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5 Simple Ideas for Artists to Kick Start 2017

5 Simple Ideas for Artists to Kick Start 2017 post image

If you have not done so yet, have you determined and set up your art marketing goals for the year 2017? If not, here are 5 relatively easy things that an artist can do to help improve their marketing and branding of their art in 2017.

I believe that if an artist were to schedule and engage in the following activities on a consistent basis, they would begin to see an increase in traffic to their website along with more interest concerning the sale of their art. Let us review what an artist can do to help improve the marketing of their art in 2017:

1. Start a blog – Artists should consider starting an art blog as a way to attract and direct additional interested viewers to their art websites. An art blog is a great way to expand the artist’s target audience and it is an effective platform to help an artist market their art as well.

Read our article Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Have an Art Blog in order to fully understand the power a well-executed art blog.

2. Use Social Media – Social media is the perfect platform for artists to employ in order to help market themselves and their art. Why is this? In my opinion, it is easy to identify and connect with the art community when using social media.

I also think it is an effective medium because it is a visual and a simple way in which to present your art. Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, Instagram and even Twitter provides an artist with opportunities (if targeted properly) to reach viewers who were previously unreachable.

Read our article Top 10 Reasons Why Artists Fail with Social Media along with various other social media articles on the LST website.

3. Press Release Marketing – Press release marketing is a low cost alternative whereby an artist can market their artwork to a wide range of potential viewers. There are many “Free” press release websites which take, publish and market an artist’s press release copy. However, if pressed for time, I strongly suggest that an artist use a “Paid” press release distribution service. LST uses a company called Star One Public Relations and they charge $15.00 for distribution to 70+ press outlets.

Read our articlesPress Release Marketing for Professional Artists and “Helpful Hints When Writing an Art Press Release to help guide you in these efforts.

4. Evaluate & Edit Your Website – When was the last time that you went page by page and link by link through your website? If you are like most people (never mind being an artist) it has probably been a very long time! I think that if you were to do this with your website you would find broken links, pages that do not load quickly, graphics, images and other items that have moved, along with pages with misspelled words and similar issues.

Is this how you want your website visitors to see your art? Take some time to make these corrections. Also, if you have pages that do not load quickly due to large image files or due to flash and music features, these items should be corrected or removed as people do not have the time to wait on your pages to load. Otherwise, if not corrected you will be losing these valuable visitors to your site.

Read our articleArt Portfolios – Is it Time for a Spring Cleaning?

5. Become a Guest Blogger – Another way in which to reach your target audience is to become a guest blogger on other successful art bloggers websites. Target potential blogs that are related to your art niche, are active blogs and blogs that attract a large following.

Active bloggers are always looking for new material, topics and articles for their sites. Be able to show them articles that you have previously written in order to demonstrate that you can write well. They will probably only take your articles that have never been published before, therefore be prepared to write new content.

These website owners may have some ideas and topics on what they would like for you to write about. Otherwise, prepare and have some ideas ready that you can propose to them. Just make sure you are not proposing duplicate or similar content that is already on their website.

Read our article5 Ways an Artist Can Attract Readers to an Art Blog.

In 2017 vow to make these suggestions part of your marketing efforts, If followed, I believe you will see an improvement in traffic to your website, interest in your art and ultimately, more sales of your art.  As with any marketing program, your efforts need to be well executed and performed on a consistent basis in order to be successful.

Read our article The Rule of Seven Explains Artist’s Discouragement.

Good luck and have a successful and creative 2017!

Sell Your Art With a Focus on Customer Service

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By Renée Phillips, Guest Blogger -Have you ever wondered why some artists seem to attract loyal collectors that follow them everywhere and buy multiple works of art? When you take a closer look at their behavior you may discover it’s not that they were born to be salespeople. Instead, these artists may be amiable individuals who have learned to practice the art of customer service. They have integrated a simple basic rule I highly recommend you follow: Treat all potential and existing art buyers like royalty.  Give them the V.I.P. treatment.

Practicing excellent customer relations may be one of the most essential components when selling art. According to an American Express report in 2011, 70% of American consumers were willing to pay 13% more with businesses they believed to provide excellent customer service than those that didn’t. These statistics may explain why some artists succeed in making sales while equally talented artists fail.

In this article, I offer several suggestions to make selling art with a focus on customer service an enjoyable, creative and rewarding experience.

