Archive for May, 2011

As promised I am running over some basics in regards to selling your product. This seems like a good time to do it since I’m actually preparing for my first event which is this upcoming weekend. My experience selling art is primarily through art fair events where I am the actual seller and these tips are geared for this market, as opposed to galleries where the gallery deals with the patron.

No Hard Selling Please
While hard selling works (think used car salesman) in the end I want anyone buying my work to be thrilled with the experience and definitely don’t want them to have felt pressured into purchasing. Repeat sales are a huge part on my income. I like to develop collectors since I tend to do the same events year after year. Anyone experiencing buyers remorse after feeling pushed into a purchase will not buy from that artist.

The Importance Of Quality
I know you’ve heard me go on and on, on this topic but it’s pretty important. Once again if a product lasts people will be more likely to buy again. For me that means no fading of framing materials or prints and especially NOT the original work from using inferior products. It does cost more but anyone who knows art will appreciate and value this and using all conservation grade products has sold more than one or two pieces for me. Art is often seen as an investment. It needs to last.

Booth Appearance

Keep it neat and professional. This means avoid overcrowding, (yeah I struggle with this one from time to time) never have art setting on the ground, keep it as open and spacious (ie not trap or cave like) so people feel like it “safe” to come in and browse. In a like manner try not to sit in the front. Buyers are wily prey and many will avoid entering on this principle alone.

The “S” Rule

Again regular readers know what this is Shiny Stuff Sells. Lighting is an absolute must for indoor events and when outdoors only use a white tents or canopies. You may think a colored tent stands out in a crowd but it will cast funny colors on your product and/or absorb light once again making your tent a “cave.”

Demonstrating Your Art
Patrons, art event staff and judges all love an artist working their medium. Now I realize depending on your genre’ this may not work but for those who it does, if at all possible demonstrate.

Giving Out Business Cards

So I am kinda against the flow of the general populace on this but I keep my business cards in the back or on my person so a patron needs to ask for one. My reasoning? Well … first if they aren’t willing to ask they probably don’t really intend to use. And most importantly it offers me a chance to interact with the lookie-lou and see if there is something I can help them with (ie to get them to buy now instead of later)

Handling the “Be Backs”
So anyone who has worked any kind of event here’s this statement dozens of times a day. Most people never do and never have any intention of doing so. I’ve come to the conclusion that people really want to tell you they appreciate your work but just not quite enough to spend money on it. Saying this allows them to assuage any guilt they feel for not buying anything. Which of course is unnecessary and has been know to excite the newbie artist. So if you’re a lookie-lou and really don’t plan to come back, then just say you really like the work and move on.

Now for the artist a good plan of action is to have some sort of incentive to bring them back to your booth. Like a flier or postcard saying they get something FREE (everyone’s favorite word) with a purchase made at this event. Now the free thing doesn’t have to be a big thing. Perhaps a free notecard or 10% discount. I also have offered a free shipping deal if they order from my website within the next month. This generally only works a handful of times. Again most people really have no real intention of buying. But then you just never know. NOTE This free promotional piece should not be advertised in front of other patrons or everybody will want to partake of the deal.

So there you have it. If you like more information on what I discussed here as well as more info on the subject in general please visit my squidoo page Selling Art: Tips From An Art Fair Veteran

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So moments after I launch my Phone it in Friday post (you know the one with the dancing naked guys) I receive this wonderful little email from someone on etsy thanking me for my blog and sharing so much useful (not to mention FREE) info on doing art fairs and that she has shared it with her team. And I’m like “How nice!” … which was followed immediately by the thought … “Oh crud, it figures I’s publish a bunch of naked men dancing just in time for a bunch of fine art folks from etsy to come visiting.”

Ah such is the way my life works.

I usually get several such emails or squidoo comments per week and its these such little kindnesses as well as you guys who comment on the blog that keeps me at it after all these years. So in celebration, my next post will be about selling at art fairs. Hopefully I’ll get it finished and posted today but otherwise it will be the next post.

