Episode 276 – New Markets for Artists / Questions to Ask

Questions to Ask

You should also brainstorm some good conversation starters that you can use to get your visitors personally involved in the exhibit. It is hard for anyone to talk about art, especially when they don’t have many opportunities to in their daily life, but anyone can pick a favorite piece without having an artistic ex- planation for why they like it. If you do get someone to point out a piece they like, explain to them why it is special and talk about what it means to you. Even if you don’t have have a story or historical context about the piece, you can say something about how it was made or what influenced its creation. You want to teach them something about the work they are drawn to—and they want you to teach them. It also doesn’t hurt to say that the piece they chose is your favorite also. Doing so helps create a stronger connection with your visitor.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 275 – New Markets for Artists / Your Sales Pitch

Your Sales Pitch

I tell that story to illustrate how a good, simple sales pitch can be extremely effective during a studio visit. When people come to your studio, they are potential customers. You can guess fairly quickly who does and doesn’t have money to spend, but you’ll be surprised sometimes.

The Soft but Enthusiastic Sell

When I owned a gallery, I once had an exhibit of a series of paintings on ironing boards by an artist that I liked very much. A friend of mine came to the gallery, and I started telling her how much I liked the paintings. We walked around, and I enthusiastically explained what the paintings meant to me and why each one was interesting, and to my astonishment, she said she wanted to buy one. I didn’t think she had any money, but it turned out she had just inherited some from a family member.

Reading Your Potential Collector

When my wife and I were in the gallery with the Dalí prints, we looked like potential buyers even though we are not big collectors and would not normally (but could, in theory) buy art for several thousand dollars. The first rule of studio visits is never assume your visitors don’t have money to spend. Simply try to get them interested in the artwork itself. All the woman at the Dalí gallery had to do to engage me was ask what my favorite print was. That one line got things going.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 274 – New Markets for Artists / We Came Back

We Came Back

When we were standing in front of the etching, the gallery sales- woman began to talk. She told us that Dalí was describing his anger at the church, and as she pointed around the image she explained that this squiggle was Dalí, and that one was Gala, who would soon be his wife, and the symbol of the hat over there was the bishop. She said the etching was about how angry Dalí was with the bishop because he would not permit Gala and he to marry in the church since Dalí had already been married and divorced. She said this was a difficult time for Dalí because he loved Gala very much and wanted to marry her in the church. My wife liked that and we smiled at one another. Then, the woman told us that the etchings were part of a very limited series and that there were only a few left of this particular image.

Celebrity Name Dropping

Furthermore, she said that for those who bought from this series, there was a special cocktail party that the other collectors would attend, one of whom was Mick Fleetwood. That caught my attention; I asked if that was the same Mick as the guitarist for the Rolling Stones? She said no, he was the drummer for Fleetwood Mac, and that he was a big collector of Dalí, and would probably be at the reception. She told us both a little more about the edition size and its rarity and then said that for $300, I could own it. I was shocked that it was so little, and she said that three hundred could be the down payment to secure it, and that we could work out whatever payment plan I wanted to pay for the rest.

Imagining Owning Art

Before I even asked what the total price was, I imagined drink- ing with Mick Fleetwood, who I imagined to be Mick Taylor, and having this huge gold framed print in my apartment. The woman had planted this fantasy in my mind. The print was several thousand dollars, and although I did not buy it, I was amazed at how close I came. The more I thought about it, the funnier it was to me, to own a giant Dalí print, but it was not out of the question. I really could have worked out a payment plan and bought it.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 273 – New Markets for Artists / Getting the Studio Visitor to Talk

Getting the Studio Visitor to Talk

One time my wife and I went to a small gallery showing Salvador Dalí prints. When I was a teenager, I liked Dalí quite a bit, so I was curious. We entered the rather small space and began looking at the eighteen-by-twenty-four-inch prints. The prints, lightly colored drawings with Dalí’s signature line, quality and subtle references to himself and his work (the dripping clock, a crucifixion, etc), had large, gaudy gold frames around them. Though they looked like drawings, they were actually etchings from plates. As we walked through the show, whatever my childhood fondness for Dalí had been, was gone. The show was interesting, but not enough to keep me there for more than five minutes. I told my wife I wanted to go.

As We Were Leaving

Just then, a saleswoman, or perhaps the gallery director, asked me if I wanted a glass of wine or champagne. I declined, but thanked her, and we started towards the door. Then, the woman called out and asked if she could ask me one question. I said yes, and she asked me which one was my favorite. She didn’t ask if I had a favorite, or if I liked the show, she asked a direct question that required a straight answer—not a simple yes or no. So standing near the door, I answered her question by pointing to one of the pieces I liked better than the others. She smiled and said “Oh, that is a very special one. May I tell you something about it? It has a great story.” Reluctantly, I said yes, and my wife and I were walking back into the gallery toward my favorite etching.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 272 – New Markets for Artists / Organizing Studio Visits, Parties, and Your Cult Following

Chapter 11

Organizing Studio Visits, Parties, and Your Cult Following

Have you wondered how to manage a party at your studio and inspire the following that your art deserves? Methods for throwing events from sober and conservative to wild, memorable, and unrated, are all possibilities to build support for you and your art. The thing to keep in mind is that you are designing the party, and you are in control of the outcome to some extent, depending on your goals. Here are a few ways to get started, but remember, like other areas, this is wide open to inventive interpretations.

