High Quality Images

Written materials are key to helping you attract people to your work and connect with it, hopefully leading to more sales.  But having high quality images of your work for your potential clients is of course of the utmost importance.  They have to see the image to consider purchasing it, let alone falling in love with it.  It is imperative that you have high quality images of your work for your website, marketing materials, and to send clients and exhibition organizers.

I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to digital artwork images.  Blurry images are the worst since they disregard all of the detail.  Miscolored images show that the artist did not take the time to quality check the images, and they deceive the viewer because it is not truthful in appearance.  The same goes for badly cropped, or uncropped images. Pixelated images on a website are not going to make a potential client purchase the work…  So here are a few pointers to ensure you have what you need to make great images of your work.

  • Use a digital camera with at least 10 megapixels to photograph your work, this will provide more clarity and detail.
  • If you do not have a lighting system that evenly distributes illumination on the work, take your photographs in natural light – in the shade on a bright day or when it is overcast is perfect.
  • Use a tripod to ensure no camera shake that causes blur.
  • Crop your images to the edges of the work for square 2 dimensional pieces; if the work is not square crop a square around it with equal gaps around the edges closest to the frame of the image.
  • 3 dimensional pieces can be photographed on a plain stand with a neutral color, white, or black background. Use a color that the work will stand out against.
  • Color correct and level correct with a post production program! Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. will make a big difference.
  • Quality check each image to ensure clarity and no blur.
  • If it is not right retake it!
  • Most cameras capture images at high dimensions, resize you images to 8 inches at the longest side and 300 dpi – this size is good for print materials
  • Resize and save a copy at 72 dpi – useful for sending in emails to press, galleries, and clients.
  • Resize and save a copy at 6 inches and 120 dpi – this should be your web size for posting on your website. Still decent clarity but not great for printing.  This keeps anyone from stealing the image for any useful purposes.  You may even want to add a watermark or copyright to the photo.
  • Create folders for each size and title the images with your last name, title, and dpi for greater organization.

If you are not comfortable with your photography skills or do not have the tools needed, camera, lighting, photoshop, etc. it is in your best interest to hire a professional.  In the long run the cost will far outweigh the loss of sales due to bad images.  I offer full service image capture and post production for $65 per hour, including post-production.

Artist Tip – Finding Opportunities and “Exposure”

There are a myriad of opportunities for artists to show and sell their work.  The main thing to keep in mind is that they rarely come and find you.  An artist must be diligent and professional about finding as many ways possible to get eyes on their work, which will hopefully lead to sales!

Of course with technology today, the best way an artist can promote to an international market is with a comprehensive website and social media.  This is the best way to be “found” or possibly “discovered.”  Check out some of our previous artist tips about the essential materials and information to have on your website.  In summary, make sure you have outstanding images of your artwork and plenty of written information about you and your work.

There are many outlets for artists to display and sell their work online, we have a list of some of the best HERE.

In today’s world, especially the art world, using social media to market yourself and your work is absolutely necessary.  I recommend all artists take an active role in networking and posting often about their work.  At least, artists should be active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Now, definitely don’t over do it, but research shows each of these platforms are good for up to 6 posts per day before the audience starts to ignore them.  A key point is to continue to grow your network by engaging with other artists and people who show interest in what you do.  Word of mouth goes a long way in the art industry.

For early career artists, especially those just getting started, it is important to look into alternative venues other than art galleries to show your work.  Search your vicinity for restaurants, coffee shops, salons, libraries, any business that might be a good opportunity for you to hang your work and where people will see it. Another great idea I have seen catch on lately is for groups of young artists to join together and find exhibition spaces to show all of their work.  There are many artist run organizations that you can join to get in on potential exhibition opportunities that they set up for the group as well, so it’s a good idea to search those out.

Often I see artists focusing way too much on just their local area.  A great way to get more views on your work and build your resume is to submit to national and online calls for exhibitions and competitions.  I offer a curated list of open calls HERE but a simple google search for “calls for art” or “call to artists” could yield some great opportunities. Remember to always follow the submission  guidelines, an easy way to not get selected is send the wrong materials. If you need help with writing, editing, or creating a portfolio or application, definitely give me a call.