Treat Potential Buyers Like V.I.P.s

I can recall attending many artists’ opening receptions in New York when I’ve been escorted to a separate private room off the main exhibition space. In this room, Champagne is served in crystal glasses and I’m in the company of other art writers and collectors. It’s obvious the artist has taken the extra step to accommodate special guests. While this opportunity offers us the opportunity to meet other leaders in the art and business community we remember this experience and are motivated to become loyal followers.

Try this yourself at your next exhibition. If you don’t have a separate room, consider holding a preview V.I.P. party for your favorite collectors an hour before your show opens to the general public. Or, invite them to your private studio a few days in advance of the exhibition for a preview of your latest works. This step may lead to pre-exhibition sales and those impressive red dots on the artwork. Don’t forget to write on your invitation “Please Attend A V.I.P. Art Event”.

Offer Your Buyers The “White Glove” Treatment

You probably had the experience of purchasing an expensive piece of furniture and received the “White Glove” delivery service. As you recall that fond memory, consider adapting the same luxurious treatment when interacting with your art buyers. Show every person or business that purchases your art how grateful you are by going the extra mile.

You could offer to hand deliver your large works of art to the buyers’ homes or offices. With this service, you might include your assistance in selecting the right location. Demonstrate your knowledge of proper art hanging and design techniques and provide instructions on how to care for your art.

On this visit, you may discover other areas in their homes or offices that could use your art, so the visit may lead to future art sales.

Perhaps consider taking your buyer to the framer with your work to help them select the right frame that will match their décor.

Give Art Buyers Unexpected Perks

Maintain a record of your customers’ birthdays and other special occasions. Send them a special gift such as a box of printed note cards, one of your art books, a calendar or print — featuring your art work — with a personalized note. Choose the appropriate gift in proportion to the amount the buyer  has paid for your art.

You don’t need a royal budget to treat others like royalty. It’s often the small heartfelt gestures that are most meaningful. For example, if you know your collectors’ favorite snack or beverage, have them ready to offer when they come for a studio visit. Or, make a follow-up phone call and/or email to the buyer after your sale to see how they are enjoying their artwork.

How Can You Go The Extra Mile?

Most acts of courtesy require little more than your sincere desire to express kindness to others who are important in your life and your art business. I encourage you to use your creativity and imagination to “go the extra mile” and shower these individuals with authentic appreciation.

When you focus on ways to show how much you value your customers, before, during and after the sale, you’ll go a long way in strengthening your relationships. You’ll be rewarded with a solid base of customers and a prosperous career.  

Renée Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach, helps artists achieve their fullest potential in consultations and coaching. She offers art-business articles and e-Books on www.renee-phillips.com. As founder/director of Manhattan Arts International, www.manhattanarts.com, she promotes artists in curated art programs and online exhibitions. She is also the founder/editor of The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS, www.healing-power-of-art.org.

The Solo Art Series Expands its Award Prizes

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Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery (LST) is very pleased to announce the expansion of its popular Solo Art Series – “An Opportunity to Shine”

Since September 2015 the gallery has conducted a total of 4 Solo Art Series Competitions which attracted a total of 225 artists.  Out of these 225 artists the gallery awarded a total of 16 Solo Art Exhibitions to 16 very talented and deserving artists. 

However, it is believed that out of each Solo Art Series art competition many equally worthy artists were overlooked and not included due to the size constraints of the competition (4 winning artists per art competition).

The gallery has decided that in addition to the normal award of 4 solo art exhibitions, it will now also include 8 additional artists. These 8 artists and their submitted entry package into the Solo Art Series (Biography, Artist Statement and 5 Images) will now be shown and featured in the gallery’s Artist Showcase section.  The gallery will schedule 2 artists and their artwork to be featured in the Artist Showcase each month. 

The LST Solo Art Series offers emerging artists the opportunity and the marketing vehicle to showcase a full body of their artworks (from 10 to 25 images) in an individual month-long online solo art exhibition.  Any art that was previously entered and shown on the Light Space & Time website may also be included. 

The LST Gallery website averages 70,000+ visitors and more than 225,000+ page views per month. Out of those visitors, 80% are new visitors to the website.  Being juried into the “Solo” Art Exhibition Series should result in an increase in visitor traffic to the artist’s website as well.

In addition to the above, winning artists accepted into the “Solo” Art Exhibition Series will receive extensive worldwide publicity in the form of email marketing, 70+ press release announcements and wide-spread social media marketing and promotion to make the art world aware of the artists’ solo art exhibition.  There will also be a video of the winning artists’ artworks on the Light Space & Time YouTube Channel.

