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The New Branding

by Clint Watson on 1/4/2010 3:08:10 PM

This article is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.

When I said "branding is for sissies, I meant, of course, old school branding.

You know, the kind of "branding" that focuses on big budgets where a lot of time is spent on stuff like logos, colors, letterhead, business cards, etc...Generally the stuff people used to hire ad agencies for.  

For most artists, I don't think this kind of stuff matters at all.  Show me a kick-ass painting and I really don't care if your logo is crap, or if your letterhead is a different color from your website.  Heck, I don't care if you even have a logo.  And I'll be happy if your "sales letter" to me is hand-written in pencil on the back of a Mexican food restaurant menu with salsa stains on it...if... the painting is kick-ass.  

So I guess what I'm saying is focus mostly on Making. Kick. Ass. Art.

After you've made your kick ass art, share it with us online and we'll spread your message far and wide.  That means you have to have conversations with us, your fans.  Hence my statement, "branding is for sissies, real marketers have conversations."

Seth comes along and redefines the word "brand" (only Seth can get away with redefining words like "brand").  His new-school definition is "A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another."

In Seth's definition notice the word "relationships" - having a relationship means having conversations...which means, if we use Seth's defnition of brand, then branding isn't for sissies.  

It means that half of new-school branding is creating EXPECTATIONS (making and half of new-school branding is nurturing RELATIONSHIPS (sharing your art and having conversations.)

*Seth says "Design is essential, but design is not a brand" - Design (outside of the artwork itself) probably isn't even essential, but, then again, you should remember that I'm the guy who would buy a great painting from a salsa-stained handwritten note...good design is, however, probably a good idea.

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Backstory: About Clint. Email EditorTwitter. Republish. ]

Related Posts:

The Foundation of Your Online Art Marketing Strategy is....

Make Amazing Art, Be Authentic, Tell Your Stories and the Art Will Sell

Share Your Gift, Share Your Art, Share Your Images

Art Marketing is Conversations

Marketing Art

Share Your Stories

Engaging In Conversation

Topics: Art Business | art marketing | Sales 

What Would You Like to Do Next?
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Mark Yearwood
Well, being a graphic designer for 27 years, I try to make my marketing materials look good as well as always trying to produce better art.
I'm always preaching to my clients about the importance of a professional image, so I have to live by my own rules. I believe a good logo and cohesive image can be very helpful in any business. You could make kick ass widgets or whatever, but with no image, brand, or marketing, who would know?

Some people don't have the resources or time to work on that stuff as much. That is fine, just try to be as professional as possible with the budget and tools available to you. I agree on focusing first on the art, then relationships, then marketing.

If any of you ever need help in that area, I would be glad to assist.

Mark Yearwood
Oh, and thanks to FASO, looking good is a whole lot easier!

Sarah Marie Lacy
This is excellent. I agree completely. Obviously the design can't be so ugly as to detract from what you do (those artist's websites where you're not even sure where to *look* at the art) but I agree that it's not essential.

Example - I did a juried art festival earlier on this year. Not many artists were selling. One artist however, sold 4-5 pieces over 3 days. His business card was plain text printed on brown card stock. It wasn't even centered properly.
I don't think any of the people who bought his beautiful paintings cared though ;)

Clint Watson
I have a confession - I never carry a business card. I was feeling guilty about not having any until I read that a lot of successful people don't have business cards. It really has never hindered me in any way. In fact, if there's a potential connection with someone, I get *their* card or info so I can contact them. I did finally break down though and print some when I had a booth at the Oil Painters of America show a couple of years ago, I think I still have several hundred sitting in a box somewhere....

Sarah Marie Lacy
Ha! Your business cards must live with mine. I hand out maybe 5 a month? All my business is done online. I've got 200 sitting in a box, hoping to see the light of day. They don't even have my current phone number on them.

Lorraine Khachatourians
This is a good reminder - maybe MKAA will be this year's mantra! As far as web sites go, I like the KISS principle - simple, straightforward, easy to navigate. I know mine needs work this year - it will get done but am waiting for an upgrade to the program which will come out soon, and then will do some reorganization. This is giving me the time to think what I want for the update.

