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Pravin S. Kotme
Marina Vasiljevic Kujundzic
Anna Lisa Braconi
Davide De Luca
Elena Morgun (Trish)
Yanica Nikolaeva Sla
Anthony C Fletcher
Matt P Slade
Martin Stenbak Dresc
Natalija Pulejkova R
Juan Miguel Giralt N
Hou Chien Cheng
Hugo E. Quintero S.
Maria Marta Guzzetti
William Morgan Baile
SERGIO TRALDI JR
Sasho Petrov Kambour
Syed Tahir Rizvi
Jose Luis De La Barr
Hanoi Martinez Leon
Alejandro Olguin Agu
KIKA SELEZNEFF ALEMA
Daniel Augusto Chies
Juan Carlos Mejía
William M Robinson
Getting Started-So, you have surrendered yourself to living the life of an artist. Perhaps you have tried other things, only to realize that painting original art brings more joy than taking calls at a phone center. There are few things, as an artist, you may want to know before giving up the day job. Vincent Van Gough maintained three different day jobs during his lifetime while painting his masterpieces. He was a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesperson, and a preacher while dabbing in the colors that became the symbols of his expression. The modern-day artist has a distinct advantage over Vincent Van Gough; he did not have the convenience and benefit of the internet to sell art, or even promote art. Removal of your ear with a scalpel may not aid you any more than it aided him, either. Expect the same results: a ticket to the local sanitarium. Unfortunately, Van Gough merely sold one painting during his lifetime, and to say he was successful in art promotion would be a broad overstatement.
Original art manifests from an idea. It is a perception of reality, or a moment in time captured in the mind and the heart of the artist. It may take some time before understanding where the passion lies. There are many expressions of art. In art and painting, style can refer to one of two things; the aesthetic values in choosing how and what to paint, or to the physical techniques engaged. An aesthetic movement can promote an entire global perspective, heighten cultural awareness, and create introspection to the artist’s emotions and vivid forms of expression. Abstract Art: Abstract Art is not an accurate representation of a form or object. Abstract artists feel that paintings do not have to portray only things that were tangible or recognizable (environs, people, and fruit). Instead, paintings reflect emotions through shape and color. Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko, and Sonia Delaunay are a few examples of Abstract Artists. Pointillism: In pointillism, the artist uses thousands of tiny dots to make up the painting. From afar, the dots combine to form shapes that blend together to form a scene. Georges Seurat is a prime example. There are many more examples of style: Fauvism, Primitivism, Realism, Surrealism, Impressionism, etc.
Begin by painting an original art piece. A common mistake in the world of art is marketing the masterpiece before it is even complete (a common occurrence in literature as well). Do not bother yourself with time constraints. All great pieces take time. By adding the pressure of time, many works of art do not become what the artist had in mind. Instead, the ideal becomes the reality of a piece without detail, or lack of emotion. Art derives itself from a fundamental creative drive. Utilize the talent to an advantage by completing the art before art promotion.
When the painting is complete, it is important to find the proper frame for the piece. Two avenues are available to the artist when dealing with frames: Do-it-yourself, or have it framed professionally. Marion Boddy-Evans is a writer for .about.com Painting Forum. She has a forum, which pertains to painting, framing, and the likes. Marion’s painting knowledge comes from a mixture of formal tuition, studio experience, workshops, personal study (theoretical and practical), and plenty of discussion with other artists. On her forum, one man wrote; “I had the tools (compound miter saw and a router), so I gave it a shot. I was very please with the outcome. I used a 1”x2” pine for materials. I painted the finished frame with satin black and it looked very good.” (-Brian) The situation worked well for Brian, though Brian’s intentions may not have necessarily been to sell art. Framing is an art unto itself. Yet, does the artist truly need to concern his/her self with this area of selling art? Another wrote; “I have a friend who frames and when I took the framed items into the gallery I know, they told me she had done it all wrong. They looked okay to me, but apparently they were sealed on the back and shouldn’t have been because the canvas couldn’t breath(e) and so on.” (–Ruthie) Framing original art can incur a significant expense from the artist.
