Friday, September 19, 2014

SUBSCRIBERS RECEIVE THIS NEWSLETTER BY EMAIL EACH WEEK!

Would you like something to brighten up your week? Then why not subscribe to MY WORLD - DICK HARRISON and every week you'll receive the MY WORLD newsletter. There will always be something special in it for artists and writers as well a weekly CARTOON or intriguing PUZZLE or funny LIMERICK to solve, an ODD FACT that will surprise you. There may be a link to an exceptional website with art or an article or short story you may want to read.  We'll leave the hard news and political spin to TV, but reserve the right to make a little fun of either!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

HOW TO SELL ART 

TO INTERIOR DESIGNERS

Visual Artists Get Help Learning Ins and Outs of Marketing to Interior Designers

Due its size, the interior design market provides a huge opportunity for artists to sell art. Until now, artists have not had a source of information to help them find interior design professionals and learn how to sell their work to them. How to Sell Art to Interior Designers is a new book that offers practical advice and insider details on how to get artwork sold to interior designers, corporate art consultants and represented in interior design centers.

For years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed there are nearly ten times more interior and decorators purchasing artwork than there are art galleries in the US. Such lopsided stats should make marketing to interior designers an attractive market for visual artists. Unfortunately, most artists lack awareness of the opportunity and the specifics on how to tap into the market. How to Sell Art to Interior Designers solves the problem by offering useful information, and tips and techniques not available anywhere else.

Two longtime friends and art-marketing professionals have pooled their art marketing expertise and experience to write How to Sell Art to Interior Designers. They aim to help visual artists and artisans learn how to sell their art to interior designers. The book is available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle editions.

Dick Harrison enjoyed a well-paid career as both an artist and an independent representative for other artists and publishers of fine art. For more than 20 years, he traveled extensively throughout his territory making in-person calls on interior designers. In addition to How to Sell Art to Interior Designers, he has two books listed on Amazon.com. He is at work on three more titles, including Sales Tips for Artists, which will include material listened to by artists in 60 countries and hundreds of cities worldwide on his TalkShoe.com podcasts.

Barney Davey spent nearly 20 years advising top selling self-representing artists and art print publishers on marketing and advertising strategies. He also worked in art galleries and sold advertising to showroom exhibitors in design centers. He has published more than 500 art marketing art-marketing posts on his ArtPrintIssues.com blog. It is number one on the list of Top Ten Art Bloggers published by Art Business News magazine. He is the author of four other books on art marketing, which are available on Amazon.com and Kindle.


Harrison is a resident of Venice, Florida and Davey lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where they pursue their writing and advising visual artists on business and marketing based on their professional experiences. 
Book Review: How to Sell Art to Interior Designers

By Barney Davey & Dick Harrison
Published by Bold Star Media
© Copyright 2014
ISBN: 13-978-1500788582
ISBN: 10-1500788589
Pages: 177

Learn from the pros how to sell your art successfully

Barney Davey and Dick Harrison, who are both dedicated the business of selling art, share their many years of experience and expertise to help both up-and-coming artists and seasoned veteran to venture into the field.

Many artists do not have the business acumen to know how to sell their art. In fact often their creative passions override the fact that they might actually make a living from it. However, doing so takes knowledge that only these art industry pros can provide.

“To make a living from your art… your plan must go well beyond passion and involve generating a profit as well,” the authors note.

This book provides “insider information” and advice on such topics as the various types of interior designers, how to sell your art to them, the importance of tailoring your own artistic ability to meet the needs of particular clients and how to keep them coming back.

“When you demonstrate that you and your art can regularly fill a need or solve a problem for an interior designer, you’re well on your way to developing a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.”

You will also learn how to present your work in the best possible light and the various alternative options for selling more of your artwork. Although the title of the book implies that interior designers are an artist’s only choice, the authors present other options as well.

Rather than putting your eggs all in one or even a few individual baskets, the authors show you how to diversify into other fields such as design centers. Find out how these centers operate, how to locate and connect with them, and how they could become another valuable source of income.

“Individual vendors in these design centers are in the business of selling art, primarily to interior designers, so the potential for multiple sales of primarily reproductions to one vendor is very promising.”

They also write about corporate art consultants and corporate art buyers. Find out what they do, how to locate them, how to determine their needs and how you could work with them.

You will also learn how to harness the power of networking both on and off the Internet including the importance of establishing relationships, good communication skills and why you should maintaining a blog or web site. Like many artists, you might panic at the thought of promoting your art. You will learn how to lose the fear of selling, and the seven ways you might sabotage your chances.

No matter what route you take to sell your art the authors warn, “There are companies that prey on artists…Due diligence is always required.”

This book is a highly valuable resource that every artist should read so they know the opportunities that exist for them to sell their work while avoiding the pitfalls along the way.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

GUEST POST FOR ART PRINT ISSUES

ART PRINT ISSUES IS A "MUST FOLLOW" FOR EVERY ARTIST!  HAVE YOU SUBSCRIBED?  START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT AND DO IT NOW.
The Just Noticeable Difference (JND) Scale for Artists
This a guest post by Dick Harrison, the author of Sales Tips For Artists. His previous guest post, How to Sell Art To Interior Designers, remains one of the most popular posts among the 500+ published on this blog.

What Is the JND Scale?

The  JND Scale is a psychophysics term. It is used for a variety of purposes, including marketing, to measure small differences people notice.
According to Wikipedia, “Manufacturers and marketers endeavor to determine the relevant JND for their products for two distinctly different reasons:
  1. So that negative changes such as reductions in product size or quality, or increase in the product price are not discernible to the public. That is, they remain below the JND.
  2. So that product improvements, for example, improved or updated packaging, larger size or lower prices, are obviously apparent to consumers without being wastefully extravagant. That is, they are at or just above the JND.

Presentation Drives Perceptions – Seeing Is Believing

When it comes to product improvements, marketers very much want to meet or exceed their buyer’s differential threshold. Simply, they want to make it easy for consumers to appreciate any improvements made in the original products and not observe negative aspects. If they increase the size of the product, they make the packaging larger. If they reduce the size of the product, they keep the packaging size the same.
It is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but I think the concept of the JND Scale helps to explain why equally well-done work by some artists sells steadily when work by others does not. Often, the JND in what or how artists create is subtle, but perceptible, in ways that makes selling art by them easier and faster.

