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Twenty Questions: About Art Marketing

by Lori Woodward on 4/7/2010 12:13:14 PM

Today's Post is by Lori Woodward, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. She is also a contributing editor for American Artist's Watercolor and Workshop magazines and she writes "The Artist's Life" blog on American Artists' Forum. Lori is a member of The Putney Painters, an invitational group that paints under the direction of Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik.  Find out how you can be a guest author. 



Every once in a while, I'll put out a blog, here on Fine Art Views, that asks for readers' input. I want to peek inside your minds and get a good idea of which art marketing issues seem confusing or evasive, and then select some of your questions to answer for future blogs.

I don't, of course, have all the answers, but if I don't, your questions will clue me in as to where to spend my time doing research. Your questions will also give me and others a good idea of what's important to artists when it comes to marketing their work. I won't be answering each question individually or right away, but will consolidate inquiries. And, I'll give my honest opinion.

Here's your chance to ask me those burning questions about how to market and sell your artwork! Don't feel like any question is too naive or silly. I bet you'll find that many others are wondering the same things. So, Ask Away!



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Backstory: About Clint. Email EditorTwitter. Republish. ]


Related Posts:

Artists Online Presence - How One Artist Does It

How to Reach Beyond the Art Niche

The Most Powerful Tool for Marketing Your Art (and one secret weapon)


Topics: art marketing | sell art 

What Would You Like to Do Next?
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 122 Comments

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Hi Lori, I am getting multitudes of peoples at my website. Ever so often some go to my contact page and stay there for several minutes. No emails. Why do you think they are backing away? Cold feet about buying?

John Lasater
via fineartviews.com
Sell at shows or galleries? I always have more sales at shows. Stuff tends to set around at galleries. What's a better career move?

Jill Banks
via fineartviews.com
Hi Lori,
My pricing question: when you raise prices on your paintings, are you changing the price on older, existing paintings ... or charging more just for new paintings?
Thanks!
Jill

Tonya
via fineartviews.com
I have been asked for the use of one of my images on a brochure that will be distributed regionally. How do you determine a cost for this?

Jill Banks
via fineartviews.com
And here's an art marketing/publicity question... oops, questions:
How do you go about getting the attention of art magazine editors for potential articles about your work? Who do you contact? How do you find out what materials to submit?
Thanks, again1
Jill

Linda Rosso
via fineartviews.com
How do you know if your prices are right? As a new artist, I have been pricing on the lower end to build a clientele. In my first show, half my paintings sold. Other "comparable" artists in my area charge higher prices, but I have no evidence their work is selling. Any tips?

Jill Banks
via fineartviews.com
Gallery Questions:

So far I've had little success with selling through galleries even though I've been very successful selling personally, locally, in shows or through my studio. It's frustrating and I'd really like to increase exposure of my work through representation and exhibits in other markets (through galleries). How long should I give a gallery to find a market for my work? What can I do to help them sell my art? How hard should I try with a particular gallery?
Jill

Carole Raschella
via fineartviews.com
I have work for sale on my web site and on two other sites, one of which has a base price, to which I add my mark up. Their prices vary dramatically, based on the paper used and the size of the print, whereas my own prints are a specified size and paper. I assume my prices should stay the same across the board so I'm not sure how to deal with this. Or should I stay away from these kind of sites? If it means anything, their main focus is selling frames for the art, not the art itself. And one other question, is it OK to cross promote these sites or should I keep them separate?

Rhoda J Powers
via fineartviews.com
As a 3 dimensional glass artist every single piece of work is one of a kind. Recent discussions with a very accomplished two dimensional artist illustrated a stark difference in our approach to marketing and exposure. He felt as though having his work available in fewer and more exclusive settings is the correct approach suggesting, if he had work in galleries all over the City, people would take the attitude that "they could see him/his work anywhere and not make any effort to attend events. I on the other hand try to encourage sales by making my work as accessible as possible. Placing work all over the City with some consideration as to not placing work to close to other galleries carrying my art. Consideration that all galleries that represent me are a good match and of high regard and quality. Your thought?

Charlotte Herczfeld
via fineartviews.com
Hi Lori,

What are the 5 (or 10, or 12... how many you want) most important areas of marketing -- those we need to focus on?

If you are not likely get into a gallery, is it then better to market on one's own via contacts and the net, or would it be a good idea to join forces with other artists and start a physical gallery? (Called coops, I believe?)

Thanks!

Nancy Riedell
via fineartviews.com
Hi Lori,

I have been fortunate enough to have sold about 20 pieces so far. I find having an eBay store really helps. One suggestion I want to make is take advatnage of every opportunity. There is a Spring Fair at my place of employment being held in May (right before Mother's Day) that I have signed up for. I hope to sell some older pieces and gain some new customers! Thanks for your articles. They're great!

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
I am thinking about this for awhile, brainstorming some after I was just at a meeting yesterday talking about a fairly large art exhibition that I am assistant director of. This plein air event will be held in July this year in Newport Beach Back Bay. We were talking about marketing choices in fact to get more crowds at our two day outdoor show and the juried art reception the Friday night before. We came up with several options, local paper articles, glossy regional magazine adds with small article, local radio stations, large banners across key parts of town, artist`s newsletters and postcards, plus posters. We will have postcards distributed via artists to hotels, doctors, dentist offices, school clubs, etc... Got anymore suggestions Lori for marketing an art show to draw more art buyers? We are even putting on an event weeks beforehand to offer a free kids painting day at the location of the exhibition to attract parents of budding artists. All good publicity ideas welcome.

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
I forgot to mention one of the most available advertising options to us that we will use for notifying the public about the art exhibition; electronic, or social media. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc...

