Marketing Your Art Teleseminar with The Grove

Artists take on a lot when they take on the title “Artist.” Whether the title logistically means as an artist that I “day-job” by day and “art-job” by night, when an artist endeavors to sell their work they add an entire set of skills to their existing artistic responsibilities, and one of the most important skills is marketing. The starting point for marketing your art is of course, the art. That said, there is art created just for the sake of saying something, and perhaps you don’t even want to sell that art. But then there is also art created to be seen, enjoyed, and sold. The art that needs marketing is the latter, even if the art that supports the artist is only a small percentage of their work.

I’ve been marketing my art, my clients’ art, and my husband’s art (Wallpusher.com) for several years, so I was honored and pleased to be invited to share my experience and expertise in an online Grove Class. On September 19th Joey O’Connor hosted the online class titled “Marketing your Art with Margot Rogers.”  We had a lot of great insights discussing everything from the basics of starting  your marketing plan to more specific difficulties that artists face in marketing their work, and current tools that I use to market art for clients and myself.

As an illustrator/muralist I have encountered the challenges of refining a portfolio, following trends, narrowing my work to a niche, and identifying the target audience who will be interested in my work. Our conversation started with a general but very important topic, the mind-shift that all artists must make to market their work: start thinking of your art as a product.

Join the Online Class
I invite you to enter into the conversation by watching the “Marketing  Your Art” Teleseminar. You can view the online class at The Grove Center’s website. A little caveat for when you do watch the class: my slides are a little crowded by design. I intended each one to have enough information to look at for a second or third viewing. Don’t you love those movies that hide something in the background so that on first viewing you can hardly see everything in frame, so you are compelled to go back and take a second look? I was kind of going for that with lots of practical tips, illustrative images and quotes by marketing geniuses at the bottom of the slides. I just had so many inspiring people’s voices come into my head when I was preparing for this important topic that I just had to include them.

Here is just a slice of all the great marketing strategies and concepts that Joey and I discussed during the class:

Mapping your Marketing Plan
When you map out your marketing plan, your map should include these things: Product, Placement and Promotion.  My favorite story that illustrates these marketing principles in action is the illustration project I did for Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour workweek, body and chef. How did I get such a gig? Well I had been following Tim Ferriss for a while and waiting for his new cookbook to come out. I was following him on twitter when he tweeted a call for art, which I responded to, and was hired.
How does my Marketing Plan apply to this? The Product was illustrative drawings; published on my online portfolio. The Promotion:  via free social networking tools. The Placement was the most interesting. I was directly commissioned by Tim Ferriss to illustrate certain concepts for the book, but he had hired an intermediary publishing group to help him manage the project, who sent my drawings to the author and then sent them back to me with his edits and comments.

Main point: be sure that you understand the channels that get your art seen and sold. This model of intermediaries is pretty common all over the art world in galleries, museums, publishers, agents, and more. There is definitely a way to play the game, while at the same time recognizing that we are moving into a business space where the artist can connect directly with their collectors, or the illustrators with their authors, so your story will be more important than ever to reach your target audience.

Creative Marketing
One of the most important things to keep in mind as you wade into the marketing space is to “be yourself” aka: “be creative.” Take the creativity that you have honed with your art experience and apply it to the business of sharing your art.  If we (artists) apply our creativity to business and marketing problems, developing a marketing plan will be easier, more successful, and more fun. More on that in a later post. Sharing my experience with other artists who are looking for creative ways to market their work has been very rewarding. Next week I will share more useful tips and practical advice to help you as you start developing your marketing plan.

7 Business Card Tips

So excited for Spring! As a business spring cleaning gesture I ordered new business cards. After much deliberation and professional advice, I bit the bullet and ordered from Vistaprint using a Groupon. Yesterday my double sided Business cards came in, with an illustration on the front and a mural on the back. I’m thrilled with the result!

