Professional Artist magazine provides independent visual artists with the strategies they need to make a living with their artwork. For the second year in a row, they have declared June “Professional Artist Month.”
Throughout the month, artists are invited to connect and interact with Professional Artist through activities, advice, giveaways and a dedicated art contest.
“The inaugural Professional Artist Month was such a success that we knew we had to build on that momentum for 2014,” Publisher Jannett Roberts said. “Last year, our focus was to bring our readers even more resources to empower them in their creative careers. This June, it’s all about celebrating these talented professionals and engaging with them on a deeper level.”
Highlights of the 2014 Professional Artist Month include:
“Art-Felt Words” e-cards: Free digital postcards to share with friends, family and fellow artists via email and social media
“SmART Advice” showcase: A collection of inspired insights, motivational messages and words of wisdom from readers all month long
“Portrait of a Professional Artist” contest: An opportunity for artists to have their work featured in an upcoming issue of Professional Artist magazine
Daily giveaways : 30 chances to win great prizes, plus a special Professional Artist Store coupon for all participants
Exclusive subscription offer: A limited-time deal that includes a set of three free digital pocket guides with the purchase of a one-year subscription to Professional Artist
Each issue of Professional Artist magazine presents practical business advice on subjects such as art marketing, art law, portfolio development, exhibition presentation, communication skills and sales techniques.
Articles to help artists feel encouraged and motivated are also featured, as well as a comprehensive list of calls to artists.
An informal survey of online press releases, trade-show topics, and market-research reports indicates which art-market trends and technologies are likely to gain momentum in 2012. Let me know what you think about some the trends I have listed here, or if I’ve overlooked any major developments.
More artists are integrating technology into the process of making art.
“Cyberarts” is defined as any artistic endeavor in which computer technology is used to expand artistic possibilities. The cyberarts movement definitely appears to be growing, as artists experiment with different kinds of apps, motion graphics, augmented reality, and various forms of mixed-media printing.
Artist Dan Hermes has written several informative blog posts about “moving paintings,” which are also known as video paintings, dynamic paintings, ambient paintings, moving digital paintings, and ambient video. Increasingly, these paintings will be designed for display in residential or commercial interiors, on either flat-screen TVs or as projection installations
Elliot Grey has posted a YouTube video explaining his approach to “Cinematic Digital Painting,” which turns your television set into a canvas.
Interest in iPhone art is also rising. More than 3,000 iPhoneography artists gather on the website iPhoneArt.com to discuss their work, collaborate, and share what they have made. Cofounders Daria Polichetti and Nathaniel Park are dedicated to creating exhibition opportunities, financial support, international recognition, and promotional opportunities for iPhone artists.
As our homes, offices, and public spaces become increasingly screen-filled, many art lovers will treasure the tactile substance and presence of physical art objects. Thus, mixed-media printmakers such as Bonny Lhotka (author of the book Digital Alchemy) are teaching artists how to create art by combining digital techniques with traditional hands-on methods. Lhotka has developed methods and materials for transferring inkjet-printed digital images onto a variety of substrates such as aluminum, acrylic, birch, fresco, stone paper, and aged metal. Some of Lhotka’s works are currently displayed in the “Digital Darkroom: Exploration of Altered Realities” exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
Efforts to expand the base of new collectors will diversity and intensify.
Online galleries of all types are experimenting with many different ways to help more people discover and buy more affordable art.
Artspace, which partners with some of the world’s most renowned art institutions, is positioning itself as “an online art advisor.” One of their goals is to enable collectors and art enthusiasts to discover and collect art from renowned contemporary artists as well as emerging talent at prices ranging from $200 to $10,000.
An article in the December, 2011 issue of Wired magazine profiled the founders of Art.sy, who have created a formula for finding art that matches your personal tastes. They have lined up relationships with more than 180 galleries and are striving to make Art.sy accessible to the average art fan, in ways that art advisers are not. The service is trying to be “an omniscient art historian for the entire world—no matter where you live or how much money you have.” The article notes that right now only a tiny fraction (perhaps 4%) of the fine-art trade takes place online, and the global market for fine art and antiques is estimated at roughly $60 billion a year.
Efforts to expand exposure opportunities for artists are happening at all levels. In December, the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery launched a YouTube channel that presents moving slideshows of the previous online exhibitions.
Collectors and galleries will use high-resolution LCD panels to display collections of artwork.
At the Miami SOLO show presented by Artexpo, Planar teamed up with Samsung Semiconductor to display works by 30 emerging artists on Samsung’s new “SM’ART” gallery frames. These LCD panels have much higher resolution than television screens, making it possible not only to reproduce the original colors in a painting, but also the textures.
