Thursday, August 25, 2011

The problem with jobs...


Here I am, back to writing again. I stepped back out of the Art World for a while after the Artist Shanty experience left me strapped for cash. It cost me far more to put on that show than I actually made. So, I got a job. A novel idea I know. But, this is what happens when I get a job. I started with a few shifts a week. Which was perfect! I could generate a little income and continue to work on my Art. (so I thought...) My second week into it, suddenly, I  had no days off and two 'doubles' every week. I went from bar tending a couple shifts to bar tending, waiting tables, running the 'to go' window, hosting and pretty much anything else that needed to be done... And really not making any money at it.  It got to the point that when the owner realized that I could do all these things there was no need to pay someone else to do them. The problem was It was saving the owner money, but not making me any. I was making just enough to get by. Wait. Wasn't that what I was doing as an artist? There is a bit more certainty to the having a regular job, but it really hasn't gotten me any closer to my goal. In fact it set me back three months. (I may have to write a book or at least a blog about the mismanaged nightmare that the staff refers to as 'The Darkside') So, in the meantime, I'm trying to find the balance? Summer is nearing an end. I quit the 'full time' employment at The Dockside and have taken on a part time bar tending job at a new restaurant in town that is run so (So So So!) much better. Hopefully, I can find that balance. Ultimately, I'd like to get back to painting in my free time. I have had enough time this week to start my blogging again, so maybe some painting is in the not too distant future. Cross your fingers for me.

Talk to you soon.




(This picture is from the good new job... 
not the one I was complaining about.
Come see me there on Tuesdays...)

(that's a link, click on it...)

(Yes, That whole sentence is a link too.)



(support a starving artist... Click HERE ! )


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HyArts Artist Shanties... Those Aren't Fishing Shacks on the Dock



This weekend was really my first public exhibition since owning my Gallery. For those of you just joining us: I showed at the HyArts Artist Shanties on the waterfront in Hyannis, MA. I worked long and hard getting a large enough body of to artwork to show and feel good about. I really wanted to  "WOW". The Universe works in funny ways. Two days before the show started (Wednesday),  I received an e-mail re-directed from my online store. A woman had seen my work online, liked it and wanted to know how many  originals I had available. I told her what I had and she bought them all sight unseen and had me run them down to Fed Ex and send them out immediately. I did so, photographing them first. It took two trips on my Bicycle to get them all to the Fed Ex office. She was the mother of the bride and wanted them as gifts for the entire wedding party. I was really excited. Ten paintings in one day! I gave her a deal since she bought so many. Friday morning I received an e-mail from her saying that she loved them all and thanking me for my quick response. The wedding was on Saturday. Nothing like last minute... I can't really fault her for her last minute action. First of all, I, myself, had just finished them... For a show that was starting in two days mind you. Secondly, She bought them from me!

Okay , so now it's Wednesday afternoon, I have a show starting in two days, and I'm down the ten paintings that I was going to showcase. What the (heck) do I do now. Prints! I grabbed my camera, with the pictures that I just sold still on the card, and attached the USB to my computer and down loaded the pics. My camera and computer are set to erase the card after down loading.... Some how the USB cable disconnected during the download. The pictures didn't make it onto my hard drive but the camera thought that they had and erased them from the card. Two weeks of work down the drain! I don't charge too much for my work, mostly because the real money is not in the originals, but in the prints. For artists reading this, remember, the odds of finding a buyer for a $500 painting are not really that great.  How many people actually get to see that painting? 100? Maybe 200? Now put that picture online and up that number to 1000... If your lucky... Out of those, how many like it enough to own it? Then, how many of those that like it enough to own it, actually have the $500.00??? Now lets make some prints. It is easier to sell a matted print for $10 dollars than it is to sell the painting for $500. You can find a printer that will charge about $1per print, and your still making $9/ print. Sign and number them and you can charge more, lets say $25. find ten people to buy them and you've made $240... and you still own the original which is potentially worth more the more prints of it that are sold.  With todays technology you can buy a decent printer and print them yourself for even less, and providing that you find the right outlet, a cash cow could be born. Some artists may think I'm selling out here, but remember, my goal is to make a living doing what I love doing! Picasso said,"Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, A dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time." I once sold a painting for $30.00 that has made me hundreds in sales of its prints. (Click here to see and own it!) Now, all that being said, I ended up selling my artwork for way too little, and can't reap the benefits of repeat sales through prints. But, live and learn. There are now ten more people out there that know I'm an artist and own my work so it wasn't in vane.