Selling Art to Interior Designers

Interior designers’ work is all about visual interpretation and perception. The best are JND masters.
For more than 20 years, I was an independent, full-time art rep selling to leading interior designers and art galleries in Florida. During that time, I came to know some artists had a JND to their work while others did not. This was despite equal technical skills, materials used and similar subject matter. The JND Scale explained the difference.
Invariably, when I placed comparable pieces of art, suitable in color and theme to a client’s project, I nearly always knew which would be chosen. Although both were exceptional works of art that I was pleased to offer, those that sold quickly and easily had the JND. Often, the buyer could not elaborate their buying decision, but my experience let me know the JND drove the sale.
My staples were landscapes, florals, birds, animals, and beach and water scenes. Many talented artists create art that match that general description. Most of these subjects and scenes were of places the customer already knew, or would like to see. My top selling pieces were those that evoked a desire in buyers to want hang the work in their home or office so they could enjoy looking at it every day. In my experience, it was in the way an artist approached his or her creation that affected the JND Scale.

In His Time, Interior Designers Loved Ken Hawk — He Personified JND

Interior designers loved Ken Hawk
Ken Hawk was one of my bestselling artists. His flair for color and brilliant palette, used on whatever he painted, was what set him on the JND Scale. My Florida based buyers could not resist the unique way he used color.

Interior Designers Love Colors that Complement

Interior designers loved to mix it into their commercial and residential designs. Collectors wanted to own it. Certainly having a remarkable colorful palette like Ken’s, which was so crucial to the many interior designers with whom I worked, is one way artists can bring the JND Scale into their work.
Other ways I see the JND Scale fitting into an artist’s work are when it has a rather unexpected viewpoint of a subject. Sometimes, it was because the subject that although it might have fit into one of the broad categories mentioned above, was presented in a way the buyer had never or rarely seen.

Christina Wyatt’s Work Is an Example of the Unexpected Viewpoint

Christina Wyatt
Christina Wyatt – The Mermaid’s Sanctuary
Christina Wyatt’s work is a perfect example of the unexpected viewpoint of a subject. I met her through Barney Davey, publisher of this Art Print Issues blog.
She tells me a number of other Florida artists are now painting mermaid subjects, which is an unfortunate byproduct of being successful and unique. Without question, at the time I was activelyselling art in my Florida territory that is fascinated and surrounded by things aquatic, I would have sold lots of her gorgeous underwater creatures – real and imagined as hers are – with great success.
While her original work and her fine art prints are something my buyers might not have at first expected to hang on their walls, they would have eventually succumbed finding it too exotic and wondrous to resist. That is the power of the JND Scale at work. 
Nike Parton's work delighted interior designers and collectors
Nike Parton – The Caretaker’s House
Nike Parton was a Florida artist, who probably had the most “free” watercolor style I’ve run across. She built a loyal following of devoted collectors and interior designers through her long life. They loved her unique style. It was the ability to create what at first glance seemed a “careless” brush stroke, but was work that spoke volumes. It was realism so “loose” in technique that it caught the subject in a way a detailed “like it is” could not. You can see more of her work, and spontaneous style, on www.nikeparton.com.
JND and Pricing Art
If you are at that hoped for the point when you are selling so much art, or where you think the current price point for your images needs upward adjustment, the JND Scale can come into play just as it does for the “manufacturers” mentioned in the definition at the start of this article. If your JND is in place, your new pricing will not be so obvious to induce a buyer to hesitate to purchase it. Or, perhaps your smaller pieces are now selling at prices similar to what your larger pieces sold for before you applied the JND Scale to your work.
I suggest you critically look at your own work. You may find it has the JND that sets it apart. Knowledgeable designers, art buyers, and collectors can look at a piece of art and say, “That has to be done by so and so.” Compared to other artists you are selling against does your art exhibit that distinction?
Always think of your work with a capital “A” to set it apart in your mind. This is how you want it perceived in the minds of your collectors. They need help to decide they want your unique creations enough to pay new higher prices for your worthy talent, hard work and creativity.
Many artists understandably shudder at being lumped in with the manufactures of everyday products with discussion of such things as the JND Scale, but the truth is you do manufacture a product. Your art is both a creation of your skill and innovation and a production. There is no shame in that. Likewise, there is no shame is working at putting the JND Scale to use in your art career.
It is not about calculating how to create work made to sell. It is about making work that makes you happy. Art you are proud to have made and proud to know it is easily finds a place to be loved and appreciated. When your work comes from the heart of your creativity, excels in its presentation, and touches buyers and motivates sales, the JND Scale is nothing more than a way to think about why you are successful from a business perspective. When you are selling art regularly, the result of fattening up your bank account cannot hurt either.
There is another JUST NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE (JND) I’ll write about in another article or blog that every artist can use to increase sales. The working title is: I’M NOT A SALESMAN! – REALLY?

Monday, October 28, 2013

LESSONS FROM A BRAZILLIAN PEPPER TREE


If you live in Florida you know about Brazilian Peeper Trees - A TRASH TREE - which by law cannot be bought, sold, transported or planted in the state. Florida spends thousands of dollars a year to eradicate them from state land. It was introduced in the 1800's by the USDA as an ornamental because it can be a beautiful tree – but a monumental blunder that became a huge problem.

I KNOW BECAUSE I OWN ONE. It was on the vacant lot next to the home I bought. That entire lot was a jungle I'm still clearing bit by bit. When I finally hacked my way into the pepper tree, I found that “jungle” describing the overlapping, intertwined branches was the understatement of the century.

A single branch can grow in a dozen different directions, some of them up because my tree was about forty feet tall, and a branch can grow ten feet in a year.

Bit by bit, after three years of lopping, chain sawing and shaping, it is the most beautiful tree for blocks around. I sit on my favorite bench in its cool, almost quarter acre of shade on the hottest of Florida days – and watch it grow. I've learned that keeping a Brazilian Pepper Tree in bounds isn't a “job” - it's a “profession.”

Despite that, I wouldn't trade my handsome but unruly friend for the most beautiful and expensive palm. Here are some of the lessons I've learned from my Pepper Tree. These are lesson every artist (or businessman) should learn:

  1. WHEN YOU RECOGNIZE A PROBLEM, TAKE CARE OF IT RIGHT AWAY.
  2. IF YOU DON'T, IT WILL GET BIGGER – FAST.
  1. THE BIGGER IT GETS, THE MORE TANGLED IT BECOMES.
  2. THERE ARE ALWAYS ACTIVITIES YOU WOULD RATHER BE DOING. ( like more time in front of the easel)
  3. IF YOU DO THOSE INSTEAD OF DEALING WITH THAT SMALL PROBLEM, YOU'LL SOON HAVE LESS TIME FOR THE ACTIVITIES YOU ENJOY.
The Brazilian Pepper has lovely, glossy green leaves and in winter it produces clusters of bright red berries, which is why one of it's other names is Christmas Berry.

