Evolving Your Career: Basic Business Skills for Visual Artists II Fresh Arts ARC Workshop led by Taft McWhorter
“Out on a limb... thats where artists do their work. Not in the safe places, but out there, in a place where they might fail.” ~Seth Godin• DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL!• The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. - David Bayles
“You will never leave where you are until you decide where you would rather be.”
2012 State of the Art Surveyhttp://www.xanadugallery.com/wordpress/
Overall Vision & Goals• To go from hobbyist to professional takes “ACTING and BEING” professional• Spend 50% of your time on areas besides creating your art• Write a business plan• Set goals and timelines• Network with the right people
The Essentials• Business Cards• Website – Bio/Artist Statement – Credentials – Images of your work – Calendar of Upcoming Events – List of Collectors – Contact Info
Network• 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
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
Negotiating• Very few art sales happen without negotiation• Don’t offer a discount unless the prospect asks, but be prepared with your initial offer as well as your lowest price• Never agree to a price that you are uncomfortable with. It won’t be worth it in the long run• Price your work with the notion of giving a 20-25% discount (typical discount in the art business)• Offer larger discounts on multiple piece sales.• The ultimate goal isn’t necessarily to “protect” the integrity of your art. The ultimate goal is to create collectors.
Exhibiting• Have a goal of showing at least once a month in a public venue/setting. – Gallery Exhibits (Fresh Arts) – Juried Shows (Lawndale, Archway, M2) – Art Markets (WHAM, First Saturday Arts Market) – Restaurants, Bars and Clubs – Collector’s homes or businesses – Be open to other possibilities (i.e. Car Dealerships)
Group Exhibits• Organize joint or group exhibits with other artists – Advantages of group exhibit • Larger audience due to combined mailing lists • Lower event cost per artist • Credibility of showing with other artists • Share mailing lists post exhibit (with collector’s permission) • Example – Progressive Evening of Fine Art – Allan Rodewald, Chris Silkwood and Taft McWhorter – Each artist invites 10 of their top collectors – Each artist gains 20 new quality prospects
Creating Collectors• The primary key to developing a career as a professional artist is to grow your list of collectors• Galleries and designers provide a great revenue stream, but sales to collectors will be the main source of income• Everything you do in building credibility in your work (i.e. credentials, exhibits, etc) will be done to benefit sales to your collectors• With a strong list of collectors, you can withstand the peaks and valleys of the art business
Creating Collectors• Begin creating a database of anyone who owns your art• Have a goal of creating anywhere from 10 to 50 new collectors per year• Utilize your current collectors even if it is only friends and family• Donate art to auctions. Get the name and contact info of who purchased• Collaborate and exhibit with other artists• Gift your art to key potential collectors or people you want to network with
Utilizing Collectors• This section applies whether you have 4 collectors or 100 collectors.• Local Art Collectors want to get to know the artist personally. That is the main reason collectors buy locally.• Take your collectors to lunch or dinner• A $30 lunch or $70 dinner tends to turn into more $$$ in art sales• At dinner, explain your mission, your business plan and figure out ways for them to be more involved• Collectors are looking to invest time and money in the artists they collect. They want to be “part of something larger than themselves”. Give them that opportunity.
Utilizing Collectors• Utilize current collectors to grow your circle and become champions for you and your art• Cater to your collectors by getting to know them and understanding their motives for collecting your art.• Organize small, invitation only “Collector Parties”. It can be a group of collectors or it can be one collector with a group of their friends.• Ask your collectors to invite a guest or two or five to any and all events.• Hold these types of events monthly if possible.
Utilizing Collectors• Send out a separate monthly newsletter to your collectors, offering them a special collectors discount for that month or a special referral reward, such as a free smaller piece of art if they refer someone who becomes a collector• Stay connected by sending postcards, note cards, emails, etc to your collectors on a monthly basis• The more connected you are with your collectors, the more they will support your passion
Special Projects• Once you’ve built a substantial list of collectors, you can create projects that involve more than just buying one painting at a time.• Examples – Plan a “Collector” sponsored: • Foundation • Exhibit • Series of works • Trip to study art in another city or country • Book of your art
Never Stop Evolving• Study with other artists – Spend the day with a fellow artist – Art Supply Dealer Demonstrations – Art League of Houston – Glassell School of Art, MFA• Attend workshops – Fresh Arts• Get an “Art Business” coach – Billy Miller, artist and art business coach at WSS
Art Business CoachWilliam H. MillerYour mARkeTing mentorWhim Designsbilly@whimdesigns.com•consulting services, marketing, web,social media and creative... based onyour goals - one artist to another.
“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way”. -Babe Ruth
"A clear vision, backed by definite plans,gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power." Brian Tracy
"Smile, breathe and go slowly." -- Thich Nhat Hanh