Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Networking and marketing

Lighthouse, Mull
Like many artists, I really enjoy the creative process and hate the networking and marketing aspects of our trade.  I hated it in my previous life as a clinical psychologist too!  However, with psychology you can't really share what you're doing with the public at large - and you can with Art.  Last Friday, we had an art fair in town.  I organized it with two other folk; we're all very different so it worked really well. I'm a big picture person and somewhat impulsive, the other two are detail people and very thoughtful and cautious!  A  nice balance.

 It was, perhaps not surprisingly, difficult to persuade some of the artists to even show their work and communicate with the public but once they got into it they loved it. You get a great jolt of energy (much better than those horrid drinks!) from having Real People, the wandering through public, exclaim with pleasure upon seeing your work.  The praise, however gentle, does lead to renewed energy when back in the studio.  It also helps you to see your work with different eyes - what did people respond to the most, what resonated the most.  Which art work did they spend time over, relating it to their own life experience?

Iona in watercolor
Several people remarked to me with surprise that they had made big sales -  to friends.  They wondered why those friends hadn't bought from them before.  But there's something about a fair; it's hard to go to a friend's house with the intention of purchasing something.  There's a lot of pressure - you feel you don't want to insult them if you don't see the perfect thing and it's all very awkward.  Whereas in a public setting like a fair, all the artwork is well displayed, you can look at it and walk around the fair while thinking about it.  You've got more time and space and the pressure is off.
Iona, in fabric
 It's said that you need to see something seven times before making a big purchase.  At a fair many people see your work, nothing may happen that day, but then later as the person recalls your work, looks you up on the internet..gazes at the empty wall in their house that would look good with a special piece of art...then gradually they may realize that they have to have it! A phone call is made.... As an artist who sells their work, I want a person to take their time and be really sure before they buy anything; I hate the thought that they'd come down with a case of Buyer's Remorsitis!  so I'm always thrilled to get the phone call or email several days after the fair: "I've been thinking about that piece  I saw....".  Music!

Well...back to work!  And, if you have been, thanks for reading!   Elizabeth
I'd love to hear about your experiences with networking and marketing....


Jeri said...

Absolutely agree about the marketing and networking, it is the one thing that is hardest for me (prior life as a tax accountant). The great part of showing with other artists, is I get to talk up their work which helps me relax and thus be able to talk about my own. Enjoy your renewed energy.

Jackie said...

I'll be visiting Iona in a month!Am eager to go, love the pix of it.

Nina Marie said...

I've found networking essential to this whole process of art. I mean I became an artist to communicate. If I'm not showing my work it totally hinders that communication. Once I started networking I found different venues to show my work, ideas on how to present it, and new energy to continue. I think fiber artists especially need to network. I mean to play with the big kids you need to make sure you know the rules of the game.

Georgina said...

Always an interesting read and so thoughtful - something to mull over- and I am going to Mull this year!