How to talk to artists at art festivals (or open studios!)

How to Talk to Artists at Art Festivals- The Do’s and Don’ts (Warning: You’ve probably been guilty of at least one of the don’ts…)


How to Talk to Artists at Art Festivals – the Do’s & Don’ts (Warning: You’ve probably been guilty of at least one of the don’ts…)

I visited the Cherry Creek Arts Festival here in Denver today. I go every year. As an artist I was fortunate enough to be chosen to show at this festival (one of the top 3 outdoor art festivals in the country) for 3 consecutive years back in the 2000’s. (I’ve since moved on to strictly gallery exhibits) As I was wandering around enjoying the art, I was struck by the conversations around me, and reminded of the “horror stories” shared by fellow artists (and experienced myself over the many years of doing outdoor shows) about rude and insensitive people, and even well-meaning people who unintentionally insult the artist. On the other side, I see many people who are intimidated by art and feel insecure talking to artists and asking questions. So if you are one of the millions of people visiting an arts festival (or gallery opening, or art walk) this summer, this “How to Talk to Artists” Primer is for you.

Please Note: The following was compiled as a result of nearly 2 decades of conversations and questions with fellow artists of all stripes, and is a reflection of the main concerns expressed by hundreds of artists over the years, and not at all strictly my opinion or experience. Every artist is different. This is meant to give a general idea of what life is like for the fair artist, and hopefully give a little knowledge and understanding to the patron.

Lesson One: Understanding the Artist

We may be somewhat unconventional people, but we are human, just like you. What sets us apart is the intense drive to create. It is what we are made of. We can’t not create. (I apologize for the double-negative) What we make is part of us. The pieces you see hanging on the walls are our “children”. We put our blood, sweat and tears into every one of them. Frankly, it takes (ahem) big balls to put ourselves on display, to open ourselves up to criticism and judgment. No matter what we do, there are going to be people that don’t like it. Being an artist is a hard life. We are all self-employed. We do not have companies to give us regular paychecks, insurance, and security. Most of us also have to do all our own marketing, sales, packing & shipping, and everything else it takes to run a small business. A typical working artist spends 50% of the time on marketing and sales and the rest of the time working on his/her creations. We also tend to put in 50-60 hour work weeks. Make no mistake, being an artist is a JOB, not a fun hobby we do in our spare time. Most of us went to school to learn our craft and earn a degree, and have spent years (in my case, decades) continuing to learn, practice, and get better at what we do, just like any job. It can be a thankless job as well, as most artists make very little money especially in the beginning. It can be a rather humbling career.

Lesson Two: How did these artists come to show at this festival, and what does it take to get here?

With the larger Arts Festivals around the country, this is how it works. There is an application process about 6 months before the festival, with artists submitting images of their work (usually with an average fee of $35) to a jury who selects which artists will be allowed to show at the festival. The competition is fierce. With the Cherry Creek Arts Festival for example, only about 9% of all submitting artists are chosen to exhibit (and of course, the jury fee is not refundable). The artists then pay a “booth fee”, which can be anywhere from $800-1600 depending on the show (CCAF is $850 for a 10 x 10 space for 3 days). The artists then have to supply their own booth and display. Artist’s displays can cost in the range of $1000-$5000, some even more. Many artists also travel great distances to get to the festivals, usually driving with all their art and booth set-up hundreds and thousands of miles, incurring costs for gas, hotels, etc. As you can see, most artists are out-of-pocket for thousands of dollars before the festival even opens.

Here’s what doing a festival can feel like for an artist: Imagine packing up a tent along with all your most valuable possessions, being on the road driving for days, then setting up your tent on an asphalt street with hundreds of other people in 90 degree heat, and placing all your valuables in this flimsy tent. Then, you get to spend 10-12 hours a day for three days standing in that hot tent (you can’t leave except for bathroom breaks and to grab a fast bite), smiling at thousands of people till your face hurts, and hoping like hell people like your valuables enough to buy a few from you. Then, at the end, when you’re dog-tired, you get to pack your tent and things back up and drive all the way back home, or to the next festival and do it all over again.

