after you have achieved respectable sales in your current price range for at least six months; if a gallery tells you that your prices are too low; or if you have changed your output significantly to justify such a change.

Final tip

Make sure to keep track of your sales in your catalogue, and always keep some cheaper works on hand for any impulse buyers you happen to meet.

PR 2.0 and Social Networking for Artists

There is a tremendous amount of value that comes out of online conversations in social networking communities. Today, the concept of PR 2.0 focuses on reaching people who are like-minded individuals who share similar interests through meaningful web discussions. And, as you venture into and explore different web communities, whether it’s MySpace or Facebook, you’ll find opportunity to build trust and strong relationships with people. Just by setting up a profile, you open up and make information available about yourself. By taking this first step, you are welcoming the opportunity to talk to people one-on-one and to listen to them. That’s the best kind of relationship building there is!

As an artist, there’s tremendous potential for you to speak directly to someone online who may be interested in your style of art or perhaps they will contact you to help them answer a question pertaining to a period in art history. Either way, you use dialogue to start the interaction and to build the “friendship.” In these social networking forums, you are also able to participate in groups, perhaps with other artists or with people who prefer a particular type of art. On Facebook, when you search under the word “art” about 500 different groups surface that you can peruse and join if you are interested.

Another great opportunity for you to speak with people who share you passion for art is by setting up your own blog and by blogging regularly. You can easily start your own blog through Word Press (www.wordpress.com) or Blogger (www.blogger.com) or you can choose to blog in a social networking community (whether your blog is posted as a part of your profile or within a group that you participate). Blogging is a great way to start conversations and learn about people and have them learn about you. However, whether you are blogging about your favorite artwork, your technique or your passion, it’s really important to make a solid commitment to blogging and to stick with it (however often that may be). Soon you will have people who follow what you say, and look forward to reading your blog, on a regular basis.

In the past, you may have heard that social networking is just a way to collect ‘friends’ rather than a PR strategy, but savvy people are realizing it’s so much more. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to talk to people who are like minded and who are able to share interesting insight. If you listen and listen hard, you will learn, and then you will be able to reciprocate with information that will guide someone else. That’s how to make real friends and possibly gain new followers who end up someday as your best customers.

By Deirdre Breakenridge, Art eXposed President.
Her new book: PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences

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