Dear Mr. Rhoads,
I am contacting you in hope that you may be able to give me some advice. I am a homemaker and I am trying to figure out how to get my husband, who is this amazing and talented artist, exposure. I understand you publish a few art magazines…which has caught my eye and I have thought of maybe placing an ad in one of your magazines however, with my current financial situation I am unsure if it would be feasible for me to do so. I am a 110% believer in my husband’s work but feel torn between making the decision of spending money we do not have for exposure we may not receive by placing an ad. We are raising 4 children and I am struggling within myself to do the right thing.
Your husband is very fortunate to have someone who cares enough to go out on a limb to help. Also someone willing to know how important his art is to him.
Your question is loaded with so many elements. I'll try to briefly address some of them.
Don't risk what you don't have. Ads don't always work. Or if by chance his work is not appealing to the "buyers" than it could be wasted money. There are many elements to an ad, content being the most important. So before advertising it is important to know if he is ready. You may think so, but what about a set of expert eyes. It might be a good idea to seek worthy opinions from some experts.
Only risk the resources you can risk what you can afford to loose...time, phone calls, mail, etc. With that said, the people who break out in life tend to be people who take big risks.
The starting point is to define success. What does he want out of all of this? DEFINE what success would look like. Be exact, be realistic. Success for some is selling prints, for others it's selling originals, others it's commissions, and others its graphic projects. Know exactly what he wants out of success....what will not only keep him excited but also what is needed financially. There are many directions you could go therefore this is a critical step.
In order to devote "full time" without another job you also need to sharpen your pencil and determine what amount of money is needed after taxes? Then break that into monthly amounts. Once you know that.... how do you get there? For instance if you need $4000 a month.... how do you sell 4 paintings at $1000 a month? Or 8 at $500. or 2 at $2000..... etc. And how do you ideally want to sell them...
gallery? (they keep half), web?, local retail? shows? fairs?
Its as important to define what you want as what you don't want. One artist friend is bitter because he feels his only outlet is the fair circuit, which means he sits in a tent every weekend somewhere. He does not enjoy it. I know some who don't like working with galleries because they want contact with buyers.
Once you have a plan....work it with vigor. If you decide to chase galleries....than get the work out there to be seen. Promote like crazy. Win awards, Do PR, Do shows. All these things can be done with a computer and a phone. Though advertising can leverage your time by reaching hundreds if not thousands more people in less time, its not for everyone.
Many great artists past and present are "managed" by spouses. This is a great thing if you can pull it off... let him paint, you focus on helping find a way to sell it, promote it, set up shows. Its an asset many painters don't have so its great if you can be his "agent." I do, however, suggest a different name (maybe your maiden name) because no one wants to hurt the feelings of a wife or husband if rejecting or offering constructive criticism. It also feels more professional this way.
To start out do shows at any local venue you can get, invite people, send press releases. Try to sell some paintings. It won't cost you a dime. Perhaps you can get a local business to host you and invite their customers, give them 1/2 of everything sold in exchange. Any promotion is good promotion. Build his name with repetition. Shows, awards, etc.
A good rule of thumb..... dominate something. In advertising we suggest to dominate a publication. At a show you want to dominate the show (biggest booth? biggest paintings?) It is easiest and usually most cost effective to dominate LOCALLY. Once you have done that for a couple years, dominate REGIONALLY. Its easier to drive 50 miles to sell paintings at local shows than to drive across country. Once you're ready dominate NATIONALLY. Advertising is typically for a national focus unless advertising in local publications and sites. Its probably best to play the minor leagues before the majors where you can learn the ropes (there are exceptions.)
Most important is to define where you're going, what you expect, and what you want your life to look like. Read THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill, which is great for anyone with a goal to achieve.