Evolving Your Career: Basic Business Skills for Visual Artists Spacetaker ARC Workshop led by Taft McWhorter
Overall Vision & Goals What do you want to achieve with your art? Full-time profession? Set a long-term goal. Write it down. What steps do you need to take to accomplish this goal? Start today.
Evaluate Your Current Status Pt. 1 Be honest about your current status. Are you painting every day? Are you ready to turn your hobby into a career? Are you selling your work on a monthly basis? Do you have an available body of work? Do you have high quality images of your work?
Evaluate Your Current Status Pt. 2 Do you have a website? Do you have an Artist Portfolio? Do you have business cards? Do you have a client contact list? Do you have a current bio and artist statement? Do you check your email and voice messages regularly and respond promptly? What other web visibility do you have?
Presentation Look professional Style and ability must be up to par No ½” canvases Paint the sides or frame your work Pricing your work
Pricing your work Price based on what your market can bear Starting low is good ($100-$150 for 30”x40” piece). Primary goal is to move your art so that people are seeing it around You can easily create 40-50 collectors at a lower price and then bump the price up once a year as long as you’re continuing to sell Set your price per square inch Always be consistent with your pricing (don’t charge one thing in one city and another in your home city). Remember art pricing is always negotiable
Marketing/Networking Pt. 1 Networking is key Go to local art exhibits Meet artists and collectors Create a Top 10 list of people you want to connect with Begin inviting these people to your exhibits Donate your best work to auctions as long as you get the buyer’s contact info
Marketing/Networking Pt. 2 Web presence Website Social media (Facebook/Twitter) Other marketing avenues Spacetaker.org; Artshound.com; Glasstire.com Business cards Primary goal: Build your “list” Additional goal: 5 meetings a week to network
Exhibiting Exhibit as often as possible; when you send your portfolio to galleries, the first thing they will look at is how often and where you’ve exhibited Organize joint or group exhibits with other artists Art markets, co-op galleries, vanity galleries, restaurants & coffee shops, Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery Look for representation by galleries in other cities; only exhibit in your own city
Submitting to Galleries Co-op Gallery Run by artists Usually pay a small fee and/or volunteer to be involved Usually 50/50 split Vanity Gallery Pay fee for wall space Usually 70% artist/30% gallery split Fine Art Gallery No fees 50/50 split
Your Portfolio Submit under gallery’s guidelines. If there are no guidelines, include: Cover letter explaining your intention and professionalism Bio Artist Statement (3-4 sentences only) List of Exhibitions Gallery Representation A CD with 6 images that show a consistent style One or two recent PR clippings Any other marketing materials (catalog or small book of your work) Include a self-addressed stamped envelop so they can return the submission Have the 6 pieces that you used for images on the CD ready for shipping (do not use these pieces for anything else).
Follow Up Call the day you mail your portfolio to let gallery know it’s in the mail. Make follow up call 1 week after mailing to make sure they’ve received your submission If not listed on gallery website, ask: Process for reviewing artist submissions Who makes the final decision Call/email every 3 weeks until you get an answer
Getting Signed Read the contract. Take it to an attorney. Only agree to exclusivity with that city. Only agree to 50/50 split. Negotiate that the gallery pays 50% of shipping to their city and 100% of shipping to your city. They should offer you a group exhibit within 12 months and solo exhibit within 24 months. Ship work immediately. Follow up to make sure work arrived safely. Follow up monthly to check on the status of your work.
Special Thanks: Taft McWhorter Taft McWhorter Fine Art www.taftmcwhorterart.com