It is important to know the proper procedures, as well as the right materials to frame, whether it is a do-it-yourself job or someone else frames it. Fundamentally, artwork is best preserved behind a glazed surface. However, under any circumstance, the work should work be placed directly against the glazed surface. There are two surfaces used to frame artwork, both comprised of distinct advantages, as well as disadvantages: Acrylic and glass. Acrylic surfaces, also known as “Plexiglas,” are shatterproof, provide thermal insulation, and most importantly, can be treated with an ultraviolet filter to protect the work of art. Plexiglas is also lighter than glass, which provides efficiency in mobility. On the other hand, Plexiglas cannot be cleaned with ordinary glass cleaners, and it should never be used to frame pastels or charcoals. These materials will gravitate, due to the static electrical components, toward the Plexiglas. Glass is rarely scratches and cleans simply. If the piece is large, glass is breakable, and cannot be mobilized as efficiently. The next step is choosing a mat. A mat is a thin, flat piece of paper-based material included within a picture frame. The mat serves purpose of several different functions, but three main are decorative (some works of art have rough outlines), and practical (separates the original art piece from the glass or Plexiglas), and support (prevents bending and folding). A bold-colored mat can outline a painting enhancing artist promotion. Most reputable framing stores use a material in the mat known as “archival” (acid-free, all-rag fiber). If the do-it-yourself route seems more viable, purchase an archival mat at any well-equipped art supply store. Ask questions if doubt looms. Take advantage of free advice in areas unclear. More than likely, if the sales assistant is not sure, he/she will find someone who knows. Another option to consider is floating. Floating a work of art means exposing the whole sheet with its edges. Normally, it is for aesthetic reasons with a piece that has intentionally unique edges. Floating is not the most secure technique, but it can be aesthetically pleasing.
The painting is complete, the frame is complete, what next? Art promotion is relied heavily upon marketing skills. There are many ways to define marketing skills: Communication, promotion, advertising, etc. There are means that may set art promotion adrift on a current to failure, and there are means that are focused, honed, and calculating.
The internet can be a positive tool utilized toward a specific goal. Or, it can be a deceptive tool that runs a useless path. The key is to do it right the first time.
Alan Bamberger is an art consultant, advisor, and independent appraiser specializing in research, appraisal, and all business and market aspects of original works of art artist manuscript materials, art-related documents, and art reference books. He has been selling art since 1979 and rare and scholarly reference books since 1982, and has been consulting and appraising for artists, galleries, businesses, organizations, and collectors since 1982. With permission from Alan Bamberger at artbusiness.com, the following excerpt describes to a science the “how’s” and “what’s” of art promotion.
Q: “I'm a visual artist networking and marketing my own work. I'm looking for resources and references. I paint mainly contemporary abstracts on panel and canvas, medium to large in size. I would like to find a rep or gallery to show and sell my work. Please visit my website and have a look at my art, and if you have a moment, I could use feedback. Thanks for your time.”
A: “If you're taking shots in the dark like this, you need professional help. Hire an art consultant, artist agent, or perhaps even an art dealer, and pay them for an hour or two of their time. Perhaps this is not what you want to hear, but if it's any consolation, plenty of other artists need the exact same thing. Rather than get help, though, they continue to make arbitrary random attempts to call attention to themselves and their art, attempts that almost always fail.”
“Take your attempt, for example. I don't know how many people you've sent this email to; I'm sure I'm not the only one. So I'll try to give you a generic answer, typical of one that any art business professional would give you. Of course, most simply won't respond, but what you're about to read is similar to what they'll be thinking as they read your request....”
“You say in your opening sentence that you're marketing your own work, but you're not really. You're asking me to help market it for you. You want me to give you references and resources. You want me to help you find a rep or gallery. You want me to look at your art and give you feedback. Maybe you even want me to rep you myself.”
“Here are my questions for you: Am I supposed to take an hour or two or three of my time to study and critique your work, put my thoughts into writing, and email them to you? Am I supposed to go through my contact list and give you a bunch of names so that you can ask them the same questions you're asking me? Am I supposed to offer whatever additional help I can to advance your art career?”
“But enough about what you want for you without making clear what you'll do for me in return. Convincing someone to show and sell your art involves more than asking them to look at it on a computer screen and give you feedback. No one is going to visit your website, see your art, and become so taken with it that they decide to represent you right then and there. They have no idea who you are, how you are to work with, what your capabilities are, or anything else about you. You're a total stranger approaching them from out of nowhere.”