The Studio Visit

Ah, the heart of the art business—the studio. This is where deals are made, or where you meet someone who can make deals for you. Artists have used studio visits to share and sell their work for years, however, there are new ways of getting people into your studio and networking with possible collectors. The studio visit is often misunderstood. It is not just a time to look at work, but a chance to meet the artist and learn who they are and what their process is. For the artist, I think the most important part of the studio visit is engaging visitors and hearing what they have to say. That might be the last thing on your list, but it is the first on mine; there is a lot to be gained from talking to your visitors. In this chapter, I will discuss several aspects of the studio visit, but I will start with the most intimate—the process of conversation and getting the visitor to talk.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 271 – New Markets for Artists / Your First Day

Your First Day

So, it is your first day on this schedule, what do you do? You can begin by doing a little research on artists like Abbey Ryan or TMNK (The Me Nobody Knows) to see how they promote themselves. A good first step is beginning a blog on your cur- rent activities and projects. If you want to post art every day, you can declare your intentions to the world, and you can include a picture of yourself and your artwork. That might be enough for your first day, and on future days when you can’t think of what to do, you can add another entry describing your process so far. You’ll also want to open an eBay account if you don’t have one already. When you look at the artists I mentioned who are selling on the web, you can see selling strategies you might want to use. TMNK and Abbey Ryan have very different approaches, and you might like one over another, or you may find your personality needs to be represented in a different way altogether. But the daily grind of those thirty minutes must be adhered to for it to pay off.

Stick to a Schedule

There will be days you don’t feel like doing your thirty minutes. On those days, it is important to do it anyway. Even if you get distracted and check your email instead of doing your work, finish at the same time and do your best not to do unrelated tasks during that time period again. They don’t call it the daily grind for nothing! Some days will be fun and inspiring, other days less so, but stay the course and you will see progress. This could be called time management, but really it is something else. It is managing your behavior, and even more, changing your behavior, which is one of the hardest things to do. But it can also be one of the most rewarding. We often feel trapped by our compulsions (smoking, procrastinating, etc.), but history has shown that we can overcome these powerful habits, and once we do, we will feel inspired in ways we never thought possible.

Consistency over Time

The trick is to stay consistent. When Abbey Ryan started selling her work online it took almost two years before she was making close to $100,000 a year. Can you wait that long, or perhaps longer? Sometimes life leads us to unexpected places. The last time I checked Ryan’s page she was getting more and more publicity, and it looked like galleries were handling many of her sales now. That may have not been her original intention, but her persistence and hard work got her there. Another important daily task that will make the transition into your new life and new way of thinking easier is to create a statement of intent that you read to yourself daily.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 270 – New Markets for Artists / Making the System Work for You

Making the System Work for You

That should be enough to convince you that an electronic calendar is far superior to a traditional paper calendar. Next, you must figure out how to make the system help you get more work done. First, set aside a time of day to work on a new project. If, for example, you are going to work on selling your art online the way Abbey Ryan did in chapter 5, you can start the process by devoting thirty minutes a day, four days a week to the effort. It is easy to mark the exact time in your calendar and stick to it.

Start with Only 30 Minutes Per Day on Business

The reason you are choosing only 30 minutes a day for four days a week instead of five is because your likelihood to succeed is better if you start with a short, realistic time frame.    I am a morning person, so I would begin around eight or eight-thirty. Input the date and time in your calendar and set it to repeat every week. Now, you are committed to adhering to this schedule for a predetermined period of time.

Let’s say it is the first day of your new schedule and you have decided to do a painting and post it on eBay. In that thirty minutes you have set aside, you can do anything except paint. You are taking time to address business aspects, which might be the most difficult or least exciting parts, but doing so will make you feel good about what you’ve accomplished as you move on to the artistic matters. If you fail to do this, you risk feeling as though you have not done enough. And though a half hour may not seem like much time, it does add up if just spend 30 minutes working on it, which might mean just looking at eBay and what other artists have done for one session, your first perhaps.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 269 – New Markets for Artists / The Daily Grind

Chapter 10

The Daily Grind: Managing Time and the Dream of Art

As you use this book to supplement your personal strategies and advance your career, you may find that it is difficult to efficiently manage your time. As you develop new markets and further develop ones that already exist, you run into the problem that all entrepreneurs run into—how to get more time out of your already full day. In this chapter, I will present some techniques that can help you manage your time so that you feel good about what you have accomplished by the end of each day.