Lesson Three: What to Never-Ever Ask or Say to an Artist

So you’re at the festival, looking at the art on display. If you’ve read the above, then you know more than most of the people there already (good for you!) and probably have some appreciation for the artists, even if you don’t like their work. Here is the Top 9 List of what to Never-Ever Ask an Artist, and why:

#1 “Can I get a discount?” Or, “Will you take $500 instead of $1000 for this?” First off, this is an insult to the work and the artist. Unlike a flea market, artists generally do not expect to haggle. This is their livelihood and their blood sweat and tears on display. That being said, most professional artists build about 10% wiggle room into the price for their collectors, and this is ok, but asking for more than that is not. Most artists price their work at very fair rates based on time, materials and overhead. Think of it like this: What would you say if you went into work on Monday and your boss asked you to work at half your usual salary for the week? You’d probably quit.

#2 “Does this come in any other size/color?” Each piece of art is a unique creation by the artist, not a mass-produced item. Again, this question is insulting the artist’s work, however unintentionally. (Note: this one refers strictly to original art, not prints and reproductions, which can of course come in several sizes. It is in the context that implies “Can you change your original art to suit me?”) DO ask to look at the artist’s portfolio, there may be something there you like even better!

#3 “Is it finished?” Another one that makes artist’s cringe. If it is on display and for sale, always assume it’s finished.

#4 “How long did it take you to do that?” I can feel artists all around the world shriek in horror at this question. How long it takes to make has no bearing on the value. My favorite answer to this question is a little story about Pablo Picasso. Pablo is having a coffee in a cafe’ when a fan comes up to him, exclaiming how much she loves his work and asks, “would you draw something on this napkin for me?” Pablo does a drawing on the napkin, hands it to her and says, “that will be $10,000”. She cries “$10,000! but it only took you a few minutes to draw it!” and Pablo replies, ” But madame, it took me a lifetime to learn to draw that way.”

#5 “How did you make that?” There is a fine line with this one, as it’s all about the context. Often, this question is asked with the intention of, “I’ll go home and make one just like it!” Which is obviously not good for the artist. Inquiring about the artist’s process (ie: “Tell me about your process.”) is ok.

#6 “Your work is just like so-and-so’s.” Ouch. Artists like to think they are unique creators. We would rather not be compared to other artists. It IS always ok to ask who the artist is influenced by.

#7 “It must be fun to just paint all day.” and/or “What do you do for a living?” If you’ve read the above paragraphs, you already know why this one is a no-no. They are artists. That’s what they do for a living.

#8 “I want to learn to paint when I retire/have free-time, etc.”  It’s wonderful that you’d like to paint, (everyone should have a creative outlet!) however it can imply that art is a hobby, which to these artists, it most definitely is not and this can be taken the wrong way. This question goes hand-in-hand with “How can I learn to paint like that?” Just don’t go there. “Do you teach?” Now that’s a good question.

#9 It should go without saying, but never insult the work. Even if you think it’s hideous. Just keep it to yourself. That’s a person’s heart and soul on display, even if you don’t like it. Comments like, “My 5 year-old could paint that!” are always rude. I’ve had many rude comments thrown my way, such as, “Why would anyone want to hang that on their wall?” (CCAF 2008) and, “You’re painting on top of photographs!” (Spoken very loud and accusingly at my own art opening in 2010) It just plain hurts. That person standing behind you may be the artist, don’t assume he can’t hear you. I’m an artist and see work I don’t like all the time, but I always try to have enough respect for the artist to keep my mouth shut. If I want to discuss the work in a negative way, I wait till we have left the festival or gallery. Always.

OK, if I haven’t completely scared you away from talking to artists at art festivals by now, here are a list of questions that will always be welcome:

#1 “Tell me about your work.” It’s the perfect question.

#2 ” What/who influences you?” An excellent conversation starter, always welcome.

#3 “What inspired you to create that?”

#4 “What attracted you to working with pattern/the figure/still life’s/animals, etc?”

#5 Sincere complements are always welcome. “Beautiful work”, “well-done”, “great technique” is always nice to hear. I had one man tell me, “This is hands-down the best work of the show.” and I could tell he really meant it. That was 4 years ago and it still makes me smile.

