Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to Sell Your Art

Pam asks, "Do you recommend sales through the sites, or through a third-party?"

This is a really tough question to answer because the art world is very fickle; plus the type of artwork is so varied. I am definitely not an expert in this area, so I am only offering my opinion.

I have met tattoo artists that sell their art on t-shirts. I know of artists that sell thousands of dollars worth of original art on eBay. Also, there's that special relationship between an artist and their gallery that shouldn't be undermined.

I would recommend taking a look at the different types of products produced by your art -- whether it's originals, giclees, prints, t-shirts, or digital forms -- and ask yourself these questions:
  • What is my target audience for my type of art?
  • Where will my target audience typically shop for my type of art?
  • What are other, similar artists doing to sell their art?

Then, I would recommend testing your ideas, always looking for feedback.

If you are working with a gallery, I would recommend offering them a product line (e.g. a series of paintings) that can only be purchased exclusively through them. Then if you choose to sell other art online, you aren't undermining their efforts to sell your artwork.

Selling art in general is a difficult task. It depends on so many factors starting with the actual art -- whether it's likeable, etc. -- and ending with the price point. People could love your art, but not be able to afford it; which brings us back to the importance of feedback.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Websites Versus Blogs

Pam asks, "Do you think it makes any difference to have a web presence in the form of a blog or a website, or to have both?"

I would definitely recommend both; but if I had to choose, I would use a blog. Hopefully, you'll never have to choose.

Ali Cavanaugh is an artist that uses a blog for her website:

The main benefits of a blog are two fold.
  • It's content is dynamic; whereas, a website has more static content.
  • A blog's entire content - including pictures - is automatically available to the Search Engine web crawlers (e.g. Google); whereas, a website needs to be designed with the Search Engine web crawlers in mind.

Here are some other differences:

  • Websites can be set up in any format imaginable; blogs are limited by the tool you use (e.g. Blogspot)
  • Websites cost money; blogs are free (again depending on the tool you use).
  • Blog services, such as blogspot, will typically list your blog in their directory.

Overall, my philosophy is that when it comes to the web, the more ways you can be found the better.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How To Attract Followers to your Business

Pam asks, "I've often wondered what the best route is to get people interested, keep them interested, and get word of mouth started to increase the following even further."

I would start by having an interesting product
Seth Godin writes about this in his book, "The Purple Cow." He recommends creating an interesting product that people will talk about. The iPod is a perfect example. When it first came out, there was nothing like it, and it created a buzz.

For an artist, this might mean taking that expensive art class which will mature your skills even further. The end result is to get people excited about your art!

When you interact with people online and offline, it needs to be a 2-way street
If you head in one direction with your blog posts, you won't know if people are interested until you ask. So, the best thing to do is find a way to open a dialog with your listeners.

I think the most important way to facilitate this is to get to know them, and let them get to know you. There are so many people doing business online, I personally would rather do business with someone that I feel like I know -- even though we might not have ever met in person -- than someone I did know.

Keep the dialog going, and keep it dynamic
Whether it's through a newsletter, a blog, Twitter or Facebook, it helps to stay in contact with those who are following you, and stay consistent. But, I would also advise not to post too often, and become a nuisance. Everyone is really busy. You want them to get excited when they receive your newsletter, post, etc..

As an artist, the most dynamic thing happening here is the art that I am creating. So, I like to share the progress of my paintings (most of which is happening on my other blog: Scott Moore also shares the progress of his paintings on his website: .

My best advice here is to take your artistic creativity, and apply it to this process. Try to come up with new ideas that fit with the type of art you create, and the direction in which you would like to take it -- and then ask people what they think.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Art Marketing Seminar

How Do I Market My Art?
That's a Really Good Question!

The East Valley Art Association in West Covina, CA has invited me to come and speak about marketing one's art. The event is March 23rd, and I'm really looking forward to it. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I will be talking about the steps that I've taken over the last few years.

In preparation, I wanted to open a discussion on this topic. And, after the 23rd, we can continue the dialog here.

  • What are your burning questions on this topic?
  • What have you tried that's worked... or not worked?
  • Regardless of the level you are at in your career, what do you see working?