Tommy Thompson
via fineartviews.com
How will we ever be able to sell paintings after our Government institutes the Value-Added Tax on every purchase that is made in addition to income taxes? Will most people have any expendable income to spend on non-essential items like paintings when about three-fourths of their income will be going to pay taxes of some kind?

Gina Buzby
via fineartviews.com
Thanks for asking! How about the best way to market prints of a universally appealing subject like, a Black Swan? Do you recommend a package of marketing on one subject like perhaps, cards, small prints, large prints, etc?


Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Thanks everyone - lots of good questions here.

I think it's interesting that artists who are selling well without galleries are interested in gaining gallery representation.


Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Let's face it...times are hard for so many people, but there are still people that can afford to buy art. Some of the pieces I have sold lately has brought great joy to the people that actually know me and my work. I actually just paint subjects that I love. The secret as Chee says is ...paint from your heart.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I think it depends on where you live how you market your work. I am trying to enter some important art shows hoping one day the magazine thing will happen.
I worry about the value added tax deal. It may become increasing difficult for galleries to sell work because of the taxes. It is really depressing to think about it.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I'd Rather Be In The Studio has really helped me with marketing, but Lori you always give us such great advice. I am looking forward to learning more from your experiences!

Jill Banks
via fineartviews.com
Even though I sell well on my own, I'm still interested in developing good selling gallery relationships, too. Reason: I want to build name recognition/sales on a national level while still leaving plenty of time to paint. The idea is to reach a wider collector base that can support increases in retail prices of the work. Selling through galleries is expensive ... but I think it will be worth it with carefully chosen galleries. Maybe?

Jo Ridge Kelley
via fineartviews.com
I have recently been invited to join a co-op online gallery with a group of excellent local artists and craftspeople. The fees are reasonable, but still a chunk of money. The meetings, at least the first year, will be numerous and time consuming. Would you consider this venue worth my precious time and money? Most all of the 12 artists and craftspeople have been in the business over 20 years and have a great following. I would be the only artist working in oils. O course, I am looking to get more exposure and sell more paintings.....is this a good way to do it?

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Jo,
My experience with a co-op for almost a year has been a great one. The more events you can have at the gallery the better. We have started having a featured artist event once a month in which one/two artists bring in several more pieces and send out invitations to our "peeps". If you can have smaller items, it helps too. Of course, I guess it depends on what you mean by a chunk of money.

Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
I'm one of those that has only been selling work on my own. I haven't really marketed myself, just sales and commissions by word of mouth or they have seen my work hanging in the local library. The reason I'm thinking about gallery representation is I wonder if they would take some of stress off with getting marketing started and increase my exposure and do a better job of that than I am for myself. I find keeping up with websites/blogs/facebook, etc can keep me away from the easel and it gets frustrating. Am I wrong? Is working with a gallery more trouble than it is worth? And is doing a little marketing for yourself better in the long run? Since I have no experience, it is hard to decide which direction to go in.

Karen Dahood
via fineartviews.com
My question is about pricing works for an artist who has moved from Europe to the U.S. and is unknown in her new community. Case: An artist with Parkinson's Disease is having her first Tucson show at the AZ Parkinson's Disease Association new office opening. The tie-in is pdcreativty.com, a website exploring the creativity that comes to some PD patients after deep brain stimulation (as a side effect). However, Trudy Heeb, now 67 years old, is a trained Modern Artist. She started her career in Finland in textile design, having graduated from the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts, strongly influenced by Dresden Bahaus. She spent 20 years as an art therapist in Switzerland. When her husband wanted to retire to southern Arizona, she gave up her career to focus on building a house, gardening, and taking care of pets. Her husband died, she moved to Tucson, had a studio built, and began to work again. After brain stimulation in 2007 she started to work harder and faster. She has well over a hundred works of quality -- most involving Modern priciples, and some incorporating several layers of media, e.g., Japanese paper cutting over pastels. But she has no name recognition here. The organizers think some people will be interested in buying from her exhibition, and she is willing, but has no idea what to ask. How would you go about pricing individual objects?

Thank you.
Karen Dahood
kdahood@cox.net




sue Martin
via fineartviews.com
I haven't read through all of the previous posts, so forgive me if this is a repeat. I have not yet put an e-commerce function on my web site because my gut says that people don't usually buy original (more expensive) art online unless they are very familiar with the artist. I don't have any prints or cards to sell right now. Is there any data to show what the online art market is doing? Should I add that function?

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Jo, is this only an online co-op, and not a "brick and mortar" location?

How long has the online co-op been in business? Normally, I don't think that online galleries - that don't exist in real space is the best way to go. Perhaps this one has had good sales. Ask the other artists if they are selling online through it.

Co-ops work well if the artists who sell are professionally trained to sell art, and if they are just as open to selling the work of others as their own. It's expensive to run a gallery even if it's artist owned - lighting, events, etc.

Tuva, what has made the co-op you work with successful? Would you mind sharing?

I've seen everyone's questions, and I'll be writing future blogs with answers. I so appreciate your questions.


Lynne Fearman
via fineartviews.com
I find that having gallery representation is not enough. Sending actual letters in the mail to collectors and keeping in touch with past buyers is important. Many have told me that the personal touch is what brings them back.
Well, that, and the fact they see that my work is getting better everytime they see a new work.

Poppy Balser
via fineartviews.com
Lori,
thanks for the invite for questions.

First I too would like to know what to do with the prices of older paintings when raising my price (Jill Banks first question)

Second when posting images of my work online should I protect my image from diversion with a watermark? Is it better to have a small image which won't print well anyway or a better quality image with a watermark through the middle of it? I have been meaning to email Clint to ask him about this, but would love to hear your take on it!

