Explore ways to overcome the 'starving artists' mentality and find new strategies to touch the world with your creative gifts!
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Ken. Thanks for all the insight. Very excellent. Thanks for the compliment as well.
Jeremiah...I agree with you 100% about the gallery system for digital artist. In fact, I think the gallery system is not really the most viable system for many new artist. Galleries will always be there and artists will always strive for gallery presence, but most new artists will find it harder and harder to be involved in that market. Some will make it in that channel, but most will not. I don't think the galleries are irrelevant per se, just hard for many new artists to crack...at least initially. They remain a great place to make money but I think most artist need and should look to additional avenues to market and sell their work. However, my earlier comments were not really limited to the gallery business model.
I also agree with your comments about digital art and low cost marketing pieces. I would draw the distinction though with the primary objective of the work. If my objective and income stream was from providing services using art (i.e. graphic design, illustrating, etc.) then I agree with you and would give away as much of my product as I could afford so that people could see the talent and hire me and pay me for my abilities to provide them with graphic design services. If my objective and income stream was from selling my art as a product....I would still not give it away with the hopes of creating a buying market later. I can cite examples of digital artist (those trying to sell it and not those doing graphic design work) who I know who tried and tried to build a market by giving away or pricing at extremely low prices. It just got them nowhere and certainly not an income stream. However, a few of those who switched to the concept that pricing their digital art to show it has value and then working to create a marketplace have found their sales to take off.
You hit the nail on the head though when you say that each artist has to develop a system that works within the constructs of their market. I agree with that. We just don't need to wait until we have a following to begin charging for our art. Also, we don't need to let pricing become an obstacle for us either. Finding the right pricing model takes experimenting and just doing it. The great thing about selling....consumers will let you know very quickly whether they agree with our pricing...and if not...it is simple to make adjustments!
Bottom line....I don't have all the answers and certainly don't want to come across as trying to tell people what to do....I just know from the many I have dealings with, discussions with, etc.....I have yet to find someone who has made it financially by giving their art away with the hopes of those free pieces generating a following that would then become purchasers. I am sure examples exist....but if going on odds....I would not choose that route. Chances for an income are much greater with a reasonable pricing, a business/marketing plan, and simply getting out there, working smart and creating your own marketplace. Again...I would apply that only to those situations where art is the product and its sell is the primary income stream. I would not apply it if I were wanting to use art skills to generate income through selling services such as graphic design or illustration. In any event....I hope you find success. Your graphic design sample you posted was really good.
Kenneth. I can't really disagree with what you said and will definitely keep the example of your friend in mind moving forward. Thanks for sharing that.
I would like to add though, that as computers and the digital realm continues to involve more of our lives, that line between art and low cost marketing pieces will become increasingly blurred. When you consider stuff in modern and post modern art, it already is very blurred. For a digital artist as myself, that line is already non-existent.
I really think that we will start seeing the gallery system become increasingly irrelevant. For many non-traditional artists it already is. I think the trick for most contemporary artists is finding out where your niche is and developing a system that works within the constructs of that group. My niche as an animator and commercial/graphic artist is vastly different than that of a traditional gallery artist. I guess like all things in art, it is a very subjective topic.
Chris...check out www.crusingood.com for other artist selling works of old cars. You can get an idea of what others are charging. You are every bit as talented!
Chris....if I were your marketing person or agent (which I certainly am not) I would present your work focusing on what many have already recognized....using the nostalgia. I would not go overboard with the packaging of the actual art b/c you want the emphasis to be the art itself. But I would create a "booth" for your shows that is unique. It does not have to be expensive, but creative. If you have a standard 10 x 10 booth, maybe you have one focal wall of the booth to be a large vinyl or canvas of one of your car drawings. Be sure to have your name, phone, website, etc. so people can contact you. You could make the rest of your booth look like something from that era. Maybe it looks like an old diner/car hop. Maybe it brings up images of the old drive in movies....the ideas are countless....but when a person steps into your booth if you can create the nostalgic effect, then it will trigger a buying decision. Your work product is excellent. Creating the booth is time consuming and hard work up front, but you can then use it over and over at shows. Some shows do not allow you to play music...but if you can, you might want to play some of the tunes from that era in the background....don't have it too loud or overpowering though. I would probably use displays that invoked or resembled chrome and leather. Maybe even invoke the smell of leather and cars in your booth. Stimulating the olfactory senses is known to trigger buying among consumers. That is why companies, resorts, ballparks, etc. spend tons of money pumping in smells to increase sales. For instance, many ballparks pump in smell of hotdogs and popcorn to increase concession sales. (There are actually companies and scientist who create and sell those simulated smells for those exact purposes). Good luck.