Enjoy Memorial Day everyone. Remember those who sacrificed everything for us to enjoy out happy lives … and then over indulge at the BBQ.

BTW If you’ve never been to etsy you should really check it out. It’s kinda like ebay except it only sells handmade goods and unlike ebay you can sell your art for what it’s worth. etsy generally doesn’t have the garage sale mentality that goes along with selling stuff on ebay. I sell work on both sites from time to time so I’m not biased. Just callin’ it as I sees it.

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Okay you all know I’m a little weird and I really am fond on bizarre stuff. This video actually made me laugh out loud. Well snort and choke on my Diet Coke … but that totally counts.

This features a bunch of naked men dancing but all you see is their tushies. Still, I thought I should post a warning. And yes I think it does qualify as vaguely artsy.

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So I really am up to the tweaking stage. You know that impossible to tell “exactly” when a painting is done so you keep playing with it and playing with it until you just sort of give up or ruin it.

I have often heard that artists will look at their work in progress pieces in the mirror or upside to sort of fool their conscious mind as to what its seeing and therefor allow you to see your work in a new way. This has never been something I’ve tried, mostly because I don’t have any mirrors big enough to accommodate my larger works.

What I do, do (do-do Ha!) is set my painting on the floor about 6 feet away from the couch and then put my feet up and flip through magazines or call someone to chat. (Yes this is seriously a great way to goof off and still call it work) This step allows me to look at the painting while focusing on something else. Letting my subconscious suck in all the details and make judgement calls on what to do next while I am blissfully unaware of making any real decision.

This has been my plan of action for years and has indeed worked pretty well. But lately my time has become more critical and sitting on the couch often is a bit of a luxury so I have amped up the process with the use of technology.

Essentially I just flip my image around in my photo processor. The smaller image also works in may ways like viewing the piece from a distance.

So what did I learn from this? Well I decided I needed a little more dark green a long the bottom portion of the painting Or perhaps lighten it a little around the nose area. I’ll post the finished painting soon as she has already been sold.


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Post Painting Euphoria

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say post painting sale euphoria. But then often it is pretty much the same thing as of late many of my works are sold right often the drafting table. I have sold four originals this month. Some big … some little and the experience is pretty much the same.

Once I sell a painting, I am awash in the warm fuzzy-ness that is a sale. Now I’m greedy. I get a little high off from pretty much any sale prints and notecards as well. But the sale of originals are always a little more special. You might think it’s because in general the amount of money is increased, therefor the euphoria is in direct proportion to it. But no. Or at least not directly. The euphoria is in direct proportion to how long the money lasts. Which on average no matter how great the sale is 24-96 hours.

The thing about running a business is you have a second set of bills, so there is always something in need of paying.

I’m writing this because … well so many who want to get into the arts have glamorous visions of what being an artist is. And while I’m sure some people live that life of luxury and creating what and when they want to. Most of the artists that I know who make a living from their art (or even those seeking a nice additional income boost to their real jobs) have to work it. Indeed, far more time is spent being a business person than an artist.

Now this isn’t as depressing as it sounds. But it’s reality. At least it’s my reality. So here’s a slightly tongue in cheek look at the emotional cycle of painting sales.

The steps of the painting emotional rollercoaster are as follows:

* Stressed trying to get a painting out that I think is worthy of selling.

* Elation and euphoria when someone willingly trades their hard earned money for something I created. This, even after all these years blows my mind just a little.

* Giddy and happy with check in hand and while depositing in bank.

* Pleasant glow
while paying bills.

* Relaxed
while pondering the start of the next painting

* Stressed trying to get a painting out that I think is worthy of selling.

I’m pretty sure the only way I can extend my euphoria stage is to sell the art for more. While some of my patron collectors would be willing to pay 2x as much or more I would most assuredly lose others. This is a line I’m not ready to cross yet.

I was reading recently where an artist coach says to n ot only factor in your painting time but your down time as well. Which truthfully the only way to make it a living is you have to cover all of your living expenses.