#6 It’s ok to just be silent. (it’s much better than an insincere complement) A person thoughtfully and quietly studying a piece is always welcome. Don’t feel like you have to say something.

A few final notes:

Never take pictures of the art unless you ask the artist for permission first. There are unfortunately people out there who take hi-res images of work to make prints of and sell. Obviously this is a highly illegal copyright violation, but it happens. Also, some folks take pictures thinking they will go home and try and copy the piece (this is theft and copyright violation). Both these scenarios are bad news for the artist. You may just want to take a picture because you think it’s pretty, but the artist doesn’t know that. Ask before you shoot.

And lastly, remember these folks are working hard and are here to sell their work. While many artists will not mind shooting the breeze when the booth is empty, don’t be offended if an artist excuses themselves from your conversation to greet/speak with someone else who may be a potential customer.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve been guilty of one of the “bad” questions. We’ve all been there, even the arts professionals! You are now armed with more art festival knowledge than most, and you’ll never be in danger of unintentionally insulting an artist again. So go forth, explore the arts, and have fun!


Artoberfest 2015

Come to

At Western Avenue Studios

Saturday & Sunday October 3-4

Come to Western Avenue Studios (122 Western Avenue, Lowell, MA) Visit me in Studio#A409
During the October Open Studios on Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th, we will be celebrating The First Annual ARToberfest. Visit over 100 artist studios to learn, shop, and be inspired!
Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th12-5pm – Two full days of open art studios and lofts – meet the artists, browse the art, buy the art. (FREE Event and Free parking.)
Saturday & Sunday October 3 & 4: 12-5pm – Take part in art-themed activities for all ages including many art demonstrations. (FREE event and Free parking)

Saturday & Sunday October 3 & 4: 12-5pm – Visit the “Artful Biergarten” (a collaborative  indoor “art garden” installation) (FREE Event)
Saturday & Sunday October 3 & 4: 12-5pm – Local and Craft Beer Tasting in the Onyx Room. (PAID Event)
Saturday evening, October 3rd: From 5–7pm The Loading Dock Gallery will host an exhibit opening reception of their new exhibit “Harvest” with a Poetry Convergence — where art and words collide. (FREE event)
Saturday night, October 3rd from 7pm-11pm: Bavarian food, Music from The Oompa-pa’s, and fun!  (Tickets for the Saturday night party are $20 with proceeds to benefit the Miracle Providers NorthEast. Reserve your tickets at:
At Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01851
Follow us on Facebook for complete event information and listing of artist demonstrations times:

For more Artoberfest events, click here

At Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01851

Orange tags will mark the entryways to participating studios and lofts.

At Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Avenue,

Lowell, MA 01851
follow the river Jackson NHsmller

Create Income through Renting Your Artwork by Carolyn Edlund

Create Income through Renting Your Artwork

Renting artwork to individuals or businesses is an opportunity available to artists. Have you ever considered it?

Cafe with Artwork

I recently spoke with Samantha Ward, who is the Artist Relations Manager at Easelyabout this interesting twist in the online marketplace.

AS: Your website offers this type of opportunity to artists and clients. How does the rental program work?

SW: We rent high-quality prints of artist’s work, and artists receive royalties on our rental prices. It’s a very passive income stream, which makes it easy to do. All we need are high-quality images of the artwork, which we then market, print, and ship.

Customers can buy these prints, or swap them out for free every year for a new piece. Artists also receive commission if a customer buys a print after renting it. The longer a customer rents, the more discounts are unlocked on the print. We can also help artists facilitate sales of the original pieces that customers are renting prints of, if the customer decides that they want to purchase the original.

Artwork in Dance Studio

AS:  What are the major benefits of this to the new collector?

SW:  Art rentals allow people who are not necessarily comfortable with the art world to get their toes in the water, so to speak. Rentals give an opportunity for people (especially young people) to get involved. After a while, they start to follow artists and familiarize themselves with their work. Then, when they are older and more comfortable with the art world, they may begin collecting original pieces from these artists.

Cost savings is one of the more obvious benefits of renting. People who can’t afford to buy, or who are too timid to commit to an original piece, can rent artwork at prices that they can afford. Perhaps later in their life when they are capable of investing in an original, they will be more likely to buy from the artists who they have discovered through renting.