In addition, there will also be links back to the artists’ website as part of this achievement package. Winning artists also receive a digital Award Certificate, Event Postcard, and Press Release for their art portfolio.

The competitive process will encompass not only the quality and depth of the artist’s artwork but will also include an evaluation of the overall presentation of the artist’s biography and artist’s statement as included in the entry package.  The requirement of a complete entry package creates an opportunity for the artist to craft and to polish their current artist statement and artist biography.

Amateur or professional 2D and 3D artists (including photography) with or without prior group or solo art exhibition experience are encouraged to submit their entries to the Solo Art Series.  The next Solo Art Series art competition will take place beginning on November 25, 2016.  Here is the link to the Solo Art Series competition prospectus and competition details will be updated on this page on that day.  Thank you for your attention.

The 8 C’s for a PROSPEROUS Art Career

The 8 C’s for a PROSPEROUS Art Career post image

By Alyson B. Stanfield, Art Biz Coach – The artists I know and love are anything but linear, so how are they expected to work with a traditional business plan?

I encourage you to nurture a holistic approach to your art career, which is why I developed The See Plan. I teach this at Art Biz Breakthrough and use it with my clients.

A successful art career is not only about making and marketing (the M’s). It’s also about the C’s – eight of them, to be exact. You need all of these C’s for a healthy business and balanced life.

Why circular? It’s circular because we rarely focus on one thing at a time when we’re self-employed. We bounce back and forth between the various components of our plan and between the various tasks on our schedule.

Let me tell you about the 8 C’s.

1. Creativity

Everything begins with the art. Without the art, you are not an artist.

You need inspiration to be your best creative self.

But your creativity doesn’t end with the art-making. You can also benefit by spreading your creativity into your marketing and every corner of your business.

2. Commitment

Commitment isn’t something you can get from a book or a class. It has to come from within you.

Being a successful artist and entrepreneur requires that you make hard choices about how you spend your time. This discipline piece is opposed to how many artists think of their work: joy, pleasure, and play.

Once you wholeheartedly commit, things start happening. The Universe knows you are ready and works to help you attain your goals.

3. Clarity

Clarity is the planning piece. It’s getting clear where you are and what you want. You don’t have time NOT to plan.

Planning is crucial for a successful career and requires that you set aside time to look at an annual calendar, systems, income projections, and marketing strategies.

4. Community

Every artist-entrepreneur needs a support system, which is your community. It includes the people who love you when you’re cranky and frustrated (family and friends).

It also includes the mentors and other artists who nourish you with inspiration and from whom you learn about opportunities.

5. Connection

The more people who see your art, the more people there are to follow you and to buy your art.

Connection is the self-promotion piece. Once you make your work, you have to get it out of the studio and into the world. Your most powerful way to connect with the world is through your art.

6. Confidence

Confidence doesn’t automatically show up when you put your art into the world. It happens over time and as a result of a continuous path toward improvement.

Confidence expands when you take courageous action. Challenge yourself as you’re making art and sharing it with more people.

7. Completion

Creatives are notorious for starting projects and never finishing them. This is fine UNTIL you have to earn money from those creative projects.

Complete the art, complete the book, or complete the coursework. It doesn’t count until it’s finished.

8. Celebration

Celebrations don’t have to be large or cost money, but you should have some kind of ritual in place that helps you add closure to your project.

For some people, it’s a manicure, a massage, or a shopping excursion.

Buying something special is often a celebration ritual for me, but so is vegging, watching movies, and ignoring email for a couple of days.

Alyson B. Stanfield is an artist advocate and business mentor. Since 2002, she has been a trusted source for helping thousands of artists grow their businesses. She is the founder of Art Biz Coach and the author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion.

Alyson invites you to learn more about The See Plan and other success tools at Art Biz Breakthrough, a 3-day live event for 100 artists November 3-5, 2016.

3 Distractions that can Derail Your Art Business

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By Carolyn Edlund, Guest Blogger – Not long ago I had a conversation with a ceramic artist who had a terrific body of work that was highly appealing and saleable. She was in a good place, increasing sales and expanding into a new marketplace.

During our talk, she revealed something very interesting. As her creative business grew, certain things about her business shrunk. In other words, she was deliberately cultivating “less” in her plan.

