The Art of Marketing Art
Holley-dooley, what a challenge it is to put your creative and entrepreneurial business hat on. As an artist, my passion is working through the idea and concept of an artwork, through to a finished product. The sale of artworks is a financial necessity and also very rewarding and validating. How hard can it be, right? Idea, execution, sale, and then move on to the next painting. The bit between execution and sales, AKA "Marketing" is the most complex, and is the focus of this blog post.
There are a few channels for marketing a painting or artwork.
Platforms (online sites)
Word of mouth
Bricks and mortar galleries
Getting it right, and I'm not saying that I get it right every time, is an art in itself. Thinking about online platforms, and social media, it is necessary to:
1. Photograph your artwork. I use two forms of photography, firstly, I use a camera set up at home with the correct natural lighting, positioning the painting to be flat/squarely aligned. Then I need to take close-ups of sections of the painting, and a shot of my signature. Once I have 5 paintings that I have photographed myself, I engage with the professionals at Standish & Co who do an amazing job of creating super high-definition scans - these are what I use for my limited edition prints.
2. Place the artwork in situ. Step two, (or perhaps step 1.a) is to then mount the artworks virtually in situ. This is another essential step, as it provides a little better perspective to followers and potential buyers of the size and scale of the painting, as well as giving an indication of how it will look hanging on a wall. There are several options available to display your artwork in situ, some are paid subscriptions, and some are free, and of course, there are hybrids where you can use a small subset of images and features for free, but the full offering comes with a price tag. After trialling several options, I have landed and am very happy with ArtPlacer
Here's an example of a photo of one of my paintings (Bluminal) on its own, versus in situ. It really is chalk and cheese
3. Write a blurb to describe the artwork. I find this one challenging, as most of my paintings are abstract expressionist, and to an extent, their true meaning is not necessary to appreciate them. I usually write an explanation with the "thank you" letter and certificate of authenticity that I send to the buyer. But, a description is a must. There are countless articles on the topic, but in summary, I write a sentence or three about the painting, a general statement about the inspiration, and some background info about the series in which the artwork belongs.
The biggest challenge, or perhaps the biggest amount of time is taken up by adjusting the blurbs to meet the various requirements. For example, some online galleries or art platforms require a first-person perspective, while others require 3rd person. Some have a shorter word limit and some have minimum word requirements. It is tempting to scale back the descriptions to a bare-bones minimum, which many artists do, but I feel that defeats the purpose of writing a description, that being to inform a viewer or potential buyer.
4. Promote, Promote, Promote. I obviously promote my artworks here on GrahamEldridgeArt.com. I have been very fortunate to have been noticed and promoted by SaatchArt.com, BlueThumb.com.au, and other online galleries and platforms. Earlier this year I was approached by Saatchi Art advising that my paintings had been selected for inclusion in their periodical seasonal art catalogue. I was going to appear in their Fall catalogue 2022. I couldn't sleep, I was so excited. This month the 2022Fall Catalogue was released. Such an honour to be included in the catalogue, and I have seen a lot of interest from around the world, even though the printed copy of the catalogue has only one of my painting, and that is a fairly small image within the Abstract Expressionist section - check it out - bonus points (leave a comment) when you find it.
5. Lastly, Pricing the artwork. Another hugely complex topic, and one which has 1000 points of view, yet no definitive or correct answer. Rather than delve into how to price your art, I will instead highlight the importance of price consistency. It is questionable and perhaps unethical to have galleries and platforms actively promoting you/ your work, and then have those paintings appear elsewhere for a lower price. Rather than buyers thinking they are getting a bargain, it actually confuses them, and diminishes one's reputation. The challenge that I've encountered here is .. currencies. Because I use online galleries around the world, some use $AUD, others $USD, Euros' or Pounds. Over time, I may list a painting for say, $3,000 AUD, and diligently calculate the corresponding exchange rate version into other currencies. Then, as months go by, the exchange rates shift, and I may unwittingly be offering a painting at a lower price.
I paint because I love it. I promote my artworks because it is a necessity. If any of the tips and info above are useful, please drop a like in the post. If you have any additional tips or tricks to share, please add a comment below.