Business Skills for Visual Artists


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Business Skills for Visual Artists

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