more jumbled thoughts about art, marketing, & collecting

Two posts down I wrote about hype, posters, collectors and Shepard Fairey. Today I see on the cover of Art News, not only is sheps art on the cover but an article discusses what I was trying to talk about but didn't have the ammunition to explain. I have no point really in posting about this stuff other than me being woken up more in regards to seeing and understanding the art markets a little more. BTW, good for Fairey! Good for him, it spurs me on!

I recently emailed another artist/blogger who is, at least in my mind, prolific in the selling and marketing of her paintings. I asked her if she had any recommendation for how I could find MY market. Specifically, find out how to make it so THEY find ME. (she had an article online about you need to find your market, that there is a market for ANY kind of art, even bad art). I was inspired and really woke up, thinking YES!!!!!! MY MARKET. I need to find my people!

She wrote me back (thank you!) and had a ton of suggestions. Most of the information was for galleries and then online sites (etsy) etc. While there were valuable suggestions in there, I guess I was kind of hoping for something different. Like some buried treasure of answers of really finding a way to find your people. Not even ME finding THEM, I want THEM to find ME. There is a difference, subtle, but there. It also brought back my thing about putting more stuff out there. Maybe that is the biggest turn off about all this online marketing, it feels so desperate and like I'm just another head bobbing in the water with my guppy mouth open gasping for air.

I realize I can be aggressive and excited about my work when someone is interested and already attracted to it. I've recently met another online artist who for thirty years markets the hell out of his work day in and day out in Colorado. He hasn't even gone the big internet route, he is out there in the real world doing this thing. Then there are the online street artists I'm aware of who are out there on the streets in NY in people's faces and by dint of their personalities and charm sell art day in and day out. What if you aren't one of those people who, in my words, 'pushes' yourself onto others? Would people be buying all that art if they weren't out there in other people's faces? Probably not to the same extent. So, more reclusive artists, artists who don't have that car salesman approach to their work....do they ever get it out there? And the people that buy art on ETSY, are they really art collectors as much as consumers? My work doesn't appeal to consumers. I get it now and while that cleans things up for me, it also shrinks the possibilities of who is going to be looking for the type of work I make. Where are those people hanging out? What sites do they go to? How do I find them so they can find me?

I feel I am straddling the fence. The galleries keep you separated from your people. They do sell work, and for me, were it not for them those mixed media pieces would never see the light of day let alone sell. I've yet to understand how to sell my bigger pieces online, so I am grateful for the places I'm able to show my work. But relying on two brick and mortar galleries in small towns to keep my head afloat is stupid. The common denominator is ME. I have to figure it out. You know what this feels like? Have you ever been lost and you keep driving up and down the same road, back and forth, looking in vain for that address or turnoff? You KNOW it is there but for the life of you you cannot see it? That's how art marketing feels to me. I'm passing all these places, they aren't the ones I want to go to, I haven't the address to where I'm supposed to go, just vague directions and I can't SEE it. Maybe I should just drive on and go to a new neighborhood. Metaphorically speaking, I'm not sure what that means in real life but I'm searching. And with that, I hear my puzzle pieces calling me!


BlueJude said...

When you find that treasure..let me know. When you get that address...let me know. Ii does seem all so obcure...had to me for years. I give up now. BUT YOu are talented. I think it comes down to doin the work of finding them, tho I don't know exactly how or what that means. Of course you want them to find you...geez, isn't enough you do the work?? (sigh) OK I've rambled enuff...miss ya P...hang in hter and know you and your art are worthwhile. They will come!

self taught artist said...

you get it dont you?!?!
thanks for the words about my work bluejude, sometimes I think it has more to do with personality/personna/ than the actual work :( what if you aren't miss pleasant all the time...what if you are crusty and not sociable...what if you aren't on the right web site at just the right time???

JafaBrit's Art said...

I wish I knew what the answer is. I gave up going the normal route after a show and having done all the conventional things prior to it. Then I became a jafagirl with an attitude and decided to be unconventional and guess what it hasn't made much difference LOL! So I am just plodding along and feeling blessed that I can at least spend time doing what I want, and how I want. It is frustrating to see good work sit and sit and sit in a gallery though, and hear how wonderful it is, but it sits there month after month. arg!

self taught artist said...

I do wonder why some of us make it online or 'out there' and others dont. How much is luck, who you know etc? Is it really ALL ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW? I'm beginning to think it is unless you are the kind of person who is really out there and in people's faces. thanks for sharing jafabrit :)

Kim Hambric said...

There is a famous artist out there, I can't remember her name & can't find the magazine article where I read about her. She is mentally challenged and cannot speak or hear. Her work is definitely out there (in all kinds of ways). She obviously was not in anybody's face to get her art noticed.

I'm convinced there are random, fragile connections out there. Sometimes you find them, sometimes they find you. I don't even think it takes creating great, or even good, work to make these connections. These connections are going to be different for different people. Somebody can walk into a gallery with some mediocre work and hit it off with the owner, and a year later, they've taken off. Other artists will produce extraordinary work & will never have their work see the light of day until they stick their head in a noose and kick away the stool under them. Others will work steadily, get out and market their well-crafted pieces and eventually get noticed and build a following.

I do not believe there is some magic formula for success. Work, luck, who ya know, whose feet you happen to stumble over, natural disaster, etc., all can contribute to an art career.

Remember, this comment is from a crusty recluse.

I guess we can try to throw our art (well, not literally) at at right people. Maybe we shouldn't try to distinguish too much the collector from the consumer. Put the art out there & let the buyer decide what kind of purchaser they are.

self taught artist said...

thank you, you just made me realize i'm thinking too much. this was an excellent comment. EXCELLENT.

sarala said...

Regarding Kim's comment, I'd rather Paula not throw her art at me--way too heavy. I'd get hurt.
My thought, you should never ask a closet shy person how to market.
My best guess is keep on working at it and keep on trying no matter how long it takes. It takes a while for viruses to spread.