According to a Samsung product manager, the panels will also be much simpler to operate than a TV. There won’t be wires and cables hanging out of it, and the controls will operated either by tablet computer or smartphone.
Ultimately, Samsung and its partners envision the creation of a cloud-based art-gallery database that will include high-resolution scans of paintings or original digital art (such as moving paintings and dynamic digital imagery).
Just as e-bookstores and iTunes have opened up markets for new writers and musicians, the art database would enable buyers to discover works they might otherwise never be able to see in big-city brick-and-mortar galleries.
After buying art from the database, people can display one image on the SM’ART screen for months without adverse affects to the screen. Then (without having to rehang a new frame), they can use the panel to show new pieces that reflect the changing seasons, décor, or event themes in hotels and reception areas. People will own art purchased from the database, so they can port it to new screens as display screens continue to improve.
More art is being displayed outdoors and in non-traditional venues.
You don’t have to visit a museum or gallery to see art. As demonstrated by projects such as The Streaming Museum and The Billboard Art Project, you can see art displayed on screens in public squares or on digital billboards traditionally used for advertising.
The Art Prize festival/competition turns the entire city of Grand Rapids, Michigan into an art gallery. Last year, more than 160 venues (including office lobbies, restaurants, courtyards, and parks) displayed the works of 1582 artists hoping to win some of the $498,000 in prize money (including $250,000 for first place). The 19-day event attracted 320,000 visitors and provided a $14.5 million boost to the local economy.
Entrepreneurial artists are using websites and social media to get exposure.
The days of sitting idly by and hoping to get discovered have vanished for all creative professionals. Many are going online to build relationships and using SEO (search-engine-optimization) techniques to increase the odds of being discovered.
More and more artists are promoting themselves through online press releases, social media, self-published books, and apps. Art business coaches and organizations such as the Institute of Arts Entrepreneurship are helping artists be more proactive in creating opportunities for themselves.
Goldberg Lite app features works by artist Colin Goldberg
In December, artist Colin Goldberg introduced an app that enables iPhone and iPad users to use some of his original art as wallpaper for their screens. The app can also be used to order prints of some of his images through his gallery on etsy. He used an online press release service to announce the availability of the app.
In a blog post about “A Tale of Two Unhappy Artists,” John Math of the Light Space & Time online gallery told the story of two artists who wondered why they weren’t selling more art. One artist complained that even though he had won several competitions, their art sales were still poor. John Math observed that he didn’t have an attractive website or social media links. Furthermore, he hadn’t even bothered to announce on his website that he had won the competitions.
“It is evident to me that no one would know about this artist, based on the lack of press releases, social media networking, and any ongoing promotions,” said Math. “In addition, his website did not contain any associated article content that would help draw anyone to his website. Consequently, his website traffic was poor and he was frustrated.”
Math noted that “Many artists will embark on a marketing campaign, not see any results quickly and then give up their efforts. It is the artist who markets their art on a continuous and consistent basis who achieves successful results.”
Send Me Your Stories
If you have stories, news, or ideas related to any of these trends, we would love to hear from you! Send ideas for articles or guest posts to: eileen (dot) fritsch (at) creativesatworkblog (dot) com.
ARTISTS. As traditional methods of selling visual art continue to lose luster, effective new distribution channels are springing up to replace them. Thanks to advances in e-commerce and digital printing technology, you can completely control how printed reproductions of your works are produced, priced, and marketed. You can use this power to financially support your passion for making art in ways that were unavailable to previous generations of visual artists.
These are some of the themes discussed in the 2nd edition of Barney Davey’s best-selling book “How to Profit from the Art Print Market.”
In the book, Davey observes that visual artists who organize and execute workable plans around achievable goals are the ones who enjoy the greatest success today. This includes understanding how the rise of print-on-demand technology, e-commerce, and social-media marketing have wreaked havoc on the old style of marketing art through galleries and dealers. In addition, a stark economy has forced a record number of companies from the market.
So even though these conditions may seem daunting, Davey reminds readers that growing a successful career in the art market was never easy. While he still sees some opportunity for artists in traditional markets, Davey believes visual artists must use available technology to be self-sufficient and sell as much art as possible direct to collectors. He considers this the best way for artists to secure their future.
The 16 chapters in the 302-page book explain the major steps involved in selling direct to collectors. Topics covered include:
Goals and Vision
Understanding Art-Print Media
Traits and Attributes of Self-published Artists
Economics of Self-publishing
Exemplary and Successful Self-published Artists
Finding and Working with a Publisher
Copyrights and Certificates of Authenticity
Trends and Inspiration
Business Marketing Basics for the Self-Published Artist
Publicity, Promotion and the Power of Self-Belief
Websites for Artists
Online Marketing and Social Media
Galleries, Dealers and Alternative Spaces
Giclées and Digital Prints
You’ll learn how to generate repeat sales of fine-art reproductions in any economy and coordinate publicity, social media and email marketing to ratchet up your sales and sell art online. The book also features a list of 500 business and marketing resources for visual artists.