Many thanks
Poppy

Carol McIntyre
via fineartviews.com
I have read and heard many times that artists need to create a Marketing Plan. I know what a mktg plan is, but I have NEVER seen one for the average mid-career painter. Examples of how 2-3 differnt artists approach various parts of a marketing plan would be fascinating to see. I am not looking for a recipe, but for examples so that I can get ideas from which I can create my own.

Thanks Lori!

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
I guess I don't have any questions right now that would be of interest to anyone else but it's fascinating to read everyone's comments here and find that there are really so many different ways that people are selling their work.

While a "down" economy doesn't make for easy marketing the truth is that there are still people making money and all I can think of is how to identify them and present to them with opportunities to see and buy your work. I hate the phrase "thinking outside the box" but in many cases that's probably what's needed. Do you know of a local "investors" conference, how about taking a meeting room and displaying your art there while the conference is going on with information extolling art as an investment you can live with. Think about large events that might bring affluent people and how you might tap that market for a day or two. How many wealthy collectors might you meet? Most large hotels and convention centers have calendars you can access online to so what might be happening in any particular month. Takes a little leg work but if you work is of professional quality why only try to sell your art where the competition is thick?


Karen Winters
via fineartviews.com
Lynne's comment is a good one. Bouncing off of that, Lori, I'd like to know what kind of communication with past customers seems to be most effective. Personal notes, regular e-newsletters, postcards, or a combination of all of the above?

Karen Winters
via fineartviews.com
Another question ... is there an optimum balance between solo shows and group shows and other shows, such as juried society shows and outdoor shows where the artist is selling independently.

I would imagine that a mix of all of these would be good to maximize exposure and sales but what are the pros and cons of focusing on just one of these vs doing all of them. Does it make a difference where the artist is in their career?


Karen Winters
via fineartviews.com
I keep thinking of other questions. I'd like to know the pros and cons of selling prints of paintings. Only after a painting has sold? Only limited edition prints? Does it weaken the market for original works by the artist or help to expose more people to our work? Is it a good idea at one phase of a career, a bad idea at another time?

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
That's a great question Karen, I'd love to hear more about that as well. Just how to address prints of paintings in general, size, should it be the same or larger/smaller than the original? Available at the same time or only after the original sells. Optimum number of copies, etc.

Lori, Looks like lots of great stuff we're relying on you to tell us about!

Margie Guyot
via fineartviews.com
In view of the economy and falling home prices, do you think we should reduce the price of our artwork as well? Our costs certainly haven't declined.

Marsha Hamby Savage
via fineartviews.com
Great questions and I can't wait to read some answers -- or posts talking about certain issues raised here.

I got to the last post and there is a question similar to what I wanted to post. I visited a gallery in Atlanta yesterday and payed particular attention to prices. This is a well know gallery and they represent artists that are past mid-career.

I am delivering new work to my only gallery (at this time due to closings) and have worried about pricing in this economy. I also do not ever want to discount. But, my gallery insisted this past year that if it looked to not make a sale, they were offering a small discount as a concession to the economy.

I noticed in the good gallery in Atlanta, many of those paintings were priced slightly under mine -- especially the larger ones. I have heard many times to not reduce your prices -- and to be careful about raising them. I have sold some during this down economy, but about half what is normal.

What do you do in these circumstances? Hope you can understand the question. Thanks.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Lori asked what has made the co-op you work with successful? Would you mind sharing?

*First, we are fortunate to be backed by a local philanthropist that donated and painted the interior of the 900 sq. feet building rent free.
*Second, we have a variety of artists that work in a variety of media: oils, watercolors,beads (high quality jewelry) acrylics, ceramics,ink, stained glass, enamel/glass, fibers, and even a silversmith. We also have antique furniture, glassware,etc collected by the philanthropist. (cont.)

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
(cont.)
*Third, we have an enthusiastic board with different people in charge of different facets of running the co-op from the mayor,a lawyer, a bookkeeper,to artists. As part of this board, we plan monthly events to bring in new people that coordinates with town happenings.

*Fourth, the artists only pay $25/twice year and either donate one day a month to work at the co-op or pay an additional $25 per month. (We are only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday or by appointment. We are beginning to have groups on buses to stop since the town is known for the largest collection of antiques teapots in the world.)

Fifth, there is only a 20 percent commission charged to the artists.

There has been talk of opening up the space that connects to the gallery for workshops/teaching/other exhibitions.

Since I have been doing marketing on the side through my website, business cards, postcards, newspaper articles, I have sold several pieces. I think you as the artist must still try to promote your work. Don't expect the gallery of this sort to do it all. Although we have all kind of beautiful brochure, the artists are the best team to get the word out about this treasure.
(cont.)


Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
(Cont.)We do not have a website although I have tried to get this. I am thinking about creating at least a FAN PAGE on FB about the co-op.

I have really enjoyed working with other artists in this venture of the co-op. One of the artists just sold her 5 paintings, 3 matted pieces, and miniatures to one person!

*Sixth,we created a sponsorship for individuals to pay $100-$1000 and have their name on a beautiful wooden plague. (Picasso, Raphael, Michelangelo,etc. different names assigned)

Just like any business we are building a client base. Everyone that visits/buys loves the experience because it is a rural area.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, is the gallery set up as a non-profit? What do the "investors" get out of it besides helping artists?

