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

 

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.

Developing a brand for your art

Developing a unique, recognizable brand is one of the most important factors to running a successful business.  One of the first things I tell artists who desire to make it their sole profession is to think of it as a business, so branding is of utmost importance!  Branding will make your art, and you, stand out from the rest and help you develop a consistent, loyal clientele.

The first rule of branding is consistency.  Your name, logo, colors, font, etc. must be consistent across all of your digital and physical marketing materials.  It is how people will identify that what they see comes from you.

The story behind the artwork is a major part of your brand.  If you can describe the important influences, inspirations, and reasons why you create, along with a little bit about yourself in an engaging way that your customers can understand and relate to, they will remember you, and visit regularly.  A good point that I heard recently is, people buy from people, so let those potential clients in; let them get to know you and your work!

In any business the product is of primary concern, it is what you sell to make income, so it is how your client can come to own the brand themselves.  Your artwork defines your brand.  In turn, your clients who purchase from you define their taste in line with that brand.

I encourage you to put some real time and thought into this.  Brainstorm the definition of what you create, whether it be a certain style, medium, theme, or concept.  What other services or products do you offer?  How do these varying things fit together, or do they at all?  Narrow down the aesthetic of what you present to your clients and define it.  Make this part of your story.

One reason I feel this is an important first tip is this… The artwork each gallery or dealer exclusively sells is a huge part of its brand. If your work fits into that brand you will be more successful trying to get an exhibition or representation.  This may be your goal, to have an arts business represent you and sell for you, but that does not happen overnight.  Build your brand now and make it successful so you can choose what path your business takes in the future.

Essential Marketing Materials for Artists

Now that it is a new year, and almost a year into artistserv’s existence, I thought it would be a good idea to refresh some of our early posts.  Hopefully this will remind our followers of the importance having the basics, and to stop procrastinating.  If you have not started on these, make it a priority for 2016!

Focus on the essentials that every artist should have for marketing.  A lot of this will be “known” but it sets the stage for more detail, which I will address more individually in the future.

  • Your website is your most important marketing tool, it is the international headquarters of your business and should mimic your portfolio (see the portfolio section below) along with images of your work organized into groups, or “bodies of work”/ “series,” and a blog.  It should be clean and user-friendly, don’t get too creative with your design here, you want people to navigate easily.
  • Social media, at a minimum you should have:
    • a facebook page (for your art, separate from your personal page)
    • a twitter feed
    • an instagram account
    • a linkedin profile
  • Your portfolio should have at the least:
    • a clear, concise artist statement
    • separate statements for each body of work or series
    • your bio
    • your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or artist resume
    • high quality images of your work with a details list (medium, size, price, etc.).
    • The portfolio needs to be up to date so create it digitally in multiple formats (DOC, PDF, Presentation) so you can easily make additions as you make more work and get more shows!

Like I stated, I will address all of these details on their own (and in depth) in future posts.  In the meantime I suggest you review your materials and use these tips as a checklist.  Of course, many artists haven’t the time or desire to work on these materials, they would rather be in the studio, or maybe they lack confidence in their writing web skills.  Let me know, that is what I do for a living, and so you don’t have to.

Just Announced – Artistserv Partners with Xico, Inc for a Series of Professional Artist Development Workshops

XicoFlyerWorking in the Phoenix art community for more than a decade, Justin Germain saw first-hand the many obstacles local artists faced trying to develop their careers and build their businesses. He set out to change that.

Armed with a Master’s degrees in Art History and Public Administration from ASU and University of Phoenix, respectively, the longtime valley resident had held a series of art gallery positions, both formal and informal, before finding a new calling. “It’s not uncommon at smaller galleries for staff to work as curator, marketing director, and operations manager, all rolled into one job position,” chuckles Germain.

Wearing many hats, however challenging, proved to be invaluable training. While he was adept at addressing many of the issues that came up in his day-to-day gallery work, Germain saw something he didn’t have time to address. “So many artists would simply send me a link to their work, or sometimes to a poorly designed website or Facebook page, and somehow expect me or someone else to ‘discover’ them; meaning that an artist would somehow soar to success overnight,” says Germain. “This can happen, but more often, it takes years to be ‘discovered,’ if it happens at all.” Some of the major challenges for artists are their lack of professional skills and materials to meet the standards of high-level gallery programs and their inability to directly market their work themselves,” says Germain.

Finally doing something about a gnawing feeling that he could do more to help artists, Justin became founder and chief consultant of his own freelance company, Art(ist)serv, dedicated to helping artists think of themselves and their art as a business.

“Today, with a little know how, an artist can market to the world while building an impressive resume and sales record that will attract gallerists and collectors. We can help artists at any stage of their career market themselves to increase their growth, recognition and success.  In this way, artists have a greater opportunity to expose their art to a bigger audience,” says Germain. “By developing their business professionally, artists can increase their opportunity for gallery showings, potential representation, and create a greater market to sell their work,” he explains.

Those past years of multiple art gallery positions now provide invaluable industry insight that Germain uses and shares with artists as they establish and build the commercial side of their craft.  While a handful of museums and other organizations offer some ‘ways to succeed’ for artists, Germain’s company is one of few locally offering specific marketing support for art and artists in the Phoenix area, according to Germain.

Now, in partnership with Xico, Arte y Cultura, a non-profit arts organization and gallery in Phoenix, Germain will lead a series of three Professional Artist Development (PAD) workshops on marketing strategies and must-haves, just for artists.

Donna Valdes, executive director of Xico, selected Germain for the series because she feels he offers an in-depth, hands-on review of marketing for a group of professionals most focused on the process of creating something, often without the tools, resources, or training to sell it. “The intent of our professional development workshops is to help our artists be successful,” says Valdes. “The PAD series, offered at an affordable price point, holds the promise of real net returns for the participants,” she adds.

The workshops will be from 6 to 8 p.m. July 24, 31 and August 7 at the Xico Galería, 1008 E. Buckeye Road, Suite 220, Phoenix 85034. Cost is $50 for all three workshops, or $20 each. Artists should attend all three as each builds on the other.

For more information, or to pay for workshops, please contact Xico by emailing info@xicoinc.org or by calling Xico at 480-833-5875.

Artist Tip – Marketing is part of your work

I talk to a lot of artists who love their studio time and make a point to schedule it so that the rest of their lives do not get in the way. They are making great work and have a decent amount to show and potentially sell but it just sits. If you can relate I have one comment… you are not doing the job of a working artist.

A working artist practices their craft weekly, daily, all the time, but they also put a good chunk of their time into marketing the work so they can make a living from it. So, what is marketing?  It is promoting the work to the world, making it visible, getting people interested, the things that lead to sales.

One thing about marketing is it has to be consistent, the other is that is cannot be half-hearted. If an artist is dedicated to really being a working artist they have to market, weekly, daily, all the time. As Crista Cloutier recently wrote, ” To play in the big leagues, you’ve got to up your game.”

So my advice today is–dedicate some time to your marketing, plan blocks of time each day or week to devote solely to promoting your work on your website blog, social media, contacting galleries, or reworking your marketing materials. If this is really not your strong point, then maybe you need a coach, consultant, or professional writer to help. Luckily, you know of one…