Uni-4 Artists (Greater Hickory) - contact is Pat Flachbart. Organization for artists; began January 2013. "Our goal is to reach as many area artists as possible for their input and support. You may call Pat at 828 496 2293 if you have questions. The formative concept thus far, is very simply to create an organization of artists that will give us a chance to know each other socially and be able to share professional tools to support one another's art."
Harmony Arts Collaborative - harmonyartscollaborative.com - Harmony Arts is all about marketing the region's artists and fine craftspeople through online directories, comprehensive calendars, as well as events and exhibits that they will stage. Another provided service is a list of businesses that are interested in hosting artists' work for sale. Harmony Arts will supply a simple agreement to be used that outlines everything from the timeframe and commission percentages, to how the artist will be paid and whether or not a reception will be held. Contact Ellen Ball, 828-320-2005 or visit www.harmonyartscollaborative for details.
Foothills Visual Artists Guild, president is Shirley Story & she can be reached at 828-754-5171
Brush & Palette Club, Caldwell County; president is Carole Childers and she can be reached at 828-758-9787
Foothills Painters; president is Anne Fredley and she can be reached at 828-324-0026
Cheap Joe's Art Supply (Boone): www.cheapjoes.com
Sometimes emails cross my desk that I feel may be of benefit to our artists. Rather than forward the email, I thought to make a web page for those seeking to improve their opportunities. Please let me know if you find these helpful. - Cathy McCoy - firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SIX MOST COMMON MISTAKES
MADE BY ARTISTS WHEN
J. Jason Horejs, Owner
Xanadu Gallery, 7039. E. Main St. #101, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Did you know on an average week I may be approached by as many as 20-35 artists looking for gallery representation? Most of them are ineffective. Are you making the same mistakes they are?
Before I explain, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason Horejs. I have owned Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona for more than eight years.
Recently, I published "Starving" to Successful | The Artist's Guide to Getting into Galleries and Selling More Art. This book was written to help you approach galleries in an organized, systematic and professional way. The book will help you avoid the mistakes listed below.
This book comes from my experiences with artists. Several years ago, I began to wonder why artists were inept talking to galleries. I quickly realized most were unsuccessful because there is very little information explaining the best strategies.
That lack of information leads to these blunders:
Mistake #1: Presenting an inconsistent body of work.
Artists generally love their freedom. They want to experiment. They love a challenge. They crave variety. All good things, except when you are presenting your work to a gallery.
The work you present to a gallery needs to be unified. It doesn't need to be repetitive or formulaic, but it must present you as a consistent artist with a clear vision.
Often I feel I am looking at the work of multiple artists as I review a single portfolio. To avoid this problem you need to find focus in your work.
If you work in several media and a variety of styles, focus on just one for the next 6-12 months. Create a body of work that feels like a "series". Once you have 20-25 gallery-ready pieces in this series, you will be ready to approach a gallery.
You can further create consistency by presenting the work in a consistent way. Use similar frames for paintings and photographs, similar bases for sculpture, similar settings for artistic jewelry. Make it very clear all of the work is by the same artist.
If you simply can't rein your style in, consider creating multiple portfolios, one for each style.
Don't confuse the galleries you approach with multiple styles in your portfolio.
Mistake #2: Producing insufficient work to sustain gallery sales.
Many artists create marketable work, but in quantities too low to make a gallery relationship viable. Successful artists are consistently in the studio creating artwork. You may be surprised to learn the results of a recent survey I conducted.
I asked artists how many new works they created in the last twelve months. Painters responded that on average they were creating 53 pieces every twelve months. Sculptors 31. Glass artists 500!
A gallery owner needs to feel confident you will replace sold art quickly and maintain high quality. They want to know if you are successful the can replenish their inventory.
Don't despair if you are far from reaching this goal. Rather, look at your creative production for the last year and set a goal to increase the production by 25% in the next 12 months.
Several suggestions to increase your productivity:
1. Dedicate time daily to your art. Maybe your schedule will only allow for two hours daily, but you will produce more by working for those two hours every day than you will by waiting for big blocks of time.