Barney Davey has been intimately involved in the art business since 1988. As a sales and marketing executive for Decor magazine and its sister Decor Expo tradeshows, he consulted with hundreds of the industry’s leading art publishers and self-published artists regarding their art marketing and advertising strategies. He met leading self-published artists and art publishers, and observed the best practices.
In addition to his art marketing consulting, he does public speaking on art and Internet marketing. His newest venture is BarneyDavey.com, a media company that publishes books, blogs, online newsletters, workshops, and webinars for visual artists, including fine artists, fine-art photographers and graphic designers.
A Prolific Blogger
To stay on top of what’s happening in the art-print market, check out the three blogs Barney Davey currently publishes.
Art Print Issues is a business blog for visual artists. The blog covers a range of topics, including these posts on selling techniques:
The Giclee Business directory includes more than 500 listings of giclee printers and fine art business resources for visual artists. Categories include: website services for artists and photographers; artist business software; art licensing; art marketing services; art supplies and picture-framing services for artists, selling art online sources; fine art legal resources; art trade shows, art events, and art fairs; fine-art printmaking services; and home, hospitality and healthcare design resources.
Giclee Business News is a new online news magazine about the digital fine art market. It includes news about artists, technology, art events, learning opportunities, and more.
ARTISTS. The Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery was created to help new and emerging artists gain experience in applying for and participating in art competitions. Light, Space & Time also strives to help artists gain exposure to decision-makers from the art world.
Each month, Light Space & Time Online conducts a themed online art competition. The winners of each competition are promoted on the gallery’s website and featured in an email to gallery owners and directors, corporate art representations, and others from the art and design world.
The theme for the August competition is “Seasons.” The competition is open to all 2D artists (including photography, but excluding video). The top five finalists will be featured in a group exhibition in the Light, Space & Time Online Art Gallery during the month of September. The deadline for entering is August 29. All winners will be announced on September 1.
The gallery and monthly competition were founded by John R. Math, an art photographer who successfully sells his work through art galleries and art representatives. He recalls how hard it was to break into the art market, and thought to himself, “There must be an easier way.” So, he formed the online gallery to help give talented artists an opportunity to develop their art resumes and quickly and economically get wider exposure for their work.
ARTISTS. “Seven Essential Practices for the Professional Artist” is a 20-page e-book that can be downloaded free from the website: www.themindfulartist.com.
The book was written by Michele Théberge, an exhibiting artist who has spent the past 20 years developing effective practices to sustain a balanced and thriving art career.
“Before things started to happen for me, I suffered from enormous self-doubts and questioned my work constantly,” says Michele. “I knew I wanted to make art my life, but I had no idea how to approach an art career.”
She says she read books and took courses with advice about being a professional artist, but “What I didn’t get was the confidence or a clear strategy to follow through on much of it.”
Over the years, Michele began to fuse what she had been learning from decades of meditation and spiritual growth with the basics of making and showing art. Her techniques began to bring results. She grew more confident and was invited to be in shows and was sought out by residencies and galleries rather than having to pursue them.
The seven essential practices outlined in the book involve consistency, awareness of your thoughts, creativity, connection, well-being, organization, and clear intentions.
The seven practices form the basis of an eight-week Artist Mentorship Program Theberge has developed to help artists create their own studio habits. The next eight-week program begins June 15, and includes nine recorded seminar modules and weekly assignments to help you gain momentum. During the three live group calls, you can ask questions, get feedback, and share victories. In the private, online forum, you can connect with other artists in the program, chat, post your artwork, get feedback, and share resources.
“Artists who have worked with me in the program have reported feeling more confidence and clarity in the work as a result of establishing a regular studio practice,” writes Theberge.
She says many artists mistakenly measure their success by focusing on whether their work is getting outside recognition: “That kind of outward focus is a creativity squelcher. If you are looking toward something outside of yourself to validate your work, such as a sales, exhibitions, or accolades, it will be hard to maintain your creative practice during the inevitable up-and-down cycles of your career.”
She says her own career started to turn around when she recognized how her negative thinking patterns were holding her back: “I started to think differently about my work and its place in the world. I began to embrace the value of my work and ceased to worry about those who weren’t interested in it. This new attitude prompted intelligent, heartfelt action.”
