Marketing & Selling Your WorkBravery, inquiry,
- Continue the never ending job of photographing your work and organizing your digital images.
- Continue to focus on making art. It should be a part of your daily life.
- Consider which sales venues and marketing approaches will be right for you.
“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.’ — Joe Chernov
Should You Sell Your Work?
Not everyone wants to sell their artwork. But for many, it can be a necessity. If you aren’t interested in selling your work, that’s ok, but it’s good to understand the numerous different ways you can sell your work.
Some important things to note before you start:
- Galleries typically take 50% of your sales. The amount of marketing galleries do for you is highly variable. Ask questions lots of questions and know what you’re getting into- How much is their take? Do they market you as an artist? Do they want to limit your sales outside of their gallery? How many artist do they represent? Do they have a webpage for each artist? How often do they pay their artists?
- Not all online sales platforms are created equally. Do your homework.
- If you’re selling your work online, there’s a chance your images might be stolen.
- If you’re licensing your work to a retailer, go through your contract with a fine tooth comb.
- If you’re publishing work, know your distribution channels and make sure you work with a reputable publisher.
If you want to see an example of an artist who has his own sales and marketing under control, take a look at Dolan Geiman. He’s a mixed media artist and has his personal “brand” on lockdown. He may not be the kind of artist you want to be, but if you start thinking about your role as a professional artist as that of being a small business owner, his model is one you should look at.
Marketing Your Artwork
In terms of marketing, you’re already working on the two biggest marketing efforts most artists make: your website and social media. I have you start working on those things early and consistently because they’re both key to so many other pieces of the puzzle.
These days, there doesn’t seem to be one perfect way to market your work, but many. And like all things in your professional career, there is no formula formula for success. If you’re interested in learning more about marketing online, I highly recommend taking one of the many free courses out there. YouTube has tons of information from successful artists. The topic of marketing is vast and deep. Don’t let it run your life, but know that it can be a tool in your toolchest.
Practical advice from a first-time art fair exhibitor.
Arts Festivals (there are thousands, but these are to get you started):
- Fairs and Festivals in Alaska
- LaQuinta Arts Festival
- Stanley Arts Festival
- Multiple Festivals through Artfestival.com
- The “festivals” category in Call for Entry
Typically, you’ll need a real inventory of items to make festivals work for you. Some artists manage to make a living solely off of festivals, but they travel a LOT.
- Saatchi (well respected online gallery)
- Etsy (linked you to “original paintings” search. My shop is on vacation until this semester is over…)
- Ebay (some people still sell their work through this venue!)
- Shopify (you can have a stand-alone store or integrate their shopping cart into your website)
- Artfinder (linked to their top 40 artists so you can see what sells and for how much)
Your best marketing tool is the art you make, the second best is your website, and the third is social media. But you may occasionally need old school things like business cards, flyers, postcards, and paid marketing.
Moo (This is by far my favorite source for marketing materials. Their business cards are fantastic and sturdy and same with their post cards.)
Zazzle (You can use this for making your own cards and other marketing materials as well as reproductions of your work)
Ink Cards (A great resource if you already have a mailing list you’d like to send things to.)
Adobe Spark Post App (I used this to create a flyer for a reading he had, and the post looked so classy people thought he had a book coming out already!!)
Print on Demand:
You may get to a point where you want to sell your work as reproductions. This is usually only the case for 2D and graphic artists, but I make a nice sized “passive income” from some of these sites (meaning that after I load my images up and create my products, the company handles all of the production and shipping.
A few things you should be prepping for and working on.
Cafe and Submissions
Please make sure you’re checking Call for Entries on a regular basis! Take every opportunity you can.
You should revise, modify, or add to at least one of your pages this week. If you’ve had a website for a while, you should think about updating it so that it looks as contemporary and current as possible. Make sure your work us divided thematically or by series and that the medium and year of creation is clear as well as the title.
Prepare for Your Final
This week is a great week to start looking at the final checklist for your final and to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.