In the spring, here in Venice, we have an invasion of another kind. With no warning, in early spring for just a day or two at the most, we're invaded by flocks of Robins. The Robins are attracted to the red berries. In a short a time, as they gorge themselves; they can strip the tree in no time at all.

The problem – for the Robins – is that something in the berries makes them drunk from over-imbibing and we have scores of inebriated Robins staggering around on the lawn, until they fly away, probably nursing horrific hangovers and telling themselves, “I'll never do that again!” So here are a few more lessons from my tree:

  1. BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP. IT'S WHAT'S UNDERNEATH THAT CAN MAKE IT GOOD OR BAD – (like over-painting oil with acrylic or skipping the dull task of preparing the canvas properly)
  2. BALANCE AND MODERATION ARE IMPORTANT (just ask a hammered robin!).
    Here's an example closer to home and not quite as funny as a Robin too hungover to be the “early bird and catch the worm”: If you, Robin-like, are entranced with the “berries” the way many of us are addicted to ice cream or pizza - whatever, - and become so caught-up in our latest masterpiece that we skip healthy living and tell a significant other, “just run to MaDonald's and get me a double Big Mac – and tell 'em to Supersize it 'cause I'm doing a Supersize painting,” Just look down. Can you see your toes? Do you wish they made brushes with longer handles?
    Even worse, tell your significant other “to get lost” till you finish the “important” work you are doing and that small problem will grow until you wish for an overgrown Brazilian Pepper instead.
  3. PATIENCE IS ESSENTIAL. It took me three seasons of work before my Brazilian Pepper took the shape I envisioned. How about your art objectives?
  4. PUT EVERYTHING IN PERSPECTIVE. THE CLOSER SOMETHING IS TO YOU THE LARGER AND MORE IMPORTANT IT APPEARS.
  5. EVEN WHEN YOUR ART CAREER IS GROWING RAPIDLY, YOU MUST WATCH
    FOR DIRECTIONS THAT LOOKS GREAT AT FIRST, BUT END UP TANGLING THE VISION OF WHERE YOU WANT IT TO GO.

Embarking, on another career, writing, just like you I'm constantly surprised at the investment in time, and sometimes dollars, it takes to pursue.

Looking back, it's too bad I didn't have a Brazilian Pepper tree to teach me some valuable lessons.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NOW! - SALES TIPS FOR ARTISTS - AS A NEW BOOK!

 Cover Design
I've been encouraged by artists from more than 60 countries to incorporate material from my podcasts into a book and /or a CD.  This work ready on CD, greatly expanded to show actual examples of what sort of art finds a ready market, where to sell it, how to contact buyers, what to say and how to show your art. 
Go from "WANT TO SELL" to "MADE THE SALE!"
I spent years travelling thousands of miles to hundreds of buyers, selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of art each year, including my own.  The book is loaded with page after page of practical tips and techniques on how to go from "I want to sell" to "I made the sale!"


Listen to this podcast INTRODUCTION to some of what you will learn in my book and through Intenet links to new podcasts I'll make available to artists and organizations that add this instructive new book to their libraries. Click here:  TO LEARN MORE

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

8 REASONS YOUR ART ISN'T SELLING AND YOU CAN'T LOSE WEIGHT

Do you want to fatten your wallet or trim your waistline? Here are eight reasons why it isn’t happening:

No focus: you didn't set goals, you didn't put your goals in writing, and you didn't keep your goals in mind daily.
No priorities: you may have set a goal, but you didn't put it on or near the top of your priorities list.
No support system: you tried to go at it alone; no buddy system, partners, family, spouse, friends, mentors or coaches to turn to for information and support.
No accountability: you didn't keep score for your own accountability, and you didn't set up external accountability (ie. report to someone else or show your results to someone else)
No patience: you were only thinking short term and had unrealistic expectations.
No planning: you winged it. You didn't plan your work into your weekly schedule; you didn't have a “menu” on paper, you didn't make time (so instead you made excuses, like "I'm too busy")
No balance: your program was too extreme. You went the all-or-nothing, "I want it now" route instead of the moderate, slow-and-steady wins the race.
No personalization: your program was the wrong one for you. It might have worked for someone else, but it didn't suit your schedule, personality, lifestyle, or disposition.

One of the best Internet advisers on food and exercise is Tom Venuto. He's a top class mentor for body-builders and his straight from the Deltoid advise is backed with the best scientific and common sense information on exercise and diet - how to do it and keep doing it. His eight reasons why people fall off the Diet or Exercise wagon apply just as well to any artist who wants to become a success. In fact, what he says can be applied to anyone starting a business or endeavor of any sort.

These principles are lifted directly from: FAT BURNING TIPS NEWSLETTER Brought to you by Tom Venuto and Burn The Fat http://www.burnthefat.com/.

If you want to become physically fit, check in with someone like Tom Venuto who has made it happen. If you’re an artist, look in on Barney Davey’s http://www.artprintissues.com/ or my http://www.salestipsforarts.com/.

Friday, March 1, 2013

THE FUTURE CHURCH - REVELATION REVISED


THIS HAS JUST BEEN RELEASED ON AMAZON.

CLICK HERE TO READ IT FOR JUST .99

Power Grid How Prayer Works Miracles The IPO
Product Development – R and D Three Speed Electric Rosary
Spray-On-Condoms The Communion Vend-O-Mat
The Confessional Sauna Stations of the Cross Golf Courses
Micro-chips The Great Commission The Blessed Assurance
Social Action Tithers Trading Stamps The Goods Book The Spandex Habit
The Augmented Commandments

All Rights Reserved © 2013 Dick Harrison

           Micah MacLuhan describes the exciting new products the Conglomerate Church has originated and how it raises funds, from The Spray-On Condom, Tither's Trading Stamps, Stations of the Cross Golf Courses and many more. He explains how prayer, miracles, evangelism, The Great Commission, Blessed Assurance have evolved technologically from micro-chipping ostriches to provide a faith which is comfortable and profitable for everyone - including the church. In what some people today think is a slide from Absolute Truth to making it easier to be good through by adapting what works in business, politics and technology MacLuhan points the "way forward" in accomplishing "The Lord's work.'

 

           Written by award winning author, cartoonist and podcaster, Dick Harrison, THE FUTURE CHURCH - Revelation Revised will leave you laughing - and, perhaps, thinking. For a few, with an "ultra- traditional" sense of humor, it may be a shocker. For a few of the faithful with an "ultra-liberal" point of few view, it may cause them to say, "Hey! That sounds a little like my church!