The artist had reduced her studio time by using techniques that simplified her production – so she was taking less time on each piece she made. She had focused her designs and decreased the variety of materials she used – so she had less inventory of supplies.

But she was also crystal clear about what she wanted to achieve, so she pursued her goals with less distraction. And this is where she attributed most of her success.

Distraction is something we all understand – who hasn’t lost an hour surfing on the internet? But the type of distractions this artist was eliminating from her life were major ones that could actually derail her whole business. And they can derail yours, too.

The artist explained that she had a vision and goals for her business that kept her centered, so she knew where she was going. She was firm on what she wanted to do, and what she wasn’t willing to do.

Do you have that sense of conviction in your own art business, or do you struggle with distractions? Three of the most common are:

Taking on too many projects at once. You have plans – lots of them. Perhaps you want to pursue gallery representation, but would also like to license your work. Or you want to try several new directions with your art. But too many plans can stall out your business, because every time you add something else to your plate means that everything on it goes more slowly, or even dies on the vine. Rather than let that happen, take a look to see which projects you can take off your list so that you can focus on what is most important.

People pleasing. This can be defined as “wanting to make everyone around you happy by doing whatever is asked of you.” Does that sound familiar? This can seriously take you off task because it becomes all about them, not about your own goals. It requires a bit of selfishness to say “No” to every request that comes your way, but building your art business means that you must place yourself and your goals as a high priority. It can take practice to turn other people down, especially when this goes against your usual behavior, but it’s empowering, and will eventually teach others that you won’t be easily manipulated.

Following the money rather than your passion. It’s not uncommon for artists to take on projects or jobs for the paycheck, whether they are in alignment with their goals or not. But if you constantly do this, you will find that you spend all your time working for someone else’s business rather than your own.

You might need a day job, and if so, keep it. But you can be seriously derailed when someone knows you are an artist and offers you an unrelated paying project. Here’s where it takes self-discipline to refuse those offers even if they are paid, and double down on the work you need to accomplish for your own art business. Forget teaching that summer class in painting if what you really need to do is paint in your own studio. Your time is worth money, so pay yourself first by using your time to work toward building your own dream business. 

Carolyn Edlund is an art business blogger, consultant, speaker and the founder of the Artsy Shark Gallery.  www.ArtsySharkGallery.com 

Should an Artist Title Their Artworks?

Should an Artist Title Their Artworks? post image

Every month we receive many “untitled” artworks for our online art competitions.  Because of this, we suggest that artists title all of their artworks.  As a judge, a title provides me with a better understanding of what the artist wanted me to see and feel. 

When an artist titles their artwork, their title also helps the viewer distinguish that particular piece of art from all other pieces of artwork.

There are additional reasons for titling an artwork.  Here are a few of them;

  1. A title provides an art judge or an art jury with a deeper insight into that piece of art. This also holds true for galleries and art buyers.
  2. A title guides and provides a hint to the viewer about what the artist was thinking when the work was created. An untitled piece leaves the viewer with only their own interpretation (which may be totally wrong).
  3. A title will help your art to be discovered when someone searches online for art. For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, you should also have a description of the art since search engines cannot “see” the art. They only recognize descriptive words.

Here are a few helpful tips when titling your art;

  1. If you cannot come up with a title for a certain piece of art, have a friend or family member help you to decide. They will look at the art differently than you, its creator.  They can  provide you with ideas and help to stimulate your imagination for naming your art.
  2. For cataloguing and sales purposes (unless it is numbered as part of an edition), when titling a piece of art remember that it is a “forever” name and it should not be changed for the purposes stated above. Buyers of art want to know that this art is unique and a distinctive title for each piece will help confirm that.
  3. If you are not sure about the title, look for inspiration in titles from songs, poems, famous artists, colors etc.
  4. Keep your titles short and to the point. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms.
  5. Finally, if none of these ideas help you create a title, try an online title generator to get ideas about the title for your art. They ask for key words (describing the art) and then provide you with possible combinations of titles. Search the term Online Title Generator to find these sites.

Some artists title their art after the piece is completed and others title their art prior to creating it.  In the end, it really does not matter.  Have fun with this procedure on your own or try involving family, friends or other artists in the title making process. 

What Makes an Artist Professional?

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By Aletta de Wal, Guest Blogger – There is still a lot of debate among artists about using the word “professional” to describe themselves. For artists who consider themselves “pure artists,” that word often implies commercialism and “selling out.” That’s not how I see it.

