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Posts Tagged ‘prints’

I just finished reading How To Profit from the Art Print Market; Creating Cash Flow From Original Art; Practical Advice for Visual Artists, by Barney Davey. (A bit of a mouthful really.) View the Table of Contents.

Mr. Davey was a salesman for Decor magazine and its trade show Decor Expo for 15 years. Much of what he says is geared toward using those avenues of promotion. He suggests that to launch yourself in this way would require an investment of at least $100,000. I would think that for the average artist, (myself included) this is an unrealistic plan of action. However, once you get past that, the book is pretty good.

I gleaned more than one good idea from it. Like, when at an art show and you have someone who is really on the fence about purchasing, and they say those three little words made classic by Arney, “I’ll be back.” You discreetly slip them a postcard that offers something special upon their return (i.e. A free box of greeting cards, a free mini print or a 10% discount.) Since I am not the hard sell type, this strikes me as a great alternative to being more aggressive or appearing desperate (Like … by falling to my knees, clutching their pant legs and begging.)

Also, I particularly enjoyed reading about the strategies used by some of the current top selling print artists like Moss, Wyland, Doolittle and Kinkade. For instance for over 15 years, P. Buckley Moss made no less than 100 appearances for one-woman shows at her dealer galleries, per year. Wow, now thats commitment.

Though, I can’t say that this is a must read for every artist. I do think this book could be a valuable resource. It is crammed with website urls on nearly every aspect of the art business. This book is a great starting point to explore the various avenues for furthering your artistic business goals.

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Should I Make Prints of My Work?

Wild Faces Gallery as a business, is made up of three parts. The bulk of the business is made from the sale of my artwork via art fairs, my collector base, website and ebay. The balance of income is divided between custom framing and our printing house.

I think anyone is capable of success in the art print market, if they have the right attitude…

To Print or Not To Print.
WFG is self publishing. We do canvas and paper giclee printing, (pronounced zhee-clay) for ourselves as well as other artists. We have started quite a few artists on their journey to expand their sales by making prints. I thought I would address here the most commonly asked question of us regarding printing, “should I make prints of my artwork?” This really is a question that every artist must answer for themselves. But here are a few things to think about that may help you decide.

When NOT To Do Prints

  • If your originals aren’t garnering interest, then why do you think your prints will? (Hone your craft or find out why your work isn’t moving.)
  • Is your work commercial or is it too esoteric to be sold en masse.
  • Sure it’s a great painting, but can you sell it over and over again?
  • Do you have a marketing plan, and the ambition to implement it? The build it and they will come mentality, will not work here. Artwork will not sell itself in your closet or under your bed.
  • The glory days of prints being seen as an art investment are just about over. Indeed there is a great deal of discussion about whether to even produce limited editions or just run everything as an open edition. Be sure you see prints for what they are, a more affordable copy of your work, created for volume sales.

When You SHOULD Do Prints.

  • Your originals are outselling your ability to produce more work.
  • Prints allow you to appeal to a broader audience by making art that more people can afford.
  • A customer commissions a piece and then wants multiples for friends and family.
  • Prints can cultivate collectors. People may buy a print or two for a few years then step up to an original. This has happened more than once for me. In fact I have sold an original to someone who had purchased a note card. She had it hung on her fridge for over a year, then returned for the original. This happens because having your print in their house is a daily reminder of you and your work.
  • Most Importantly! It will expand your earning potential per image substantially. Most of my paintings take several weeks to complete. Add to that, the day to day running of the gallery. I can only get, (If I’m lucky) a dozen originals out a year. Though they fetch reasonably high prices, that alone just isn’t enough to pay the bills. Creating prints is what took my art from an extra income hobby to a full time business for both my husband and myself.

So there you go. Be honest with yourself and your abilities both as an artist and as a business person. In my opinion being successful with prints is far more about your ability to sell, than it is about being the best artist out there. Quality of work definitely matters. And I believe an artist should always strive for improvement and growth. But in the terms of making it or not, it’s your ambition and perseverance that will get you the farthest. I think anyone is capable of success in the art print market, if they have the right attitude, and the ability to follow through.

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