Treat your studio time as sacred. Train your family and friends to respect that time. You don't interrupt them when they are at work; ask them the same courtesy when you are in the studio.
2. Set a production goal. If I could tell you the secret to producing 50, or 100 pieces per year, would you listen? Here it is: create 1 or 2 pieces per week.
I know it seems overly simple, yet few artists work in a concerted disciplined way to achieve this goal.
(A common objection I hear to this suggestion is that quality will suffer if an artist works this quickly. In my experience, the opposite is true. A certain level of quality may only be obtained by putting miles on the paintbrush, spending hours in the darkroom, moving tons of clay or stone.)
3. Remove distractions from the studio. Move your computer to another room. Unplug the telephone. Nothing kills an artist's focus faster than the constant interruption of technology. Your inbox and voicemail will keep your messages safe while you work.
Mistake #3: Delivering a portfolio in a format inconvenient for gallery review.
Often your portfolio is your only chance to show your work to a gallery owner. Poorly formatted portfolios are rarely viewed. Your portfolio should be concise, simple, informative and accessible.
25 years ago, formatting a portfolio was simple. A portfolio was either a literal portfolio with sheet protectors and photos, or a slide sheet.
The choices have since multiplied. CD? Digital hardbound photo-book? .pdf file? Email? Which format is the most effective? None of these, actually. Each has drawbacks limiting effectiveness. They are either too much work for the gallery owner to access, too easy to delete, or too hard for you to maintain.
In my book I will show an example of a perfect portfolio. Easy to maintain, easy to share. Successful.
A couple of things to keep in mind with your portfolio:
1. Your portfolio should contain no more than 20-25 of your most recent works. You should not create an all-inclusive portfolio. A gallery owner does not want to see your life's work. They want to see your best, most current, most relevant work.
2. On each page you should include pertinent, relevant information about the art. Include the title, the medium, the size, and the price. Don't include the date of artwork creation.
3. Place your bio, artist's statement, and resume at the back of the portfolio, not the beginning. Your artwork is the most important feature of the portfolio, don't bury it behind your info. Limit press clippings, and magazine articles to 2-3 pages.
4. Include 2-3 images of sold artwork. You should try to include at least one photo of your artwork installed. These images will establish your credibility more rapidly than any resume ever could.
In "Starving" to Successful I will teach you how to create a powerful portfolio. Your new portfolio will end up in gallery owner's hands, rather than in the garbage can.
Mistake #4: Lacking confidence and consistency in pricing.
One of the greatest challenges facing you as an artist is knowing how to correctly value your work. Many artists price their work emotionally, and inconsistently. Galleries can't sell wrongly priced art.
Worse, nothing will betray an unprepared artist like not knowing how to price his/her work.
Many artists mistakenly under-price their work. They do this because they feel they are not established. They do it because their local art market won't sustain higher prices. They do it because they lack confidence in their work.
In the book I will help you come up with a consistent, systematic formula for pricing your art.
Is your work priced correctly?
Mistake #5: Approaching the wrong galleries.
My gallery is located in an art market dominated by Southwest and Western subject matter. My gallery stands apart from most of the galleries in Arizona because I have chosen art outside the norms. Yet I am constantly contacted by Western and Southwestern artists. They seem surprised and hurt when I turn them away. They could have saved us both some discomfort by researching my gallery before approaching.
Which markets should you approach first? How should you research the galleries? Is it safe to work with galleries in out-of-state markets?
"Starving" to Successful will teach you how to create a list of qualified, appropriate galleries to contact (I will also teach you how to approach them).
Mistake #6: Submitting art through the wrong channels.
Conventional wisdom, and even some highly respected art marketing books will advise you to send your portfolio with a cover letter to the gallery. You may also hear it's best to call a gallery and try to make an appointment to meet the owner. You might visit a gallery's website to learn of their submission guidelines.
In my experience, these methods all guarantee failure. I will share with you a more direct, simpler approach; this approach will tremendously improve your chances of success. The approach is no secret, and yet most artists don't employ it.
Find the solutions to avoiding all these mistakes in the pages of "Starving" to Successful.
In addition to learning how to avoid the mistakes listed above, you will also see clearly how to effectively organize your work, build your brand as an artist, communicate effectively with your galleries, and much more.