If the question is whether we should use our art/images as marketing tools then I 100% agree. It makes perfect sense to use our images like the posters as business cards or to convert them into free screen savers. Those are powerful and effective but I see that as distinctively different from giving away our work. If the question is whether we should give away our work (either originals or prints) to create a market that will later become a paying market...then you will find more times than not that the paying market will never develop. That process will create a self fulfilling prophecy. You need to set reasonable prices and then create the need/market for consumers to buy. I personally know an artist who has sold in top galleries in the country and has gotten 5 figures for his original work and hundreds to thousands for limited edition prints. Through poor business decisions he slashes prices to move his work quickly when he is in need for quick cash. Over time, what he ended up creating was the expectation among those who invested in his work that if they wait long enough...he will come down. In a short time, he basically destroyed both the primary and secondary markets for his work by cutting prices. That impact did not just "trickle" but poured into his national market. I have inventory of his work in my gallery that used to bring hundreds upon hundreds of dollars that now we can hardly give away (I mean that figuratively). It is not a function of his quality or even the genre of his work (both which remain positive)...it is solely a function of creating a pricing policy that failed. When the art is the primary focus (versus a byproduct for additional things) then giving your original or prints away is most likely going to bring less than desireable results. I think artist who set reasonable prices, and then work hard to create their market using a variety of tools and mechanisms will stand a much better chance to become commercially successful. To the extent that you can create low cost marketing pieces that display your images then that is great thing to give away....but I see that as distinctively different from giving away our primary work product. But then...that is just my two cents worth. The beauty and great thing of forums, business, and marketing, is that it is actually the trying and getting out there that creates chance for success. Never trying guarantees never succeeding commercially. Hope you all have a blessed week.
Jeremiah, I tend to agree with you. At the last conference at 48 Days an artist gave away posters of her paintings. It was like giving a business card and a way to build a following. Times certainly are changing and if we keep doing it the old way we lose.
Chris, I like using the word nostalgic or vintage for your art.
Nice graphic, Jeremiah.
Timmery, how are you doing with that tag line?
Ed, you're right - just get it out there. We live in a time of great opportunity. The internet has taken away many obstacles and given us a platform that boggles the mind.
sorry about all those typo's. It's late and I didn't proof read. Here's the graphic I did for that graphic designer/ social media position. This was in December.
It's been a long while since I've checked in here, thought I would jump in on the 'gibing away art' discussion. I think there are some instances when it is good to give away reproduction of art.
Example: say you are trying to promote a printed portfolio of all your work. You could give away digital images that people could use as computer wallpapers. Little cost to the artist since it's already made. Snother would be if someone is a comic book artist or illustrator, they might do the same thing t help build brand/character recognition.
Recently I had an interview for a graphic design/social marketing position and I spent a day or two doing a piece incorporating the company's logo with some cool background graphics. in order to show some creativity and initiative. I didn't get the job, unfortunately. At least there is no doubt in my mind that I didn't try my hardest. I can honestly say that they didn't quite understand the kind of position they were trying to fill, and passed me up because I didn't have more experience in formal marketing, when I don't think that is what they really needed.
webcomics is another huge example of people giving away their art for free. They build a huge fan base that way and then rake it in when they put together a collection. One group I know of even beat out Glenn Beck for #1 seller on amazon when they both went on sale the same day.
Those are just a few off the top off my head. So, the model is definitely there, in relatively mainstream groups. When you get into some more creative, well known mainstream secular musicians like Moby, Nine Inch Nails and Coldplay, those guys have done some awesome pricing structures, giving the album away for free, but having very high end collector's editions that sell for several thousand's of dollars.
While I'm thinking about it. If anyone is doing any non-profit stuff you can get audio tracks for free at http://mobygratis.com/film-music.html. Might not be the style of music this group is into, but maybe it will help someone out along the way.
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