Balance Art and Marketing

Balance art and marketing

Balance Art and Marketing

Balance Art and Marketing Notes

I’ve always considered it essential to balance art and marketing In my career. I read a lot of books about art marketing and they are all good, but to accomplish all that they recommend would take 24 hours a day in organization and effort. We have to be careful not to put marketing before our real work which is painting. It is a delicate balance.

Balance Art and Marketing

Landscape Paintings

I think compromise between the two is essential for success. Frankly, I used to care a lot more about it than I do now. I needed to. Emerging artists must market to make a name for themselves. I suppose after you get to a certain stage in your career you may not need to work as hard to be known. I have given up some things which I used to do because my focus has shifted more toward painting. Moving toward self representation has changed my focus too. I don’t spend a lot of time anymore doing museum or gallery shows, though I still do a few each year. That took up a lot of my time. I’m not saying I’ll turn down opportunities that come my way, but I don’t invest a lot of time looking for them anymore.

Balance Art and Marketing

Another thing I have done is to really think about what I wish to accomplish and what my goals really are. I think that is one of the more important things to do at least every few years. What I wanted 10 years ago has little to do with what I want now. I thought about what I want right now and I want to sell enough work to pay my bills, do commissions because they are a challenging, stable source of income, and I want to paint.  Add to that a bit of teaching now and then  and research and I’m a happy camper.

Balance Art and Marketing

Twenty  years ago, I wanted to be a leader in the Florida plein air community, a well known painter with lots of gallery and museum affiliations and a long and impressive resume. Fame and glory were foremost in my mind. My hubris knew no bounds :>) I accomplished a lot of those goals but to what end? I can laugh at myself looking back. It never occurred to me that being a good painter and selling enough work to survive would be more important.

Balance Art and Marketing

Linda’s Bird Art

I direct my marketing toward the goals I have at different stages of my career. I don’t spend overmuch time in building my name brand or my resume now because it is not as relevant to my goals. My artist statement does not fit the proper formula because I want to tell people about me, my journey as an amateur naturalist and why I paint. It is written  as a mission with no artsy words, not cool, but I like to give my collectors an honest look at a real artist’s life. Basically I tend to break most of the marketing rules, but manage to survive in spite of it all.

Balance Art and Marketing

I think reading the books is important, especially for emerging painters. I just think a word of caution about going overboard is warranted. There is nothing more important than studying painting and putting the time into the work. Without that all the marketing in the world will not make you a true success. You may get away with it and fake your way to fame, but inside you will know you can’t paint.

If I have to choose between organizing files,keeping my inventory up to date or putting the time in at the easel, I have to choose the easel time. The rest will take care of itself. If my work gets better, people will notice. More people will buy it if it is good.

So,I think we have to set our priorities carefully,realistically and focus specifically toward our goals, in terms of time and financial investment. If we wish to be noticed then Internet exposure is vital and should have a priority. We need to use our mailing list effectively and we need to work within our budget.

Balance Art and Marketing

After that, we need to decide what is more vital, painting or marketing. If you have a studio full of work and no sales, then you must decide whether your work needs improvement or whether you need to spend more time marketing. If you have reasonable sales, keep improving your work to generate more.

We ignore marketing at our own peril, but we don’t need to be obsessive about it to succeed.

There is a danger in spending more of ones time doing press releases, and worrying more about nice stationary than painting. Many emerging painters hide behind doing all of the marketing activities to avoid painting because they are afraid to face the easel. They don’t want to do what it takes to improve. They don’t want to go through the tedious time of study in order to be a good painter. They would rather spend their time churning out poor work and focus on selling.

Balance Art and Marketing

Believe me, I am not at all anti-marketing. Those of you who know me realize that I have spent many years studying art marketing. What I am saying is pick the things that will do you the most good and let go of the small stuff, until you start having some success. Then you can add the small marketing chores as you have free time. None of us are super human.

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe:

Corn Pancakes

10 ears of corn
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup milk
Pinch salt
Corn oil, for sauteing
1/4 cup sour cream, for garnish

Remove kernels form husk of corn using a sharp knife. Puree in a blender. Mix in the sugar, milk, and salt. Heat griddle to medium heat, lightly coat with canola oil. Spoon mixture onto hot griddle to form “pancakes” of your desired size. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Garnish with sour cream.

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