 

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

YOU, ME AND OLD JOE


This grew out of a an email exchange with Barney Davey whose savvy advice on www.artprintissues.com, along with his comment on my “discovery” that I could batch convert in minutes all 166 pages of my latest book, SALES TIPS FOR ARTISTS – What I Learned In 20 Years As An Rep - along with all the text, full color pictures, cartoons, examples of what sold and what didn't, - into a single attractive, readable PDF file and burn it all to an easily mailable CD. This was a real technological “breakthrough” for me, given my rudimentary computer expertise and it was one way I was considering to market, or, perhaps, give away, my book to help artists sell what they create.

Barney, whose cutting edge knowledge on “making it BIG” in the art world, which he shares through his blogs, book, HOW TO PROFIT FROM THE ART PRINT MARKET, and now through seminars and webinars (see his website for exciting details) very gently took a bit of wind out of my “sales,” when he said, ”Friend Richard – CDs are twentieth century technology,” and then added, as he always does, links to more up-to-date information on publishing in today's world than I can possibly absorb.

It came after a frustrating day I was having, but brought what I'll call a “marketing epiphany.”

I had wasted the whole day taking my cable company's non-functioning TV modem into town to be replaced, then talking for hours trying to get it to work properly by following, to the best of my limited ability, their pages of installation and programming directions, probably written by a non-English speaker – all to no avail.

I finally called our TV installation and repair guy whose shop is around the corner. He came right over, fixed everything, removed the hundreds of new “special on demand channels” we hadn't ordered so that neither my wife, who has some memory problems, nor I could inadvertently go there and never find our way back, which has happened before because one of us pushed the wrong buttons on a TV controller that looks as if it were made to operate a 747.

The house call cost $95, but compared to the frustration and time lost, was well worth it. I should have called as soon as I was dumped or dropped for the third time by the cable company and going through their endless phone tree each time to reach a live person - in India.

Are you wondering  why I posted the photo at the top of blog?  It was taken in India.  That's where most of the, often very knowledgeable, tech experts we are connected to live and work.   :>)

When the TV was working again, the news was reporting on hundreds of people lining up in advance to buy Apple's I-Phone 5 - “early adapters” who understand and appreciate the wonderful new technological wrinkles. It's a huge market - one I'm not yet part of. But, my art blogging, years ahead, friend, Barney Davey, definitely is.

Here's the epiphany: As soon as a new product is introduced and creates a new market, it also creates, or adds to, a huge, viable, counter-market. That's why “OLD JOE, HERE” is one of the growing millions who buy a “Jitterbug” - the cellphone for my generation, which wouldn't know, or care, what the latest AP might be. Joe just wants a big, clumsy phone, with oversize buttons he can see easily if he makes a call, and an easy way to talk to someone who will help him understand, in terms he relates to, what to do if he screws up. 

And he'll pay extra for it – just like I did to have my TVs fixed so I can't screw them up.  If you are willing to pay extra for the latest 1954 tecnology, you, too, can own a Harley!

Part of my epiphany is: just because it's dazzling, new and expensive doesn't make it better. That applies to the art Barney Davey and I write about. During twenty years as an art rep I sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of art many of today's up and coming creators might call “old fashion” - a lot of it that well loved “special” piece they have hanging over the sofa or mantlepiece. A lot of it is still giving pleasure every day to the people who bought it.

There's a growing market for the “ground-breaking” vision of what “early adapters” consider beautiful. But, just because we all grow older every year, there's also a growing counter-market for what's behind the “cutting edge” - like CDs for people who haven't yet “Kindled.” And plenty more who would rather have a book they can put on the shelf after reading it.

Barney, bringing it all back down to the business of creating, we both love, write and teach about, YOU, ME AND OLD JOE have our differences, but for artists looking for somewhere to sell what they create, it doesn't come down so much to what they create as it does to identifying who is most likely to buy and finding the best way to reach out to them. Maybe even CDs? Write a comment and let us know what you think.

Monday, October 8, 2012

BUCKET LISTS

I was experiencing “one of those days.” We all have them, and in this technologically challenging time, trying to correct a screw-up with someone in India, for whom English is a second language to the “tech jargon” that got them one of the jobs we shipped overseas isn't always easy.

My sister, Ruth, put up with my “frustration rant” and returned an email that made mine fade to insignificance. You see, she's in Home Hospice care, dying from bone cancer. We've exchanged emails for decades, through good times and bad, and I've saved every one of them – must be in the high hundreds now, or more. She wrote:

Let me tell you about my frustrating days, while you are waiting for yours to get fixed. I have opted out of the new, radioactive injection for pain. It seems that my wonderfully attentive Hospice cannot pay for the injection. In order to get it, I would have to allow them to take me out of their hospice program, so that Medicare would pay for it, and then re-enroll me as soon as possible.

However, there would have to be frequent blood tests because the drug potentially reduces the white blood cells, and they would need to be monitored frequently. So, if I am between Hospice care and Medicare, who will pay for that coverage? Will I be in Hospice or in Medicare? Do I want to risk any hang up with the Hospice since they have been such life savers to me? My answer keep coming back as 'cancel the injection.' It doesn't work in all cases anyway, and I can foresee so many problems if I allow them to take me out of one program in order to get Medicare to pay for the expensive medicine. It just doesn't feel good. I'll just stick with the Morphine.”

(Sadly, Ruth has just passed away because of her cancer)
 
Despite the cancer, Ruth is one of the most joyful people I know. She has a “bucket list,” which is mostly figuring out how, and whom to help, before she passes. Over a lifetime she acquired many beautiful things. Now, between her “meds” she's giving them away. Each of the many gifts she has already given provides her with more pleasure than she had in acquiring it.
 
At age 81, I have a “bucket list,” too. At the very top of my bucket list, after continuing to live to the best of my ability by the precepts of my Lord and Savior, and remain fit enough to care for the wife I've loved for almost 60 years, is to continue to exchange emails with Ruth for as long as we both are able.
Underneath those important aims, there are a number of others – from sharing or giving my latest book, SALES TIPS FOR ARTISTS, to as many of the creative people who provided beautiful art for me to sell for more than twenty years or to those artists from more than sixty countries who have listened to my free podcasts on www.salestipsforartists.com on how to sell what they create.

That sounds like a “business bucket,” doesn't it? It WOULD be nice if it brought in a few welcome dollars in this unstable economy, but if it doesn't, I'll find a convenient way to get it into as many hands that want and feel they might benefit from it as possible.