Theberge says, “I want emerging artists, budding artists, even people who are afraid to call themselves artists to know that someone cares and that their work is valuable and it matters. It makes me sad when someone gives up on their dream because they don’t have the wherewithal or the support or mindset to keep it going. When you are creative, it’s not just for you. It helps lift everyone around in ways big and small.”
broaden your funding sources through grants, awards, artist residencies, fiscal agents, and individual contributors.
explore exhibition, commission, and sales opportunities beyond commercial galleries.
Reflecting how many artists think, the guide covers many of the day-to-day issues of running any self-directed business such as planning, budgeting, managing finances, marketing, and pricing your work. For example, Battenfield advises against setting prices under pressure. As she puts it, “The worst time to figure out a price is when you are taken by a surprise offer to buy a piece.” She suggests making a complete inventory of all your works with prices attached to each piece.
In the guide, she explains in great detail how to write an artist’s statement, document work samples, and build relationships with the individuals and organizations that can further your career.
In the beginning of your art career, you will probably need a part-time or full-time “day job” to earn money for your studio work. Battenfield suggests looking for low-stress jobs that won’t drain you of the creative energy you need for your art.
How Planning Can Help
Throughout the book, Battenfield emphasizes the value of planning. She points out that if you don’t set short- and long-term goals, you won’t be able to create, evaluate, and pursue the opportunities that can help make your dreams become reality. Here are a few tips:
Survey the current art landscape. Instead of imagining an amorphous group of collectors, artists, or the general public, reflect on who would be most interested in the content of your work. What spaces feel like a natural fit? Although the art world is no longer held captive by a few dealers, critics, curators, or patrons, not all new venues and opportunities will be suited to your work or long-term professional goals.
Develop a work structure, business systems, and support networks that allow you maintain a healthy attitude, stay engaged, and search for new solutions. While the art world continues to shift in unexpected ways, you will need to continue to believe in yourself, ask questions, and get feedback and help as often as you need it.
Write your own obituary. How do you want to be remembered? What will you have accomplished? What will family members, friends, and colleagues say about you? This exercise can help ensure that you aren’t pursuing goals contrary to your core values and beliefs.
What makes The Artist’s Guide so appealing is Battenfield’s empathy with artists who feel uncomfortable promoting themselves. She acknowledges her own shyness and writes that “Promoting yourself requires coming face to face with your own self-esteem and issues of entitlement. It can quickly stir up feelings of inadequacy about your work and yourself as an artist.”
She says there are ways to promote your work that will allow you to maintain your personal integrity and enable your own networking style to emerge. “Promoting yourself doesn’t mean that you are impolite, disrespectful of others, or inappropriately aggressive,” writes Battenfield. “It can be as simple as saying a few words about the show to a curator at an opening, then following up with card inviting the curator to one of your own shows.” Here are a few other tips from The Artist’s Guide:
Be yourself. People appreciate honesty and sincerity. Phoniness is easy to detect.
Turn your shyness into an asset. Be an attentive listener and ask questions.
Take a few actions every day to cultivate relationships with people you can help promote your work. Taking purposeful action can help you maintain the healthy attitude you will need to manage some of the issues that arise every day.
You can’t predict when the art community will turn their attention to you, Battenfield points out, “Art history is full of artists whose work was ignored and then embraced at different stages of their lives.” The strength to persevere can be developed by actively pursuing your goals and maintaining an resilient attitude.
The advice in The Artist’s Guide rings true, because Battenfield admits she made nearly every mistake discussed in the book: “I had fuzzy work samples and incoherent artist statements that still make me flush beet-red when I see them. I’ve bungled relationships and pulled them back together by the skin of my teeth.” She suggests using The Artist’s Guide as a template for creating a process that works for you.
Although a lot of the book focuses on different types of art organizations and funding sources, Battenfield’s day-to-day business advice is relevant to photographers and other freelance professionals who would like to have less stress in their lives and more time to focus on their craft.
Words of Wisdom
“It’s tough to be an artist in our culture,” writes Battenfield. While funds and opportunities are limited, your desires are limitless. Pushing yourself to the limits of your technical abilities can be challenging enough. Adding business responsibilities can feel overwhelming.
Making time to replenish your well of creativity is essential, she says. Constantly pushing yourself too hard won’t allow you to do your best work. Battenfield writes that “Any systems you can build to protect that fragile connection to your creativity is paramount to sustaining your artistic life.” In describing her approach to writing the guide, she explains “Every chapter in the book is about nurturing and protecting your creative energies so can make the best art possible.”
Jackie Battenfield has supported herself from art sales for over twenty years. She teaches career development programs for visual artists at the Creative Capital Foundation, and Columbia University. She also speaks at art workshops and events nationwide. Visit her website: www.artistcareerguide.com to see if she will be speaking at event in your area. You can preview and purchase the 378-page softcover book on Amazon.com or the Barnes
& Noble website.