I do use cards - I get them from I like them because they are small and have a segment of a painting on them (you can choose several different ones). I tuck them into notices, cards etc.

I do have a question - I have a difficult to spell and pronounce last name. Would it be better to switch to using my name on the updated site, or continue with 'Redberry Art', which is easier to remember?

Kate Dardine
Lorraine - I usually advise people to use their own name for their website url - but in your case, I think I'd keep the Redberry Art, especially if you've had that name for awhile and use it in all your other marketing material. But you should make sure your full name appears on every page - that way those who are looking for you and know your name can find you. But that's just my opinion...

Lorraine Khachatourians
Thanks Kate - I appreciate that point of view. I am leaning in that direction, but thought I would ask the wider world for an opinion. Thanks for yours!

Carol McIntyre
I guess I am kind of old school when it comes to the branding idea. For years I have used a purple color in my marketing brochures, biz cards, websites, etc. and people have come to "expect" it and they know when they are receiving something from me. Quality, as well as professionalism, is another "brand" I have tried to convey at all times; which also seems to make an impression. Thanks for the article.

Clint Watson
via with facebook
Carol - nothing wrong with being consistent, in fact it *is* a good idea to be professional and consistent, but let's say you decided to change "your" color to blue - would it impact your sales? I don't think it would.

Stephanie Bolton
LOL- love your writing!

I agree that having a biz card can actually be a BAD thing for an artist. We need to get THEIR info! Because when our biz card is swimming at the bottom of someone's purse for a month and becomes the home of discarded wad of chewing gum... they will have forgotten that they had "wanted to make it to our opening" or whatever it was we weren't able to give them a formal invite to.

I did have one theory though for making a biz card more valuable- if it could serve some function that make cause someone to hang on to it or even share- maybe it would be worth it. So I printed my biz card on stickers and put them over the front of these slim, biz card size, mints. The painting made the mint box pretty and all my contact info was visible.
It was charming I suppose, but not exactly cost effective.

If anyone has any better ideas along those lines- I'd like to hear them.

Leslie Saeta
I love Seth's quote "A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another." As artists we are defining our brand with every painting we share with the world. I think what really matters is what happens next. And that is building relationships with those who have either bought your art or want to buy your art. Granted it is tough to find potential buyers so why not start with the ones you already have?
I spent the last two days putting together my 2009 client list. I had all of the information, just not in one spreadsheet. I have developed a year long "spoil my clients" marketing plan and of course I can't start it until I have the list! I am taking Clint's advice here too, most of the plan involves personal notes and mailing, not just electronic marketing! Wish me luck!

Carol McIntyre
"Si!" You are absolutely correct, Clint. One thing that also underlies using a consistent color/font/style is that it makes decision making much quicker every time I create a new marketing piece. :)

Diane Tasselmyer
How do artists market themselves if they don't like to be chummy with people?...or be relationship oriented?

I have often wondered about that now that I am learning more and more about this aspect of art marketing. Fortunately, I like talking to people and speaking and am an outgoing person. yakity yak.

But what happens to those who are not???

Esther J. Williams
Clint, you are simply marvelous, remember Billy Crystal saying that on Saturday Night Live? I like your phrase, Making Kick Ass Art. Like your purple cows one before. We artists have to work harder these days than the old masters sometimes, they had it made. I am finishing stretching some linen some linen right now for a plein air paint-out this weekend in the wilderness. Your phrase fits right into that cowboy state of mind where I will be painting on a old ranch. Yeeha! I`m gonna kick some butt!
On the business cards bit, I need them, when I am out painting, I get asked all the time for a card. I use my best last painting image across the whole card and type my name and website over it. allows us artists to design whatever we want with a template. People say Oooh when they see the card, so I guess they like them.

Carol Schmauder
I certainly agree that the art needs to be outstanding, but I'm not so sure that the design and presentation of your sales letters, etc. are not also important. Sometimes the first impression a person has of you is the letter or whatever. I'm still trying the get to the point of making "kick-ass" art but I guess until that alone carries me I will try to keep the other things a step above a sales letter written on a salsa stained napkin.

Clint Watson
via with facebook
One of the coolest letters I ever got from an artist was so messy I can only call it "anti branding" - one of the best artists we ever accepted into the gallery I used to run send us nothing but a handwritten note and some loose slides (with no titles or prices on them).