“Do you know anything about them or their business or how they are to work with? Have you visited their gallery or office? Are you sure they're reputable? Have you spoken with other artists who they represent? Are those artists satisfied with how they've been represented?”
“If you're feeling a tad queasy at this point, then we're right back where we started. Get professional help and pay for it or trade art for it or make clear in some other way that you are prepared to compensate those who help you. An experienced art consultant or any other art business professional can show you how to present your art effectively, maximize your chances for results, minimize problems, and enter into mutually beneficial business relationships. And here's the good news: You don't have to compromise your artistic integrity or change the look of your art in the process; you learn how to present yourself in ways and in places that are more likely to result in sales of your art.”
“Get some basic training about what makes people buy art. Learn how to present, show, and explain your art in ways that whoever is listening will find compelling. Learn how, at some point during your presentation, to convince them your art will sell. Only then will you be ready to continue your art marketing adventures.”
Consider an agent, or maybe not. There are many online sites advertising themselves as art agents. After further investigation, many are simply a server displaying various works, free of charge to the artist-until the piece sells. Whereby, a certain percentage (usually, 15%) is handed to the broker for simply doing absolutely nothing. Realistically, it is easier to create a webpage without handing over a percentage of hard-earned work to a middle agent. Another option is to apply directly to a gallery. Do the research. Make sure the gallery has a good reputation, and is not an online scandal. Clarify the type of art displayed and represented. Be certain the art the gallery specializes in what happens to be the same as your original art. Without the homework, chances are there will be a lot of rejection.
There are some offline options in art promotion. If there is a webpage created, advertise it. Put the site URL on everything: Business cards, letterheads, cups, mugs, pens, and bumper stickers. Keep this in mind for an upcoming section, exhibitions. Advertise on the voice mail of a cell phone, as well as landline. Let everyone who calls know there is a twenty-four hour site. Word-of-mouth is very important when it comes to artist promotion. The premise behind it is, even if only one person out of a thousand responds, it is one more than by not saying anything at all. Word-of-mouth is the oldest, most powerful tool in history, not to be underestimated. Newspaper ads in the classified section are also a relatively inexpensive opportunity to promote art. Most cities have a local advertiser, as well. Often, these are even more inexpensive than newspaper classifieds. No one is going to do the work for you, utilize all viable resources to sell art.
Licensing art is a direction that may prove to be lucrative without compromising artistic integrity. Licensed art consist of developing a series of images with personal style. Each series gravitates towards a specific theme (i.e. wildlife, flowers, mountains, etc.). Most artists promote a singularly specific theme, and develop sets of at least four to six images that connect to the theme. Licensed art is not just art; it is the design of a product. Keep in mind what the finished product will be. Standard-sized canvas creates works that translates nicely to a fine art print or poster, but consider other sizes so the art converts to a standard greeting card or calendar size. More complex designs, clocks or compasses, translate to the market well. There should be measurements or templates available for these products. Design for people who buy art. Leave the dark and abstract work for a personal audience. Licensing art is a difficult path, but it is certainly not impossible. One reason is that the market is much smaller. Bright, colorful images are much more likely to license. Design for a worldwide audience. The original art will appeal to a larger audience, and the returns will be greater (flowers, as compared to sights of Portland). It is important to do the research, and may be one area where finding a niche before actually painting the set will produce better results. Research licensing agencies, and to whom they represent. Discover what type of work they accept, what sizes are accepted, and what are the current trends, especially if you are new in the market. Consulting a lawyer may not be a bad idea, either (if there is a contract).
An art exhibition is, traditionally, a space or location where art meets an audience (or vice-versa). The exhibit is universally understood to be for a temporary period, unless otherwise specified (in which case, it is stated to be a “permanent exhibition”). Original art is classified by a theme, for example, Commercial Art, which is original art created to promote a specific product (Andy Warhol [see also, Pop Art]). The art works may be presented in museums, art halls, art clubs, or private art galleries. Another location that may be of relevance to exposure for an “up and coming” artist is a business or community center where the principal purpose is not that of selling art. A coffeehouse is a prime example, whereby the artist can display his/her works free, and expose artwork to gain a following. Some exhibitions display art without the intent of selling art. Contact the organizers, or the establishment prior to submission. There are three types of exhibitions: A juried exhibition, an invitational exhibition, and an open or “non-juried” invitation.