That was a bit of a tangent... So the weather This weekend was probably too nice on Friday and Saturday and too cold on Sunday to get any real traffic through. But hey, this is Cape Cod, so what did I expect? Right? And... Given the weather we've been having it's amazing that it wasn't raining. I managed to sell a few works originals and prints alike. So I'm happy about that.

All-in-all I think my Shanty looked pretty full I scraped together some of my not-so-Capey stuff, which actually received a pretty warm response from the tourist crowd which I thought would be more into my  landscapes, seascapes, and skyscapes. I also managed to find a printer in Hyannis that really stepped up to the plate and dropped everything to help me out of my dilemma. So thank you to the folks over at Minute Man Press on Barnstable Rd. (tell them Greg from CapeNative sent you.) for putting in a little overtime and knowing what the heck they were talking about. (I will no longer even think about getting anything done at Staples... They were so easy to deal with and came out considerably cheaper...)Also, If your interested in selling prints of your work, you're going to need to mount them, mat them, and wrap them. So you may want to check-out Documounts, they have some really affordable starter packages.

 (Documounts is gone  and I haven't found a decent replacement yet...  let me know if you have in the comments please...)

I learned a lot about doing these kind of shows this weekend and I'll be back next weekend with a slightly tweaked business plan and some new artwork.  So, if you find yourself in Hyannis between 11AM and 5 PM, Friday through Monday, Memorial Day weekend, stop by and check it out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Where's my "Painting a Day" ?...


Okay... So I put it out there. I said that I would do a painting a day for a month, and post them on the Internet. Both, here on my blog, as well as on my website, and my online store.  The fact is I have actually been painting a painting (or more) a day since I posted that. So why haven't you seen them?

The first painting I finished for this project, I was so excited, I took a photo while it was still wet and put it on the Internet. It SOLD! It sold in about three hours! Great, right? Well here's the thing... It sold before it was even dry. When I got the news  my main priority was to get the product to the customer. It had been hanging in my window for a day when I took it down to varnish it so that it would last a lifetime. I use Aquacrylic polyurethane  to seal my acrylic work. There is usually never a problem. Acrylic paint dries quickly and the two mediums are very compatible. The style paintings that I have been doing lately require layer upon layer of washes. Washes are basically transparent layers of watered down pigments. Unfortunately, when I went to brush on the  acrylic clear coat, it streaked the pigment across the painting ruining a SOLD work! After my initial shock, the throwing of some brushes, a few well chosen swears, and the coaxing of my dog out from behind the couch where he ran to seek refuge from my outburst, I was able to, for the most part, save the painting.  I re-painted what needed to be re-done and let the painting cure. This spring has been extremely wet, and with the added moisture in my paint this process took so much longer than I had anticipated. It eventually dried to my satisfaction and was ready to be sealed.

Having been bitten once by brushing on the polyurethane, this time I sprayed. Clean nozzles, light coats, I still had trouble with the poly. It would get little "poly-balls" beading up every few inches all over the surface. Is this from the moisture?  If I tried to remove them it would take the paint with it. I tried wet sanding lightly, steel wool,  I just couldn't get them out without affecting the surface of the painting somehow. I have never had this problem before. If anyone reading this has any suggestions please tell me in the comment section below. The end product turned out satisfactory for myself and the new owner of the work, but with a show coming up and dozens of paintings to seal I really need an easier/quicker way.

On top of these technical issues there were other headaches that ensued... You can read about those in my other blog "The Starving Artists Rant".(click here)

Eventually, I was able to finish it and get it to the buyer.

Here's what the new owner of the work had to say:


Greg,

I received the painting yesterday, as promised.  I wanted to "sleep on it" for a night to be able to give you my most honest opinion.  Well, I must say I am very pleased with it!  The colors are so much richer, more vibrant than the photo online indicated. 


Thanks again for everything - I love my painting!

Sincerely,

Ray ________



So, It all worked out in the end... But I'm not going to add anymore paintings online until they are ready to hang!

Keep me painting. Buy Art!

CapeNative.com

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Am I Helping?... Or Just a Pain in the Butt?

How to Market Yourself as an Artist


Recently, I was perusing Craigslist. I like to check out the Artists section and see what else is going on in the Art World. I found an ad from an artist trying to make a living:

Buy My Art  (Providence, RI)

To those interested int he arts I am a commission artist. I do sell paintings of all kinds, and clay work, if interested in buying any of my pieces or if you have an idea that you want me to work on let me know, I charge $50 and up for all work to be done. Thank you
If you want to see any of my work email me with the email address above 

So, I responded with this message:

You've got to link it to a site somewhere. People are 'instant coffee' they're not gonna wait for you to reply...

