A Story about Art Marketing from Eric
My friends will tell you I'm a fairly modest guy. I've learned to overcome my shy nature because, to succeed in business, you have to learn to blow your own horn once in a while. It's the hardest thing I've ever learned, and I know it's tough for most artists as well.
So here I go, blowing my own horn.
I was flattered when Jim and Mark at Greenhouse Gallery asked me to conduct an art marketing workshop at their gallery the day after their Salon International dinner.
My Frantic Saturday Morning
I drove home to Austin on Friday night and had to return to San Antonio for the 2 p.m. seminar on Saturday. I was making last-minute changes to the presentation when the phone rang. It was my artist buddy Anne Nelson Sweat, who was planning to accompany me on the 80-minute drive. "If we're going to be on time, you need to be here to pick me up in 15 minutes, " she said. I was still in jeans and sneakers. I spent another 20 minutes preparing the notes and rushed out the door to pick up Anne.
Driving Like A Madman
I suddenly realized I hadn't had a bite to eat all day, but traffic was bad and there wasn't even time for fast food. I was probably well over the speed limit when Anne, who was looking on the GPS navigator on her iPhone, shouted, "Quick! Turn here!" I swerved from the middle lane and exited just as she announced, "Oops, wrong exit." Just as I was about to get back on the highway, I noticed traffic had stopped. I made a quick right and asked Anne to navigate us on back roads to avoid the traffic. Countdown: 10 minutes. We were at least 15 minutes away according to the GPS, and if we hadn't taken that turn we would have been an hour late. With one of the gallery staff talking us through the back streets we, walked in exactly at 2 o'clock. I never did eat.
Yes, I Get Butterflies
I walked in the door with my shirt tail hanging out from my jeans. Frankly, I was comfortable, it was Saturday, and why not? Yes, I had butterflies as I saw the 50 artists in the room waiting for me to say something meaningful. Though I've conducted hundreds of speeches and seminars, it never goes without some angst -- and this was more than usual because my notes were still in disarray.
Please Don't Stop!
At the end of the second hour, the artists asked me if I would keep going, so I did until Mark from Greenhouse pointed to his watch. The opening was about to begin. The seminar went three hours, and not one person got up the entire time. They seemed to be engaged.
Two Paintings Sold Instantly - Like Magic
As I said, blowing my own horn is hard, but I felt like a proud papa. During my seminar, I taught a system for using stories to sell art. It's much too complex and time-consuming to get into here and now, but about an hour later, during the opening of the exhibit, one of the artists approached me and said, "I followed your advice. A man was looking at my painting, so I walked up and told him my story using the techniques you outlined, and he instantly bought it." I remember the artist's face but I don’t know her name. So if you're reading this, call me!
The following week, I received an e-mail from another artist who had a similar experience and sold his painting the same way.
Helping Buyers With Imagination
Artists tell me that people need to interpret a painting to their own meaning. I agree to an extent, but, because artists are creative types, they assume everyone can do this. Some people have little imagination, and if you can help them along with a well-crafted story (don't lie) that isn’t boring, is fact-based but not fact-filled, and is written to help people see themselves in the painting, you will sell more artwork. So will your gallery. Are you using stories to sell art?
My Two-Day Art Marketing Seminar
the seminar I was asked if I'd be willing to do a two-day version. The
answer is that nothing is planned, but if I get enough e-mails from
people willing to come to Austin for a paid seminar, I'll consider doing
it. My e-mail is eric@artistadvocatemagazine.
PS: How To Get A Gallery
most asked question at the art-marketing seminar was: How do I get into
an art gallery? I have a magazine called Artist Advocate that
is mailed to 6,500 galleries that sell ORIGINAL art. We e-mail it to
another 8,500 people. You can have your own page showing your artwork
for all these galleries to see. Dozens and dozens of artists have signed
on with new galleries as a result, and now that the economy is starting
to improve and more galleries are looking to get more active, this is
the perfect time to begin the process of exposing your art. For
information about the publication, go to www.artistadvocatemagazine.com