Most of my favorite illustrations are painted as murals on the sides of buildings, which is how I came to explore the wide world of illustration and mural painting all at the same time. Whether I am working on an editorial illustration, a how-to/DIY piece or illustrating a children’s book,  I am always thinking of how it could operate on a larger scale. I love the conversation between small and large, painted and digital that is going on in the art world right now.
My favorite part of making this business card was orchestrating the design so that the front (digital illustration) and back (photograph of a 40 foot floor mural) could play off each other in terms of color and style, and yet still be speaking the same language.
Here are my 7 tips for ordering business cards from personal experience:
1. I searched for a Groupon. However you do it, try to find a deal on a bulk order of cards so you don’t have to keep re-ordering.
2. Don’t be a penny pincher; be sure to get double sided cards.
3. Create a design that integrates the front and back sides, make sure that the colors coordinate.
4. Be sure to sit with the design for a while and make sure it “says” what you want it to. Get feedback on the design and message.
5. Using symbols for different modes of communication really helps. Many people benefit from making professional connections on Twitter, so it is a smart move to include your user name on the cards. However, you should clarify with a symbol that @margotdesign is your twitter name, or else some people who don’t tweet may confuse your twitter name for your email.
6. Avoid writing too much on the card, less is more in elevator pitches and business cards alike.
7. Make sure you use 2 fonts or less. Visually setting your name or business name apart with its own font is a good idea, but 3 fonts kills the simplicity of the card.

Do you have a space where the digital elements and the tangible are overlapping? Where they are in dialogue or discord? Let me know your experience in the comments below, I’d love to hear your perspective!
squirrel child costume

Current Projects

Margot Rogers Harvard Art Show

Harvard Art Show

So excited to be invited to show my paintings at the Harvard Art Show! The Adams ArtSpace Exhibition gathered works from artists around the world in the historic University in Cambridge last Friday, October 12, 2012.

I loved the theme of the, show, which was “Compassion,” A theme I have been thinking a lot about recently. The Harvard Art Show was curated by Roni Paverick, and she did a wonderful job of gathering pieces that complemented each other but were all very different. She oriented the pieces so that they flowed very naturally from one to the other, I really admire her natural eye! The Harvard Art Show reminded me of how much I enjoy themed art shows, I would love to do more of them. I would love to do a series of themed shows from the mundane (coffee is one of my favorite brainstorms, or fruit) to the very serious (pro-life and pro-choice artwork in the same space). I loved that all the work was so different, and each piece had its own interpretation of compassion.

The red and green graphic designer’s print, which read “Compassion makes you see and act” really struck me. It was more my husband’s style than mine, I tend towards the over emotional representational pieces where he enjoyed a limited palette and more abstract geometric pieces, but it was the literal message of the piece, only visible through red heart glasses, that really struck a chord with me, and set the tone for how I would remember the show.

So the hardest thing for me in every art show is writing an Artist’s Statement. I love the fact that there are so many fake “Statement” generators like 10gallon.com  and ArtyBollocks because I feel like the majority of the artist statements I read at galleries and musuems have been spit out of one of these template generators. When I write my “non-generated” Artist Statement, it is like trying to condense a hundred conversations with different viewers into a tiny paragraph that doesn’t do justice to one square inch of painting.

Maybe the reason why artists have trouble writing their statements (hence the need to generators…) is that the art they make is made because it said something visually that couldn’t be said verbally. There are times when a critic’s interpretation of a work, or an art historian’s explanation of the context of a work are helpful, but even then they do injustice to the art by assuming too much.

Here is my artist statement from the Harvard Show:

Compassion: Dance as an allegory of compassionate expression. The activity of ballet as a formal art requires a specific individual to enact or carry out the written steps of choreography in a way that respects, holds true, and expresses the intent of the composer. At the same time, the true artistry of dance only comes into being in the act of the individual’s form and physical activity. In this series I explored the relationship of a dancer to her choreographed step as a metaphor for everyman’s responsibility to complete steps in the world that are choreographed and yet become beautiful through the individual flair in the particular, time and space bound performance in the world. As we dance through our lives, our impact on others is our expressive flair, following in the ethical steps that God’s law has written for us.

Tim Ferriss Four Hour Chef

The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

Tim Ferriss (author of the Four Hour Work Week, Four Hour Body), is a polarizing character: people either love him or hate him. I have loved his work since the first book came out, and was so thrilled when he commissioned me to illustrate his long-awaited cookbook, the Four Hour Chef.
Little did I know that this publication would be even more controversial than anything he’s done before; The Four Hour Chef is the most banned book since the 1929 book, Lady Chatterly’s Lover. If you missed the big news, The 4-Hour Chef is being boycotted by Barnes & Noble and 700+ bookstores across the United States. Why? because the book is first for Amazon Publishing.

I’m so excited to be a little part of history!

I am honored to be showcased in several sections, including several cooking demonstrations (edited by Tim Ferriss himself!) and a large 3 page spread of my herb illustrations! Now I feel inspired to create a cookbook of my own! I hope you’ll buy Tim’s book on Amazon, and read his Press Release!