Thursday, September 24, 2009

Professional Practice part 2

Part two answering common questions relating to professional practice for artists.

How do you negotiate self promotion and what do you see as the most important way of promoting your art?

Self promotion is difficult for any artist - but a necessity (at least to some extent). The most important thing is to be confident in your work (even if you know you have a long way to go, you can be confident that this is quality work if you are critical enough to not show everything that you make because you made it. Edit well!!!) That way, you can answer the questions that come your way from potential associates, galleries and clients without squirming - if you walk the talk, people will believe you are indeed an "artist" - your confidence gives them confidence. So make sure the work is worthy of your confidence - be demanding of yourself.

My main sales come from people I have met in the usual course of the week - I am friendly and outgoing, and rarely push my card on someone - given only if they ask or give me theirs first. That way, I can contact them again (familiarity), refer them to my website/blog and ask if they mind being on my mailing list. Networking should be a natural thing, so I only pursue people I have liked when met. I go to exhibitions a lot and often talk with people there about the work (including the gallerists) if I am interested in it.

Maintain a mailing list; enter new names in from networking, and contact them whenever something interesting happens - new shows, an award received, a sale of old paintings etc.

A business card is essential tool - carry it with you everywhere.

Enter into every quality exhibition you are invited to - (schools, ARIs, Charity, self-hired spaces; art fairs) - with one proviso. Be careful how your work is presented -make sure the people exhibiting with you are professional and as determined as you are, and that the quality of the work reflects yours and that the genre/style/subject compliments yours (don't be all landscape artists, all street artists etc unless that is the theme of the show. That way, you are not all competing and you might even sell some work!) Make sure the work is hung well - very important. This is the best way to get your name out there.

Enter into prizes - start small and local. You might get some wins, and the area is usually inordinately proud of it's own, so you can get PR, become known as the artist and have people talk about your art. This can be expensive and time consuming (entry fees, CD's; Delivery to and from; waiting for couriers etc) so choose shows where you think the judge is likely to enjoy your work; and not too far away to start. This gets items to put on CV that gets more exhibitions; which gets more recognition etc.

Ads in art Mags/Publications like Art Almanac when you have a solo show on.

Let me know if you have any other hints or would argue against some of my ideas. Post your comments here.

Image: Gabrielle Jones, Cloudy Day 2009 Oil on Ply 30 x 30cm

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