In this post, I continue with my best advice for artists starting a marketing plan, which I began last week. Even if you’ve never thought about marketing your art or don’t think you could, this post is for you.
One of my favorite Seth Godin quotes (who is one of my favorite marketing leaders) is simple: “Thrash early…so we can ship on time and on budget to the right market. When you work to make Art that is your best work, art that is worth Marketing, it is important to ask all the questions that your potential collector will ask. Will it last? Perhaps it’s not meant to, but anyone would ask whether it will or not. Will it travel? What does it invoke? Does it speak to the viewer? Does it make a statement? Does it draw people into conversation?
Essentially when you are ready to market your art, your first job is to start thinking about who your work will speak to. Marketing your art is much easier when you make art to connect with someone. It doesn’t have to connect with everyone- on the contrary, it is preferable that it connects to a select audience. Don’t try to make work “everyone” will like, instead take the time to get into your customers’ head and figure out what they are looking for.
Now more than ever the boundaries of “Artist” are blurry, but that only increases the need for focus in the particular artist’s career. Are you a photographer, graphic designer, muralist, or fashion illustrator? Each of these “Artists” has a totally different customer with different needs, so the sooner you figure out your audience the easier selling to them will be.
What is your calling card? Next week I’ll talk more about how to think creatively about your art business.
Along with practical tips to help artists who are going pro, I like to share my current projects on the blog. Most recently I have been working on a project in collaboration with a local non-profit art organization called “Express Yourself.” This organization has earned awards from the White House for the positive benefits they have brought to the community through their creative work with kids. They help kids make art, put on performances, and show work in their downtown gallery. I was awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to create modular murals with the Express Yourself Kids that will travel around the city of Beverly and be featured in their 25th anniversary performance at the Wang Theatre in Boston.
This project is a great example of being able to enter into an exciting, out of the box collaboration that benefits the community and a non-profit. As an artist it is important to give back, developing the cultural richness of our cities is more important than ever. In my next post I will talk about the importance of trying different types of art income streams until you find the ones you want to focus on.