A juried exhibition has an individual, or group, which acts as judge of submitted artworks and chooses which are to be shown. Renee Phillips is an author of several books, including Power Tools for Fine Artists, Success Now! For Artists, and, The Complete Guide to Manhattan Galleries. She is a member of the International Association of Art Critics and her articles have appeared nationwide in many publications. Renee is the writer of a column, “Soar! A Monthly Ejournal”. Her topic for March was, “Entering Juried Shows Enhance Your Chances.” She writes:
“As I write this, I am sitting in the middle of boxes filled with white, pink, and manila envelopes of all different sizes which enclose CDs, slides, and photographs. They are submissions for the HerStory 2007 juried online competition…At times, I rejoice in the splendor of the images I see before me. Other times, I cry out, “Why do artists sabotage themselves?
In this case I refer to the kind of sabotage which reveals itself in the form of poor quality materials, illegible writing on entry forms, and the like. I have some pet peeves I have acquired over the years after having juried more than 50 exhibitions for Manhattan Arts International and other organizations…Entry forms that are incomplete or completed illegibly, instructions that are ignored, a return envelope too small, insufficient labeling, lack of care, poor quality slides, jpegs, and photographs.”
She continues to explain in depth each problem, but they are self-explanatory. Avoid these issues when entering a juried competition. She does offer positive insight in submitting artwork.
“An entry prepared neatly, with attention to the details. An artist who has gone the extra mile will place a printed CD with an image of their work and their name on it. An artist who prints, not scribbles, on the entry form, in a legible manner…an artist who attracts respect from us, the judges.”
An Invitational exhibition is one where the organizer of the show asks certain artists to supply artworks and exhibits them. The following excerpt was written by Mona Ghuneim (Ghuneim report, New York) on April 2, 2008 on the Whitney Biennial, titled, “New York’s Whitney Museum Presents 74th Biennial Show.” “Long known as the most controversial art exhibit in the United States, often scandalizing audiences and enraging critics, the Biennial has been called the ‘bad boy of art.’ And ‘the show everyone loves to hate.’ But this year’s show is not so much provocative as it is need of contemplation, says the director of the Whitney.”
In short, invitational exhibits create a lot of publicity, be it positive or negative-publicity is publicity when it comes to art promotion. Invitational exhibitions are “invite only,” so it is best to pursue a juried or an open (non-juried) exhibition, where it is possible to gain cash prize awards, as well as free publicity, prior to pursuing an invitational.
The third type of exhibition is what is known as an open or “non-juried” exhibition. This type of art promotion is open to anyone, allowing all artwork shown. A “non-juried” exhibition is, practically by definition, a mail art exhibition. Mail art refers to art which uses the postal system as a medium. The term, mail art can refer to an individual message, the medium through which it is sent, and an artistic genre (sometimes referred to as postal art). An open exhibition is a perfect place for an artist to promote offline material (key chains, business cards, and pens with URL). Yake advantage as the opportunity arises.
The outline for promoting art remains intact for any field (photography, sculpting, architectural art, metalwork, etc.). To review, begin with an idea. Create a masterpiece in the mind. Paint the masterpiece. Remember, art is subjective. What may not look like a masterpiece to you, may be a Picasso to everyone else. Self is the worst critic. When in doubt, consult a professional. Once the painting is complete, choose a frame that enhances the work-simple, subtle. Market the artwork. Access the internet; create a webpage from a server that caters to your needs. Find one that already has a clientele base whom will see your site. Discover other means of advertising. Create buttons, key chains, t-shirts: Whatever it takes. Again, consult with a professional, even if it means shelling out a couple hundred bucks. It will be money well spent. Search the neighborhood for a coffee shop or cultural center willing to display your original art free. Search the internet for exhibitions that reward with cash, as well as publicity. Submit your work in a professional manner, with all forms filled neatly, and quality photos of your artwork. Then, do it again, and again, and again. Eventually, the galleries will take notice, either to your art or to your persistence. Most importantly, do not give up. Painting is a cultural contribution to society, an expression of passion and emotion that should not be stifled.
Special thanks to: Marion Boddy-Evans, about.com, Biddington’s Art Gallery, Alan Bamberger, artbusiness.com, artpromote, Renee Phillips, manhattanarts.com
(Links for juried art exhibitions-artshow.com, artlist.com, manhattanarts.com)