Thanks for typing all of this wonderful info in here.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
(Cont)
The co-op also has smaller priced items such as miniatures (2X3), original matted pieces in a rack. At our Christmas Open House our tree was decorated with nice not tacky handmade ornaments and miniatures that sold well.
There is also a jury process by at least 3 board members to get work into the gallery. No copied work is allowed, etc. I hope this answers why we think the co-op is working! Now if we had a website you could check out a sampling of what we have! I may have to put a few pictures on my website to show you the Court Square Arts and Antiques in Trenton, Tn.!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
We are not a 501(c)3 which does not have to pay sales tax...at least not yet. I was not on the board from the conception so I do not have the details on that.

The investors are in it because of the positive cultural aspects that it is bringing to the small town. Every time we have any event the people just rave about it. When they see all the wonderful art, they just buy into it. There are even events/bookings at the gallery after hours. The last of April we are having "proper tea parties" 3 different times on the Teapot Festival Day-$15/person. We have almost sold out of tickets!

sue Martin
via fineartviews.com
Tuva and all, I'm also part of a successful co-op... $75/month, 15 percent commission, shared staffing (3 half-days/month). We're part of the local gallery association and participate in monthly gallery strolls. We're located in the main downtown library, which is a tourist attraction and a lot of our sales are to tourists and business travelers. The building has a multi-story atrium with other shops and cafes in it...a beautiful place to be. Drawbacks: The space is small so it's hard to hang large paintings. Paintings $600 and less sell best. So, I'm beginning to look at other galleries for larger/more expensive works. We are not-for-profit (not 501c3).

sue Martin
via fineartviews.com
Our gallery is open 7 days/week. Web site: www.artatthemain.com.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I believe that is what we are classified as: not-for-profit (not 501c3). I agree if you can keep the work below $600 that is best.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Tuva,

I just had a thought... if you feel like it, perhaps you'd consider writing up a blog on how the co-op works (which would mean retyping this info) and submitting it to Clint for Fine Art Views. A lot of artists read their email but never go over to the original page to read comments, so they won't see what you're writing.

It could start a mini-revolution for artists who want to show in galleries ;-)


Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Hi Tuva,

Maybe I missed and it but what is the name of the co-op gallery that you belong to and do they have a website.

Thanks,

Michael


Karen Winters
via fineartviews.com
I'm curious how the coop can be considered a not for profit if the artists are receiving profits on their sold work. Isn't it a store, actually? How does that work?

Yes, I'd be interested in an article on coops, too. I have shown work in a gallery through a venue owned by county government and we definitely had to collect sales tax.

sue Martin
via fineartviews.com
We consider ourselves "not for profit" because the gallery itself takes no profit. The commission is used for operating expenses, publicity, etc. We also have a mission statement that includes "arts education," which means that we do free art demonstrations in the summer on Saturdays, and we occasionally host student exhibits. Last year two high schools exhibited recycled sculptural projects. This year we have an invitation out to college students. We wanted to get the 501c3 designation but it would have meant an accounting nightmare (or a paid accountant to handle it).

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Michael,
The name of the co-op is Court Square Arts and Antiques in Trenton, Tn. As I stated before, I have encouraged our board to create a website. We are still talking about it. I stated that I may have to post some pictures on my website just to show you the gallery!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Karen,
I agree with Sue...that is how our gallery works also. We are beginning to incorporate the education part but we would really be doing that if we get the additional space next to the present gallery.

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
thanks Tuva, hopefully you'll get the website soon.

thanks again and good luck with it all,

Michael

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, since you have financial backers, you might look into the gallery option that Clint has. Don't quote me on this, but I think it is $75/month for a gallery FASO website. It works the same way as a regular account but you can have separate sections for each artist and the email account can have 5000 subscribers.

I also has a space for events and workshops.


Jo Ridge Kelley
via fineartviews.com
It is just to be an online gallery. Most of the artists, including myself, have their own physical galleries. We are just looking for a way to reach more collectors and increase sales. We have wonderful seasonal business, but would enjoy more year round business!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Lori,
Yes, I contacted Clint about the website for a gallery back in November '09. It is $75 per month. Although I photograph my own work before matting, many artist do not. We also try to change out our work every 3 months. It would take so much work keeping track of all the artwork. I guess we are not quite ready to add more expense.


Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Tuva,

Hmmm... well if they decide they'd like a website, maybe just a regular FASO website... put up several categories of work with examples for each artist.. and don't worry about changing the work. Events, openings and other stuff can be put on there and then email newsletters to let subscribers know what's happening..

But as you say, someone has to do all that work... and it's a lot! Things seem to be going well for the gallery anyway, so maybe wait until you're sure it will benefit from a website.

I've got to go write an article now, and my laptop decided to start dying yesterday, so I'm logging off for the day.

Thanks again, Tuva! This is exciting stuff!

Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Lori,

I'm now being asked to give workshops and have received several emails in the last year asking me if I have any instructional DVD's. I haven't been in any major publications, nor won international competitions. In my mind, I'm very small peanuts. So, I am going ahead with workshops, but how do I know when I should start selling instructional DVD's?

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Carole, short answer... when there is a waiting list for your workshops and you have enough money to invest in making, marketing and distributing the DVDs

I've been asked about DVD's myself, but it would require me extra time and money right now, so I'm holding off. Artists who do well with DVDs have a wide following.

Any time an artist makes prints of DVDs or books that means marketing a whole 'nother product, which takes money, time and can add stress. If your career is at the point where you have a solid market for those things, and you can get help with the marketing and distribution, then it might be worth pursuing.


Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Lori,
Are you saying we could have a regular site with a few pictures using FASO?


Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Ah, thanks so much Lori! Your answers are always so sensible, it's a wonder people like me can't figure it out! Thanks!

