As an artist in today’s changing environment it is vital to create a marketing strategy capable of meeting the demands created by tense competition. Different areas to focus on for marketing include: identifying and promoting to your target market, carefully select what you pay for as an artist and compare the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision, seek alternate means of exposure, and explore different options for getting your art “seen” by your target market.
Identify your market and attempt to promote your work through the various media of today, magazines, books, Internet, and traditional galleries. Be careful what you pay for. Lately I have seen a large amount of galleries charging a fee for placement of works. In some galleries this may be productive for the artists, but there are also those galleries who make their profit off of the artists almost solely.
Observe a gallery before making a decision to place art in it. You may pay 200 per month and pay 30% commission upon the sale for example. If you sell one art in 6 months you will lose money. Art galleries are a lot like real estate, location, location, and location. Do not fall victim for the “Calls for Artists” on Craigslist that ask for large fees for posting your art in their gallery where you pay 200 plus dollars for 5 square feet. Your art may be among 100 other artists in that gallery for a short period of time. It is also sometimes a good idea to ask another artist that has shown in the gallery about their success there.
Galleries are only one means of exposure. In rough times look at other “free” venues to showcase your art. For example, approach restaurants or hotels to place your works in their business. This has worked very well for me and what makes it even better is if you paint a painting of that business or restaurant and then have a spot near the painting with your business cards. In the end, you may come to realize that you being the only artist on the wall in a nice restaurant may be better than being among 100 others in a rarely visited gallery.
Many towns have “First Fridays” or similar names for one day a month where local business display local art. This is also a time when artists can set up a small booth and paint en plein air. Customers like to purchase art from local artists. I have had the most luck with this by painting and selling at different prices. In advance for example I will paint some of the local cityscapes or landscapes and also create prints of the same works so I can price the works at various prices. This makes my art more affordable for different customers. With all of my sales I hand out business cards and sometimes hand out 100 business cards in one day and not have any sales until later when I get an email from someone I met that day.
I am amazed at the number of emails I receive, almost daily, asking me to pay to be in a book of professional artists. The company asks for the artist to pay a large fee for their works to be on 1 page or even a half of a page. These same books are sent out to prospective future artists for free as samples to maybe a spot for their art in the book in the future. All along the featured artist in the book had to pay 350 dollars for their book and that was supposed to be at half price. Recently I went to www.lulu.com and created my own book titled, “2007-2008 The Inspirational Years”. It costs me nothing to created this book and when it sells I get a percentage. Plus the book has only my art, not hundreds of other artists.
Remember, as an artist what is most important is what you deem as success in your art. Why do you create art? Does it make you happy to paint? Paint when you feel inspired, if you are not selling currently concentrate on making a series of works for future promotion. Continue to keep a positive attitude and do not give up.
Biography of Derek McCrea
Derek McCrea is a US Army Infantry Combat Soldier with two tours in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division, and this is his stress relief. He has always loved to paint; it allows him to express emotions on paper and relax. Derek paints in a whimsical impressionistic style in plein air settings. He was born in Albany, Georgia on February 19, 1969. He presently resides with his wife, Sheila, of 20 years and his two sons. He first started painting with oils in the summer of 1984. From 1985 to 1986 he painted under the instruction of Jimmy Peterson, a well known artist from Georgia. In 1986 he won 1st place in the Georgia Arts Exhibition. Derek joined the United States Army in 1987 and continued self study and painting on landscape subjects in France, Holland, Germany, Italy and Hungary, painting in the plein air style. He has completed over 20 commissions in the past year. His works were most recently placed in the Shoppes on Madison in historic Douglas GA, and at Artsy’s on the River Street in historic Savannah Georgia. Derek has donated several artworks to non-profit and charitable organizations in the past: February 2007 to Christian Mission Hospital for HIV children run by Joyce Meyer Ministries in India, silent auction for a baby with PWS syndrome October 25, 2008, and the Annual Benefit on OCT 17, 2008 with Rescue Ink out of NYC. My website is at http://www.derekmccrea.50megs.com. My blog is at http://watercolorpaintingart.blogspot.com/.
Derek is a member of the following societies:
Southern Rivers Guild, GA
North Carolina Watercolor Society
Fayetteville Arts Council
Plein Air Florida – Space Coast Plein Air Painters
Plein Air Georgia
3010 Slippery Rock Ct
Columbus, GA 31909