I will give you concrete steps you can take to systematically prepare for gallery relationships.
Learn more about the book, preview a chapter and order your copy today at www.xanadugallery.com/book.
Please email me directly, email@example.com, or call me toll-free at the gallery at 866.483.1306 if you have any questions about the book.
J. Jason Horejs
7039. E. Main St. #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Many of you who have been following me will know that I discourage artists from including dates on their artwork. Recently, I received the following email from the curator of a museum:
As a Museum Director, I vehemently disagree with not putting the date created on pieces of work in a portfolio. Why do you suggest that? It appears that the artist is hiding something.
Thank you for the email and the question. I come at the question from a marketing and sales standpoint, and from my perspective on the front lines of helping artists sell their work, I have only seen the dating of work as a negative.
In a nutshell, here is the problem: It is often the case that a particular work of art will enter the art market and not sell immediately. Sometimes the work is shown in the wrong venue, sometimes the market itself is slow (as over the last several years) and sometimes it’s just poor luck. There are a lot of variables that have to align in order to sell a piece of art. Because of the complexity of the market, an artist will frequently have to move a work of art through several galleries before it finds a home. This process can sometimes take months, or even years. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the artwork, it simply takes time to align the art with the right individual who will be willing and able to make the purchase.
If the work of art includes the creation date we risk prejudicing the potential buyer against the work unnecessarily. The potential buyer may find the artwork to be desirable in every way artistically and aesthetically, and I would argue that the age of the artwork shouldn’t make any difference to this buyer. Unfortunately, I have found age can have an impact on some (not all, but some) buyers.
“I like this piece,” they will say, “but it’s dated 2007. It’s been on the market for over five years and no one has bought it? What’s wrong with it?” This seed of doubt can be enough to dissuade some buyers. I am not speaking hypothetically – I have seen this happen on numerous occasions over my 19 years in the art business and my experience has lead me to discourage artists from including the date on their work or in their portfolios for this reason. I simply don’t see a compelling reason on the other side of the argument that outweighs this potential risk for an artist who is trying to sell their work in the current art market.
I would argue that it’s not that we’re trying to hide something from potential buyers, but rather that we simply don’t emphasize the age of the work by including the date. If there is no date on the work, in the vast majority of cases, the issue never arises.
I am an impassioned advocate of artists being organized and carefully cataloging all of their work. I encourage artists to make sure that each work of art includes an inventory number which could then be cross-referenced to the artist’s inventory if and when the question of creation date arises in the future.
I understand that from a curatorial standpoint it would be helpful to have easy access to creation date, but the vast majority of artists working today are more concerned with making a living and selling their work. From that perspective, I would argue that, on balance, it is better to avoid overtly dating the work.
I would welcome your perspective and any counter arguments. My position certainly isn’t intractable, I simply want to help artists make informed decisions as they approach the market.
FROM STARVING TO SUCCESSFUL
Have you ever stood in an art gallery and said to yourself: "My work is better than the art in this gallery. Why are these artists selling in galleries and I'm not?"
I have spent the last several years helping artists answer this question. I discovered that it's the little things that make all the difference in an artist's career.
Before I share some of these little things (that add up to make a big difference!), let me introduce myself. My name is Jason Horejs, and I own Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have owned the gallery for over 12 years, been in the gallery business for 21 years, and have written two books sharing my experiences with artists like yourself.
Have you read my emails over the last few weeks? I am preparing to host an intensive workshop in your area to help artists, like you, become focused, organized and successful. If you are hoping to attend, then I encourage you to sign up today before the class fills!
Can little things make a difference in your art career? I invite you to ponder the suggestions below, and I will expand on each of these suggestions during the workshop. These little ideas, put into practice with your marketing plan, will help you present your work more professionally. They will help you get into galleries and sell more of your art.
Quality Check. I have known and worked with hundreds of artists over the years. The most successful artists are devoted to high quality. They have the ability to step back from their work and look at it through their buyer's eyes. Art collectors are picky. They demand attention to detail. Their homes are immaculate. You must create work that will fit seamlessly into their homes.