I think that there is room for a range of ways to be an artist and that they are all legitimate.

When I feature artists in ArtMatters! and when I talk to dealers, agents and retail art dealers, I ask them to define what makes an artist professional. They each contribute a different perspective.

Not one of them denies the right of artists to consider themselves professional and to define that term as it suits them.

Every aspiring artist I know would love to achieve all of these things: unlimited financial success, national (or international) recognition and an unshakeable belief in the quality of their work.

Moving from amateur to emerging artist and through mid-career and maybe to being an established artist, requires many small breaks. You need to work hard and smart.

I know that’s not the popular notion. These days, blogs promise 10 tips to anything. Many fail to tell you what it takes to get to and through those ten steps.

We’re surrounded by stories of extraordinarily successful, high-achieving “professionals” in many fields other than art, and what made them that way. Identifying the attitudes, actions, personal characteristics and emotional maturity of professional artists is not as easy.

Public knowledge (and media portrayal) of the sometimes crazed, sometimes tortured, antics of artists like Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock have led us to expect irrationality, irritability and erratic (if not downright crazy) behavior from artists. Though often glamorized in film, few of us in reality would choose to live out our lives like this.

Read the following as though your entire career, respect and success as an artist depended on this advice — and rest assured that it does. Place a check mark next to the professional behaviors you already practice.

  1. Decide to be known as a professional artist.
  2. Present yourself professionally everywhere, all the time.
  3. Respect everyone you meet regardless of circumstances.
  4. Fulfill your promises; be on time; finish what you start and say ‘please and thank you’.
  5. React appropriately in all situations.

Sounds pretty much like a good solid list of how to be a professional human being doesn’t it?

There is no profession where you can leap from the bottom to the top and stay there. Many of you have already been there and done that, so you already know how this works. You “learn the ropes” in an entry-level job, pay your dues for a time and then move up the ranks.

It’s also important to realize that being an emerging, mid-career or established professional artist has nothing to do with age or talent.

  • Many artists in their later years have a lifetime of experience making art, but are still “emerging” because they haven’t shown or sold their work.
  • Other artists enjoy thriving careers early in life and are considered “established” while still in their twenties.
  • Similarly, I’ve met many very talented artists who have never moved past the “mid-career” stage, and some very savvy artists with lesser “gifts” who moved well beyond mid-career because of their business acumen.

In other words, not all artists progress through all three stages — and not all artists want to. It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go, and whether your skills and life circumstances will support that decision.

The above post is an excerpt from Aletta’s book “My Real Job is Being an Artist”.  This book is a professional toolkit for emerging, mid-career or established artists.  “My Real Job is Being an Artist” provides a structured approach for creating, analyzing and improving their art business.  www.artistcareertraining.com/realjobartist 

Aletta de Wal is the author of “My Real Job is Being an Artist”, she is a successful Artist Advisor and a Certified Visual Coach.  Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

 

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler. Equal parts artist, educator and entrepreneur, Aletta has worked with over 4000 artists in groups and 400+ individually.

 

Through her coaching, seminars and books, artists in the vibrant on-line community learn to be focused, organized and confident in all art business matters.  Her clients agree that she inspires them to do the work to be successful, provides the detail to take specific action and supports them through the ups and downs of life as a working artist. Her website is www.artistcareertraining.com

Make Your Gallery Relationships a Win/Win

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By Carolyn Edlund, Guest Blogger – Galleries can be of great assistance to artists. They are your representatives, who display, market and sell your work to collectors. They have contacts and existing customers to whom they can recommend your art. And, they may provide feedback and guidance to help you present a portfolio of artwork that will sell to their audience.

This type of service saves you a lot of time and effort. Your galleries earn their commission by providing a venue, hanging your work, dealing with customers and closing sales. But once you contract to work with a gallery, do you merely hand over your artwork and wait for checks? Hardly. There is more to do, because your galleries will get the best results when you act as a good partner to them.

Relationships are a two-way street. You as the artist can enhance your importance to a gallery, and provide assistance to them by being pro-active. Take these actions to help enable your galleries to sell more of your work:

Refer Clients to Them Let the public know that the gallery represents you, and recommend that they visit the gallery to view and purchase your art. Include the name of your gallery when you post on social media, in your email newsletters and on your blog. Mention your galleries prominently on your art website, and include their address and phone number. Link to their website – preferably the page where your art is shown.