Sue Martin
Clint, I agree that relationships are more important than the usual designed materials one used to think of as "branding." That's why, in a perfect world, we would meet and build rapport with gallery owners, collectors, art editors, and all the other people with whom we'd like to do business, before asking them to do something for us (buy our paintings, hang our work in their gallery, write a feature article, etc.). In the real world, however, our first communication may be in a less personal way and first impressions count. For that reason, while cultivating relationships, I will also have a business card, a portfolio, a nicely presented artist statement and resume, etc. No, those things probably won't matter if I don't also have kick-ass art, but I'll also try to make a good first impression.

Marsha Savage
I think this is really good advise. Branding is probably not as important now as it used to be. Being consistent as someone else said probably is more so.

Regarding business cards, I print my own. That way I don't have but maybe 50 at any given time. I put images on my cards. One page of cards has 10 cards -- so there are 10 of the same image each time I print. The program is the simple Print Shop one and is easy to use and change the image. I think they look good and are very cost effective.

I also like the idea when you said you did not have cards, but always get one from the other person. Made me think, from now on, I will always ask them for a card! Great idea.

Lee McVey
I've always been taught whatever an artist uses for letterheads, logos, brochures etc, to be consistent. For example, don't have many different fonts on each of your materials. To me, that seems to make more sense than spending lots of money on commercially designed materials. Nice if that's in your budget, but consistency is key.

A book I read this past year was Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands that Stick in Your Customer's Minds by Karen Post. It's not written for artists, but it had some interesting information.

Linda Wilder
I too, like Marsha and Esther, print my own business cards with an image of my work on shinny photo paper. I print them as I need them and I always carry some with me. Lol, I never thought to ask for one in return!...I will do that from now on. And Stephanie what an inovative Idea! Thanks Clint...I should have been reading these fine art views from the start. I'm getting some very usefull information

Jill Musser
I could leave branding to the the ranch hands; an imprint burned on their livestock to differentiate their livestock from their neighbors'. I agree, buzz words get quite tiresome and I believe "branding" is about at the top of the list right now. Consistency in collateral/sales materials is nice and professional looking. However, I am far more interested in seeing the consistent class, creativity, and beauty in the art work of a Richard Schmid, or a Quang Ho or a Laura Robb. They have created expectations and their art speaks and converses with us. So I will accept that they have created their own unique brand, but it has nothing to do with logos and business cards. I might call it by older terms: exceptional individual painting style. Their art is easily differentiated from their "neighbors" by its particular style and excellence - without a so-called brand.

Fay Terry
I really enjoyed your article about Branding as well as Seth's definition "A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another."
I only recently began to realize how much fans of my paintings like to hear the stories behind the art.
Sometimes the purchase comes first and then the relationship and stories.Last month I sold a painting of two Chinese women to a person who had spent time in China when they were younger. My painting, they said, brought back all the happy memories they had.
Thanks for emphasizing that the quality of the art is the top priority!

Carole Rodrigue
I always carry simple business cards which just have my name, short blurb about my art, and contact info. I've tinkered with the idea of getting those tacky car door magnet signs, but naw. Too tacky. I agree that kick ass art is probably the best branding and that cheesy gimmicks are just that. Cheesy. And cheese stinks.

Fay Terry
In response to Lorraine Khachatourian's question about using her name versus Redberry Art-- I like the name instead-it is not forgettable and it stands out from the crowd. Even if you decided just to use part of it, like "Lorraine K" I think it would be great.
I am not a Duke fan, I root for Carolina, but everyone knows Mike
Krzyzewski as "Coach K"

Eric Rhoads
Branding has never been about logos. These icons are merely the visual representation of a brand.

Branding is nothing more than MEANING. What does X company, X product, X person stand for (or against). Can I trust them. Do I relate to their image.

The reason giant companies spend so much on branding is because the more they do it the more they reinforce that image they hope you'll buy into.

In this new age everything is transparent. Lies can no longer be told and bad products are called out quickly. A bad movie dies within 48 hours of release because people post bad reviews on facebook, twitter, etc. In the old days it took 2-3 weeks for bad word of mouth to spread.

