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Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekend Chat Line...What's your best venue for art sales?

"Elizabeth"...another of my first portraits

Teresa Mallen left a very helpful detailed explanation on The Chat Line last week about how she priced her art and ended with this thought...
"Finally, I would suggest that people put setting prices into perspective. While it is an agonizing process at first, It will get easier. It probably isn't as important as we make it. I mean we can deliberate over $50-100 one way or the other until we want to quit the show altogether. Yet it probably matters most if we have managed to find a venue where we can connect up with 'our customer'. Now if we could find the magic answer to that one...!! Perhaps another chat line topic?"
I had to agree with Teresa...the price we charge doesn't matter if we don't have a viable market for our art. Being from a small town, I always feel those artists in the larger metropolitan areas have the advantage...more galleries, more shows, more affluent people desiring and valuing fine art. Yet I do realize that you still have to make the connection and that can be difficult.

I know many artists sell their art on internet gallery sites like Boundless Gallery, ETSY, and Art Span. I've yet to try any of the online galleries available to artists and would be interested in hearing your personal recommendations and experiences.

So I ask you: What art venues have worked best to connect you with your customers? What "creative" marketing have you done that proved successful? Is there anything you've tried that you would not recommend?

Your wisdom and experience is valuable.

The "Chat Line" is open...There's no better place to learn than from each other. I'm anxious to hear your ideas. And as always, please feel free to comment on what others have to say.

Spring has finally arrived in Central Illinois!
Have a beautiful weekend,
Marsha


Links:
Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques


PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment.

10 comments:

Anima said...

Last summer I did an outdoor show called the Whyte Avenue Art Walk. I had originals and prints on display and painted on site. I loved it for a few reasons: 1) I got to paint 8-10 hours a day for 3 days straight, something I never, ever, ever get to do. 2) I networked with some really great artists. 3) I received a little media coverage. 4) I connected with new collectors.

I'll be participating again this year along with about 250 other artists and I'm really looking forward to it.

Karen Hargett said...

Hey Marsha,
I'm still trying to figure this all out. So far the local art shows have been my best venue.

I've participated in both juried and non-juried exhibitions in the area but they just don't seem to be as profitable as some of the art shows I attend.

Of course getting your name and work out there and being seen by the multitudes is extremely important so I can't discount the exhibitions at all.

I think you have to work at it all and then some!

In May I have my big show in Kerrville and will try to draw at least one day during the show - that always seems to attract more people.

I'm looking forward to seeing what others have to say.

Marsha Robinett said...

Anma,
I checked out the show you mentioned, it looks interesting. Wish I were closer to Canada. I agree, working on your craft is attractive to the visitor...I've tried it a couple of times and found for me the humidity here in Illinois is absorbed by the paper and effects my ability to blend.

I have at times displayed a partially finished piece on an easel and periodically demonstrated my techniques.

Karen,
You spoke of 'shows' and 'exhibitions' and related them as different types of venues. Could you elaborate on this for us. I'm not quite sure of the difference.

Karen Hargett said...

Marsha,
When I refer to shows - that is usually my 1 - 4 day show where I go and set up my tent and display all my pieces of art and I sell them. And I'm there for the duration.

My experience with exhibitions have been when I take 1-5 peices somewhere, usually with my art club, to hang for 1-3 months. Sometimes these are juried and sometimes not. I had 2 pieces juried in to show at the Capitol Rotunda in Austin last year and we couldn't have anything but the name of the piece, size, medium, and contact information - no pricing. Sometimes where we exhibit we can have pricing and if the piece sells it has to stay until the end of the exhibition - other places let us take it down and replace it with something else.

So there is quite a bit of difference to me in shows and exhibitions. Both have their value.

BTW Marsha and anima what kind of easel do y'all have?

Marsha Robinett said...

Karen,
What you refer to as 'shows' are called 'Art Fairs' here...at least when outdoors. As with you, these have proven to be my best venue. The exposure compared to time invested just can't be beat. This is also where most of my commissions are booked.

I have a flip bin with a group of some of my past commissioned drawings and the photo reference used along with some framed portraits in various sizes hung above the display...WORKS BEAUTIFULLY.

I might also add that the additional work I did this winter developing my web presence is beginning to pay off with SALES!!

I use a drafting table for my drawings and most time also use it when I'm doing watercolors. I do have a watercolor easel that fits on a camera tripod that I ordered from Jim Kosvanec...I use this when I'm 'serious'. Perhaps someone working in pastels will respond to your question.

Karen Hargett said...

Marsha we call them Art Fairs or Fine Art Fairs here to - I just call them shows ;-) because in my mind that's what I do - "show my work." haha

When I work at home I have 2 boards - one for graphite and another for pastels - I sit on my loveseat, prop my feet up on my ottoman, put the board on my lap with a pillow under the board for the angle I want and go to work. OK - don't laugh but after sitting in an office all day I really don't want to sit in another "chair" and this seems to work for me. But this can get awkward at my shows - hard to balance and get up to help customers and so forth. So I was thinking of getting a plien air easel that carried everything but just didn't know for sure.

I like your idea of framing some of your commissions above your flip ben - good idea. I love getting ideas from other artists! I just have a sample portfolio book that people can flip thru to see what I've done but seeing them framed probably makes a good impression.

Marsha Robinett said...

Karen,
My 'portrait' display hangs on the back walls of my tent. It serves to draw people inside. I have a split back panel with a door opening in the center...I sit there and the 'portrait' flip bin is on one side.

I can easily talk to the client and answer questions without moving into their space and intimidating. They will even go outside and pull others in to look through it. This has been one of my BEST marketing devices for booking commissions, (and to attract people to come in to look around).

I took my idea to my framer and she cut 'holes' in a mat board for the print of the commissioned piece and some of the reference photos used. It has a backing board and I put it into a plastic sleeve for display.

I'll try to post a photo of the set-up and one of the display boards on my blog next week.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hello Marsha, Thank you for posting this chat line topic. I have been watching the comments these last few days, hoping to find the magic answer to connecting with buyers. I smiled at Karen's thought that we have to work at it all and then some! Guess that sort of sums it up doesn't it? :-)

Thanks again for responding to my input from last week. Much appreciated!

PamYla said...

Not drawings but other forms of art. I tried selling digital dolls on EBay, I did make 2 sales but they took my profits as 'fees' that was a couple of years ago. I also had a Cafe Press site at the same time. And it was really more trouble than it was worth. Maybe my digital works were not interesting enough, I did make a couple of sales though. In 2005 I took photographs and made calendars, 11x14 prints, and postcards while I was in Alaska. I did very well. For me, face to face as well as having your own site are the best ways to go. Now, if I could get my drawings to behave and turn out nicely :)

PamYla said...

I forgot to add that I have read a marketing pdf, and it s tates that peer sites, friendster, myspace and the likes are great ways also to drive traffic to your site. Im sure this takes a lot of time out of the week, but Im also sure that this helps too. I had noticed that some artists do this very often, and wondered why

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