i thought i'd share an email of info. i've got this form email i sometimes send out to artists that are just starting out that contact me. it's about how i get my work 'out there' and basically what and how i do what i do to promote my art. i do tweak and add info each time i send it out, so let me know what you do! what else can i add?
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50% of my art career is spent painting, the other 50% which is just as important, is doing research, development and marketing. like going to museums, galleries, reading blogs, researching what other artist are doing/or did. below is what informs the business part, but stuff definitely bleeds over into painting.
////GET AN ONLINE PRESENCE
i can't stress this enough. if you don't know dreamweaver or html -doesn't matter. start a blog, that's easy or post your art on facebook for a start. you can use website templates like http://www.indexhibit.org/ or http://www.squarespace.com/ it's to your benefit to have an easy, simple, clean design that let's your work standout. once that's set up, include a link to your site in your email signature. then start sending emails out to people w/a link to your site/blog when you have new work up. let people in on your process. you don't need to write a lot. a sentence or 2 or links to websites are great ways for people to see what inspires you. people love to understand an artist's process. share and be generous.
another thing about your website, don't bother padding or adding fluff. if you don't have enough info to include on a bio page or don't have your artist statement quite together, LEAVE IT OUT. better not to have it than to have a half assed page of bullshit. look at the websites of artists you like. see how they have stuff laid out and get ideas. remember you will be the one updating your site, make it simple for you and easy for visitors to navigate. also, when designing it remember that people are stupid. this is a basic principal i learned as a graphic design student. when designing something for mass consumption, keep it simple cuz people are lazy idiots. sounds harsh, but really it's the best thing to think about when laying out your site and thinking about how and what marketing tools to use.
put google analytics on your website. it will let you know who and where your audience is coming from. when you know your top 3 or 5 referring sites, you'll be able to more effectively market to your peeps and those peeps waiting to learn about you! create google alerts of your name and your website and/or blog. this will keep you on point about who's writing about you. and when you get mentioned on an excellent blog you can share that on fb and generate more traffic for yourself.
link the shit outta your website and other venues where people can find your stuff. put it on facebook, twitter, etc and like i said earlier on your email signature, your blog, etc.
////PUT YOUR WORK ON OTHER WEBSITES
this will broaden your exposure. below are some links to online curated artist registries - these are also really great nonprofit art institutions in nyc.
(word is that the current curator does not bother to review online submissions. but try anyway. lots of people reference this site looking for artists. if anything it'll get you used to getting your shit together for submissions and help you streamline your files/info.)
the drawing center is fantastic! once accepted into their online registry you're automatically in their viewing program. which means once a year you get to meet w/the curator and discuss your work and get good no bullshit constructive criticism. nina katchadourian and luis camnitzer were previous viewing program curators and were both great.
don't say yes to every opportunity. there are a lot of people out there looking to take advantage of unschooled and desperate artists. (see this rant on my blog for instance) if someone invites you to put your work on their site, check out the site thoroughly and see if the quality of work meets your standards. we are judged by the company we keep. when offered an 'opportunity' consider how much work it will take. is the amount offered worth that? your time is precious, important and worth an hourly wage. many, many, many times the promised exposure is bullshit. they just want free or cheap art - fuck'em. your time is better spent working on your art, going to a museum or taking a nap.
also, when submitting your work to anything make sure you fit in. there's no use in submitting your work to a gallery that's specializes in abstract art if you're landscape painter. do your homework, look around and size things up.
INVENTORY - make a spread sheet that includes every single piece of artwork you've made. if you have a wide variety of art forms, then create separate sheets for each form. the info you should have can include but not be limited to: title, size, year, medium, price, percentage, location, buyer, buyer contact info, sold, licensing. put them in whatever order works best for your needs. "percentage" is my cut. so if something sold thru a gallery the entry would be 50%, but if i sold something directly to a collector the entry would be 100%. i have a "sold" column and just put in "X" in there when something sells. the "licensing" column is where i have details about each of my licensing contracts like; length of contract, royalty details, exclusive or non exclusive, etc. updating your spreadsheet at every turn (when you create new work, as you negotiate shows, licensing deals and make sales) makes things so much easier when you send emails, update your site and post stuff. a spread sheet is a hell of a lot easier to organize, search and look at than an email. searching your email for that 1 email that broke down everything is not cute. you can't remember all the details of each work, so don't. let the spread sheet do that for you. all the pertinent details of each piece is right there in 1 row.
