Straight Talk about Art, Marketing,
Inspiration and Fine Living
For Artists, Collectors and Galleries
(and anyone else who loves art)
by Robert Genn
artists who might consider being their own dealer need to think about
its possible effect on their current or potential dealers. Artists who
sell themselves hard can get nixed by the mainstream. Representing
yourself is tiresome for many and can be the kiss of death for a few. . .
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
San Antonio, Texas
IN THIS ISSUE
* Let's get a hot dog and go to Wal-Mart . .
* COLLECTOR'S DISCOVERY SALON
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* Focal Point: figurative
Modern Man Overheard at Costco
Last night while being dragged through Costco with our dear wife, we overheard the following exchange by the family in the next aisle:
"What do you guys want to do tonight?"
"I don't know..."
"What do you want for dinner?"
"I don't know...."
"Well what are you in the mood for?"
"I don't know...."
Next came the classic line. We couldn't sum up the state of affairs in our country better if we tried....
"OK, then come on everyone, let's go get a hot dog and go to Wal-Mart...."
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Editors Note: Today we bring you this essay by Robert Genn. As usual he is insightful and right on many points...artists who advertise directly seldom realize their investment. However, we feel it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. The fault is not always with the "system" but with the approach taken by most artists. Over the next few weeks we'll present some ideas for improving advertising results. However, keep in mind that marketing is hard work....as Robert points out, if you're not up to taking on a "second job" in addition to producing your art, it is best to find a dealer to do the bulk of the marketing....
Friction Free Selling
By Robert Genn
This morning David Sharpe wrote, "What's your opinion on marketing directly to the public and bypassing traditional galleries? I want to buy small print ads in community newspapers and city-life magazines showing my work and pointing the readers to my website. The idea is to ship direct to the public from my backyard studio and reduce the gallery commission slightly so as to not drastically devalue my work in the marketplace. I'll give buyers a slight Internet price advantage. Is it, as Bill Gates said, 'a friction-free marketing tool?' "
Thanks, David. It would be nice if it worked, but it generally doesn't. If your name were Mohammad Ali and you painted, you might pick up a volume of hits from folks who needed a connection to a celebrity. While you may be sharp, you're just a guy who paints well. Sad to say, even excellent work is not a big enough push to get folks electronically beating down that backyard-studio door.
Most sales are made by direct connection between an eager dealer and a willing customer. The Internet has turned out to be a godsend for dealers, if not for artists. Some of my dealers find 40 percent of their business is Internet related.
The current buzzword is "clicks and mortar." Savvy, established galleries now make it easy for customers to electronically access art as it comes in. As they say in the gallery world, "Online showing is the killer app."
All artists who might consider being their own dealer need to think about its possible effect on their current or potential dealers. Artists who sell themselves hard can get nixed by the mainstream. Representing yourself is tiresome for many and can be the kiss of death for a few.
My advice is to concentrate on your work and leave the commerce to others. Don't worry about their percentages. Sharing glory and treasure builds your creative independence.
I thoroughly believe in websites for artists. On my site, www.robertgenn.com, we get fewer than a hundred visitors a day.
However, many of these are curious, qualified collectors. My home page immediately spirits them to my dealers' sites.
Besides making the beautiful connection, the system is generally friction-free.
PS: "The first question I had to resolve was: What specific behavioral influences would cause a person to go to my site?
There are four: (1)Researching me or my work, (2)Casually encountering my site link from another website, (3)Responding to an ad, and/or (4)Looking for a specific subject on a search engine and finding me." (Marques Vickers, author of "Marketing and Buying Fine Art Online: A Guide for Artists and
Esoterica: If an artist's work is not attracting friends and not selling in galleries, it's not likely to find buyers on the Net. Furthermore, relatively unknown, serious artists who run ad hoc ads in print media seldom realize their investment. As creative people, we need believers and dedicated helpers who will go to bat for us on a daily basis. We need a personal rooting section, even if we have to cross some palms. Art goes on walls by making friends. "I get by with a little help from my friends." (John Lennon and Paul McCartney)
Read Artist feedback Regarding "Friction Free Selling" by:
* Dianne Mize
* David Wayne Wilson
* David Schwindt
* John Ferrie
* Prem Singh
* Julie Rodriguez Jones
* Chris Bolmeier
* Karl Leitzel
* Judi Gorski
* Don Cadoret
* Lois Isaacs
* Geoffrey Jamieson
* Robert Ault
* Monika Welch
* Jamie Lavin
This article is reproduced with permission. Copyright 2007 - Robert Genn.
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