Make an AppearanceShowing up at openings where your work is being displayed is a must. But appearances can go beyond that. Some galleries have a “meet the artist” series where you may join visitors for coffee and conversation. Others may invite artists to give a talk about their technique or other aspect of their work. Consider having a conversation with your galleries on ways that you can participate in person. The face-to-face connection is powerful. Many collectors love to tell others that they have met the artist in person and have come to know them.

Provide Great PhotosDo you have excellent photos of your artwork, or photos of yourself working in the studio? Make the gallery staff aware that you will be happy to provide these. Compelling images of your art may be used by the gallery on promotional postcards, in ads or even in magazine articles. When you assist your gallery in their marketing efforts, both of you win.

Tell Your StoryThe more information the gallery staff has about you, the more they can tell their collectors about your inspiration, technique and background. Is your work based on an amazing concept? How does it relate emotionally to collectors? Have a concise but interesting story written down for use by gallery staff when making the sale.

Share Selling PointsGalleries need lots of information to sell your work, and you should provide this without being asked. What type of materials are you using? Is this an heirloom which will last for hundreds of years? Is there any special care that your work needs? Can it be cleaned easily? Are there special installation instructions? Will it fade in sunlight? Is it tarnish resistant? Archival? Impervious to moisture? Consider carefully what buyers need to know in order to commit to making the purchase, and make a list of selling points. Include this when shipping or delivering your art to the gallery, so they can answer questions knowledgeably and share the benefits of owning your art.

Add Extra ValueSometimes, small things can increase the perceived value of your work. An original signature on your art is important, of course. A Certificate of Authenticity also acts to convey that the work is from the hand of the artist. Small touches such as an artist’s chop on a piece of two-dimensional art, or words incised on the bottom of a handmade ceramic pot can add value as well.

Plan how you can build solid relationships with your current galleries. Are you providing information, resources and service to them that will help both of you succeed? Each step you take to build that win/win relationship will pay off for your art business.

This article post is a summary of one of the courses which will be presented at the Art Business Workshop. This workshop is being conducted by The Arts Business Institute.  This workshop event is co-sponsored by Skidmore College Entrepreneurial Artist Initiative & Saratoga Arts.  The Art Business Workshop will be held on April 9th and 10th, 2016.  This event will be held at the Saratoga Arts at the Arts Center, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866.  For further information on this event and an outline of all of the courses http://www.artsbusinessinstitute.org/saratoga-springs-new-york.

Carolyn Edlund is the founder of ArtsyShark.com  and the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute. She will be speaking about Gallery Relationships and other art business topics at the upcoming “Arts Business Workshop for the Entrepreneurial Artist” taking place at Saratoga Arts in Saratoga Springs, New York on April 9-10, 2016. This event is co-sponsored by Skidmore College. Students and alumni of Skidmore will be admitted to the workshop at no charge, by contacting Elizabeth Dubben at edubben@skidmore.edu

Think of the Business of Art as an Art Competition!

Think of the Business of Art as an Art Competition! post image

The definition of the word competition is “the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy, a prize, etc”.  Every month Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery receives hundreds of entries for our online art competitions. After five years, we still receive a large number of sloppy or incomplete entries from artists.  If that happens to us, it is also happening to viewers and the potential buyers of that artist’s work!

Think of the presentation of your art as a competition against every other artist out there.  This is true whether the art is online, in person or in print.  Who will win this competition?  The winning artist will be the one with the best artistic skills and also the artist with the best presentation of their art.

I cannot say why some artists do not present their art professionally.  It may be that some artists do not care or they do not want to compete or they think that their art will sell itself.  Every artist should understand the challenges in showing their art well, attracting enough attention to get people to look at their work and finally motivating someone to actually buy their art. 

Every time your art is shown in person, in print, online or in social media, that is your one opportunity to make a great impression and to present your art as well, if not better than, any other artist.  Think of this presentation in terms of an art competition.  A mediocre and careless presentation of your work will not cut it and you surely will not win!

Here are some ways to improve your presentation when entering art competitions or showing your art online, in person or in print.