If an artist is ready to plunge into the gallery world, then there is one piece of advice I hope you pay attention to: DO YOUR RESEARCH!  First, look for group shows you can submit to.  The best way to find them is to get to join the gallery mailing list and join local artist groups in social media like Facebook. There are so many types and specializations in the local gallery scene so here are some steps to find the best fit:

  • Get to know which galleries would most likely be interested in your work
    • Do they show early-career, mid-career, or established artists?
    • Find out what style of work they usually show—what is their brand?
    • Learn about the price range they show and sell—do you have work that fits their sales model?
  • Find out how they prefer to receive submissions and what materials they require—hopefully they have this information on their website, if not make a phone call to inquire.
  • If you apply and are not selected, continue to visit the galleries you are interested in. Introduce yourself to the curators and other artists they show.  After a while, name recognition could go a long way.

These pointers could get your work noticed by galleries and maybe even represented.  But, remember to really focus on the gallery requests.  Here is an inside tip from a former gallerist, we only really review and keep the submissions that have everything we request, and whose work fits our aesthetic.  If an artist ever just sent an email with a website link, I rarely even looked at the website, the email went right to the trash box.

Lastly, I want to touch on the idea of doing things for people, groups, organizations, etc for “exposure.”  For example many nonprofits ask artists to donate their work for events, auctions, and such with the claim that they will get a lot of “exposure” and many people with money will see it.  Be very skeptical, do research on the organization and their donors and see if it is beneficial. Do they actually have any real interest in art?  What do the proceeds go towards?  Do they give the artist any part of the money raised by their work?  Donating artwork and the tax implications are tricky, they are changing for the better too, but I cannot stand when artists who are well known enough are doing things for “exposure.”  In any business there are internships for those needing to learn and get some experience.  Is this you? If so it could be beneficial as a resume builder. But, for professional artists, I promote not doing anything for free, your work is your livelihood.  Give if you feel there is a cause you want to support but never let the promise of “exposure” dictate your involvement.

  • Justin Germain

One More Week!

The first ALL AZ Group Exhibition featuring 10 of the most promising artists working in Arizona is up for one more week.  If you have not visited it yet, take a few minutes, relax, and check out some great art!

This is a virtual exhibition that can be viewed anytime, anywhere, on just about any device.

Please click on the the image below to visit the show. Enjoy!

ALLAZLOGO1

 

New Thermal Gallery logo

Today I am introducing a new logo for Thermal Gallery.  Some may recognize it from a few years back when I used it for the original THERMAL PHX exhibition at the monOrchid.

The original logo was designed by local artist Larry Willis and has been retouched for its new life.

Check it out and click on it to visit the Thermal Gallery page on our site!

  • Justin Germain

Thermal Gallery Logo

Art Detour!

We have been lucky and nailed down a space for this coming weekend’s Art Detour in downtown Phoenix!  We will be installing the current virtual exhibition ALL AZ in the space at 335 W McDowell Rd, just blocks west of the Phoenix Art Museum.

We will have a reception this coming Friday evening, March 18th, from 6-9pm and then we will be open Saturday March 19th and Sunday March 20th from 11am – 5pm.

Come down and see artwork by 10 of Arizona’s most promising contemporary artists and get a personal demonstration of our virtual exhibition platform!

Here is the event for RSVP:

https://www.facebook.com/events/931072390340861/

ALL AZ Group Exhibition

We are proud to present our first ALL AZ Group Exhibition featuring 10 of the most promising talents working in the Arizona right now.  This is a virtual exhibition that can be viewed anytime, anywhere, on just about any device.  Please click on the the image below to visit the show. Enjoy!

ALLAZLOGO1

 

What to look for in a gallery or showspace

Many artists are trying to find spaces to show, and hopefully sell, their artwork.  There are all types of spaces that will show artwork and allow artists to sell it, some are not art galleries and might not even take a commission, coffee shops, restaurants, hair salons, office buildings, the list could go on… The first step is figuring out what your goal is for showing–do you just want people to see your work or do you have sales goals in mind?  Is there people who will be marketing your work in that space or will you be left to do that yourself.  What kind of fees or commission is there?  All great questions to think about when considering your options.

Most spaces are looking for work that fits an idea, aesthetically or culturally, of whatever goes on in the space.  Even art galleries have specific tastes and types of work that they show, and that they feel they can sell.  They have a brand and a market so find out as much as possible about these factors before contacting the decision makers for the space.

Some other factors to consider when selecting a show space are:

  • Do they have submission standards and a long term exhibition plan?