AS:  Why do you see businesses renting artwork?

SW:  For larger businesses, we solve a cash flow problem for them. Often, they won’t have any art or they have art that has been sitting on their walls for decades because they don’t want to buy all new artwork upfront for an astounding price. With art rentals, businesses that would never consider even having art are willing to start filling their walls!

How to hang an art show! By Lisa Mardner, Painting Expert

You are having a solo show and are responsible for hanging it. You’ve worked hard on creating a strong body of work for the show, but now the challenge is how to place the artwork. Or maybe you’re hanging your students’ work, or hanging a show of many different artists’ works. Firstly you need to determine whether you’re having the showmuseum style, in which paintings are placed at eye level around

the space, or salon style, in which paintings are placed in groupings that may cover the wall from floor to ceiling, with little space between the pieces.

Whichever way you choose, some of the same principles apply. In general, you want to think of the exhibit as a piece of artwork itself. Each wall is its own painting, so while you want the paintings to hang together harmoniously, you also want there to be enough contrast to make the whole wall interesting and attract the viewer’s attention. Too much unity creates boredom; too much variety creates chaos. This adage is true not only for the individual artwork, but also for the exhibition.

Keep in mind that the same principles of art and design that apply to your paintings also apply to creating an exhibition, whether you’re hanging salon style or museum style.

Also, remember that hanging a show takes forethought and time. You may even want to draw a plan to scale of the exhibition area ahead of time and, knowing the dimensions of your paintings,

lay them out on paper first. Then keep in mind these ten suggestions.

  1. Make sure the space is clean and cleared from clutter.
  2. Consider the flow of the venue. What is seen first when the space is entered? What if there are multiple entrances? You want the first piece of artwork seen to be strong and grab a viewer’s attention.
  3. Set the artwork by laying your paintings against the walls in groupings that you will consider. You can move them around until you are satisfied with the groupings you’ve created.
  4. Anchor each wall with a stronger, larger piece if there are a variety of different sized works.
  5. Think about balance. Again , just as in a single piece of artwork a small cluster of shapes can balance a larger one so, too, in an exhibit several small works might be used to offset and provide balance to a larger piece.
  6. You might want to cut out pieces of paper to represent your paintings and get their placement on the wall. Do this by tracing the outside of your painting onto a piece of paper, cutting it out, marking on the paper where the nail will go, then taping the paper  to the wall with removable painter’s tape. This will help give you an idea of the layout while minimizing the placement of holes in the wall.
  7. Hang the paintings at eye level when hanging museum style. The average height of the human eye is about 58 inches. The center of the painting should be at approximately this height. American museums standard for hanging artwork is 58 inches.(1) 56″-62″ is the common range within which the center of the painting should fall. The most important thing is to decide on one height and be consistent.
  8. Try to avoid overcrowding when hanging museum style. Each painting needs to have room to breathe, and this also helps the viewer slow down and appreciate the individual work.
  9. Use a level to make sure the paintings are hung straight.
  10. Consider lighting. Where is the light coming from? What is the light source? Is it adequate? Can you redirect the lights to highlight your paintings?
  11. Bumps and scratches occur. Make sure to have extra paint on hand if you need to do a quick fix of something.
  12. Be flexible and try different groupings of paintings. You may even find that new combinations of paintings may give you ideas for yet more paintings!

Once you’ve finished hanging the show don’t forget to take photographs of the exhibit space with the paintings on the walls, for this is your new masterpiece!

What every artist should expect from their gallery by Dan Graziano

What Every Artist Should Expect From Their Gallery by Dan Graziano

I recently made the unpleasant decision to end my relationship with a gallery I was with for the past few years. They started out with a bang, but in the last few months both sales and communication had stopped – when I finally heard from them, they reluctantly admitted they were considering closing their doors. This situation, along with a few other bad gallery experiences in the past, made me start thinking about what every working artists should expect from each gallery that represents – and profits from – their work.