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
For 8 years now, I have been a member of the San Clemente Art Association, http://www.scartgallery.com/ here in southern California.
The art association has a non-profit art gallery that is run by a board and all members are invited to enter scheduled art exhibitions. No matter what level you are at, your work can be exhibited as long as it is presentable. The San Clemente Art Gallery is located within the town`s community center. It began in 1953 and was started to foster the appreciation of all branches of Fine Arts and Crafts. We have to do sitting time for each painting entered and pay a small fee of $10 per entry, maximum 2 paintings per show. We have public choice shows where the public only gets to vote and a jury panel chooses award winners for the other shows. Once a year in the early summer we have the Paint San Clemente Plein Air competition for members and non-members and the prizes are substantial.
We have signature artist demonstrations each month, paint-out locations where we can meet and paint and we get to directly meet the public in the gallery while working along another artist. The camaraderie is priceless. This group truly does foster art appreciation and cultures the town. They also contribute scholarship money to high school grads each year. I am fortunate to have been a part of this organization and will continue for many years.
I am in another co-op gallery now through Southern California Plein Air Painters Association, our new gallery opened February 20. We are also considered non-profit and this gallery is housed within the compound of the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. We have to enter through a juror for all shows in this gallery and do volunteer time in the gallery. I presently have a piece in their Small is Beautiful exhibition. This association is wonderful in it`s efforts to culture people to buy original art also.
In southern California there are many types of art associations that support artists through exhibition venues, outdoor shows and offer awards to help build your credentials and standing in the area. I am a member of 4 and feel a bit strained, though I must stay very organized to keep up with all the shows.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Yes Tuva... a regular site.

Perhaps it could have several collections, such as:
paintings
Sculpture
Jewelry
etc.

Then each collection would have one example of each artist's work so that the viewer could get an idea of what kind of work he or she does.

Just a thought.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Carole... LoL that's because I have made some mistakes where I wasn't ready for making prints or advertising, and it cost me a lot of money without a lot of results.

This is a show growth business - it's all determined by demand. When you've built demand for your work or teaching, then you're money will be better spent on alternate "products".

I also know lots of artists who have done it right.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
I meant: "slow growth business", and I'm working on an article right now for Watercolor Magazine... scary, huh?

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Esther, thanks for sharing about San Clemente. Between us talking about co-ops and art organizations, I'm learning a lot about other venues that work for artists and enrich the communities involved. It also sounds like it costs artists a lot less $ when the painting sells - letting the artist keep more.

When I get finished with my other work today and tomorrow, I'll definitely begin to think about this new info.


Sheryl Knight
via fineartviews.com
Hi Lori,
I always loved your posts and your advise so I am going to take you up on your kind offer to answer questions! I have several nice galleries, mostly in other states, that I watch and would love to be in someday. When do I know that it is time to approach them and how do I go about it when I can't go in in person to talk with the owner and bring my portfolio. I show in several galleries near where I live but I would really love to expand to some others in higher traffic areas and galleries that advertise. Thanks so much for taking your time to answer questions like these. I appreciate you.

Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Lori, I was always told that learning from others' mistakes would make life easier, rather than making them myself. Not that I want others to make mistakes, but I'm no fool and appreciate any bit of wisdom. Thanks!

Karen
via fineartviews.com
I have a question about "holds" on paintings. I sold a painting today to a lovely new collector who came to my studio and she's strongly inclined to get 1-2 more for her new home. (They've put an offer on a house, won't know for a few days if it's accepted.) She doesn't want to lose the additional paintings but didn't want to buy them yet not knowing if they'd work with the new place. I told her I'd consider them "on hold" and call her if I had another offer. I'm not a hard sell kind of person so I didn't insist on a deposit - and I don't want to offend someone who could be a long-term regular collector. I'd be interested to know how other artists handle situations like this that are not black and white.

sue Martin
via fineartviews.com
Karen, I personally think it's good for long term relationships to agree to a "hold." I've had one of my paintings "on hold" for a while. The last time I spoke to the prospective buyer, she said she couldn't quite scrape together the money and to put the painting back "in circulation." I told her I'd still give her "first right of refusal" at the time someone else expresses interest. At our co-op gallery, we do 3-month lay-away plans. But money down is not refunded.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Karen, you are doing the right thing. She sounds like an excellent client. I recently had a friend take a painting to her home to consider to purchase. She kept it for a few weeks actually and finally sent a check plus tax to the gallery. Sometime we just need to be patient.

Karen
via fineartviews.com
Tuva and Sue,
Thanks, that's good to know. It "felt" like the right thing to do. I appreciate her patronage and I would value her good word of mouth to friends who may be potential collectors. I am not a hard-nosed businesswoman, but I do get a lot of repeat sales. I think you just get a feeling for whether or not someone is sincere. In my case this sweet young woman was just between a rock and a hard place. (She took photos of the artwork to show her hubby for his approval, so I think that's a step in a good direction.)

Margie Guyot
via fineartviews.com
Karen, what you should do is have the potential buyer leave a deposit with you to hold the paintings for a specified time period, say one month. If they end up buying the painting, the deposit could be applied to the sale price. I got burned one time by not asking for a deposit during a show. Somebody asked me to hold a painting, so I held it back. I hadn't thought to ask for a deposit. The buyer never returned. I might have sold the painting to somebody else!

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Karen, the only recommendation I have is that you put a time limit on the hold. If people know they have a window of time to decide, they will pay attention to it. I've seen some situations with my own work turn into months, and then I felt bad about asking them to make a decision after all that time.

I think 3 weeks is a good plan. If you are selling the work yourself, you can have them do a lay-away plan over the course of months. BUT they don't get the painting until it's paid in full. This approach has worked well for me with clients who wanted my work but didn't have the cash right away.