Artists can do well with a brand. Not in the traditional sense.... its not about logos and slogans. Its about trust.... can I trust that this artist is of good quality.... will OTHERS respect my decision to buy this artist (sorry its not all about what people love, sometimes its about what they think others will think of them).

If given a choice of two artists (and you love both paintings equally)....both the same price, which one will they choose? Usually the bigger brand. Why? Trust, value, perception.

Richard Schmid or Joe Unknown? If the price is the same and the quality was the same, I still believe most would choose Schmid. He had the big brand, the perception that his prices will skyrocket some day, etc. It may or may not be true (probably is) but its all about perception....

How was that brand built? GREAT PAINTINGS indeed, UNIQUE STYLE indeed, but there are thousands of wonderful unknown painters. Brand is built by showing up and being seen everywhere. Articles, Ads, Shows, Events, etc. The more you are seen the longer you are seen your brand will grow.

I know an artist who was not known. She began an advertising campaign of small ads with her name and painting. Year 1 very little activity. But at the end of year 1 she started getting invited as the main artist in key art shows, she was invited by galleries, she became a big shot, her paintings started commanding higher prices and her workshops were selling out.

This artist never stops. She is always present in ads because she knows that repeating her image in front of the market month after month year after year is the smartest thing she can do.

We've even seen it work with bad painters. Imagine doing it with great painters.

Lee McVey
Eric's comments are right on. Branding is more than logos and letterheads. (I still think if these items are used, consistency is key, but the brand is more the public's perception of the artist based on things the artist has done) As Clint said, artists need kick ass art so people remember the fine quality of work. I think it's preferable to be known for great quality in your art then to be known for great marketing of your mediocre art.

Fay Terry
Eric Rhoads has given us a powerful summation on the topic of branding.
Here we have in three words all that we need focus upon-Trust, Value, Perception.
Thank you, Eric, for an excellent article.


Ok. Granted this post was about branding. But, the "go and do" portion was art and CONVERSATIONS. Conversations with people looking at your art.

The first mental pic that came to mind was of an artist at an event I was at in Geneva, Illinois a year ago. The artist thought her work was exceptional. (not all of us agreed) My exhibit was way too close, within easy earshot. By the end of the event, I knew by memory every line she "used" on patrons. And we should probably emphasize the word "used". The patrons had every right to feel the same way.

So what's the solution? Conversation bootcamp for people who can paint better than they can talk? Painting WAY better than you can talk and hoping for the miracle where somebody important notices? Schmoozing patrons into believing your art is great? Darn, but I think it still comes back to experience---the experience that comes with painting those bazillion paintings. How can you have an honest conversation if you don't have the experience to know what you are talking about? Without the experience, it's all just schmooze, right?

Later, Cooper

Marsha Savage
Thank you Eric and Cooper!

Cooper, you are so right. I cringe when I hear some of my artist friends at a gallery event and all I hear are the same words over and over. I love conversations with viewers, but what I want is for the viewer to talk. I learn more that way then trying to tell the viewer what he or she is looking at.

I do love to tell stories about the particular piece, but I am always cognizant of what they thought first. I don't want to tell them something so different from what they thought!

And, quality will always tell!

Tom Weinkle
Good observations. branding is something I do know about. As a graphic designer for over 25 years, I can tell you that what you identified as "branding for sissies" came about as renaming strategy for design firms and advertising agencies to sell the illusion of branding to people who were not really committed to it. Most companies who have logos and identities have a hard time believing they need to be updated, and so the agencies had to come up with a way to make it believable, and get buy-in. The client believes they are doing branding when actually they are just redoing their identity. If you've ever talked to a client about branding, more often than not, they will argue that they don't need to engage in a serious branding process. They don't want to think about positioning, and perceptions, etc. because it is a big project and takes time and commitment and buy-in.

There's no question that strong identity and branding is valuable to companies and individuals....look at BMW, MBZ, AUDI, VW. The product is essentially the same, and the identity AND brand make it stand apart.

