This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY, artnet, WorldNetDaily (WND) and Art Fag City. Sherwin graduated from Illinois College (Jacksonville, Illinois) in 2003 -- he studied art and psychology extensively. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 24,123+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
If you are an exhibiting artist you likely have some understanding of who, in a sense, you are creating your artwork for. In other words, you have likely 'picked up' on the type of individuals who tend to frequent exhibit openings at your gallery. That information may be deceptive in that the visitors are likely gallery regulars who show up to every exhibit at the gallery regardless of what is being shown. There may be a combination of factors -- not just YOUR art -- attracting them to that specific art gallery in general. You need to dig deeper if you wish to determine -- and target -- YOUR audience.
Digging deeper may involve building a few 'social bridges' with like-minded individuals: These 'social bridges' should be constructed online and offline. For example, if your artwork taps a specific subculture on the shoulder... you should probably consider reaching out to that community directly in some way. Be part of that 'scene' in your community. Those steps will likely produce more results than a gallery exhibit. After all, your audience -- the audience that your artwork will resonate with the most -- may not be your traditional gallery-goers depending on the themes you regularly explore with your artwork.
Example: If your artwork involves punk rock elements... it may be wise to become a familiar face among local punk bands -- and to collaborate on a project if possible. After all, their fans may easily become your fans. At that point your work is not just artwork involving punk rock elements -- it is more than that... it is a part of the scene itself. That involvement will boost your credibility within other social circles that share the same interest. In this scenario, offering stickers based off your artwork (stickers that include your name and a link to your artist website) during 'underground' concerts may be more valuable to you than handing out business cards during a gallery exhibit. Point-blank, tapping into that scene will help to solidify your renown -- AND solidify your target audience.
Another example: An exhibit at an art gallery that caters to jet-setting adults may not be the right 'fit' for your art marketing goals if you create artwork with children in mind. Frankly, 'daydreaming' of those BIG NY art exhibits, for example, is a waste of your time in this scenario. Your audience is simply not there marketing-wise. In this scenario you will want to find a way to connect with parents and kids. Kids are your target audience... and you need their parents to join the club (they will be the ones buying the art, right?). You need to tailor your art marketing goals to 'fit' the themes that you regularly explore... and part of that involves presenting your artwork with your target audience in mind.
In the above scenario you might be better off exhibiting your artwork at county fairs and other events that provide activities for children. Additionally, you may want to think about participating on parenting forums and blogs as well -- especially if there are threads/posts devoted to children and creativity. In fact, a guest post about art and creativity on a parenting blog is probably of more value to you art marketing-wise -- in this scenario -- than a traditional gallery exhibit. In this scenario an exhibit display at a local children's museum is gold... an exhibit at a cutting-edge / adult oriented gallery is coal.
In closing, as I stressed earlier... you need to tailor your art marketing goals to 'fit' the themes that you regularly explore with your artwork. Part of that 'tailoring' involves presenting your artwork with your target audience in mind. If you still don't recognize your target audience -- you need to take a closer look at what you do. As mentioned in Part 1, I realize that some artists create varied works -- those artists may have multiple target audiences (I will tackle that issue later in this series). BUT if you regularly explore a solid direction with your artwork... the 'stepping stones' should be clear. Consider this food for thought.
Take care, Stay true,