I remember how exciting it was to be in my first gallery. I made the decision early on in my art career to seek gallery representation rather than participate in street festivals or sell work on my own. I knew that a gallery would offer a broader and more legitimate exposure for my work as well as provided a greater potential for future price escalation. After many years of experience working with both good and bad galleries, I have identified what I feel every artist should expect from their gallery:

1. The gallery should operate from a proper brick-and-mortar storefront with an interior that is appropriately designed and lighted for displaying fine art. The gallery location should have good visual exposure on a commercial street within a critical mass of shops to attract a high degree of foot traffic. Working artists should not consider placing their art in stores whose primary business is selling gifts, food, framing or furniture – they are not legitimate art galleries and will not represent your art adequately.
2. The gallery should maintain reasonable hours and days of operation. It should also be staffed with the owner and enough knowledgeable sales associates to handle the amount of visitor traffic it regularly receives.
3. All major credit cards should be accepted.
4. The gallery should be set up/equipped to ship artwork anywhere in the world.
5. The gallery needs to be functionally equipped with computers/printers, high speed internet access, telephone and e-mail.
6. The gallery should have an appropriate, tasteful and easy to navigate web site that is frequently updated. It should include the gallery’s address/contact information, upcoming events, artist roster and hi-res images of its entire art inventory with available/sold status.
7. The gallery should have a presence in social media outlets (Facebook, etc.) that are frequently updated with gallery news, current shows, new work, artist news, etc.
8. The gallery should limit their roster of artists to a reasonable number based on the amount of wall space they have to display the art in a professional and proper manner.
9. The artist’s consigned work (with the exception of one or two backup pieces) should be on display, lighted and properly hung on a gallery wall. An artist should never allow their work to be displayed on the floor, concealed on a sliding rack or in a storage room.
10. An artist should expect good and timely communication from the gallery – when paintings are sold, when the gallery needs more of your work, etc. Expect the gallery to have a live person answer the phone during their regular business hours and expect them to return your messages within 24 hours.
11. Expect the gallery to operate as a serious, formal and profitable business and not as a capricious hobby.
12. Expect the gallery to advertise and promote itself and its events in appropriate media outlets, especially print media focused on the art buying public. Expect that they participate in national art organizations (AIS, OPA etc.) and in their local gallery organization events (first Fridays, gallery walks, art festivals, etc.)
13. Expect the gallery to advertise and promote YOU! This is why you pay them a 50% commission for selling your work. It is your job to provide the artwork for the gallery to sell, but it is their job to promote, market, advertise and sell the art you give them. It is not uncommon for galleries to request an artist share in some of the cost of marketing, especially when it primarily highlights the particular artist or their solo show.
14. Expect the gallery to organize several events and focused shows each year (group shows, solo shows, subject specific shows, holiday salons, etc.).
15. Demand a consignment contract with the gallery that, at a minimum, clearly outlines the following:
· Gallery commission
· Terms of payment to artist
· Who pays the cost for shipping/packing paintings to gallery and returning paintings to the artist
· Duration of consignment
· Responsibility for loss or damage of artwork while in the gallery/insurance
· Discount policy
16. Limit the number of pieces each gallery has to 4 – 6 pieces until you have had a chance to observe how they operate and how quickly they sell your work. The obvious exception would be if a gallery gives you a solo show that requires much more work. It is fine to “switch out” older work for newer ones if the gallery requests.
17. Never make one gallery the sole representative for the sales of ALL your work. Working artists typically have their work in multiple galleries (provided the markets do not overlap) and submit to national juried art shows and other art festivals.

A few other things:

Occasionally, a gallery will require a commission on any work YOU sell at juried competitions, private commissions, and internet sales directly from your own web site. Here’s the deal: unless that gallery is directly paying your rent, utilities and food bills, they have no right to demand a commission for sales they didn’t make. I once had a gallery tell me that I had to get their permission to enter all juried shows. I terminated my association with them and picked up my paintings the next day.

Keep in mind that an art gallery operates much differently than a standard retail store. A retail store MUST FIRST PURCHASE THEIR MERCHANDISE (at wholesale cost) – when it is sold the store makes a profit on the mark-up. A typical art gallery operates on a consignment basis – that means THEY ARE GIVEN THEIR MERCHANDISE FOR FREE by all the artists they show. When an artwork is sold, the gallery immediately gets a commission (in most cases 50%) and then the artist gets paid the remaining 50%. Visit any art gallery, look at the multitude of artwork on display, and understand that the gallery did not have to pay for any of it. This explains why most galleries love to ask an artist for as many paintings as an artist is willing to give them – it costs the gallery nothing. In most cases, galleries don’t even pay your cost for shipping the art to them.