Below that are some fanciful “maybes,” which will probably never happen, like doing an “elder Bush” parachute jump or a ride in a hot air balloon.

Here's one, I'm pretty sure I can accomplish. I live in Venice, Florida, a lovely place just a short drive from Casey Key on the Gulf and almost eight miles of beautiful road, lined on both sides with spectacular, multimillion dollar mansions. I'll never own one, nor would want to, but they look out over some of God's most beautiful views. There's very limited public access to the white sand beach; just a little at the two extreme ends. Unless you own one of the mansions, or know someone who does, most of that eight mile stretch is very private.

Because I'm still in good health, one of the things in my “bucket,” when it get's a little cooler, is to walk the entire stretch of beach along the water's edge and look at the views the mansion owners paid millions for. 
I can do that because their private property, by law, only extends to the tide line. West of that, all the way to the horizon, I own it.

So do you and everyone else. I can sit and drink a cup of coffee looking out at the same scene, Mr. Big Bucks sees when his pretty French maid brings him his coffee in the morning in the finest porcelain cup and saucer. If he's actually out sitting out in his cabana, he may be surprised to see me sitting with my coffee and ask me what I'm doing there.

My guess is, that if we chatted, I'd find he was a pretty nice guy. You don't earn that many dollars by mistreating people. He might even send his French maid to get me a cold drink or freshen-up my coffee.
For years and years, my wife always fixed the coffee and brought it to me. Now our roles, by necessity, are reversed. Sometimes we make it together in the kitchen of the nice little house we own, and she hands it to me in my favorite mug, just like she used to.

Do you think Mr. Big Bucks' coffee, brought to him by his French maid in the fine porcelain cup tastes any better?

I doubt it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

DREAMING BIG, THINKING BIG, MAKING IT BIG

DREAMING BIG:
We're all capable of DREAMING BIG and most everyone does. Just look at the lotteries and the million dollar checks from Publishers Clearing House. Look at thousands of teenagers who spend hours on their neighborhood basketball courts dreaming of NBA careers. Consider how many folks sit at their computers and dream of starting a Microsoft, Apple or Facebook. Look at the hundreds of people with cash who dreamed Bernie Madov would make it into a REALLY BIG fortune. How many have seen their dreams turn into reality?

THINKING BIG:
Lots of people are capable of THINKING BIG. They've attended multilevel “opportunity” meetings, clicked on the link to “Single mom in 'my town' makes $600 an hour, part time,” “Make a fortune in Real Estate with no money down,” or “Billions in Grant Money going begging.” Some have taken at least a few of the recommended steps investing time and dollars toward reaching BIG. And some have made it – there ARE “triple diamond” Amway distributors, and some savvy speculators own properties they bought for pennies at tax sales or foreclosures! There are more inspirational books, blogs and seminars on THINKING BIG than anyone could read or attend in a lifetime. Thinking, reading or attending isn't the key to BIG. DOING is the difference.

MAKING IT BIG:
As an art rep for more than twenty years, knowing many artists with big dreams and loads of talent, I've met quite few who went from DREAMING BIG to THINKING BIG. I've represented a few who went from THINKING BIG to MAKING IT BIG, by taking advice from the best and following through on what they were taught. The best of these experts, in my opinion, is Barney Davey, who gives practical, no nonsense, steps to success in his book HOW TO PROFIT FROM THE ART PRINT MARKET and www.artprintissues.com, while keeping in mind that what constitutes success varies in scope with each individual and his circumstances.
If only I had Barney's book when I started my art career, I might be able to look you in the eye today and say, “I MADE IT BIG!” - while leaning on my Lamborghini Countach in front of my waterfront mansion and glancing at my Rolex watch.

HALF BIG AND QUARTER BIG:
The truth is, like most want-to-be-artists supporting a family, working to pay the mortgage and stay current with the bills - I NEVER MADE IT BIG. I also learned that HALF BIG or even a QUARTER BIG isn't that bad.
On the way to becoming owner of an ad agency, then building a business as an art rep, I learned THE ADVANTAGES OF THINKING SMALL – accomplishing one small goal, before moving on to the next, without spending time or stress concerned with how far I'd come to reaching BIG. I'm not claiming the way I did it is the best way to earning a living as an artist, but I can attest that any artists willing step outside of their “Comfort Cage“ by actually standing in front of a potential buyer and selling what they create, will find one sure way to earn a living. But, keep in mind, it's just one way.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

HOW SHOULD I REACH BUYERS?

This blog is a response to the following threads - very much worth reading:

•The Myth of Print Advertising: What Works? by Jack White http://ht.ly/5fG6y ~ great comments & dialog @Fasobuzz •Hey - Was That A Door You Just Slammed in My Face? http://ht.ly/5fGef ~ lively reply to Jack White on print advertising http://ht.ly/5fG6y

Hello Jack, Barney Davey, et all,

Friend Barney Davey, whom I consider a premiere art blogger with insights, advice and information every artist must have, pointed me to this interesting thread.

After spending a couple of years teaching art in public schools, I spent the next 20 years in advertising, eventually owning an ad agency. We were area representatives for most major Hollywood movie studios and did print ads every day, but also represented other ad and PR clients, including Playboy Magazine. We found we could sell most anything with “sex”, including luxury condominiums and motorcycles.

Circumstances led me to become an independent rep selling my own art, limited edition prints for major print publishers and for individual artists. This calling provided a comfortable living for my family for the next twenty plus years. You can listen to my podcasts – no charge – at: www.salestipsforartists.com and see many examples of the wide variety of art I sold, mainly to Interior Designers, Architects and to some galleries on: www.bestartofall.com.

MANY ARTISTS HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS about reps, galleries and advertising. “If I just had a good art rep.” Or “If I just had a good gallery.” Or “If I just had the money to advertise,” the dollars would begin to roll in.

Here’s the sort of conversation I had dozens of times with artists showing samples of their art asking me to rep their work:.
ME: “Your paintings are lovely and I think they are salable.”
Artist: “I love to paint. If only I could just spend my time painting, I’d be in heaven.”
ME: “If someone paid you $1,000 a week just to paint, would that seem fair?
Artist: “I’d be thrilled beyond words! I’d paint even if I wasn’t paid – it’s something I have to do.”
ME: “It certainly shows. I especially like this tropical acrylic. How long did it take you to paint it?”
Artist: “About three hours – it was such fun!”
ME: “If I found a buyer for it, what do you think would be a fair price?”
Artist: “My gallery sold one similar to it for $900 but I got just $450. I’d like more, but $450 would be OK. It’s one of my best!”
ME: “How many of your paintings have they sold for about that price?”
Artist (hesitating): “Well, just the one.”
ME: “How many of your paintings has your gallery sold this year?”
Artist (hesitating): “Well, just that one.”
ME: “If you painted full time for $1,000 a week, that would equal $25 an hour for forty hours. If you spent three hours painting the acrylic, that adds up to $75. Would you still be thrilled if you got $75 and not the $450 you said would be fair?”

