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Artist Marketing Tips


Art Tips | Marketing Tips


Marketing has changed for artists, for many reasons, some due to economic turndown, and the closing of commercial galleries. What is interesting is that more and more dealers and galleries are looking to the Internet for sales to avoid the high costs of brick and mortar.

What follows are a series of items that are important to consider when you are ready to market your artwork. Remember that Art Fortune is there to help you in numerous ways to achieve your goals. And for the first time to introduce you artwork the global art marketplace.

The Artist Statement: Your artist's statement can be anything you want it to be, but primarily, it should help potential buyers, students or employers to understand what you believe to be the most important aspects of your art and the techniques you use to make it. The statement should summarize these things in as few words as possible, preferably short ones, and not be a lengthy dissertation on your place in the future history of art. A paragraph of three or four sentences should do it. You won't keep your readers much longer than that. A lack of focus states that you are not a seasoned artist and that you are still searching for your personal artistic direction.

The artist résumé conventions presented here are designed primarily for use with commercial galleries. While its length, one to four pages, is similar to the “short curriculum vitae,” or “short cv,” it is not intended for academic situations.

Avoid making the artist résumé complicated. It is meant to be short and simple to review. Galleries may receive dozens of applications per week, so you will want to make it easy on the eye. Select fonts and font sizes that facilitate reading. Use the white spaces well. Do not submit your artist résumé on a computer disk or CD-ROM unless it is specified.

Sample areas of information to include

1. Name (in bold or larger font)

Preferred mailing address:

Phone Number(s):






Personal Website:


3. Grants/Awards (Grants/Fellowships, Awards/Honors, etc.)

For artists in certain time-based media, an exhibition might be referred to as a “Screening.” In that case, the heading might read “Exhibitions/Screenings” or “Exhibitions/Screenings/Performances” instead of “Exhibition Record.” For performance artists, the heading “Performances” may be adequate. Others may require the heading “Exhibitions/Commissions.”

For those doing digital or technological art as well as video or performance art, please note whether or not the work is collaborative. If it is, develop a simple method for identifying individual contributions.

5. Group Exhibitions (Group Shows)

6. Commissions (if applicable)

7. Collections (Public, Private, Corporate)

8. Bibliography (Selected Bibliography)

The inclusion of your work in books, magazines, major newspapers, and important catalogues is important for major galleries. Exhibition announcements and reviews in newspapers of smaller communities are less important.

9. Current Employment

10. Current Gallery Representation

Your ultimate goal: Sell your artwork at art-fairs, and/or galleries? Exhibit your work in a museum show? Each of these goals may require a different approach, but all require a focused portfolio and support materials: biography, artists’ statement are essential tools for the reviewers to get a concise idea of your work.

Your market: Be very thoughtful about this. Exhibits or art-fairs that have an interest in wildlife would not be the place for your abstract paintings. Research the exhibit focus and find a match or a compliment in the subjects you have an interest in. For museums: go to their website and read their mission statement, and take a look to see if they have an exhibition statement, and look at their exhibit history. Are they interested in emerging artists? Look to your local museums to see if their mission is to promote the works of under-identified or emerging artists.

Professionalism: Begin with portfolio, a business card and very importantly a website. They don't have to be fancy, in fact the simpler the better. If you are thinking of adding feathers and glitter to make your portfolio stand out – DON”T --it makes you look to desperate and more importantly, unprofessional. ArtFortune can help you develop a professional internet marketing presence – on a global level.

Assistance: Research local art clubs or groups - network at art events. Pass out cards to everyone within reach, whether you're at an art event or a PTA meeting. Get to know other artists and gallery owners – most can help you brainstorm. Do community service, offering a free class or demonstrations at local museum or community college. Everyone will notice your spirit and interest in your shared community.

Build a mailing list. List everyone you know and everyone you meet. Keep the names on a database. Create fields so you add email addresses, websites, for easy contact and identify if they are collectors, art dealers, agents, museums, or other artists. Keep the list up to date. You'll be glad you have it every time you plan a show or introduce a new work of art.

Budget your time: You will need to allow adequate time for marketing--some say as much as fifty per cent--but don't get so caught up in it that you haven't time to make art. Your art has to come first. Set priorities.

Pricing your artwork. The pricing part has a number of sides to it. First, you have to make your prices fit your market, but first you will need to know what your actual costs are: art materials, collateral materials, gas to purchase materials, website maintenance, rent or cost to use a portion of your home, museum membership and art magazines for inspiration – and finally – how long does it take to produce your artwork -- and consider what you would like to make for an hourly wage. Next compare what other works of art in your style are selling for in commercial galleries? Talk to gallery staffers and find out how many years the artist has been exhibiting with them, how much their artworks sells for, and IF they are selling. This will give you powerful information that can help you determine if the gallery is right for you and if the price-point of your artwork is competitive.

Presenting your artwork to a prospective gallery: Your portfolio and the quality and accurate reproductions of your artworks are KEY. A famous quote from Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly: “your work is only as good as your images”. Take care and create the appropriate amount of time to prepare. If you are considering matting your artwork: DO NOT use color mats. Keep it simple: use an off-white museum rag board. Also, consider consistent framing for your work – pick one type of wood or neutral color frame (black or natural woods are preferred in the museum and gallery world – there could be exceptions so ask first). It is much easier for a gallery or museum to hang your work if the overall look is cohesive. Remember, to get a second chance to present your work.

Be professional. Once you select a gallery review the framing of your artwork, do it well with clean, beautifully cut mats and suitable frames. Otherwise, have it done professionally. If you're approaching a gallery, first and foremost confirm that they are suitable for your work and lastly… don't show up without an appointment.

Your marketing plan: Many times this is difficult for right brainers so you might need professional help. You can look locally for a agency that can help you but don’t forget that Art Fortune resources can help you at a very good price point. Success won't usually come overnight, but if you keep at it, your efforts will be rewarded.

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