EMAIL - i'm speaking only of gmail here. create labels. i have labels for shows, general business, licensing, facebook, google alerts, sales, checkout (which has a whole bunch of nested labels for different neighborhoods in nyc like LES, chelsea, etc), paypal, submit, etc. as emails come in i sort them. but i also use filters to sort mail for me. this is especially useful for my "checkout" label. emails for exhibitions from chelsea galleries automatically go into the "chelsea" label. doing this type of email organizing helps you better navigate all the info you're receiving and find the valuable info you'll be looking for later.
EMAIL MARKETING - get yourself an account w/an email marketing provider like Vertical Response, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact. some charge by the email based on how many contacts you have, while others charge a monthly fee based on how many contacts you have. these providers let you easily create a great looking email, keep track of your contacts, allow you to share your emails on social media sites and give you good analytics about your emails.
remember to keep your email simple and clean. don't be distracted by all their fancy pants templates. when you want to send out an email sharing your fabulous new work, make that the most important element in your email, not the header or the background color. share a couple of links and a few words about what inspired the new work. but don't write a novel. be direct and articulate. tell a story and share, but don't bore people.
things to always include in your email: links to your site, blog, facebook profile or page (if it's a relevant marketing tool), tweeter, etc and other websites that sell your work. a great photo of your work. pick the most dynamic piece you have. it also totally makes sense to choose a vertical image if that's the orientation that looks best works w/the template you're using. people will read, but will more likely be engaged by the image you put in your email. a good image will compel people to read and click thru your links. speaking of links; make sure the links in your email are easily distinguishable from other copy and be consistent w/your formatting.
////KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE ART WORLD
this is just interesting stuff and will help you put your work in the context of what's happening now around the world of art. some great blogs for artists (witty and biting commentary on artists, art and art world)
check out her TED talk in Orlando
posts: Artists Who Curate,
these 2 professionals are very generous w/their insight and advice for artists. if you're not familiar w/them, it's worth it to go thru their blogs. joanne mattera has great blog posts on monday's called 'marketing mondays'.
posts: Rethinking the Artist Statement, On Your Own Terms
////KNOW UR PLACE IN ART HISTORY
become an autodidact. go to museums, check out old monographs from the library on your favorite artists, and art history books. reading and looking at others' work and understanding why they create or what inspires them is something i never get tired of. it always leads me to new ideas and concepts that i would never have figured out on my own. know what informs your art and what inspires you. as artists i feel that this is our job. we must look outside of ourselves and get outta our heads (becuz we're there enough) and explore what's happened b4 and what's happening now to further our own art.
////GO LOOK AT ART
look at stuff to better understand your own. "why is that painting awesome" and "why does that installation suck?" are good questions. answer them for yourself and for your work and let it inform what you do. do it often.
////WHAT I DO
i have my site that i maintain and keep super minimal, cuz there's just too much other shit to do. i make sure that my homepage has links to places where people can shop for prints and originals. i also have links for galleries that have my work in their inventory.
my blog is purely for info. i started it becuz i kept getting the same emails asking who/what inspires me, what's my process, what shows have i seen in nyc that i like, etc. the blog serves the point i made earlier about letting people in on your process. it's also important to make posting to your blog a habit. post regularly and feedback/interest will increase. i also use my blog as a reference tool. i can't remember all the shit i see and the blog gives me a place to store it and reference it later.
my facebook page is a marketing tool. but i don't kill it. what's important about all your marketing tools (website, blog, twitter, fb, etc) is that you have a personality and that there's a consistent voice. i put personal stuff on facebook, it's not just my art stuff. if you're too "markety" it looks cheesy and worse, insincere. this is why a personality is very important to come thru across all your marketing tools. you want to be friendly but not a car sales man. do what feels comfortable for you.
hope this is all helpful. good luck and start spreading it!!!!