Daily Calendar

Using a daily calendar is a good place to start. In the age of smartphones and computers, online calendars have several advantages. I use Google Calendar as well as iCal, which is the calendar application that comes pre-installed on Mac computers. If you have a Mac and an iPhone, you might also consider using the Apple service Mobileme, or the latest version of it, which allows you to easily sync up all of your contacts so that if you type an event or contact into your calendar from your computer, it automatically goes into your phone as well, and vice versa.

Online Calendar-Sync Services

The Mobileme service is $99 per year as of this writing, but the Google equivalent is free. With Google Calendar, one of the many features that come with a Gmail account, you can also sync events and contacts to your mobile device. What I find handy about Google Calendar is that I can also sync my daily work schedule and events with other computers, so if my wife has Google Calendar on her computer, I can access and update my information there as well so she sees it when I enter in a new meeting. This versatility makes planning and changing schedules on the go much easier. If I am out at a meeting and someone asks when we can set up another meet- ing, I can use my phone calendar to pick a time that works with my schedule. That’s why I strongly suggest using a calendar system like this of some kind to keep times and tasks organized.

Using Other Calendars

You can even import other peoples’ calendars into yours, which can be helpful in planning your own daily or weekly activities. For example, I am currently writing this book in one of the libraries at Yale University. On the Yale website they list their operating hours and the days they are closed. I downloaded this information directly to my personal calendar, so now I always know when I can do my work at the library. And if I find that the new information looks too messy or confusing on top of my own, I can turn the library calendar off with a single click. And even though I have one calendar for work, I keep another calendar that I share with my wife, which includes more activities. In this home calendar, I list my son’s special classes, and any of his upcoming events that I should attend. As I said earlier, all of these events sync up with my phone right away. When I am at an art opening and I meet someone who invites me to their opening, I just enter it into my calendar, and I will never forget it.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 268 – New Markets for Artists / Printers

Printers

The reason you need to talk to a printer is because you need to know how much you have to sell a print for in order to make money. Assume the consultant will take fifty percent of your retail price. To determine the price of your work, factor in printing and domestic shipping costs plus the half of the total that will be going to a consultant. When asked how much a print is, you should know the answer offhand and the profit margin you stand to make from that sale.

Follow Up

Follow up is very important, which is another reason why you don’t want to contact people you haven’t researched. After emailing everyone on your list, you should send follow up emails every two weeks to reiterate the sentiments of your first email, and, if applicable, let them know that you have a new image to show them. You are building relationships with people who like to see that you are serious and professional about your work. They want to see that you are a consistent and reliable business partner. Oftentimes, consultants are going from project to project, one week at a hospital or a corporate lobby, another week at a hotel, and by maintaining regular correspondence, you will sometimes catch them in the middle of a project your work is suited for.

New Images, Constant Communication

It is also helpful to call your list of art consutants once a month to say that you have been sending them emails of your portfolio, and want to know if the consultant is looking for any particular kind of art at the moment. Getting to know the consultant and their preferences is key because that personal connection will make you and your work stand out that much more when the consultant begins selecting work for new projects.

As you foster these relationships you will find that you get more sales, and that momentum can steadily grow. It’s time to created another list of fifty consultants and repeat the process. Before long, you will have a dozen or more contacts buying art from you on a regular basis, providing you a steady stream of income. Once you have reached this plateau, you can consider consulting for other artists.

Becoming a Consultant Yourself

Since you now have the contacts and understand the system, you also have friends in your artist network, and they may be interested in selling prints. Barbara Markoff wrote a book that is an excellent resource on how to be an art consultant and run your own business. It is easier than you think once you establish yourself. As a last word on dealing with art consultants, if you are asked to pay to be represented, do not do it. No consultant should ask for money up front. If they do, refuse to work with them. Keep in mind, you are an entrepreneur starting a small business, and you need to use your head and make smart business decisions.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 267 – New Markets for Artists / Organize Your Images

Organize Your Images

You can also create multiple albums to show different groupings of work. You can also share your images by uploading them to Facebook and sending your recipient a link which allows them to see the images as long as they have Facebook themselves. My personal favorite is Picasa, because it offers great flexibility with how you share and organize your photos and send links.

Navigation Must Be One-Click

However you do it, getting your images online is important, and it must be done in a fast, simple way. A one-click link to all of your images is the best option. Remember also that the picture quality must be good because the clearer the image, the easier it is for the consultant to evaluate your artwork, and, some consultants will actually print the images you send them. This is the new realm of on-demand printing which you will be getting into here.

Digital  Publishing

All consultants will have slightly different ways of working with artwork, but there is a growing popularity in digital files that can be easily printed. Here’s how it works: A client receives an image or a link to an image from the art consultant, and if the client likes it, the consultant can print it out in whatever size the client wants. That means they need a high quality image from the start. Many print on demand sites will tell you exactly what they need in terms of image size and quality, but another way to find out is to go to your local printer and ask if they print on demand. If they don’t, find one that does and is close enough that you can go to them if needed.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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