This article is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of
FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here
Marketing your own artwork is hard work.
I was reminded of this fact today while reading the post, Hostage to My Independence
on Hazel Dooney's blog, Self Vs. Self
. She writes, "If there's one drawback to handling my own sales and marketing, it's the hours each week I have to put aside to promote and sell my own work." Keep that in mind, she devotes hours
each week to sales and marketing.
Hazel has become known in the online art community as somewhat of a pioneer at bucking the traditional gallery system by marketing her work directly to collectors. A lot of people like to think of her as a leader in using new, online technologies as a core part of her marketing (and she does). For example, here's what she says about her online marketing activities,"I blog and tweet with a regularity that puts some professionals to shame. I ensure that my web site, which is intended to be more an exhaustive reference resource about my work and career rather than a sales tool, is kept updated. There is a monthly e-newsletter – Studio Notes
– to write and email to over 7,000 subscribers each month, as well as a monthly media release to another two or three hundred individuals."
However, I was struck most by one sentence in her most recent blog post:
But the core of my non-art activities are dozens of phone calls, emails and meetings with existing and potential collectors.
Think about that. An artist who is considered to be pushing the edge of modern technology is telling you that the core
of her non-art activities are phone calls
, emails and meetings
(all mediums that provide personal, one-on-one interactions with collectors).
I seem to recall saying ad nauseum
that Art Marketing is Conversations
Just to make sure you saw it:
Art. Marketing. Is. CONVERSATIONS.
Now, go change the world
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - When was the last time you picked up the phone and talked with one of your collectors? If it's been more than a day or two, then it's probably been too long.
UPDATE 10/2/2009 4:38PM CST:
The artist discussed in this post, Hazel Dooney, attempted to leave a comment, however, something glitched with our system and the comment was lost. (We are investigating the glitch to try to prevent it from recurring). Hazel graciously sent me several messages on Twitter outlining the gist of her original comment. We have reproduced that information below:
Hazel Dooney wrote:
Thanks for noting my recent 'rant' in your blog. There are a couple of things I would like to clarify.
Yes, phone calls are important, so important that I am almost surgically attached to a fully spec'ed iPhone 3G, even when I am painting. However, when I refer to meetings, these are very rarely in person. I simply don't have the time. They're usually conducted via video-enabled chat or VOIP applications such as Skype or iChat (depending on my collectors' preferences) and are thus also 'online'. One reason my meetings are 'remote': 85% of my collectors live more than 500 miles from me, and 65% more than 5,000 miles, in the US, UK, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, and Mexico.
Regular contact should be intrinsic to every collector/artist relationship and begins the moment they enquire about a work. They artist should ensure that the collector derives benefit from this contact more often than the artist seeks to derive benefit from it. To that end, I go out of my way to remember birthdays and anniversaries, and I keep track of career successes and even the birth of their children. I send small drawings, books and handwritten notes to celebrate those occasions.
Yes, it's time-consuming, but enhancing the experience and connection with every current and potential collector base should be a rigorous, disciplined core of your studio's business. It is not emphatically not a 'sideline' activity.