I met many artists and very few could claim earning $1,000 a week from their art. Some years I sold $25 - $30,000 worth of my own art, but if the art by another artist I repped was better for my client’s project, that was the art I really pushed. If you aren’t willing to put your client first don’t become an art rep.

PROBLEM? Most artists have no idea how the art business really works – who gets what and how much? They like to paint but don’t realize what the value of their talent is in the marketplace where money actually changes hands. They’ve seen stories about artists who sell everything they paint for thousands of dollars and say to themselves, often rightly, “My work is as good as theirs!” Just look around and see how many people are gifted with some degree of art ability. There are many mathematicians in the world, but only a handful of Einsteins. God gives art talent generously to many. But, only a few have established a reputation through years of hard work and tremendous personal involvement. I sold the work of many artists - many pieces a year for a few, but just a couple for most.

MY ADVICE AS AN ART REP: You are your own best salesman. Until you realize that and are willing to spend the time and effort to learn, practice and spend hours and dollars using as many of the multiple ways to promote your work as you can, whether personally, through print, galleries, reps, technology and social media, please continue to paint or draw and be thankful for your God given gift. Work hard, learn about your market, don’t get a “big head” and, perhaps, your time as a lion of the art world will come!

MY #1 PIECE OF ADVICE IS: YOU CAN’T SELL IT IF YOU DON’T SHOW IT. As an art rep I sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of quality “decorative” art each year to the most active of all art buyers, a group many artists overlook, by driving throughout the state of Florida to potential clients with portfolios of actual art. I knew what my “market” was and was in contact constantly.

NOTHING BEATS PUTTING THE REAL THING INTO THE HANDS OF A POTENTIAL BUYER to touch, examine closely and fall in love with. Used properly, all of the other ways to show art have a place, assuming you learn from experts (especially Barney) how to use them. My art career included years the Internet was just beginning to be considered a viable medium, but many of my clients weren’t yet familiar with it. I did use the “technology” of that time – broadcast fax - to reach almost 1,000 clients to let them know when I’d be in town and to ask if they were working on a project that needed art.

PERSONAL PERMISSION AND FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Every one of them I’d ask for permission before sending faxes and to get their fax numbers. Despite my ad background, I didn’t spend a dime on print ads, not because they weren’t attractive, but because I just didn’t have enough dollars to do it properly after paying all my rep travel expenses, insurance, phone, accounting etc. etc. from commissions I earned on actual art sales.

IIF YOU WANT TO USE AN ART REP BE WILLING TO PAY HIM for his time, professional contacts and experience, just as you would any other art professional such as a gallery owner or magazine publisher.

THE MORE ARROWS IN YOUR QUIVER, THE MORE LIKELY YOU’LL MAKE A SALE. . Incidentally, if there’s a hardworking artist out there who’d like to do what I did - sell his own art and from my remaining inventory on www.bestartofall.com to earn a generous commission on anything he or she sells, please drop me an email at brightwater03@comcast.net.. That’s another truth, straight from the “horse’s mouth” – one that’s been around the track more than a few times. How’s that for a couple of useful clich├ęs in a row?

Friday, February 11, 2011

STARTING OVER IN TOUGH TIMES

Artist's Rep Perspective - a reply to How to Start Your Own Art Publishing Company (a "Guest Post" on Barney Davey's ART PRINT ISSUES)

My friend Dick Harrison, who was an artist's rep par excellence for decades, replied to the previous How to Start Your Own Art Publishing Company with his savvy insight and sage advice. Many of you many know him from his Sales Tips for Artists site where he provides a wealth of knowledge.

You can see from the shots of his Florida property he managed to do quite well on his earnings as both a career artist and artist's rep for more than 20 years as he worked towards a well-deserved retirement.





I took the liberty of adding some paragraph headers, I'm sure Dick won't mind. Thanks to him for all his magnificent contributions to artists and for his generosity in sharing his vast knowledge and experience.
-----------------------------------------
Hello Barney,

Your exchange with "OldeBob" was fascinating and filled with such great advice, it inspired me to take pen in hand and write what follows. - Dick

Starting Over in Tough Times
Barney, what an interesting question from a husband and wife team of producing artists! Your answer, as usual, is worth its weight in gold! I haven’t been blogging or podcasting regularly because of home responsibilities, but this struck a special chord so I’m adding my “two cents” to your treasure trove of information.

“What Would I Do If I Were Starting Over In Tough Times?”
As you know, I’m now long “retired” after more than twenty years selling my own art and acting as an art rep for others, mostly to Interior Designers and Architects. What follows is not so much a generally applicable “how to” as it is a call for artists to think outside the usual box about his or her particular talent.

Defining your success is both important and personal
The first step is to decide what “success” actually means to you. If fame, fortune and a worldwide reputation are your “success,” stop reading now. Almost nothing I say will help, or even make much sense.

For me, “success” was the necessity to make a living, and exercise what limited creative abilities I possessed WITHOUT being “boss” of an organization and dealing with employees, bankers and demanding clients – as it had been when I started and ran an Advertising agency. That was challenging and I enjoyed a lot of what I did and had to do as I learned the ropes on my way to “owner.” But, in a scenario like that, one “owns” the problems as well as the rewards. Not what I wanted or had the resources to duplicate when I had to start over.

You are never too old to employ dreams and imagination
Therefore, I’m putting myself in Olde Bob’s shoes and IMAGINING what I’d do if I weren’t seventy-nine and also had the added advantage of a talented wife who shared my passion for art and a special interest in painting animals – along with that modest inheritance to get started.

WARNING! Artists – please don’t take what follows as “your plan” or “the plan.” Yours will be completely different and this is just meant as a “thought starter.”

We live in a beautiful world – when I was on the road marketing art all over Florida, God’s magnificent creation was a constant pleasure and source of inspiration when I got back to my studio to spend time creating art to sell. I loved seeing new places and new sights. My guess is; most artists do, too.

