Tag Archives: Sales

Field of Dreams

Artist Amy Guidry with her work at the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall
Artist Amy Guidry with her work at the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall

I decided to re-post this since it was a popular post I had done awhile back. So for those of you that are new or may have missed this, I hope you find it inspiring!

No one cares about your art more than you do. It’s true. It’s not unlike showing your vacation photos to everyone. They mean well, but after about two minutes, the enthusiasm wears off and their eyes glaze over. I was inspired to write this after going through some old art magazines to clear out the mountain of periodicals I’ve saved. I came across a rather disheartening article in a very popular magazine. The author was giving advice on how to be a successful artist. Some of the author’s tips? Paint what sells- not more “complex” paintings, don’t bother showing in libraries or university galleries since they don’t generate sales (museums usually don’t either, but I don’t know an artist alive that wouldn’t jump at the chance to show in a museum), and sell on Ebay- specifically bright, colorful, quick paintings- no drawings. I know better than this and even I found it depressing! I can only imagine what other artists must think.

So this is what leads me to my frustration. I don’t care who they are or if they mean well, no one truly cares about your art or your art career as much as you do. This is why you are the only one that can determine what your goals are and if, at the end of the day, you’ve done all that you can to achieve those goals. Don’t listen to the naysayers, the haters, the critics, the cynics, or the non-believers. What do they know anyway? Even some of the experts can’t always predict what you, personally, need to do. That’s why it’s up to you to take in all this information and filter through it and find what is applicable and toss away what’s not. You know what you need to do. You know if your work is the best it can be. You know what you should create. If you try to “paint what sells,” you’ll be chasing your tail for quite some time. Popularity changes as do marketing trends. Something that sells one day, won’t the next. That’s why there are trend analysts that make a living at this. Great work is great work and it will attract its own popularity. And while I’m at it- if you were to avoid university galleries, libraries, museums, or any other venue for fear of little to no sales, you wouldn’t be an artist, would you? I couldn’t imagine not having the experience of seeing art, especially when I was a student, at a university gallery or museum. Some of the most significant shows of our time come from these venues.

In my own personal experience, I’ve heard it all. I’ve been told what I should paint, how I should paint, and I’ve even had a drunk non-artist tell me what is and isn’t art. When I made the decision to paint and to try to get into a gallery exhibit, even one of my “good” friends told me that I couldn’t do it. It’s a good thing I didn’t listen to any of these people, otherwise I may not have even been an artist at all. Anyone listening to that kind of advice would quit before even starting. Don’t make that mistake. If you’re already a working artist, just keep on trucking. If you’re just starting out, stay focused and put your blinders on. And maybe invest in some good ear plugs.

Being a true artist takes grit. There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and you’ll need to develop a thick skin. However, I can’t imagine a more rewarding experience. I always like to think of these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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Art and Social Media

Artist Amy Guidry autographs a fan's exhibition catalog

As an artist, I’m always learning more about the business side of the art world. I scour the internet constantly, read books and magazines- Art Calendar!, listen to podcasts, etc. Anything I can get my hands on basically. So I’ve compiled a “best of” pertaining to social media. Some of you are using these services already (as am I) but are you using them to their fullest potential? And some of you are not using these at all, which needs to change pronto. So here are the tips I’ve gained:

Facebook:
– Create a Fan Page for your art. This is where you will do all your marketing since Facebook does not allow such on your personal profile.

– Engage your fans with your posts and make sure they are visible (not locked under some privacy setting). When fans “like” your posts, everyone on their profile sees this, thus spreading the word.

– Ask fans questions to get them interacting and interested in your page.

– Join Facebook Groups for artists and post links to your work and introduce yourself. However, do not do this to another artist’s fan page since that is dedicated to their work and would be considered rude.

– Add to discussions, don’t just “like” a post.

– When a gallery invites you to an event on Facebook, never just ignore or decline it, always write a personal note on the event wall—leaving your name there for all to see.

Twitter:
– Retweet and @reply other artists to spark conversations and build your network.

– Follow people (even if you don’t know them- that’s the great thing about Twitter) to get on their radar. Follow artists, galleries, curators, etc.

– When tweeting about a popular subject, put a number sign (#) in front of it. These are known as hashtags and make it easy for others to find your tweet through Twitter searches so they may want to follow you. Example: #art, #gallery

– Do not to use more than 2-3 hashtags or you might be considered a spammer to your followers.

– One of Twitter’s most popular personalities, @GuyKawasaki states, “I find it’s worth repeating important tweets up to 4 times in about 18 hours. Typically, that would be evening, late evening, next morning and then the afternoon. Hopefully, that will catch the different audiences. But that’s enough; I don’t want to turn anyone off.”

– Make a “List” on Twitter to group people of interest- such as galleries or dealers, curators, and collectors. This will help you keep track of different groups and stay in touch.

LinkedIn:
– Join groups that are related to your style of artwork as well as more general art groups. Ask questions and contribute to other discussions.

– Connect with galleries, artists, curators, and collectors that you know (you can get booted out for spamming people you don’t know). Also connect with other professionals- your dentist, doctor, real estate agent, etc.