Pay attention to dates and the exact materials they request.  Sometimes spaces are booked out for up to a year or more so having the materials prepared and sending them in quickly when you find an opportunity is critical.  Take time to look online for as many opportunities as you can, calls for art are listed by many galleries and other places that show artwork.  You can find a curated list on this website too under “Artist Opportunities.”

  • Do they have a history of sales?

It is ok to ask if a space, especially a gallery, has been selling work and even ask to see some numbers over the last year or so.  You should know the facts about what you can expect from a show.

  • Is the contract artist focused and beneficial for both parties?

First off, make sure you have a written agreement about what you are lending, how it will be taken care of, how long it will be shown, the prices for sales, and the commission for the space.  The commission should reflect the amount of work and marketing the space will do to sell the work.

Many spaces still have a standard commission rate of 50%, but are they deserving of that?  If the amount of marketing time and open hours is less than 40 per week then the rate should be less than half.  Some of the most successful, and artist focused, gallerists retain a 30% commission—and they work very hard for it by establishing a loyal clientele and marketing heavily.

Representation contracts – Contracts should be clear in the term of representation.  If the show is on the gallery walls for one month how long will the gallery keep the work in inventory and continue to market it?  I suggest a minimum of three months, which allows for three cycles of marketing to build interest.  For exclusive representation I recommend a minimum contract of at least three months, and for artists showing with a space for the first time no longer than one year. Also, pay attention to wording about exclusivity, do not allow any space access to rights over any work that you do not consign into the space, at least until you are with one gallery that consistently sells all of your work.

Written materials for artists

I know, I know, the work should sell itself right?  Not realistic… unfortunately.  It is imperative now more than ever that an artist have clear, concise written materials that explain and engage the viewer.  With the massive amount of art on the market you have to convince a potential buyer that your work is important and they need it, this means they have to have an emotional connection to it.  Therefore, the more they can learn about the work, and you, the better your sales will be.

Artist Statement/ Biography/ CV

These are the three staples that I believe every artist must have—and they are not one document they are all completely separate and very different.

Your artist statement is your explanation of your oeuvre, a body of work, or an individual piece.  Some artists will have one umbrella statement, while others have many crafted for specific uses.  I recommend having one explaining your work as a whole, one for each body of work or series you create, maybe one for each piece you make.  The more you have prepared the better off you will be.

You may have multiple versions of each too, directed to specific groups, but the most important is the one directed at potential clients so there are some keys to remember:

  • Use the first person, this is your statement so do not speak about yourself in the third person. It is impersonal and honestly kind of annoying.
  • Keep it short, at the most 2-3 paragraphs totaling a maximum of 250-300 words. Your statements do not need to explain everything, they must engage and start a conversation.
  • Keep it simple—do not use artspeak that only museum curators understand. It needs to be clear to everyone who comes across it, if they don’t understand the words you use they will not buy it, and if they do buy it they will want to be able to explain it to others.
  • Have multiple versions—be flexible with it so you can adapt it to exhibition needs.
  • Discuss what the work is, how you make it, and why.
  • Use your artist statement to develop your “elevator statement,” a pointed explanation of your work in 2 or 3 sentences that you commit to memory used when you are asked, “Oh you are an artist, what do you make?”
  • If you are not comfortable with your writing or want it to be better, work with a professional, the cost will be much more affordable than missing out on sales.

Your biography is where you get to write about yourself and give the reader some insight into who you are and how that is reflected in your art.  This can be written from the outside perspective so I definitely recommend working with a professional art writer to craft your bio and tell your story.  Most importantly, remember this is about you, not necessarily your art, but you can discuss your background with the arts, it’s kind of like a narrative of your resume with more detail about your life.  I once heard a great comment about this, “people buy from people” so let them know who you are.

Your C.V. (Curriculum Vitae) is your art resume, and should look similar to your professional resume.  It should include:

  • Your elevator statement
  • Contact information
  • Education
  • Exhibition History (solo and group shows can be separate)
  • Awards
  • Publications
  • Media
  • Collections
  • Gallery Representation

These are the basic written materials that will make up your portfolio and your website.  If you have all of these materials prepared you will easily be able to build your marketing materials.  Better so, you will be able to engage people with your work and hopefully turn them into clients.

Remember, I have many years of experience writing for artists and since I have offered this service my clients have been very satisfied, but more importantly they are more confident and using the materials more often.  Contact me if you can use some help crafting your written materials.