The bottom line:

· Only deal with legitimate art galleries that operate in a proper business manner.
· Don’t tie up too much of your artwork in one gallery and never make one gallery your exclusive representative.
· Expect a gallery to promote you and your art in return for the money they make off your work.

Posted by Dan Graziano at 11:57 AM

89 Cheap Ways to Promote Your Art Business

89 Cheap Ways to Promote Your Art Business
Discover easy cheap ways to promote your art business here.
Here are some useful suggestions for you to promote your art career. You will find links to other Art Print Issues posts in the list. I mention this to emphasize the amount of free art marketing and art business information and ideas you can find here. If you appreciate the content, the best compliment you can give me is to forward the link to this page to other artists, or share it on social media. Let us know in the comments what unique things you do to promote your art business.

1. Press Releases – understand the many ways your business is press release worthy and frequently submit.
2. Blogging – use blogging to allow your collectors, fans and friends get to know you and your work to give a personal voice to your brand. Share your knowledge, not just tidbits about you and your art.
3. SEO – make sure your website pages and blog posts have proper headings, titles, descriptions and relevant keywords.
4. Email list – use every method available to build a responsive email list. Send to it frequently to keep it fresh and your readers’ interest high.
5. Email contests – spike reader participation with contests for recipes, ideas for travel, or travel photos. Get them involved showing your work in a creative way.
6. Free downloads – offer small size high-resolution downloads and encourage them to be printed. Offer to sign the prints when sent with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
7. Include a catalog – include portfolio or flyer with every purchase.
8. Portfolio – create a online and printable portfolio. Use it as a gift when networking, as well as in other promotional ways.
9. Teach – create a class for a local university or community college. Setup a workshop to teach painting or other art marking techniques. People interested in learning to make art are great prospects to buy your art, or introduce you to important people.
10. Surveys – create online surveys to name your artwork, or learn more about your followers’ interests.
11. Influential people – find ways to write flattering content about influential people on your blog.
12. Unconventional Direct Mail – send a small paintbrush or color swatch in an envelope. Invite recipient to come to your studio or website and use it in some way to claim a prize such as free shipping.
13. Donate – offer your work for the appropriate charity. Use the donation as a wedge to get involved in other ways that can help you network.
14. Art car – turn your vehicle into an art car. Paint it yourself.
15. Vehicle wrap – create a design to graphic wrap your car with your art. This may not exactly be cheap, but it could be fun, dramatic and a cause for publicity and awareness.
16. Gift certificates – offer your customers the opportunity to purchase gift cards from you. Give them a discount. For instance, offer a $100 gift card for $85.
17. Call – schedule a time to call all your customers and prospects once a quarter.
18. Online galleries – create an online shop wherever possible. Get as much exposure on as many sites as possible. Use a few for heavy promotion, the rest for minimal presence.
19. Submit – submit your site to all global, regional and local search engines.
20. List your site – get your site listed in all the local and social sharing sites such as Yelp, YP, Judy’s Book, and more.
21. Facebook – create a Facebook business page.
22. Shortstack – use the many great, free ideas for Facebook promotion from Shortstack.
23. Guest posts – seek chances to write guest posts on well-regarded and high-trafficked sites in the arts and entertainment niches.
24. Pitch bloggers – Research to find bloggers to review your work, your new collection, your studio opening, or other related products.
25. Vlog – create an ongoing video blog to share and illustrate your ideas, your work and experiences.
26. Social Sharing Buttons – add social sharing icons site-wide (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ to make sharing your content easy.
27. Pinterest – you are in a visual business. Pinterest is a perfect visual platform with a massive female demographic. Use it to create broad exposure with high-quality images of your art.
28. Cover top blogs – write a post about the best blogs and bloggers in the art business. Feature some of the top posts. This can open doors, builds relationships, and create social engagement where many you cover will in turn promote your article, and perhaps cover you, or offer a guest post opportunity.
29. Solicit guest posts from other artists, industry bloggers, local media and local or national celebrities. Doing this will help you make friends and publish free user-generated content that will get reposted and noticed on social media elsewhere.
30. Donate – Give to a local or national charity, (It doesn’t have to be artwork), and gain donor’s page exposure with the possibility for backlink to your site.