I completely agree that developing a graphic identity for an artist is not as important as other branding activities, especially the ones you mention like conversing and showing. I also think that the artist has to have a sense of who they are in the marketplace of other artists, and how they articulate define their work to others. Much like a big corporation has to have a clear vision and promise to the consumer, the artists' audience has to have a clear picture of what the artist is about. And everything the artists does should TIE-INTO their personal brand...from the way they speak about their work, to the art, to the way they show, and even how they physically present themselves. Effective branding happens when all those things are in sync, and the consumer understands why they need your artist brand. it doesn't mean it has to be fake either. On the contrary, it should be authentic, and represent what you are really about, and not just what you think the consumer wants to hear.

There is a lot of information on personal branding out there, and it's easier to do than ever.

Joanne Benson
Hi Clint,
You are right on about the Kick Ass painting! All the other stuff is nice but ya gotta produce the goods!

Joanne Benson
Going backward in the previous posts.....I agree whole heartedly with Cooper....and Marsha!

Clint Watson
Part of the problem is the word "branding" can, at least historically, be contorted to whatever someone wants it to be.

Anyway, here's a successful cartoonist/artist (Hugh Macleod of fame) and thought on why "Branding is Dead:"

Eric Rhoads
Joanne... though a great painting should be the goal every time...
There are graveyards filled with amazing undiscovered painters, some who were discovered after their death, most who remain undiscovered.

There are also many millionaire artists who most in the fine art field would consider "decorative" or "garish" or simply "bad painters" who are successful because they understand the basic principals of visibility.

Its popular to declare things "dead" and though the world is changing and there are a thousand new ways for distribution due to technology the principals still apply. People are accomplishing amazing results with new ways of branding via twitter and facebook for instance. Others are still having great success in traditional media while others claim it dead they are reaping huge rewards.

Even responding on a respected forum like this one is a great branding tool :-)

- Eric Rhoads
Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine
Artist Advocate Magazine

Clint Watson
via with facebook
"Even responding on a respected forum like this one is a great branding tool.."

That's because "Art Marketing is Conversations"

Lori Woodward
Hey, thanks Eric for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with this audience. Your words have added to the conversation here!

At outdoor shows, it made sense for me to start a conversation with anyone who took the time to step into my booth for a closer look. The first thing I did was take interest in "them"... then I told them a bit about myself and left them alone to look at the work. I didn't trap them or "sell" them, but I did engage them and let them know I was interested in what "they thought" of my work.

If the artwork connects with the viewer, then you'd better be ready with your story and some ideas about how to create pleasant conversation.

Finally, when it's obvious that someone is considering adding your work to their collection, we need to learn to ask for the sale. That's the hardest part, but believe me... it works.

Thanks again, Eric, Cooper and all the others for your input, questions, and observations. This is so great!

Lee McVey
Masha's comment about telling the buyer stories, but not telling them something too different than what they thought in the beginning is so true and reminds me of a conversation I had with a buyer long ago before I was aware of the importance of conversation and the value of truly listening to what was being said. A buyer was commenting why he liked my painting and said he could imagine ... etc. And unfortunately, I said no, it's ... etc. But the painting view could easily have been what he imagined and I just deflated him. What a lesson that conversation was!! Lucky for me the sale still went through. Artists need conversations in which we truly listen to the other person. And certainly not the "conversation" Cooper overheard from the exhibit next to him.

Sharon Weaver
Conversation is a two way street and this has been a wonderful example of that concept. Listening is an art form too. Great discussion.

Linda Wilder
Not being a great conversationalist, I get extremley nervous in front of the public, and I often stutter and stumble my way through. I realize how important it is and struggle with what to say.( funny though I can talk more easily about another artists work) I often wish I could have someone else sell and market my work so I could 'hide' in my studio.

Linda Wilder
Just to add...I'm thinking it's a confidence issue more than anything

Clint Watson
via with facebook

Thats what makes the new online tools so great. I'm actually a very introverted person too....but it's easier for us shy people when we can have a minute to think about it and type it out. I will say that my years as a gallery salesperson did force me to improve my dealing with the public skills tremendously. Practice does definitely help.

Lori Woodward
Linda, I wrote a blog on the topic of how to talk to collectors last year... many of my artist friends are shy. It seems to go with the territory.

Here's the link.

Clint, I am working! Just took a break ;-)

Lori Woodward
Before I get back to work offline, I'll paste a paragraph from the blog into this forum. I hope it helps some of those who have difficulty with conversations to feel more confident.