When mentoring young artists the first thing I tell them after they have talked about their dream of “just painting for a living” is to look at how much money they are currently spending on living. All of it. The gas, food, household expenses, movies and health insurance because as an artist you are self employed. Now picture just how much art you need to sell to cover that. Again I’m so not trying to be cruel but in order to be successful in any endeavor you need to take a hard look at exactly what it all entails.

There are tons of benefits to being an artist and I truly love my life most days. But there are some days where the thought of a steady paycheck and the idea of working 9-5 five days a week holds a strong appeal.

But today is not one of them. As the sale I made yesterday was a good sized sale which should keep me in my happy place for a least 4 to 5 more days.

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So here he is all framed up and ready to go off to his new forever home (as they say when adopting out pets) in the far away land known as Cincinnati.

As the title pf this post says, we now have this image available in print. For print information regarding my latest lion painting please visit the African Art Section of the Wild Faces Gallery website.

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So I’m going to try to have another regular feature (err… perhaps semi-regular) I say try because so often it’s too hard to stick with it over time. Although as the name implies this should be relatively easy as I plan to simply include weird or stuff that amuses me, but with the added benefit that I didn’t actually have to create it.

So I’m breaking ya’ll in easy with a cute cat cartoon video (Yeah I know right? It took me over 2 years to incorporate YouTube on my blog. I’m such a trend-setter.) Mostly they will have to do with art or critters and sometimes it will just be something off the wall.

Simon’s Cat is one of Budda’s and my favorite videos to watch. Enjoy.

And here’s another

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The Latest Giraffe Wip

Well she’s coming along. I’m going to tempt the fates by saying that I am hopeful I will get her all finished up by this weekend. I washed in the base color of the neck after I took this photo and so really I have it (the neck) and finishing up the background left to do.

I am very pleased at how quickly this all has come together.

The working title and probable final title it Tree Topper. I think I never mentioned the size of this giraffe painting so at the moment (meaning I may trim a little off for compositional purposes) is 16 1/2 x 24.

To see a much larger view of this painting please visit my African Wildlife Art page on squidoo and scroll down to the bottom of the page to What’s On The Easel Now section.

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So here’s what I’ve got by the end of today. I kept adding background color density, only to start saturating the board and pulling it right back off. So I finally decided to stop the madness and begin working on the critter portion of my painting. It’s pretty impossible to gauge hoe intense I want the background without the actually animal as part of it.

I haven’t done a piece with this soft pastel background on my giraffes yet and so I keep wanting to darken and intensify the colors. However it was the soft colors in my photo that really attracted me to this. So we’ll wait and see how it all plays out in the end.

And here’s a slightly closer look at the head.

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I'm Feelin' A Little Backward Today

So here is the early stages of my latest painting. A giraffe in case you couldn’t tell by the glossy vaguely giraffe-like shape on my suede board (err … not to mention the photos.) Because I am ever so confident that I will pull off a successful giraffe and a wobbly mass of jello-like insecurity when it comes to all of that background I decided to work backwards on this one. Plus I always like challenging myself with new … umm … well … challenges.

So the background is going in first and this is so far, what I’ve got.

Somehow the process is not nearly as magical as when I start with the eye and then the animal mysteriously appears. But I know if I can nail the background, the painting will be a success. Whereas if I nail the giraffe first I still have that mountain of personal heroics I need to conquer, which is otherwise known as completing the background.

And here’s a shot of my workstation. Now to be honest this is the last three paintings worth of watercoior pencils, inktense pencils and Neocolor II water soluble wax pastel crayons. Sometimes I can be a real slob.

The 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke nearly drunk. I know that I’m addicted to something when the thought of swigging the stuff out of a ginormous bottle has now become a time saving device. (You know … as opposed to stopping and refilling a mug repeatedly.) I try to limit myself to a liter a day (1/2 the bottle) but occasionally I drink the whole thing.

Perhaps I should put in in a brown paper sack to hide my shame. But then again I just don’t care. 🙂

So next post will be the update on the giraffe painting as the bulk of this was written back a day or so and now the painting’s background is very nearly complete. Soon very soon I get to start on all that giraffey goodness.

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