Artist Tip – Marketing Materials

I have talked a lot about creating a professional portfolio, website, and having your own noticeable brand.  These are all essential for applying to exhibitions and galleries, even they don’t require all of the materials, they will see the effort you put into your online presence and portfolio. That professionalism makes people take notice!

Once you are accepted into a show or gallery, then they have to market your work too, it takes a lot of work and time so if you provide them the materials that make it easier for them, you will be a rockstar in their minds.

Provide your written artist statement/bio/CV in a format they can easily add their branding. Make sure you’ve had them edited and looked over so there are not any typos and grammar issues. Also, have images of all of your artwork inventory ready for them, not only that they can use for web, print, and marketing but they may have clients who would like to see more of your work, so have it readily available to them.

My last post was about images but here are a few quick pointers:

Have digital files of high res (8 inches at 300 dpi), medium res (6 inches at 200 dpi), and low res (6 inches at 120 dpi) saved.  The high and medium res can be saved as TIFF files, and I recommend using PNG files for the lower res, they don’t degrade over time like JPGs.

 

If the gallery has these written and visual materials available on demand they provide them to media and clients easily, either via email or print. A practice I encourage galleries to do is to provide a comprehensive curatorial packet including all the written materials and a high quality image with artwork specs to every client with their purchase.  This is great for insurance purposes as well as provenance records.  The gallery brand should be on all materials since there is no telling where they might end up and who might see them.

Like I said, if you make it easier for them to compile the info and brand it, they will love you for it. As always if you need any assistance with developing your portfolio, website, or documenting your artwork please don  not hesitate to contact me.

  • Justin Germain

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.

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.