  1. Label your entries precisely and consistently (At least your last name and title of your artwork).
  2. Before you frame your art, have it photographed or scanned (No iPhone images).
  3. Color correct and crop your images (There is no excuse for not doing this.   There are free programs on the web that you can use).
  4. Do not show backgrounds, floors or easel stands (See above).
  5. Have a well-written artist’s biography that has been spell checked and has good sentence structure.  (A list of art shows, events and awards is not a biography).
  6. Have an artist’s statement. This tells the viewer what your art is about and what your motivation is for creating your art (In another words give the viewer a thoughtful meaning of your artwork).
  7. Display a consistent body of artwork, which shows you are serious about your art. (Art galleries, art representatives, designers and art buyers want to be sure you are a serious and committed artist).

Remember that you are competing with all of the other serious artists who want the same thing as you, the recognition and ultimately the sale of their artworks.  To successfully make this happen, your presentation should be better than every other artist’s.

Spend Money to Make Money…

Spend Money to Make Money… post image

How much of a financial investment are you making in your art business?

By Carolyn Edlund, Guest Blogger –  There are so many free ways to share your art today, especially online. That’s great. You shouldn’t have to break the bank to get exposure for your artwork – but there are places where money is well spent:

Your Art Website. This is the most important place to invest your hard-earned money, in my opinion. There are many ways to build a website, to suit any number of budgets. Make your web presence a priority and spend as much as you can afford to make the best impression.

An outdated or barely functional website says you don’t really care that much, or perhaps you aren’t in business any longer. This turns off website visitors, rather than intrigue them.

Some website providers like Wix.com offer low-cost options, but it involves advertising. If your art website has these words scrolling across the bottom – “This site was created using Wix.com. Create your own for FREE” – then I strongly advise you to spend the extra $5.00 per month (literally!) and get that ad taken off your site. Every time I see one of these, I cringe. It screams “amateur” and looks like like you’re not serious.

Your Photographs. As a visual artist, you know how important it is to present incredible work with impact. Lousy photos are just not acceptable. Don’t ever scrimp on photography; it will get your work ignored and rejected. If you don’t take your work seriously enough to show it to its best advantage, why should jurors, galleries or collectors assign value to it? You work hard in the studio. Honor your art by giving it an incredible presentation through professional photographs. Definitely money well spent.

Your Shows. Doing fairs and festivals? If you are limiting yourself to the cheapest booth fees, or even free events, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Apply to the very best shows you can. Investing in fewer high-quality events that match you with the right audience is a far better bargain in the end that wasting your time and energy in the wrong venue, chosen for cost alone.

Your Marketing Materials. Are you looking to impress potential customers with your brand? Use quality images and content to share your art. Whether you are spending on postcards, elegant invitations, or even advertising, put your best foot forward. This is often the first contact you will have. Make it count by wowing your audience, and encouraging them to want to see more.

Have you noticed that the list in this article includes places where you interact with potential customers, or people who may have the power and influence to give you publicity or help your business? That is where professionalism is key. It can make all the difference in your results.

Where Can You Save Some Money? If you don’t have money to spend on services that automatically schedule social media posts, then do it yourself. Persistent and consistent outreach through social media drives website traffic, and can help build your list, and you can put in some “sweat equity” here.

If you can’t afford a virtual assistant, then learn strategies to approach prospects, do follow ups, or conduct marketing activities yourself. Learning how to do this effectively will serve you well, and keep you on top of the best methods to get exposure. Research, read free blog posts, and put those ideas into action.

If you don’t have the budget for a paid Email Service Provider, use one with a free level such as Mail Chimp or Vertical Response. You will still have professionally-looking email campaigns going out to the list you have built of customers and others who are interested in what you make.

Exhibiting your work or having an open studio? There is no reason that you can’t use upcycled materials creatively to make displays or signage. Check out these cheapskate ideas to get lots of bang for your buck. (Link www.artsbusinessinstitute.org/blog/20-cheapskate-trade-show-booth-ideas/ )

Every creative business person has different needs. Identify those areas where you must spend money to create the best impression and the most impact. And invest your money there with confidence.

Carolyn Edlund is an art business consultant and the founder of Artsy Shark, which features and promotes artists. Carolyn is also the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, frequently speaking at artist workshops throughout the U.S. http://www.artsbusinessinstitute.org.  

Her background includes owning a production studio for over 20 years, and representing art publishers to the retail market.  Carolyn’s website is http://www.ArtsyShark.com. Also don’t miss …. “Artsy Shark’s Success Guide to Email Marketing for Artists’ http://bit.ly/EmailCourse.