People who are popular in the social media world inform, entertain, and educate – sometimes all at once. If you’re a successful self-employed artist, it’s about the inspiration and the example you provide for other artists. So it’s really about them. Post videos, tutorials, news, artwork, interesting articles, music, movies that you think people will appreciate. Posts should be of substance, not how you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or that it’s Monday or Friday (we know the days of the week). Think of it this way: if you were in their position, what would you find interesting?

www.AmyGuidry.com

Art Marketing: What’s working and what’s not

Artist Amy Guidry discussing her work with reporter Kevin Chiri
Artist Amy Guidry discussing her work with reporter Kevin Chiri

First, I must point out that this is my own personal account regarding my efforts to market my art, so bear in mind that some things may work better for others. That said, I’ve done a lot of research over the years regarding the business side of art. All of these accounts are from others’ own personal dealings as well, so I like to rely on a broad spectrum of sources. So enough blabbing, here’s the gist of it:

I’ve been tracking my website (www.AmyGuidry.com) stats for years, which is the only way I can know (other than someone telling me personally) that someone has been checking out my work. I’ve noticed that some sources that once were good generators of publicity, have fallen by the wayside a bit. I’m almost certain that this (yes, I hate to say it) is because as soon as the economy took a dive, many people were dropping their subscriptions and I think some were just less interested in purchasing artwork, therefore not looking it up on the internet so much, either. For instance, when I would have a feature article about my work in a magazine, I’d see a huge spike in my website stats. Now, not so much.

So what does this mean? Well, for starters, now is the time for artists to up their efforts (if you haven’t already) when it comes to marketing your work. Studies have shown that those who keep marketing despite an economic depression, thrive later on because they have maintained their brand status while those that didn’t tend to lose customers in the long run. They appear less successful because they couldn’t “afford” (though you can market your work for free thanks to the internet) to advertise their product or services. And they were more likely to be forgotten because their name/brand was not being repeated. Also good to note here that it takes an estimated seven times for an ad to sink in to its viewers. So a one-time ad is most certainly not enough.

Back to my personal findings- what has worked according to my stats is #1 Direct traffic. Which is great and should be your main effort because it means people are directly going to your site. You stand out to them, you are the authority to refer to, your art is memorable, etc. So this means that handing out those business cards is working. #2 is Google. Yes, it is “the” search engine according to my stats. I know that this is due to my web ranking. If you look up my name, my website is at the top. Not Facebook. This is good because you want your site to be the place people go to find you. Those social media sites are great, but again, you have to stay ahead of them in your rankings. That said, the rest of my referrals come from a mix of social media sites, blogs, websites, and emails (which may be direct traffic, basically, since I like to put my website at the bottom of my emails). I can’t say one is better than the other since they vary from month to month and even day to day. However, the good news is they are all free advertising. So there’s no cost to you (other than your studio time- so be careful) to “advertise” through all of them.

Before I forget, I should clarify that this doesn’t mean I think you should abandon other marketing sources such as magazines, radio, newspapers, etc. I would advise using that time and money (if you are buying ads) wisely and pick and choose the ones that best suit your work and reach your target audience.

How to Be an Art Star 2.0

Recognize this blouse?  Answer at www.AmyGuidry.comOkay, that may be misleading since this is not the second edition, but a second time around for this class. For those of you who are not familiar with my Art Marketing class from last fall, this is your opportunity to to take part. As part of Frederick l’Ecole des Arts in Arnaudville, LA, I will be teaching another Art Marketing and Self-Promotion course. The first class was quite a success and a great, interactive opportunity to get together with aritists and gallery owners. In addition to my course outline, we had a group session covering individual questions and sharing ideas.

So if you missed out the first time, or are new to this blog and will be in the area, please sign up for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. The class will be May 2nd (a Saturday) from 10AM-12Noon. Of course we did stay late last time because people had lots of questions and ideas to share, but if you need to leave at noon, feel free to do so.

To give you an idea of what the class is about, here is a general course outline. Overview: Risk assessment; getting out of your comfort zone. Changing your mindset. Goal-setting. Portfolio Development. Gallery submissions and approaching galleries. Alternative exhibition opportunities and juried shows. Marketing Materials. Pricing. Sales. Some of the additional topics discussed included shipping work, Ebay, vanity galleries (just stay away- that’s a free tip you can get from me right now!), and what else, but blogging, of course.

Some of these are very basic principles, and some of it boils down to good old-fashioned common sense, but for many artists, their expertise is in their medium and not in marketing. Unfortunately marketing is not a course requirement when getting your art degree, and quite frankly, it’s just plain scary to people (not just artists!). In addition, to succeed at ANYthing requires goals, planning, and organization. All skills that most people don’t think of or skip when trying to succeed at anything. How many people do you know who blame things on bad luck or lack of luck? Or think the only way they can do what they truly love is if they “win the lottery?” I can think of many.