Read this:

( it's called a"link", go ahead click on it, it'll bring you right there...[sorry...sarcasm...can't help it.])

Yah, a little mean I know... But, you know how I can get sometimes.

They responded with this:

I just posted this on craiglist on the artist section this is my first time and to be honest I answer to every email

(From here on out I'm just going to list the exchanges...)

Me:

I think you missed the point. Even if you answer every e-mail, there aren't going to be many e-mails to answer. Please don't be offended by this. In this day and age where people are zipping through life on their iPads and iPhones they wan't you to be able to show them who you are and what you do with one tap on their screen. If you can't do that, they move on to the next person that will. The average surfer won't take the time to type an e-mail...  They want to see it now! At least add a watermarked image so they may have their curiosity peaked. Get yourself a free artist site somewhere to host your images. If you want to be an artist and make a living at it you need to really market yourself. Picasso or Van Gogh? Van Gogh spent his life inside his artist brain never sold one work...(alright, he sold one...to his brother...)He died alone in misery. Picasso sold tons... but none at his first show. He learned how to effectively market and network, and did it everyday until he died... in the lap of luxury. You can take offense to this advice and say that you're a true "artist" and above having to listen to it, get a job as a barista at Starbucks and hope to be discovered. Or... market yourself. I spent years in art school learning to BE an artist, but they never offered one class on how to make any money at it.

Them:

well how do I begin?

Me:




1.) Do you have your own Computer?(or access to one you can use freely and regularly)
2.) Do you have a digital camera?(or access to one... Or digital images of your work in small image files?)
3.) Can you spend 30 minutes to one hour each day marketing your self?

Them:

I say yes to number one and number two as for three, I try to market myself everywhere I have contacted galleries to see if they would take my art, I got rejected by some and others no, I also have a show coming up at CCRI warwick next month

Me:




Good!

Congratulations on the show! Have you done any others? Make sure that you keep a list of them. Also, make sure that during your show you have a guest book! Try and get everyones name AND e-mail address. If there is a space for them to leave a comment that would be great too. I use a blank artists sketch book and make my own sections. Store bought guest books usually have people leaving information that you don't really need. Also, Have you sold any works? You need to start a spread sheet with your buyers and what they've purchased, what they paid, and their contact information. You may not need all that now, but down the road a bit it will be incredibly important.

For your show coming up, you need to write a press release. If you're not the greatest writer find a friend who's an english major buy them a beer and ask for help. Give them a sketch or offer a service you can provide. I once painted a living room in exchange for a good press release. Once you have on send it out to every little paper you can find... and don't be too modest to send it to the big ones. ( in that case try and get the info for the arts editor and send it straight to them.) A lot of these little papers love to do stories on local artists and events so be sure to have a well written artists bio ready and, as much as I think they are stupid a good artists statement. Don't be take yourself too seriously in writing one, but don't be silly either. be warm, genuine and quick. I once read one at an art show/wine tasting where all the artist did was compare the smell of oil paints to the bouquet of fine wine, and the feeling he got from painting to a good wine buzz. Everyone in the room artists and wine lovers could completely relate.

When you say that you approach galleries make sure your work is compatible with their vision. Also make sure that they are good to their artists. I know a lot of artists who have had work go missing or never been paid by galleries. Also don't ever just walk in and start to sell yourself. Have tact, grace, and ask questions. "How do you find your artists?", will usually start a conversation that will help you find out:

-Their Artist Selection Process
-Who the decision maker is
-How you should submit your work

These sound basic and silly, but as a former gallery owner five artists a day, every day, would barge into my gallery wanting to show their work, less than half were the right kind of work for my gallery, and out of those only a small fraction actually had enough work that was consistent enough and professional enough to show. Leave with the decision makers information don't just dump your work on them. Always try and make an appointment with the decision maker for that gallery but do it through consistent and professional follow up. Start with an e-mail saying I was in the other day and got your card.... I really liked the feel of your gallery... I'm sending you some information.... Then send them a professional looking package  in the actual mail with images of your work, your bio , artist statement, a list of shows you've done, Fine art education (if any... if not just a brief explanation of where and how you work.)  and your contact info. Follow up within ten days. Make sure you've given it enough time to arrive through snail mail, and enough time for them to look at it. Don't ask what they thought yet. Honestly, it is probably still unopened at this time... Just check-in and ask if they've received it, and for an appointment to talk.