Following in the path of successful enterepreneurs is a time-honored tradition
My START OVER aim would be to find a modestly priced, comfortable, used motor home or drag behind, with enough space in it to live and work on my art. The most successful and happy art entrepreneur I ever met built a marvelous art publishing business by traveling the USA from tiny Guemes Island WA, reachable only by ferryboat. Ria Foster, founder of IIA, Island International Artists, now retired, still travels to beautiful spots in her motor home to create wonderful jewelry in venues she came to love. More than a quarter century later IIA lives on and thrives today as the best etching publisher in the country.

Olde Bob has already found an art niche. People all over the world love animals. Galleries and Interior Designers use animal images consistently to decorate homes and businesses – and those buyers are everywhere!

Artists have great tools to help them sell their work today
The Internet, social media and websites are great ways to sell art and you should use them all. Print-on-demand allows an artist to reproduce any image in virtually any size on almost any substrate – but once produced, the image must be sold to someone if the artist doesn’t want to starve in a garret until fame and fortune stumble on to his work.

Take it from me – and Ria Foster – there is no better way to sell art than to show up on a buyer’s doorstep with a beautiful piece of art they can touch and, perhaps think: “I can sell that!” When that happens, whether it is a pack of greeting cards or a carefully painted original animal portrait, you’ve made a sale! This is a key piece of information every artist should remember – or have tattooed on the back of his hand if he has a poor memory. You can’t sell it if you don’t show it.

You cannot beat the personal touch
Add to that your ability to say: “I have even nicer ones in the motor home parked outside your door. Can you take a couple of minutes to step inside for a cup of tea while I show you more?” Bonus – you’ll get to know buyers personally, find out their likes and dislikes, and YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED and welcomed back on your next trip through. I sold art to many of my Interior Design clients, over and over, for more than a dozen years.

Olde Bob - you already know your images should sell as self-produced cards and there are even more gift shops than Interior Designers – their studios and shops often located almost side-by-side in most affluent areas.

But Bob – don’t get hung up worrying about Archival Inks and permanence for items as ephemeral as greeting cards. They have about a forty-five second life span and then are tossed or tucked away because of the sentiment, never to be seen again. Unless you have a name and collector base – have established a “brand” valued for possible appreciation, Interior Designers aren’t looking for permanence either. They’d just as soon have their clients redecorate every five years – out with the old – in with the new.

If your art measures JUST 8” x 10” the ever advancing Print On Demand processes can blow it up to whatever size your client wants. Using your original as the sales sample you can offer any size required, but don’t you try to print it yourself. There are printing pros galore with the equipment and know how to do it for you. As you sit beside the lake outside of town, enjoying the sunset, just figure out how to price the piece so you can make a profit.

There are riches in niches
Be open to niche markets within your niche. I have a sister-in-law who knits wonderful things using super soft Alpaca yarn. Because of her I became aware of the growing number of Alpaca farmers and breeders. Some of those beautiful, gentle, animals sell for $100,000 plus and their yarn is a high-ticket item. Often the yarn is sold with information or a photo of the animal that produced it. If you owned a $100,000 animal, wouldn’t you be open to a nice hand-painted portrait to make that animal even more special? With your wheels, all you need is a list of Alpaca farms to visit as you travel to sell to the regular trade – or to Art Fairs where you set up to show and sell your work, if that is something you like to do. If you can’t sell an Alpaca portrait, perhaps the breeder would be open to allowing you to order and sell their special yarn on commission to high-end shops.

And, speaking of commissions, Olde Bob, I’ll bet you know other artists whose work you admire who would be glad to have you take their work with you as you visit buyers they’ll never see. Do that and you are an Artists’ Rep, deserving a nice commission, as I was.

Some years I sold $20,000 - $30,000 worth of my own work and earned commissions from other artists that let me build a lovely house and studio with a half-acre pond where I had the fun of raising swans and water lilies. (Which isn’t a good combination because I soon learned swans eat water lilies.) The point is: I was open to and always looking for a new idea, as – as anyone should be - when STARTING OVER IN TOUGH TIMES!

Dick Harrison's "Sales Tips for Artists" New Website

Business Advice for Artists in Today's Economy

January 30, 2011
How to Start Your Own Art Publishing Company
I received a request by email to weigh in on a post at the Wet Canvas General Art Business forum today. The title of the thread is How to Start Your Own Art Publishing Company. My answer turned out to be even more lengthy than the lengthy question. To save you the trouble of logging in over there, I have reposted here:

With advances in technology is it feasible to become your own publishing company today?

Both my wife and I are full-time artists and we feel, and many others have said, that our works would do well as prints and cards. We know this is true, at least on a small scale, as we already do sell prints regionally (printed on our own Epson 2200 printer) and those have done fairly well...but what does it take to go to the national level?

My wife has been with one of the largest art publishing companies for 6 years now. She makes 10% of the wholesale cost, and the results have been disappointing, about $1,000 a year average paid out to us. Also, the company has been hurting recently as they try to figure out this tough economy, and sometimes they even have to miss payments and then will double up on the next payment....obviously not a good sign (payments made quarterly). This is one reason I've been wondering if it's a wise thing to publish ourselves and keep the full profit?

Our niche or specialty is painting animals. Obviously we can't print enough out on our own little Epson printer, so we need to find out:

1) Are there larger personal printers now that can produce prints fast enough and economically enough? Or, do individual images still need to be shipped off to a large commercial printer and printed out in the hundreds or thousands? If so, are there competitive printers in the USA still, or is everything done in China/asia?

2) I realize that the first few years require a lot of work going to gift shows, art shows, trade shows in order to become known. Also, to expand ones web presence as much as possible. Any other venues or ways to get ones name 'out there'?

What are some other thoughts/ideas/considerations on all this?

Do you know of any self-publishers who are doing well? I recently came across http://www.annemadecards.com/ and http://trollart.com/
I assume they do well as I've come across them now in quite a few shops. Of course that's just an assumption as I dont know for sure. You can see that 'AnneMade' sells her cards for $1.50 each....so I'm assuming she's getting these printed in China?

There's also big names like Mary Engelbright and Jodi Bergsma. They are big now and control their own future, but I'd like to learn exactly how they did it when they started out. Of course, today is obviously a much different time than just 10 years ago, so how much would the old ways even work today?

One big reason I'm considering this direction is because we received a relatively small inheritance (less than $25K) and it's the only 'freebie' we're ever going to get really. So do we dink it away on what-not, or invest in this self-publishing idea? I know that's not a lot of money anymore, but perhaps with advances in printer/computer technology...it's enough??

