Text version: 3 Mistakes Too Many Artists Make. Are You One Of Them?
Let's be really positive about this. I don't want you to walk away and wonder why I am so opinionated about this! I want you to walk away from this and say, "I won't make this mistake again". I guess after 30+ years of working in the art world online and offline, I have noticed a few reoccurring patterns in artist online behaviors. I so truly want to aid open minded and active artists overcome these very basic mistakes. I have seen it year after year, decade after decade, a new generation of artists and with established and successful ones as well. It seems to repeat itself over and over again! ARRRGGGGHHHH!
So, what are those mistakes that too many artists do all the time?
1. DON'T PARK YOUR ART ONLINE!
Probably the biggest mistake artists make and my number one pet peeve. Don't park your art online and offline. What do I mean by not parking your art? You have to understand that a website and any web presence anywhere is like a living plant; you water it regularly, feed it some fertilizer and it will grow. You just place it in some corner and forget about it and guess what, it will wilt and die. This is the same concept with artists parking their art online. 95%+ will just upload a few artworks here and there to whatever website they have chosen and that's it, period. Are you kidding me? What are you hoping to get out of it? Do you think the work will sell itself? You probably hope so!
By parking your art online and not doing anything with it you are really shooting yourself into your own foot. Of, course you won't notice it right away, but you will be disappointed and discouraged after a while because nothing seems to happen, nothing seems to move and then the bitching will start. BTW, the Internet is the biggest bitch and troll forum mankind has ever created, do you want to be one of them? The ugly trught is, you are probably hoping that the work will sell itself and that you won't have to spend time to interact with it. I get it, I do know how you feel. Yes, interaction means that you need to promote it, share it, tell your clients via email about it. Beat them over the head virtually with your newest work that you just uploaded and invite them to interact with it. Make an effort however small, ok?
Yes, this is all very basic stuff I am telling you here, but let's make a pact. The next time you upload your latest work you will do a little promotion for it, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! You will do a quick email to your clients, friends and even family that you have uploaded a new fabulous work to your artist portfolio and invite them to come visit and take a look. That is about as basic as it gets. You can't expect them to know about it if you don't do it. In the email include a little info and tell them why you have done this work or what inspired you, what materials you used and what it means to you. Don't just send them an email: "Check out my latest work".... here is the url and that's it (it will most likely go to their spam/junk box).
NO, NO, NO - you have to make a little effort and include some pertinent information. You are proud about that work, right? You have to do this every time you upload a new work and you will see it becomes really easy, it becomes part of the uploading routine and part of the creative process. The finished painting is not the end of the creative process, it is only one part of it. You have to stand out from the herd. You want to be the artist that get's noticed, right? Take this baby step and you will find success. It's all very elementary but you have to stop parking your art online. Of course I am going to encourage you to upgrade
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2. ALWAYS PRICE YOUR ARTWORK!
Second mistake way too many artists make. If you don't price your artwork nobody is going to buy it. Nobody in the age of instant communication is going to wait for you to respond with a price. You expect immediate results from google when you ask the search engine where the nearest Vietnamese restaurant is. You won't accept a reply like, "let me look that up for you, I will get back with you in a few days, I have to think about it first". Was that convincing enough? If you don't know how to price your work we have a long discussion in the help section of the artist portfolio or we can help.
Another major reason why you need to price your work is that most people are too embarrassed to ask you for a price. Imagine you go to a gallery and you see a great sculpture but it's not priced. Would you ask for a price? Some galleries use it to engage a potential customer, but how would you feel if you are told it's $150,000 and you really only can afford $15,000. You would feel out of place, maybe not embarrassed but you would probably not come back again! That wasn't a pleasant experience, was it? So, do you want to loose potential customers before you even had a chance to engage with them?
If you are serious and want to sell your artwork - price it or loose it! No more, I will get back with you or let me think about it or I don't know how much I should charge. Remember, You need to take the time to price the work right so that it will fit into your art market; yes prices vary tremendously geographically. Don't overprice it and if you underprice it, oh well it may just sell faster and you can always up the prices at a later date. But be stable with your pricing and don't go from $500 to $5,000 and then back down to $1,500. You won't sell a thing in the long run! If you need expert help with pricing your work you can take advantage of our private consulting sessions
and we will work with you to get it right.
3. DON'T HOPE FOR ARTWORK SALES - DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
I have been preaching this since day one (1995). Don't expect your work to sell itself and don't just park it online. Don't fall into the trap of fruitless hope. You are the engaging force why your artwork sells or doesn't sell - don't blame others. Let's be active, experienced and professional and your work will sell. Ok, how do you get there? First step is to think about what you can do to promote your work, how to give it more exposure and how to be professional about selling it. Yes, sounds like a long, arduous journey - we all know it won't happen by tomorrow, but if you are serious about being a professional artist and maybe even consider about living off your artwork sales, then you need to get with it and learn how to become part of that community of successful artists. You need to learn how to market your art to different kinds of collectors. Millennials are very different to baby boomers. Selling an original or a print? Do you even want to approach selling your rights for reproduction on mugs and pillow cases? Do you want to be successful in the hotel market?
You may think that the traditional gallery owner did all the work for you, but most successful artists have always marketed, promoted and engaged potential customers outside their sales venue. It's not different online. A lot of that used to be done by a traditional gallery and today the online artworld and art market has given the opportunity to artists to sell their own work. Before the online world many artists would never have had this opportunity but now you have it - so, stick with it - get on the wagon and let's make this a success for you.
Always think - I can do this - I can be successful - I can learn this - I can sell my own work. See, you are already half way there if you have that kind of attitude.
I really want you to think about these three very basic mistakes that so many artists do online and also offline. Become more engaged - face your potential shortfalls - overcome them by learning and by trying new things! Don't make the same mistake over and over again... just give me that one promise!
About Markus Kruse - BFA, MA, PhD
Markus, founder & owner of absolutearts.com started his art career at a gallery in the early 1980's in Berlin, Germany. Since then he has actively participated in the art world: worked with thousands of contemporary artists all over the world; curated exhibitions for years; directed several art galleries; organized many artshows; sold thousands of artworks; taught college for a while and has applied his in depth knowledge and expertise to further the online art world. He has always shared his expertise and helped artists further their artistic careers. Interested in getting ahead - take advantage of our private consulting sessions?