Tommy Thompson
via fineartviews.com
This is something that has worked for me: If any of my collectors are unsure of whether a painting will fit in their setting, I allow them to hang it in their home for 2 weeks, provided they give me their credit card information as security. After 2 weeks they either return the painting to me, or I charge their credit card for the painting. They have an opportunity to see how the painting looks in their home.

Margie Guyot
via fineartviews.com
I like that point about the painting being paid in full before a customer can take it. Too many horror stories out there about a painting disappearing and the artist not being paid for it.

And as far as using a credit card: I did not have a good experience with using credit card payment method. I'd opened an account that was to be used just for one show. At the end, I turned in the equipment. RBS Bank kept deducting a monthly charge from my account anyway. I finally had to close the bank account. For the time-being, I'll have to take checks or charge only.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Lori, I like the 3 week plan for holding artwork. Other great advice has been given. Thanks!

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Tommy, 2 weeks with taking credit card info sounds like a safe and efficient way to let the client try it out. Thanks!



Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Margie, I have a pay pal account with my FASO website. When a client wants to use their card, I enter their info into my account online and I pay a small fee to Pay Pal. It's safe and efficient, and I don't have to work with a bank.

Today, most online shopping is paid for via pay pal, so folks can use their credit cards. It certainly has made my life easier.


Tommy Thompson
via fineartviews.com
Lori, I failed to mention that we can even solve the credit card issue by allowing the collector to pay for the painting via PayPal and our FASO web site; if they decide to return the painting, it is a very simple procedure to refund their money via PayPal and our FASO web site. A gallery can also take the credit card info. as a security until the collector makes a final decision.

Best,
Tommy

Diane Tasselmyer
via fineartviews.com
No person asked about Ebay, so I am. Is it considered a "professional" way to sell art?

Is it scorned by art professionals?

I know there is a long lead in time now(in the present economy) to attain recognition on Ebay, but it seems once you get to that point, it works.

Any comments?

Diane Tasselmyer
via fineartviews.com
Also, regarding Co-ops....in my experience LOCATION is "extremely" important.

Unless it is in a recognized "tourist town", having one in a small town just doesn't seem to work. By "small town" is am guessing at population less 20,000, or out in a rural area.

Any comments?

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Anyone here have experience with Ebay? This is an area that I'm weak in. My friend, Dennis Sheehan has sold quite a number of works on Ebay, but I don't know if he's had success with it recently.

I've also heard rumblings about other artists selling work on Ebay, some on Etsy. I don't know a lot about working with either.

If you have sold on Ebay, please share...

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Diane, yes you've got a good point. Location is always important for brick and mortar galleries. They work best in arts districts where there are fine restaurants, antiques, and other art galleries.

Essentially, people need to have another reason to be out of their cars and walking around spending money - besides that gallery. Tourist areas are excellent, but they tend to be seasonal.

In the past, I worked with a gallery in Maine and one in Tucson... between the two, the year was covered.


Karen
via fineartviews.com
Lori,

In this case, it's not a question of layaway to pay off over time - money is not a problem. She just doesn't want to buy something and then not have it work out in the new house until she has time to spend more time in the space. But I have used layaway successfully with other collectors.

In addition to paypal I accept MC/VISA for those who prefer to pay that way. It works out fine, especially for outdoor shows.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Karen, I was answering two people in one box ;-)

Someone said that she had a bad experience with a credit card account, so I was suggesting Pay Pal.

The part about putting a time limit on it was directed towards your situation, but you know your clients best and most likely have a good feel for the situation. It sounds like you've got a good biz setup and sufficient experience, so your judgment will most likely suffice.


Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Diane, I think you are right about most towns but, I'm thinking Tuva's town in Tenn. might be the exception. Our town has less than 20 thousand and a guy tried to put in a gallery about 15 years ago; it did not work. No one has done this since, however, our town is waking up to fine art in a big way and folks are beginning to find value in local artists and the arts in general. I'm hoping this trend continues.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Lori, I did not know we could charge our patrons buys to pay pal on our Faso account. Did I understand correctly that you have done this. Please, tell us more about this. How do we do the transaction and where?

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I wanted to clarify Helen's reference to "Tuva's town". Court Square Arts was started in June of 2009 because of a special group of people that had a big dream (co-op gallery) for the small town of Trenton. They wanted to work together to bring the visual arts into the area of Trenton and West Tennessee. Although it is only a town of less than 5000, the other small towns in Gibson county consist of a total of over 48,000. The nearest larger city is Jackson with a population of 60,000. Actually I do not live in the area, but because I was an art teacher in the county for 19 years, I have strong art connections there. So far the investor's goal are to see us thrive and grow. We are fortunate to have people willing to support our efforts. Will we succeed, we are trying and we are enjoying the experience of the co-op. The backer says when we get tired there is no pressure. He is just willing to support our efforts. Several galleries in the larger city, Jackson, had to go out of business. They were in business for less than 10 years.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Helen, I'm logging off for the day, but before I go...

I have the gold plan with FASO, so I go to my control panel, then click on "Marketing Center" near the bottom right of the page.

Then I click on Ecommerce - Pay Pal and go from there. Look at the top of your control panel to see if there are any tutorials on how to set up your pay pal account. If there aren't, contact the support team for help.


Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Thank you, Tuvva, for filling us all in and Lori, you also, have given me good information. I have a pay pal account so I'm all set. Thank you JOY, Helen

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Tuva,

Just sounds like a great situation to me. In the small town I live in, NYC, finding that kind of support is probably close to impossible.