31. Cross-promote – find jewelers, crafters, picture framers, galleries and other simpatico partners to cross-promote. You scratch their back and expect they will do likewise.
32. Logo – hire a graphic designer with logo experience to create your logo. Invest in the best because it should last you a long time, maybe even a lifetime. Use your logo on everything you create and produce.
33. Business cards – although they are so 20th Century, they offer promotional value. Make yours standout with great design and add a call to action.
34. Print material – make sure every postcard, brochure and every printed piece that carries you name is branded with your logo, color scheme, compelling images, and a reason to contact you now.
35. Sponsor – get behind events with demographics that mirror your customers. Leverage your contribution to take advantage of every promotional offer provided to its supporters, including events, website, blog, email, and so forth.
36. Endorse – make an unsolicited testimonial or endorsement for another artist, blogger, author, vendor or colleague on their website or blog.
37. Authority – use your in-depth knowledge about a topic to become known as an authority on it. Are you steeped in local history? Do you know everything about Renaissance artists? Have you visited and written about all the arts scenes in your local and regional area? Do you have a natural way of connecting food and art? If you are an expert, or are willing to study to become one, then you can parlay that knowledge in many ways as the go-to authority surrounding it.
38. Public speaking – get a 30-to-90 minute talk with slides on a topic sure to be of interest to your demographic.
39. Slideshare – turn your public speaking slides into a SlideShare presentation.
40. YouTube – have someone videotape your public speaking presentations and put them on a YouTube channel you create.
41. Google Hangouts on Air – start a regular hangout on a topic of interest to you. Invite other artists and notables to join you.
42. Video demos – film yourself at work and provide a dialog on how you do things as an artists. For example, talk about the importance of underpainting, or building an artwork in the proper sequence. People may never want to do it, but they like being entertained by watching how others create things. Don’t limit yourself to YouTube. Upload your videos to Vimeo, Daily Motion and the other video streaming sites.
43. Art happening – create one day or weekend events where you invite a bunch of local artists to congregate and create work. It could be a plen air picnic, or something setup with pop-up tents, or in a temporary space in a building, business lobby, or at a local mall.
44. Art car – paint your car with your art and have it clear coated.
45. Vehicle wrap – create a graphic design based on your art and use it to vehicle wrap your car. This may not exactly qualify as cheap, but it could be fun and dramatic.
46. Contribute – many local publications, and some online sites such asHuffington Post accept or consider well written contributed articles, especially those with general or specific interest to its readers.
47. Referral program – start a formal referral program. Offer a percentage of the sale, credit towards new art, a giclée print, free framing, or whatever you find works best to have your family, friends and colleagues refer new business to you. Post your offer to make it public so everyone understands how your program works.
48. Thank you notes – create note cards with your art on them. Use them to send handwritten notes for new purchases, referrals, or just to say hello and thanks for past business.
49. Open studio events – if your space accommodates it, have regular events there. Make it available for other small meetings such as book clubs, masterminds, planning committees, and other creative use of your space.
50. 30-second speech – work on and refine your 30-second elevator speech. Practice until you sound natural and confident. Don’t rush what you are saying. Make eye contact while you are talking. Use a friendly, firm handshake. Smile while you are talking.
51. Network – strategically seek events and targeted people you want to meet. Learn where your best demographics meets and become part of that scene. Attend social events, art openings, gallery openings and other arts scene events. Be ready to present yourself, (30-second speech), know what to ask about to get others talking, have a purpose for being there.
52. Online presence – create online shops wherever possible. Some may not hold great value or need much of your time. Still use them to create online awareness for you and links to your website or blog. Focus on those that have top SEO results and quality in their products, such as
53. Virtual assistant – hire a VA to keep up your less often used online sites. The proper ones can do other marketing, sales, promotional writing and even make phone calls for you.
54. Volunteer – get involved with an arts organization so you get to know influential people who are also involved.
55. Recruit – provide printed promotional marketing materials to your family and friends for them to distribute.
56. Sendout cards – join Sendout cards. Make your art available for other members to use on their cards and postcards.