"Smile: offer a smile to everyone who passes by your booth or looks like they want to talk to you at an opening. Be interested in their favorite subject – "THEM". Be like a golden retriever... it doesn't hurt if they like the artist as much as the work. If I see someone contemplating one of my artworks, that's my signal to engage that person or couple in conversation. I avoid using words that have a negative connotation by leaving out phrases such as, "I tried, attempted, goofed, worked, struggled".. Well, you get the idea. You won't want to give any indication that you think your work is inferior in any way. After all, they're probably staring at it in amazement, and the last thing you want to do is insult their taste by implying that you think it's substandard. If you must, pretend that the painting was done by an artist whom you truly admire."

Joanne Benson
Hi Eric,
I didn't mean to imply that you shouldn't use Marketing and Branding (however defined) and you are correct in saying that there are many fabulous painters that will never be recognized and many awful ones that are selling for big money....I believe there is alot of politics and marketing and schmoozing and "who you know" going on as well....whole movements of "awful" painters...but I guess that's the nature of the beast in many fields....We all just do what we have to do....I love to paint for the sake of the art and how it makes me feel. I look at all the fabulous painters out on the web and in galleries and I am humbled and inspired by all the talent that abounds and sometimes I am thwarted by thoughts like "How is my art different or distinctive?" There are a few people that collect my work and that makes me feel wonderful. I went back and read your earlier post about getting out there and getting seen and I agree that in order to generate sales and become a known artist you must do that...and it takes lots of perserverence and effort. I have been either organizing shows or participating in shows since 2002 and some local people recognize my name from newspaper ads for various shows, etc...but it is a tremendous amount of work....which takes away from my already limited painting time (as does this blog...LOL) I have business cards, sell note cards and small prints that I produce on my own computer (although I am considering some of the recommended printing sites from previous posts), had a brochure for a while and a portfolio that I used to bring to shows, etc....It is time consuming to keep up with all of that and I don't have alot of time.....I think online marketing is a great way to get your work out there and I have a blog (considering the investment in a FAV website)but I keep asking myself, as much as I love my much am I willing to sacrifice in other areas of my life.....Alas, a dilemma many of us probably face....and once again I am off topic! Thanks to all for your great insights and ideas.

Linda Wilder
Thanks Clint, you do us a great service.I'm going to take some time each day to read ( instead of just looking at pictures, lol) Thanks Lori, I will definately read your blog as I'm guilty of saying all the things you mention.

Carol Nelson
Branding, to me, means a consistent style of art - Kick Ass Art, if you will, that identifies the artist before you even see the signature.

I'm currently in Day 8 of my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and will, no doubt, be branding myself as a portrait painter. I don't think of myself that way. For me it's just a LARGE series.

How do I brand myself when I'm already itching to do more abstracts?

Esther J. Williams
To Eric, you made mention of people who died and haven`t been discovered, that hit me. I went to an estate sale years ago of an elderly lady who passed away, she was a prolific artist by the looks of her home studio. There was a book by Rex Brandt (famous California watercolorist and teacher)hand signed to her, I got that, plus art supplies. She must`ve taken classes by him. I grabbed as much of her watercolors as I could, people were fighting to get her unframed watercolors, I missed quite a few. I took 20 of them home and wrapped them in acid-free tissue paper for years. I just took them out a month ago and I have never seen such incredible watercolor abstracts and botanicals before. She was never discovered, but she has been by me and I intend on keeping everything. I have the 20 watercolor greeting cards, small pieces and larger ones in my studio right now with mounting board so I can mat each one. Not all of them are genius, but quite a few show the utmost talent and quality that moves one to tears. Here was an artist who just practiced her art, painted beautiful pieces, but probably didn`t care to sell it and her family didn`t want to hold onto it, just liquidate the estate. She may be passed on, but my family and I will cherish her art and hold onto her body of work. One day I will scan her art and dedicate a blog to share it.

Carol Schmauder
So many of you have provided excellent advise in you comments it is hard to single each one out. I am thankful this forum exists and appreciate gleaning advise from so many varied experiences. Thanks to all of you.