Okay, ready to sign up yet? Go to http://frederickarts.homestead.com/Classes.html to register for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. Sign up early to ensure your spot in the class. And it doesn’t matter if you are in high school and planning on your future career as an artist or if you’ve been an artist all your life. If you want to improve your marketing skills, ask questions, or take your career to the next level, this is your opportunity. And meet some great people, too!

www.AmyGuidry.com

Sold

"Mike" by Amy Guidry; SOLD; Copyright Amy Guidry 2009

I try to post as much as possible on here, but sometimes I slack off a bit when I’m really busy. Case in point. So while trying to catch up on recent news, I realized that I didn’t even post the last two paintings I sold. Sales are always good news, so that’s worth sharing. I sold two portraits that I had done awhile back. They were some of the first paintings I had done when I decided to paint professionally and make a career out of my art. I was especially glad since that series has dwindled down to not quite enough to have for a whole show, yet too many to have sitting in storage. And they didn’t exactly fit with my recent series, either. So now they have new homes, and I am very happy about that.

Both paintings are the same size, 30″ tall by 24″ wide. A “medium” size that I do, depending on your definition of medium. (I know some artists think 4 or 5 feet is “medium” sized…)

"Craig" by Amy Guidry; SOLD; Copyright Amy Guidry 2009

And they are both framed, so that actually adds an 1 1/2″ in each direction.  The painting, “Mike,” is of a friend I met through my husband. The painting, “Craig,” is of my brother (you may recall seeing his picture in previous posts). The “Craig” painting is actually the first portrait I did for this series.

You can view more from my portrait series, in addition to my new work at www.AmyGuidry.com. And if you haven’t seen it already, you can view my painting video on YouTube at http://www.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uL3H_rKW1k.

How To Be an Art Star 2.0

Recognize this blouse?  Answer at www.AmyGuidry.comOkay, that may be misleading since this is not the second edition, but a second time around for this class. For those of you who are not familiar with my Art Marketing class from last fall, this is your opportunity to to take part. As part of Frederick l’Ecole des Arts in Arnaudville, LA, I will be teaching another Art Marketing and Self-Promotion course. The first class was quite a success and a great, interactive opportunity to get together with aritists and gallery owners. In addition to my course outline, we had a group session covering individual questions and sharing ideas.

So if you missed out the first time, or are new to this blog and will be in the area, please sign up for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. The class will be May 2nd (a Saturday) from 10AM-12Noon. Of course we did stay late last time because people had lots of questions and ideas to share, but if you need to leave at noon, feel free to do so.

To give you an idea of what the class is about, here is a general course outline. Overview: Risk assessment; getting out of your comfort zone. Changing your mindset. Goal-setting. Portfolio Development. Gallery submissions and approaching galleries. Alternative exhibition opportunities and juried shows. Marketing Materials. Pricing. Sales. Some of the additional topics discussed included shipping work, Ebay, vanity galleries (just stay away- that’s a free tip you can get from me right now!), and what else, but blogging, of course.

Some of these are very basic principles, and some of it boils down to good old-fashioned common sense, but for many artists, their expertise is in their medium and not in marketing. Unfortunately marketing is not a course requirement when getting your art degree, and quite frankly, it’s just plain scary to people (not just artists!). In addition, to succeed at ANYthing requires goals, planning, and organization. All skills that most people don’t think of or skip when trying to succeed at anything. How many people do you know who blame things on bad luck or lack of luck? Or think the only way they can do what they truly love is if they “win the lottery?” I can think of many.

Okay, ready to sign up yet? Go to http://frederickarts.homestead.com/Classes.html to register for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. Sign up early to ensure your spot in the class. And it doesn’t matter if you are in high school and planning on your future career as an artist or if you’ve been an artist all your life. If you want to improve your marketing skills, ask questions, or take your career to the next level, this is your opportunity. And meet some great people, too!

www.AmyGuidry.com

Death of an Artistic Salesman

"Awakening" by Amy Guidry; From my New Realm series. View more at www.AmyGuidry.com

One of the trickiest parts of being an artist is sales.  Most artists fail because of their lack of business skills.  Business skills are made up of many components, and one of those is your sales ability.  No, it’s not easy, and there really isn’t any one answer when it comes to sales.  Except diligence.  That’s the one common denominator I can think of in the sales equation.  Other than that, your sales approach can vary depending on who you’re dealing with.  Of course time and lots of practice will help you crack that code.

One specific helpful hint I can give you is to check out the Sales Gravy podcast.  I love this thing.  Show.  Whatever they are… podcasts are great because you can subscribe to them and listen to them repeatedly until they become your mantra.  Anyway, I love the Sales Gravy Power Principles podcast.  I am currently waiting to see when the next one will be out (usually on a weekly basis, but the newest one is mysteriously late).  Oh Jeb Blount, where art thou?  Much of the information on there is common sense, but sometimes we all have tunnel vision and miss out on the no-brainer actions we could and should be doing.  So that’s where Sales Gravy comes in.  Plus, it’s a motivational show, so you should just listen for the good confidence boost.

So if you are an artist, you should check out Sales Gravy.  Maybe you’ll learn something new.  Or maybe you’re already implementing these tactics in your life, but you should still give it a listen just to serve as proof you’re moving in the right direction.

www.AmyGuidry.com