I'm long winded. If you have questions feel free to ask. I never told you how to establish an online presence . If you're interested, let me know... if I'm not boring you.

Them:



You're not boring me at all, your quite fascinating, but here's the thing, I'm enrolled In a fine Art seminar class, and as a class of four student we have to have a gallery show which will be next month, and yes I have sold  about seven to 10 paintings, and yes help me somehow, I don't want to work at Starbucks or any of that , I am already a babysitter, But I love art I have other passions but this one is first, would you like to see samples of my work, tell me your opinions?

So, they sent me some images of their work, which are pretty good:




Good stuff.... I really appreciate people who can work in abstract. Whenever I try, it seems trite and juvenile. Is the size about 18" x 72"? Have you set up an online site yet? That was the point of me asking about the camera and computer access. Try putting a bio and some work on Fine Art America so you can direct people there through your ads... you can just make it one click away... that way you don't get annoying e-mails from pretentious know-it-alls like myself. You can join for free. If you want to use it as your online store there is a fee, but it does help to have one. Also, if you do go with an online store, don't dump all your work on there at once. Add one piece a day! It keeps you on the front page everyday in the new work section.

Keep up the good work. If you ever have a question, just ask. Let me know about any upcoming shows.

Good Luck!

I still haven't received any show invitations. I hope I was helpful. It makes me wonder what is out there as far as info to help artists get a foot in the door. I used to always give free advice to artists when I had my gallery. Should I write a book? Do I even know what I'm talking about?

Thank you for reading this far!
That was a long one.

Support a starving artist:

CapeNative.com





Monday, April 18, 2011

A Painting-A-Day....



It's actually going to be more like two-a-day... I have to come up with a sale-able inventory in a month for my appearance at the HyArts Artist Shanties. Last night as I sat thinking about what I would paint for todays painting. I glanced out the window next to me and saw that it was a full moon which reminded me of a picture that I took during last months 'Super Moon'. The picture had been taken as the moon was rising, casting the trees in a light that gave them detail, but no color other than the blue-ish moonlight.

The painting is Acrylic on Panel and measures 10" x 8" x 2". The side are painted as well. It is available for sale in my online store for $50.00 which includes shipping in the U.S. Just click on one of the images if you'd like to purchase it or to visit my online store.


(Remember, I'm a painter not a photographer. The actual image is a much richer blue than my monitor is showing me...)

Help Support a Starving Artist:

CapeNative.com

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Go Google Yourself !!! Increasing Your Online Presence

So I don't start getting all dark and dreary again, I'm going to lead with an artist joke...(if you liked my dark side you can still see it at my other blog, "The Starving Artists Rant". No... Seriously.)

Joke:

 An artist asked the gallery owner if there had been any interest in his paintings on display at that time.

"I have good news and bad news," the owner replied. "The good news is that a gentleman enquired about your work and wondered if it would appreciate in value after your death. When I told him it would, he bought all 15 of your paintings."

(The punch-line is at the bottom of the page. You can scroll down if you'd like but don't forget to come back and read my blog...)



In my last entry I mentioned a couple of things that I should elaborate on:

 I mentioned free advertising. I put an ad on my local 'Patch', a small online publication that provides local news in a lot of different places, but I left out 'Craigslist'. Craigslist has increased traffic on both my blog, and my online store just by putting an ad on with a few links to my pages. (Links also help in your "Google-ability")  Don't over do it. Depending on your area, the number of times you need to post it will vary depending on the number of posts. Although, I posted an ad in Providence ( R.I.) over a week ago and it is still generating a fair amount of traffic so I'm going to coast a bit there. There are so few ads on craigslist by artists on the Cape, I wait to see where I am on the page before I repost. In larger cities you may want to do it every few days, or each time you update your blog, website, or online store.

I also  talked about increasing traffic to your online store by adding pictures either one at a time or in small groups. Since I've been doing this, it has not only increased my traffic but has lead to two sales and a commission.