Carol Nelson
That's an amazing story, Esther. Apparently, for this artist, the joy was in the creating, not the marketing of her work. How sad that her family did not recognize the value of her work.

Carol Schmauder
I am with you, Linda, I wish someone else would market my work, but I am getting better at it with practice.

Eric Rhoads
Carol... In all due respect you may be confusing STYLE with BRANDING. They are not the same. When I judge art shows I always have them COVER the signatures because sometimes NAMES impact decisions. A judge might think "That must be better because its a Kevin McPhearson" painting. I'm honest with myself when I judge and know that could happen, which is why I have them covered. BUT STYLE is different. I recently judged a show and without knowing the names I was 100 percent sure of who painted them because I knew their style. And in those cases the branding can kick in... the style tells you WHO is is and if WHO is important to you it's because they have established a brand. In other words a STYLE can trigger a brand.

Esther: Great story. I'd love to see them.
I was recently introduced to an artist who spent a lifetime painting. His work was AMAZING yet he was unknown. I was asked to make him known. Film at they say on TV.

Eric Rhoads
Linda: You are not alone. That's why God invented managers or art galleries. They can help you create your voice, make you visible.

Eric Rhoads
The work load of being an artist who markets her own work is overwhelming. Yes it can be a full time job and takes away from painting time, which is what we all love to do most.

Most of us are not fortunate enough or perhaps successful enough to have a full time manager to handle these things so we can paint. Some like CW Mundy have great spouses like Rebecca, who act as manager. That is a blessing.

One of the reasons I started Artist Advocate is because a gallery can play part of that role... if not the PR things at least as a sales agent. This puts artists together with galleries and they both win. Best of all it helps artists stay focused on painting not marketing.

I write the marketing blog to help artists to know the steps if they are doing it themselves (or directing it) because most never acquired those skills I was lucky to learn, which is why I want to share.


Eric Rhoads
Lori.... Good thoughts. Here is another perspective. I recently wrote a sales article for one of my magazines called "It's All About Me"... concept being most people want to TELL in order to SELL... Tell their story, product etc.
Usually people don't really care. (Sorry, and I mean this with respect)

ENGAGING is the right thing to do. But your story may be of no interest and could drive some away while engaging others.

Try this....

When you see someone looking deeply at your painting....

1. Let them deeply stare. Don't interrupt. You may break the mood, which needs to set in to create interest in buying it.

2. Once they glance off.... say, "What does that painting remind you of?" This is not the time to say you are the artist, or tell a story. You want them to go to a place in their mind that this painting reminds them of. If they talk about it you are CEMENTING it more in their head.

3. If they ask about it, tell em. But if they think it reminds them of Irland and you tell them you painted it in IRAQ than it blows the dream. Might be best to talk more about what it means to you or reminds you of. (I do a whole seminar on this).

Keep em dreaming. If they walk away and cannot stop thinking about it they might come back. So a good move is to give your card, write the name of the painting on the back and say... "If you leave here and find you can't get the painting out of your mind, I'd be happy to send it to you. Here is my card."

Clint Watson
via with facebook

Those are GREAT suggestions. One learns pretty quickly when selling art that it's easy to screw up a sale by launching into your "pitch." A BIG part of sales is just staying out of the customers way and keeping your mouth shut.

Linda Wilder
soooo much to absorb and so helpfull. Thanks all of you

Lori Woodward
Eric, good points all.

Yeah, I learned the lesson about letting the viewer delight in their perception of the painting a long time ago. What it meant to me wasn't important if it means something else to them.

A few years ago, one of my young students did his first outdoor show. He just sat there and smiled at anyone who came in his booth. He's a quiet person, but is confident. Hardly said anything to anyone and sold over $4000 at his first local art in the park show. Today he works with galleries and although he talks to clients at show openings, he prefers that someone else do the leg work.

Carole Rodrigue
Eric, you a just a treasure with all your information. Thank you!

Fay Terry
via with facebook
Tom Weinkle caught my attention when he talked about the fact that everything an artist does should tie into their personal brand.
Tom, it sounds easy but I wish you would elaborate a little on how to do this and get all those things in sync.