Your medium doesn't matter - sculpture, jewelry, paintings, photography or fiber art - the presentation must be flawless.
Think of each work you create as a masterpiece. Treat it as such.
One small thing to improve the quality of your work: Invite someone you trust to evaluate the quality of your art. You should invite an artist you admire, a designer, or a gallery owner over to your studio for coffee. Show them 5-6 pieces of your work, then ask, "What are three things I could do to improve the quality of my presentation?"
An objective observer will see your art in a way you never could. Repeat this process every one to two years and make a commitment to constantly improve your quality.
Read a Book. Collectors and dealers love to talk history. As you begin to show in galleries and interact with collectors at shows you will find they love to talk about past masters. Your relationships with collectors and dealers will deepen if you can converse fluently about art history. I suggest you strive to understand the major art movements from the impressionists through the present day. This understanding will also enrich your work as you are inspired by the great artist's lives and works.
One little thing to work on: Visit your local book store or Amazon.com and order a biography of one of your favorite artists. Commit to read 2 artist biographies per year. Join a book club (Xanadu Gallery hosts a book club for artists!)Don't limit your reading only to artists you like. I wasn't a fan of Willem deKooning's work until I read about his life. He is now one of my favorite artists.
Analyze your Competition. You don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to marketing your art. With a little work, you will find hundreds of artists whose work is comparable to yours. Learn from them. Do what they do.
One little thing to work on: Every week, devote an hour to researching your competition online. Type keywords describing your work into a search engine and you will quickly encounter your competitors. Develop a list of 10 artists you feel are closest to you in style, genre, subject, and/or experience. Analyze them.
Where is the artist from?
What is his/her background?
What is his/her education?
What does the artist's resume look like? What about his/her
bio and artist's statement?
What galleries is he/she showing in?
How does he/she advertise his/her work?
How is his/her work priced?
How is he/she presenting his/her work?
The insight you will gain through this weekly exercise will prove invaluable to you as you develop your marketing plans. By understanding your competition, you can better tailor your work to the market. You can price your work competitively. You can better understand the types of galleries you should approach.
Use an Inventory Number. As you begin to experience success, organizing your inventory becomes critical. Using an inventory number is an easy way to start to control your inventory. As you move artwork from studio to gallery and from gallery to gallery, an inventory number will make it easy to track your work. Titles can get mixed up, but inventory numbers are almost infallible.
If you don't already have an inventory numbering system, start with a high number (3000, for example). Nothing says "new artist" like a low inventory number.
Send a Thank-you note. As you begin to work with collectors and galleries, your goal is not to sell art. Your end-goal is to create relationships. Relationships will lead to a lifetime of sales. You will be amazed what one simple thing like a hand-written thank-you note can do for your relationships. In this age of digital communication and voicemail interaction, a hand-written thank you note stands out.
When a gallery sends you a commission check you should immediately sit down and write a thank-you note. Keep the note simple:
Spend Some Time on Marketing. I am amazed at how many artists will spend long days in the studio, weeks in workshops, but then wonder why their work isn't selling. Often, these same artists are devoting very little time to marketing. You should be spending 10% of your time marketing. You will be amazed by how much you can accomplish in this small amount of time, and this is one small thing that will make a huge difference in your career.
My upcoming workshop will give you concrete, actionable guidance in organizing the business side of your career. I will also give you an understanding of the art business from the perspective of a gallery owner with 21+ years experience in the business.
If I can give you one idea that helps you sell one work of art would it be worth $79 and four hours of your time? I am going to give many more ideas than just one, so if you are ready to put your art career on track and start selling your work, then sign up now before the class fills!
The "Starving" to Successful artist workshop will be held in the following locations in your area this year:
Country Inn & Suites
Registration and information:
Registration is $79. I expect the workshop to fill during the next several weeks.
Please email me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me toll-free at the gallery at 866.483.1306 if you have any questions about how the workshop will apply to your work.
J. Jason Horejs
7039. E. Main St. #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
P.S. I don't get to your area often and I don't plan to return for at least another year.
P.P.S. If you are unsatisfied with the workshop for any reason, I will refund your full registration fee with no questions asked. For less than the cost of dinner and a movie you can re-energize your art career!