Mallory Whitfield Named the Judge of “SeaScapes”

Mallory Whitfield Named the Judge of “SeaScapes” post image

Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is pleased to announce that Mallory Whitfield, has been named as the gallery’s Guest Judge for the gallery’s 5th Annual “SeaScapes” Online Art Competition.

Mallory Whitfield began her journey as a creative entrepreneur in 2004, selling her handmade creations at local craft shows. She has written an e-book “How to Make Money at Craft Shows” from what she learned during 10+ years of selling at craft shows.

Mallory has been blogging at Miss Malaprop since 2006. She offers creative strategy & coaching sessions for solopreneurs and indie business owners on topics including blogging, SEO (search engine optimization), WordPress, affiliate marketing, social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest), email marketing and more.  www.missmalaprop.com

The 5th Annual “SeaScapes” Online Juried Art Competition is for the month of September 2015. 2D and 3D artists (Including photography) from around the world are called upon to make online submissions for possible inclusion in to the Gallery’s October 2015 online group art exhibition.

Light Space & Time encourages entries from artists regardless of where they reside and regardless of their experience or education in the art field.  The “Seascape” theme will be the artist’s interpretation and depiction of seascape art.  Seascape subjects would include scenes of coastal living, any ocean activities, seaside vistas and any related seashore subjects for this art competition. The deadline to apply is September 26, 2015. 

For further information and to apply to the 5th Annual “SeaScapes” Online Art Competition here.  

5 Ways to Impress Buyers with Professionalism

5 Ways to Impress Buyers with Professionalism post image

By John Feustel, Guest Blogger – Want to attract buyers and set yourself apart as a serious artist? Professionalism is crucial if you want to stand out. And while important, it goes beyond polite and prompt communication. Buyers are more likely to trust and purchase from an artist who runs a professional business. Whether it’s providing a polished invoice or handing out compelling and effective business cards, it’s critical to channel reliability and expertise in all aspects of your career.

Here are five ways you can convey your professionalism:

1. Organize and Track Your Work Online

The more successful you become, the more hectic your art business can get. There are consigned pieces, competition works, exhibition loans, and much more to keep tabs on. Whether you’re an established artist or an emerging one, it’s critical to have an organizational system in place. Galleries and buyers expect artists to have all the right information at the click of a button. We suggest a cloud-based inventory management system like Artwork Archive. You’ll have all your artwork along with the title, medium, dimensions, price/sales value, creation date, associated contacts, and location all easily accessible online. You’ll have all the information you need wherever, whenever!

2. Add an Engaging and Informative Email Signature

An email signature is a very simple way to provide key contact information for your connections. It makes it easy for buyers, galleries and other contacts to see more of your artwork. We suggest including your full name, profession (e.g. abstract painter), contact information (i.e. business phone, email address, mailing address, and website) and a small, high quality image of your work. What’s more, it takes less than five minutes to set up and will automatically appear on every email you send. Want to know how to set one up on Gmail? Find out here

3. Create Polished Reports

Galleries and buyers require reports such as consignment reports, inventory reports, and invoices. And while a sheet of notebook paper does the job, it’s better to provide an invoice that leaves a lasting positive impression. A polished, organized report conveys professionalism and credibility. You can quickly create and print reports with a business and inventory management system like Artwork Archive, so you can impress buyers and galleries.

4. Create Memorable and Effective Business Cards

A business card represents your art business, so make sure you have all the right components. Websites like Moo.com and VistaPrint.com allow you to create beautiful cards that help you stand out from the pack. Be sure to include your full name, art type, contact details, website, and high quality images of your art. Stay away from overcrowded, flimsy, generic business cards. The more distinct and informative your business card is, the more professional and serious you seem to buyers.

5. Keep Your Website Up-to-Date

Your website is the storefront of your art business, so be sure to keep it current. Buyers will want to see your newest work and latest collections, and hear about your upcoming shows. Old information and unmarked, unavailable works only confuse and mislead buyers. The same goes with pricing. If you have prices on your website, keep them updated and in line with your galleries. Consider using an online portfolio that updates when you update your inventory, like Artwork Archive’s Public Profile Page. A current website or online portfolio speaks volumes about your professionalism. Buyers will take note!

About John Feustel is the founder and developer of Artwork Archive: the number one online tool that helps you organize your work, grow your business, and share your art with the world. From inventory and contact management to sales and location tracking, Artwork Archive gives you everything you need to manage your art business so you can spend more time in the studio doing what you love. Create the art business you want today at ArtworkArchive.com.

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