Right now, with the Epson, we print with archival inks, and these are not cheap! I'm thinking more along the lines if one prints out their own images on a high volume personal printer...on card stock, with regular inks...and then perhaps varnish with a UV varnish. I know these will eventually still fade, but will at least be initially cheaper to produce (and sell more reasonably). If there arent good personal printers in this regard, how about getting inexpensive postcards printed (you see their ads in magazines) and turning those into prints or even greeting cards? I'm just kind of thinking out loud now at this point.

If one goes to a big gift show, they need to either have on hand a large inventory, or the ability to go home and produce orders quickly. It would just be so nice to be in control of the entire process rather than have to deal with commercial printers, handing over chunks of money per every image.

I hope I havent rambled too much here. I just wanted to get the ball rolling as I know there are smart/helpful people here who will have some thoughts and insights on this. I was also hoping this could be a thread of interest to the other artists who might also be thinking of doing their own self-publishing on a larger (even national) scale.

Many thanks....

My reply is:

I received a request by email to comment on this thread, which was inspiring. As much as I would like to post regularly, working full-time leaves little time to participate here. Between spending 50 hours weekly on the day gig, maintaining my Art Print Issues blog (now approaching 400 posts), and promoting the newly released second edition of How to Profit from the Art Print Market, where it remains a bestseller on the Amazon.com "Business of Art" category, and a couple of other projects, I run out of time and energy to get here and some other boards where I like to post.

So putting excuses aside, I do have some comments for Olde Bob. Yes, it is still feasible to start your own art publishing company. In many ways, it is the best of times to do this. Yes, the economy and market changes have created huge challenges, but how art is made and marketed has changed also.

As never before, artists now have more new and effective ways to control the direct distribution of their art. With the changes on the gallery scene, I think it is incumbent on every artist to create direct distribution of their art. When you do, you can sell less and keep more. You don't keep the full 50% of retail you pay galleries, a big chunk of that goes to marketing.

There are digital printers that print relatively fast and inexpensive, but not like a four-color offset press. The difference is in inventory. If you bet wrong, you end up with stacks of paper and no where to sell them. I think printing in large quantities only makes sense for established artists who have volume buyers seeking their work. Sending to China creates potential quality issues, expensive shipping and long lead times. Again, more suited for established players than newbies.

Working for a publisher was never going to be something that would pay all the bills for most artists. If you consider, your wife's publisher only made $10,000 from selling her work, you can figure if you were the publisher, it would not be a living from those sales. Publishers have big overhead costs that you would absorb trying to compete with them.

Tradeshows do not pack the same punch as just a few years ago. Look at what has happened to most of them. I am still shell-shocked that the Decor Expo Atlanta show has failed to produce in the past three years. This was once a show with 2,000 exhibitors and an absolute "must attend" for virtually every poster publisher and many self-published artists as well. Art business related trade magazines are hanging on by threads.

Artyczar offers good advice. You would be better served, IMHO, carving out a niche based on quality and uniqueness with the aim of developing a loyal collector base. I wrote a blog post titled, Build an Art Market - Profit from Your Passion. It was about how artist, Ashley Goldberg, built a $100k annual business on Etsy and ended up being featured in an Inc Magazine cover story about how it is possible to follow your passion and create a dream job.

By your questions and references to various artists, you seem to be more interested in the gift and licensing market than the art print market. That's fine. I advise trying to tackle one or the other, but not both at the same time. It is tough enough to get traction in one of these arenas without trying to manage trying both.

You mention the $25,000 inheritance and then talk about how expensive archival inks are. These are clues to your situation and your thinking about things. My advice would be to decide to put a small portion ($5-7,000?) of that into marketing your work, and putting the rest aside in safe investments for the future.

Regarding printing your own work; there are many hidden costs in printing your own work. There is lost time and money when things do not come out as expected. The investment in high quality image capture equipment can easily exceed $25,000 and then you have to learn how to use it properly. You are adding this time and expense to making your art and marketing it. How much cheaper can you do your own printing? I would not be at all surprised for most artists, after all the costs are included, the lost time from the studio, and hidden expenses are added up, that the savings amount to less than 10% for work produced on the amateur level.

I love your optimism about going to a big show and coming back with a suitcase full of orders. It shows you have the ability to think big about your career. Unfortunately, the reality for most first-timers at shows, even back in the good old days, is that the likelihood is what you learn will be greater than what you earn. In other words, it takes more than one big event to turn on the big orders. It takes consistent marketing.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider, and this is often the hardest thing for artists to do, is to be able to honestly and brutally evaluate the marketability of your work. Your perspective is warped by being too close, your family and friends are not reliable because they love you and want the best for you and they likely have no art marketing experience to weigh the commercial viability of your work.

At the heart of the business every successful artist lies the ability to create work that resonates well with a large section of the potential market. Making stuff people want to buy and want to continue to buy is a crucial ingredient. It is not always about how your work is better than so and so's. It is about how many people are willing to open their wallet and vote with their disposable income on how much they like your work.

I can't judge how well your will do, often experienced publishers can't judge it either. The final arbiter are volume buyers and retail buyers. If you can learn to tap into their needs you can build a successful print career. If your work is less accessible, more esoteric, or just not as commercially viable as others, you can still build a market. You may have to work harder at identifying where your buyers are and how to to reach them.

Learning how to reach them means being a student of the art business. Most artists will seek teachers far and wide to learn how to apply paint, but they won't invest any time in learning how the top producers built their businesses.

The information is not laid out neatly in Wikipedia, you have to do your own sleuthing to ferret out the details and then spend more time figuring how to make them apply to your business. Fortunately, the cost of doing this is more in time than in money, which leaves you more money to spend on your marketing.

Lastly, the tools to get your work directly to your collectors are the best ever. I think every artist should have a website. Period. Most should have a blog. Working on using social media can be the single most important thing you will do for direct distribution of your work.

Whatever you do, don't undercut your partners, galleries and dealers, specifically. Treat them fairly and honestly and with integrity. The best way to find them is by working concentric circles around where you live. How many potential galleries and alternative spaces that could repeatedly sell your art do you have in a 300-mile radius around your home? Probably enough to support your business if you are successful in getting into 10-20% of them.

This has turned into a piece so long, I am going to repost on Art Print Issues. Best wishes to Olde Bob and thanks to TC Steele for inviting my comments.

This has turned into a piece so long, I am going to repost on Art Print Issues. Best wishes to Olde Bob and thanks to TC Steele for inviting my comments. Of course, I would be remiss from my own advice to artists, where I admonish them to be their own best self-promoter, if I did not encourage interested readers here to order my book.

If you want to learn more about the art print market and how to make a go of it in today's changing challenging environment, my book will be a useful resource for you.