Corporate Art Advice Art Blog
Whether you're an artist, musician, or writer, all creative people suffer from the illusion that in order to feel successful, or to make it, you have to make it BIG. While it is admirable to shoot for this, there are many fulfilling and important steps along the way that would be missed if the focus were exclusively on the big kill. The concept that "process should be considered above product" applies not only to the creation of art but to the business of art as well. Ultimately, artists need to be preparing themselves for future recognition and sales starting from where they are at present.
Belief in the adage, "in order to create a satisfying life you have to love what you do and do it well," is not a lot of hype, or an excuse that artists use to justify their embarrassingly moderate successes. But moderate successes should be celebrated, and successes can be stumbled upon more often than not when focused on sincerity, artistic integrity and treating people well than in weeks of pounding the pavement. Self -promotion and cultivating a network are key elements to breaking out of starving artist-dom and using this approach to gain the recognition of art consultants can serve to boost your artistic career.
Art consultants represent a variety of clients from small hotels to health organizations to corporations, to fortune 500 companies, unlike art representatives who work for or represent the artist. Art consultants are a bit more elusive than art reps, simply because they are busy serving the needs of their clients. This involves weeding through hundreds of images of potential artists to find the right marriage between artist's work and client needs, serving as "match-maker". Some corporations employ in-house consultants but many rely on freelancers to get the job done.
"Many galleries serve as consultants, but not exclusively as they are limited to the artists represented in their gallery," according to Carla Santia resident art consultant for Minds Island. "There is no central data base for art consultants, unfortunately." Artists must be creative about seeking them out. Often speaking to artists who have worked successfully with a consultant is the best lead, in other words, the old-fashioned "word-of-mouth" approach. Ironically, art consultants are hard to find because they are busy trying to find you.
Forging ahead with a polished, professional public image is essential. "The more you can be in the public eye, the more likely you are to be seen," said Santia. "The internet has become an incredible tool for both artists and consultants, but certainly should not be used exclusively," she said. "The Internet is not a replacement for self-marketing. Artists should take one morning a week and research their niche. When experiencing a creative block, make use of the time by exploring marketing possibilities."
If you are connected to your local art scene or the art scene of the nearest city, names of consultants are bound to emerge. When you visit the doctor's office, ask for the name of their art consultant. The same holds true for libraries, banks and local corporations. Local art organizations can also be a great resource when seeking to tap the consultation network. "Establishing relationships is what it is all about, whether that happens over the Internet or face to face," said Santia. "Networking is crucial."
Interior designers are another connection to the art consultant milieu. Don't overlook them when sending out professional press packets. If they don't hunt on their own for original art, they may pass your information to someone who does. While some decorators may be in the habit of using reproduction artwork in their business, a local artist contact with reasonable prices could change their mind.
Galleries such as the http://www.rmichelson.com/">R.Michelson Gallery in Northampton, MA work with business clients as well as individual collectors looking to decorate their homes. "We have advised many restaurants and professional offices in art selection. We keep portfolios of artists beyond those we represent and sometimes network with other galleries who specialize in different types of art, as we handle only representational artists," said gallery owner Richard Michelson.
"I receive many show exhibition flyers and am always visiting other galleries, including non-commercial venues, reading publications, etc. We are no longer taking on new artists for full representation, but we keep files of work by other artists which we sometimes draw on [in a consultation capacity]." Michelson encourages emailing links or mailing photos of work to galleries, but discourages portfolio cold-calls. "However, if you regularly frequent our gallery, an artist should feel free to introduce themselves. Recommendations from artists we respect or currently represent helps."
Art consultants work to match client taste with appropriate artists. If your work has not caught the attention of an art consultant it could be that clients are not requesting work in that genre. Don't let this discourage you from keeping your name, professional look and attitude in the forefront. All it takes is one buyer to change the tides. Start taking notice of art in hospitals and health care facilities, not with the intent of changing genres, but to learn more about how it is presented and what is "hot" in the market. Visit upscale framers and leave them a press packet. Encourage them to contact you if they encounter clients looking for original work.
It is very important to identify what is unique about you, your artwork or your style of working and market that. Identifying your uniqueness will help you to target your market and make you stand out among the many landscape painters, still life artists or abstract painters. Art is a deep form of expressive communication. It adds a human quality to the otherwise stark, steel and concrete home, work and healthcare environments. Every artist has something special to say. Promoting from this angle is a strategic way to attract the attention of art consultants.
Using all the tools available and not becoming dependent on one approach works best, both the Internet and self-marketing are key ingredients. The Internet age demands an image that is polished and professional. Consider having an objective critic look at your website and make suggestions about how you are presenting yourself. A professional quality website is imperative as it doubles as an artist's resume. Templates such as the one provided by Minds Island help artists to present themselves to art consultants and private clients in a clean, professional manner.
"Very successful artists have an entrepreneurial attitude, they are not afraid to self-promote," says Santia. Art consultants will find you if your name and work are out there. Be tenacious about learning all that you can about the art of self-promotion. The networking process will begin to take on a life of its own. When you are enjoying it, you won't even think of it as work. Bask in the small to moderate successes that are likely to occur en route to the big kill and don't forget to take notice of your accomplishments up to this point or to pause and appreciate all the steps you take along the way.