Bob Ragland
I always carry business cards. People have to have some way to remember me. I just rubber stamp the info on card stock cut to size. I make them cheap, people tend to discard some business cards.
So far this method works.

Each person has to do what works for them.

Bob Ragland
I have a way of branding, I send out handwritten
mail. I illustrate the letters and the envelopes.

In this day of email, handwritten mail matters.

I got my NPR interview as a result of handwritten art mail.

Bob Ragland
Google NPR/bobragland , hear my podcast.
I do what ever it takes to have an art life.
At my age I have nothing to lose.

I am a non starving artist by my own inventiveness on purpose.

No effort, no results.

Carole Rodrigue
Bob, your handwritten letters are an excellent idea in my opinion. Too much is being lost in this electronic age, and I bet those get much more attention than emailed newsletters. I was also thinking of mailing newsletters by snailmail, having something colorful, personal, and unique. I think this would go further than what so many might just consider spam.

Marsha Savage
When Eric wrote about what to do in the situation where you notice someone staring at a painting of your own -- what to do. He is right on! I visit one gallery I am in quite often as it is only an hour from home. I participate in their functions and get to watch people react to all the work in the gallery -- and of course my own. I wait just as he said and then casually ask them what they saw while studying the painting. I let them tell me and anything about any of the other paintings they were looking at. I usually ask them which is their favorite painting. I think it is a good question.

I think the "branding" is definitely about style, but also about getting your name out there in a consistent manner. To me branding for an artist is being consistent in the painting, and in the interaction with the community, clients, galleries, etc.

I also like the idea of handwritten notes. I may just go back to doing that also. I know when I receive a newsletter, I probably "speed" read it. When I read a handwritten letter or note, I take my time. Good idea! That could be a good way to brand yourself -- someone that takes the time to know the recipient and "write" them a thank you, a notice of something interesting, etc. Yep! Good Idea.

Carol Eaton-Preston
So is branding good or bad. If it's forming relationships around a "kick ass" piece of art work, I'm all for it. Branding is the old sense isn't worth it. Very interesting commentary

Carol Eaton-Preston
Write another comment . . .

tom Weinkle
Carol, I confess, i am not sure who you are writing to on your last post, but I will offer that branding is an important activity,. It is good, if it is done properly. There are degrees of good and bad for everything, and I believe something is better than nothing. I think branding activities that enhance perceptions about one as an artist are good. Activities that create ambiguity, or undermine what your art is about is bad.

i was at an art show this weekend in Miami (as an observer). I stopped in the booth af an accomplished photographer. His work was phenomenal. After a nice greeting, he proceeded to excitedly lecture me on what his work was about, and then why it would be worth som much money in a few years. So, his conversation about his -brand  ended up turning me off, even with the amazing work.

Eric offered very valuable advice about listening.

In a broad sense, branding activities are about reinforcing perceptions about your work. We each have to ask ourselves if what we say, do, show all makes sense and is plausible and in sync or in conflict.

Diane Tasselmyer
Cooper, I really like your idea of "Conversation Bootcamp"! Many artists need a course in this. Actually, it would make a nice ebook for someone to write.

Lee McVey
Tom W.'s last sentence bears repeating. "We each have to ask ourselves if what we say, do, show all makes sense and is plausible and in sync or in conflict." I think this say, do, and show goes into areas not strictly in our artwork and obvious marketing, but also how we say, do and, show ourselves in our personal life. One area of our life spills over into the other. People don't necessarily distinguish which part of our "brand" is personal and which is professional.

Diane Tasselmyer
Fay..interesting point on names..I struggle with my name also. "Diane Tasselmyer". Incorrect spellings are a way of life for me. But, you brought up an encouraging thought about my is not forgettable and perhaps it stands out from the crowd.

Sue Martin
I agree with Lee's comment - "People don't necessarily distinguish which part of our 'brand' is personal and which is professional" - which is why I believe we need to think hard about the impressions we make, be it speaking, writing our contact info on a napkin (vs. leaving a card), a portfolio (neat, clean, accessible vs. sloppy and disorganized), etc. All of it is our brand. Sloppy may be just fine if it's who you are, but be intentional about it.

tom Weinkle
I agree with Sue. Even my bad typing creates an impression.

My wife reminds me that we must do our best at everything we do.


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