Michael


Paula Christen
via fineartviews.com
I'd like to institute a yearly "business plan" for my art to help me plan forward, keep me on track and stretch my comfort zone. Do you use any type of plan and if so, what things do you consider?

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Paula,

I, personally, think a plan is a great idea! Theoretically you wouldn't start or run any other type of business without one but the sad truth is that there are plenty of business run just that way.

Michael

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Paula,
As I have said before on other blogs, the book "I'd Rather Be In the Studio" (The No Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion) by Alyson Stanfied has helped me so much. It is a highly recommended book by FASO. It is an excellent handbook about taking responsibility of your own art career. ***** (5 STARS)

Carole Raschella
via fineartviews.com


Does that mean you can take the client's credit card info over the phone and enter it on PayPal yourself? I was afraid that I would lose sales if the client wanted to buy in person using a credit card but didn't have internet access (like at a show).



Charlotte Herczfeld
via fineartviews.com
I second Carole R, and would also like to know if you can use a regular PP account, or do you need a merchant account? The latter can send invoices, but I don't think a regular account can?

Margie Guyot
via fineartviews.com
EBay: Once in a while you'll see somebody gets a good price, but overall, paintings go for really cheap, if they sell at all. I've sold a couple of older, smaller paintings and the most I've ever gotten was $200. EBay urges you to start your opening bid price low, but you take the chance you'll sell it for 99 cents (or whatever you start the bidding at). And they take their cut after the sale. You have to pay insertion fees whether you sell or not. You see a lot of very mediocre work on eBay auctions, so maybe your own work would seem cheapened. If you really want to try selling on eBay, take a look at the "completed listings" and watch the auctions for a while to get a feel for what sells and what prices they get.

Paula Christen
via fineartviews.com
I can understand Moria's question about a website. My site does not directly bring in the majority of my sales BUT (and this is a big but) - it is the second thing people ask about when they find I am an artist. First they ask what kind of art and then, do I have a web site? We talk more, I give them a business card with my website listed and hopefully they check out my work.
Most of my sales are made through personal contact or gallery, but those potential clients expect me to have a site. My thought is that they get to know my work/me better via the web, but for an actual purchase, I think most will want to stand in front of the original before letting go of the check.
At the time I joined FASO, it was a decision of whether to have a cable tv subscription or a web site. For me less tv and more web was a good choice.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I strongly agree with everything that Paula said above. The first week my website was set up I sold a painting because someone I knew made the decision to purchase it as a Christmas gift. I would truly miss my website and my followers would also. Recently I had 2 more friends buy my work after they saw them first on my website, then at a reception at a gallery featuring my additional work. What made me get my website was someone wanted to see my work. I had to take an album in which to show them. I get so much feedback from people when I post on FB that I have a new painting posted!

Margie Guyot
via fineartviews.com
Instead of a website, why not have a blog? You can do your own (very easy!) for FREE at blogger.com. You can upload your own photos whenever you want. I've had blogsites for over 2 years now and people do follow them. I recently found out how to add a link to PayPal from my blog (which I haven't done yet). If anybody wants the steps, please post a reply.

One of my goals is to learn how to send out a daily auction, such as Julian Merrow-Smith does with his blog (postcardfromprovence).

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Moira, I've had a website since 1997, and I've only sold a few paintings directly (and recently) through my website alone. In each case, it was previous collectors of my work who bought paintings from my site.

However,as a professional business owner who does other shows, auctions and sells at a variety of locations (where people see the art in person), I'm expected to have a website. When an artist does not have an online presence, it's like a business not having a telephone number. It's just expected.

We artists must market our work in many ways. Collectors rarely go looking for art online unless they're familiar with the artist's work. Having a website is not the first place that artists sell their work, but it can be in addition to other venues - galleries, outdoor shows, competition shows, frame shops etc. People usually fall in love with work when they see it in person.

Hope this explains more about websites. Of course, whether you choose to have one or not is your choice. As someone else on here said, you can have a blogspot instead. The only difference is that you will not own the content of the blogspot like you do with your own domain. They can do away with it and the links at any time and it's out of your control... but it is free.


My collectors are happy to

Sheryl Knight
via fineartviews.com
Hi Sue, I have done holds and layaways both. In this economy people often can't come up with all the money needed at once, and we all understand that. Sometimes though I do wonder why they wouldn't just put it on a credit card versus layaway. However, I try to work with them whenever possible and make the sale. On holds I usually have a time limit that I will hold it for them. I think the first right of refusal is a very good idea also.

Karen
via fineartviews.com
Sheryl,
I think two reasons people don't put it on credit card are:
1) their cards are at limit or
2) There is no interest with layaway, they just pay it off as they can and they don't receive the painting until it's paid.

Marsha Hamby Savage
via fineartviews.com
Hi Lori, I posted a question earlier, but then quite a long discussion was started right after that and I think it probably was lost in the shuffle. Someone right before me also had a similar question.

We are interested in pricing in this economy and do artists ever make a concession to the depressed state of the economy. To restate what I did above, I visited a nice gallery to look at work and their pricing. I noticed they were mostly priced below many of mine. I was quite surprised. I wondered if they had taken their pricing structure back a couple of years.

I don't discount, though my one gallery (due to several closing in the past 1 1/2 years) has done some small discounting if a potential client looked to not be buying at that moment. They wanted to keep their gallery open through the tough times.

So, the question is . . . do you ever change your pricing structure for this down economy?

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Hi Marsha,

Things won't get lost in this post because I'll be going back over the questions from time to time in order to write future blogs to answer some of the questions.