One more thing that I've decided to do is to start a painting a day project. In just over a month I will be showing in the HyArts Artist Shanties. The weekends of May 20th through May 22nd, and  Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th through May 30th, I will be in the yellow shanty on the waterfront in Hyannis from 11am to 5pm each day. (Sorry, I'm not going to be able to make it to your cookout.) My daily painting will be posted on my blog with a link to my online store (in case you just have to own it). I will also put these paintings on my Website and make references on Facebook with links to my blog, my website, and my online store. This sounds like a little too much linking and what not, however by doing these types of links, especially using social media like Facebook and popular sites like Craigslist, it enhances your online presence. The more links you have, the more hits you'll get. You need to make them easy to find AND easy to use. No "Cut and Paste"-ing things into browser windows should have to be done. everything should be easily navigable and just one click away. Increased traffic from, and links between major sites catches the eye of search engines, which in turn increases your overall visibility, and a snowball effect occurs. (and so on, and so on, and so on....) Don't forget to use lots of meta-tags on any photos you post, again adding to your "google-ability". If you have video capability and a YouTube account even better. Make a video of yourself working on each painting you do. Place the video on YouTube, link it to any and all of your sites. Most people are too lazy to read, make it easy for them.(Obviously, present company is excluded)

Keep and eye out for my 'Painting a Day'... and if you'll be on the Cape for Memorial Day stop by the Hyannis waterfront and say ,"Hello."


(That's the biggest picture that I could find of the Shanties, even after e-mailing HyArts to get one... Remember Have a file for publicity photos just in case some one wants to add YOU to their site...)
Click on it to go to HyArts 

Punch-line:

"That's wonderful," the artist exclaimed. "What's the bad news?"

"The guy was your doctor..."

If you'd like to help support a starving artist:

CapeNative.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Kinder, Gentler Blog


So, even in my last post, trying to avoid negativity and a solemn tone, it still was not exactly effervescent, and to anyone who DID want to be a race car driver when they grew up, "I apologize." Apparently, there is some deep rooted bitterness under the surface that I was unaware of, but, rather than change the title of my blog to "Fear and Loathing in Hyannis", I'm going to do what I initially set out to do. Help others who are experiencing similar obstacles to find ways over, around and through them, and despite the economy, not just survive as an artist, but prosper. And... I will do it with my genuine and true to character wit and charm. I'm even going to insert a joke here:

How many gallery customers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
(answer below)

Today, I'm going to fill you in on what I've been doing lately to pursue my dream of being an artist when I haven't been too busy writing about the difficulties along the way. Looking over that last sentence and seeing the way I phrased ,"my dream of becoming an artist", I'm going to edit it a tad. I AM an artist, and really always have been. The phrase that I need to focus on is the title of this blog,"Making A Living As An Artist." I have made a living in the Arts for a long time, from Gallery Owner, to Art Consultant, to Lecturer and Auctioneer. I have a real working knowledge of the industry. Its time to take what  I know from working on one side of the table and use it now that I'm on the other. Hopefully, if anyone out there is looking to attempt a similar undertaking, they will be able to use some of the information.

Okay ... enough boring explanations of where I've been and where I'm going...

So... Here's what I did...

1.)---ADVERTISING: No money for ads?.. No problem. I put an ad on Barnstable-Hyannis Patch. It cost me nothing and drove several people to my blog as well as my website and my online store. So far, I am the only artist on there.


Joke Answer: Two
(reason below)

2.)--- ONLINE STORE: To increase traffic in my online store I removed art that was not moving. Then I added more works in small groups.  My hits went from 2 or 3 a day, to 75-100/day.  On my studio floor against a wall in a corner were some studies that I had done of some simple Matisse line-drawings. I had originally done them just to get a feel for his sense of line with no intent to sell them. He has a beautiful, simple, elegant line that just seems to flow out of his crayon/brush...anyway... when I put them online. I tagged them Matisse studies... 100's of hits that day... Next time I'll put them on one at a time and be able to stretch that traffic out for days.


3.) ---TAG YOUR PHOTOS: Always use/add meta-tags to your photos. This increases their "Google-ability". An example is in the above, on that site, if someone was searching for a Matisse my work would come up.... The way those sites are visited it also will increased my visibility if some one  Googles "Matisse"...(eventually)


4.) ---WEBSITE: I've had a website, but haven't really spent too much time in building it. I spent some time this week just tweaking it a bit. There was no contact info on it. I changed that and added a hyper link so the viewer can e-mail me. I also played with some of the color and fonts. for the most part it looks the same because the template was designed by the nice folks at Apple and they know a heck of a lot more than you or I... More pages will be coming and I'll be loading more artwork. One key thing is making sure that all your sites are linked. Can the viewer get to your e-mail?.. Your blog?.. Your online store? with just one click? Make it as easy for them as possible.