57. Local arts scene – be more than a hanger-on. Get involved. Promote your local arts scene. Not just visual arts, expand to dance, theater, music and beyond.
58. Marketing calendar – create an annual to five-year marketing calendar.
59. Leave behind materials – check events in your area. When there are conferences, meetings and shows that relate to your business, leave your brochures or postcards in strategic spots like visitor registration, hotel lobbies and so forth.
60. Grand re-opening – conjure a reason for a grand re-opening and promote the daylights out of it.
61. Comment – find the blogs your fans regularly read and leave intelligent comments that add to the discussion on them.
62. Docent– become a docent at a local museum. This gives you opportunities to meet people on the staff at the museum, and you never know who will be in your tour group.
63. Research social media – there is much useful information and insight from learning what groups your collectors belong to on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media. Use the information to decide which groups to join, participate, volunteer, market to and interact with.
64. Be-back offer – not everyone buys the first time they see your work. Create a printed offer with all your contact information and reason for them to come back. Give a discount on their first purchase, such as a free mini print with the original, free local hanging or tax-free first order. Test to find the best offer to pull the potential buyer back to your site, shop or studio.
65. Fund-raiser – if you see a need to raise money, you don’t have to wait for a local charity to get involved. Be pro-active and start a fund-raiser.
66. Local contests – enter into local contests for artists, such as for airport installations. Even if you don’t win, you will be on the radar of those involved in the visual arts community in your area.
67. Link – be both generous and judicious in providing links from your site.
68. Email signature – create an email signature for all your emails. Links are better than images, which oftentimes are stripped from the email. Include a subtle call to action.
69. Befriend – follow local journalists and media who can help you. Support the charities and other organizations that they also support. Send them juicy story ideas, use your blog and other means to promote their articles and publications.
70. QR Codes – create a QR code to put on all your printed materials. Link it to a landing page with a unique offer and a link to subscribe to your mailing list.
71. Packaging – design stickers or screen prints to use on all your packaging. Include your logo, your website address, your QR code on anything that goes out from your business.
72. e-book – write an e-book on a topic of interest to you. It could be about your life experience, your world views, what is like to be an artist, how to create art using simple shapes.
73. Promote e-book – use your e-book as an incentive to join your mail list, or send it to all your current subscribers. Encourage others to share it freely. Make sure you provide links throughout the book to your website and to your email sign up landing page
74. Book reviews – write reviews about books you know your demographic audience will like. Provide book reviews for local media, or specialized blogs of interest to buyers you want to target.
75. Giveaway – give small bundles of notecards, postcards or mini prints as lead magnets for email subscriptions, thank you for referrals, or door openers with strategic networking prospects.
76. Creatively borrow – tap into the power of the internet to discover the promotional tools and techniques other marketers use and adapt them to your business.
77. Google alerts – use Google alerts to monitor your prospects, collectors, media contacts and others you want to stay in touch with.
78. – create an profile to create more digital content about yourself and backlinks to your blog and website.
79. Promote packaging – create videos or a series of images to display on your e-commerce site to show your white glove packing and shipping techniques.
80. Piggyback – create an insert to go into direct mail from non-competitors.
81. Streamline – make your online ordering easy, understandable and quick.
82. Installation services – offer free local art installation services for your buyers.
83. Color consultations – offer your buyers and fans color coordination consultations for interior decor or clothing.
84. Contact database – start a contact management system with
85. Voice mail – put a promotional announcement on your voice mail.
86. Feedback – ask non-buyers for feedback. They decided not to buy today. Take the opportunity to ask why they did not buy. This feedback can ultimately be more valuable than knowing why others do buy from you.
87. Buyers feedback – ask customers what they like about your art, what kind art they would like to see you make, or if they have ideas on ways to promote your art.
88. LinkedIn – join appropriate LinkedIn groups and become an active participant.
89. Be generous – share this post with your artist friends. Encourage them to sign up for to get their own weekly art marketing news at:

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Salt Island Sunporch by Debra Bretton Robinson