Quick answer: some artists are lowering their prices - even when they work with galleries. I've never seen that happen before. For most of us, if our work is generally priced under $5000, I don't see any reason to lower prices. Most art collectors buy many works in those price ranges.

For collectors who buy works under the $2000 range, many have stopped buying altogether because of financial hardship. So, some of us artists will just have to wait it out. Art sales seem to be picking up lately.


Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Oh, but just a thought in case what I said above makes people think I'm saying to raise your prices to $5000. An artist can't suddenly raise prices from $1000 to $5000 and expect sales to get hot.

Sure you can raise your prices substantially, if you have a valid reason to do so - such as: winning an important national competition, getting representation with a high visibility gallery, or even because everything you paint at $3000 is selling briskly. However, in this economy, I'd be careful about raising prices at all.

Here's the rule I generally follow: If I sell nearly all my work in one year, I raise my prices by 10 percent the following year. In slow years I don't raise my prices at all.

If you have sold well at a certain price before the economy tanked, but not now, just wait it out. There's no one answer to pricing. If there were, it wouldn't be that complicated of an issue.

This is just my advice. Other artists may have had different experiences.

Sheryl Knight
via fineartviews.com
Karen, I think you are right about what you said regarding credit cards. I was thinking of a gallery I show at in my area where a buyer has two of my paintings on layaway and they live four hours away. That means another long trip for them to pay them off and pick them up, or have the paintings shipped, which is costly also. It would be easier to take them the first time and use a credit card, but they could be maxed out or not want to pay the interest. Thanks.

Marsha Hamby Savage
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Lori - I appreciate your reply.

Anne Watson
via fineartviews.com
I'm wondering how work starts getting sold off of my website. My work sells at shows and through the gallery, but my website seems to be more of a place to send people for information on where/when those are. I'm really curious how people get those online sales rolling.

Anne Watson
via fineartviews.com
....and I know that this has come up before, but I still don't understand how twitter and facebook and blogs really improve sales either. Wouldn't a website speak for itself?

Paula Christen
via fineartviews.com
In answer to Anne's questions I think that the website is "your gallery" where work can be sold directly from clients you already know or that have seen your art at previous shows. My experience is that very rarely does a work sell "cold" directly from my site to someone who hasn't seen my work before.
Blogs and facebook are pro active ways from people to find you. A website sits there waiting for someone to land on it.
Hope this helps.
Paula

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Ann, How long have you had your website? In the past I have sold many paintings because of my website. Several out of state, who had never seen my work in person and many who live in my area of North Texas. These patron had not seen my work except on the website but, ask for works there and then commissions; be patient and you will, I'm sure, also have patrons from your website. Your search engines do a lot of the work for you so, try to link yourself with other websites. It helps.

Anne Watson
via fineartviews.com
Paula and Helen, thanks for your replies. I've had a website for a couple of years, but didn't do much with it until I switched to this FASO site a few months ago. Before this site I'd made my own, and I didn't know much about how to increase my traffic. I am trying to link to as many other sites as possible now.

Helen, how do the people who buy "cold" off of your site without ever seeing the work in person find you? Do you make a point of asking them?

Very interesting topic, thanks for the feedback!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I agree with Paula about the website is your gallery. It is a great PR tool for those people that may not see your work at shows and may be curious about you as an artist.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
No, Anne, I have not spoken to them before. They find their way to my site and liked a painting and emailed me for information about it. One of my patrons lives in New York, close to Buffalo,close to the big lakes between Canada and USA, it is very humid there a lot of the year and he was interested in my encaustic paintings. Encaustic is very good for a humid climate. It will not react to the humidty the way on oil or watercolor would over a long time. Cont.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Cont. He was pleased with the painting and then requested a painting of his yard. He has a beautiful yard which garden groups flock to see; I was like a kid in a candy store when he sent me photos of his yard. He is an accomplished pianist and a great lover of art. I felt truly blessed to have met this man and still we communicate through email. I hope this is helpful to you. FASO will help you with google and other search engines so don't be surprised when you get emails from all over the world. Happy Painting.
Helen

Carol Bailey
via fineartviews.com
I have a question that I saw asked earlier but didn't get answered yet, I have my work in 2 galleries and am thinking of raising my prices a bit, do I do that with the new paintings I send them, or should I raise my prices on my older works too? Thanks Carol

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Oh remember, I didn't say I'd answer every question here or answer them right away - just that I will write future blogs to address the most common questions.

Carol, I'm wondering why your gallery is still showing older paintings. Most successful galleries will exchange ones that haven't sold in a year with new work. Some galleries only keep older stuff on the walls for 4 months. This is a good practice on their part because otherwise when repeat customers come in and see the same paintings hanging after a year or so, they think the artist is not selling.

So, first I'd consider not even showing your older work and then raising the prices on your new work by only 10 percent. I raise prices by 10 percent when I've sold 75 percent of my inventory in any one year. In years when the economy is down, I might choose not to raise prices at all.

If you choose to continue to show your older work next to your newer work, and the new work is obviously better than the old work, just raise prices on the new work.


Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Carol, I just took a look at your website, and since your work looks consistent in style and quality, I'd say raise the price on all the works at the galleries, both older and newer.

Otherwise, collectors will think the lessor priced work is inferior. So please disregard my previous answer. Just raise the price on all your work, but only if your work is selling really well or your work is the least expensive in the gallery.


Carol Bailey
via fineartviews.com
Thanks for the input Lori! What gave me the idea to raise prices is that I am starting with a new gallery, and I noticed my work seems to be priced a little less than the other artists shown, I don't know if that is a bad thing or not...maybe I should wait and see how my work sells at that gallery. Thanks again, Carol










 

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