Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Decisions and Research
Orange Barn on Purple Land, 2006, Oil on Panel, 9x12
After discussing framing and finishing issues last week, I thought I'd keep going and talk a bit about marketing, of which I am in no way an expert, just so you know.
When I decided to go back to painting, I felt I had to make a decision about the direction I was going to take in order to try to exhibit and sell my work. One option was to try and get gallery representation and get into various group shows with the galleries and in other arts organizations, and in that case I would basically be paying someone else to sell my work, which I was fine with. The other option was to sell directly to buyers, by showing at art fairs, selling on ebay or in other internet venues, opening my studio to the public, and cultivating a list of clients with direct marketing. After looking into each option and dabbling a bit with both, I decided to go the gallery route. I didn't feel that I had enough time to handle my own sales, not to mention the advertising, the paperwork and the negotiations that making sales involves. I couldn't leave town to do art fairs because of my husband's business and his traveling schedule and I still really needed to spend most of my time actually painting and developing my work. So in order to streamline my efforts, direct marketing (and making my own frames and panels) had to go, and I decided to pursue gallery representation.
I had done some research about how to go about that by reading a few books and I also came across helpful bits of information in magazines and on the internet. So with complete and total blind optimism and confidence, I just jumped in. I started to research galleries to find the ones that I thought would be a good place for my work. If I saw an artist's whose work seemed similar to mine, I looked at their resumes to see where they had exhibited and I tracked down their galleries. I checked websites, artist websites, show listings, looking for venues that seemed suitable. I would have liked to visit many more galleries in person to develop a relationship first (the way everyone says you should), but logistically, that was really difficult for me. With four kids and a husband who is often out of town, it was and still is difficult for me to get away very often. So I did what I could on the internet (did I say that I love the internet?!), I took a few day trips to visit some regional galleries and Doug scoped out some places in person for me too, when he could. I did establish a relationship with a local, but seasonal gallery, and an arts organization, where I had a solo show last year and they often show my work in their juried shows and in their member events. However, certainly I needed more than that, if I wanted to move forward. I put together a list of galleries in NYC, Boston and Philadelphia (did I mention the blind optimism thing?) and then a list of galleries in smaller areas such as Hudson and Saratoga Springs, NY. I decided that I had to start sending out my info. Um, which meant that I would have to put together my info.
Since that's a long story (what a surprise!), I will save the discussion of my fascinating attempts to put together sparse information about myself and my work for tomorrow.