5.) EVENTS AND SELLING: A few weeks back I mentioned Romero Britto and what exposure did for him... So this past week I looked to see where and how to get myself out there. Maybe an Absolute Vodka exec will be vacationing on the Cape this summer. So I looked to see what kind of Art events would be going on in my area. I found several within pedaling distance. One of them is the HY-arts Artist Shanties I applied and got one. As It stands now I've got a few weeks at the begining of the season. We'll see where it goes from there. Here are some links to other events going on in this area this summer :


Art on the Village Green
(There's also one in June which isn't on this page...)


6.) ALL ARTISTS CAPE COD: If you haven't seen the ads for their meetings it's probably because you haven't been looking. The next meeting that I'm sure about is at the South Yarmouth Library, on Wednesday, April 20th, at 6:00 PM. Basically, it's going to be a group of artists getting together to discuss (oddly enough...) "How to Make a Living As An Artist." If you have any questions on this feel free to e-mail or call. They are still building their website, but it will be here:


Punch Line:
One to change the lightbulb, and the other to say,"Pffft... My four year old could have done that..."
(Laugh.)

I hope that artists found this informative, especially those of you in my area...

I hope that you are enjoying my blog.

If you'd like to help me make a living as an artist. Please check out my online store:

CapeNative.com


Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm Not going to kill myself... I don't even wish I were dead!

Okay, it has come to my attention that some of you think that my blog is a bit droll... perhaps even somber. Some worry that I'm depressed. Am I alright?...

HELL YAH!!!

I am doing what I want to do in life! It used to be that I sat at a desk all day and wished that I were doing something else.  THAT was miserable. I wished that I could just create and make a living at it. Now, that is what I do.( okay... so the "making a living" part is coming...) Truthfully, on occasion, I do use this as a way to vent my spleen. But often times I'm just looking for some feed back or constructive criticism. So relaaaaaax. I'm having fun and doing what I really want to do. How many readers out there hate their jobs? Hating my job makes me loose a hell of a lot more sleep than worrying about bills. Besides, I don't really have any bills. There is food... but hasn't anyone been following my other blog: The Starving Artist Diet. I'm down like 20 pounds and I feel great. Remember how you wanted to be a race car driver when you grew up? Well those 3 speeding tickets on your way to your cubicle last year are as close as you've come. This isn't meant to be an 'in your face' to anyone.  Don't feel sorry for me. Is there anything really worth getting that is easy? On the other hand if you really think you want something, try working towards it, if the goal doesn't seem worth the effort then it's not the right goal.

I've found my goal, and so far it's worth it.

If you need help in getting started toward living your dream, HERE is a link that may help!


Buy a painting or Print and help me live MY dream!
(click the link below)


Or at my new site:

CapeNative.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting Recognized...(Part 1)

As an artist recognition is key. It is the cornerstone of your career. Romero Britto  was a starving artist, almost literally, until one day an executive for Absolute Vodka saw his work and put him on a bottle... Suddenly, his work was on the back page of every other magazine in the world. Now, because of that one bottle, (along with his god given talent) his work goes for tens of thousands of dollars. I know, I sold a lot of it. But his talent was always there, the recognition was the catalyst for his success. When people can look at an artwork and recognize something,  maybe not even the artists name, perhaps just their style or use of color... the viewer then gives that work a perceived value. This I know as a former art dealer. The more you do to get a work out there, the more people that actually see it, the better the odds of getting a sale. (Providing the work is not absolute crap of course.)  If I advertise one of an artists paintings in a magazine, when a potential buyer comes into my gallery, they are drawn to it. You can tuck it in a back corner and somehow they will find it. It is that recognition that stimulates the curiosity, which in turn, given that there is enough of the aforementioned interest generated, will lead to a sale.

So how does a starving artist go about getting their work out there?  How do they get enough people to see it that they can actually find one of them to like it enough to spend money on it? The first step is to create art... Art that people may actually like. My mother literally once asked me,"Why don't you paint something that people like?" (No, seriously she did...) After I pulled the knife out of my chest and got over my self and my ego and my "artistic integrity", I realized that she was right. Plain and simple, the more people that your work appeals to, the better your odds are of selling it. Now, if this rubs you the wrong way, if you are too blinded by your own creative ego, paint whatever the heck you want, but if you want to sell something I think that it will appeal to more people if its not an image of a severed limb in a jar. (If you are going for that kind of niche, make sure that out of all the people painting severed limbs in jars, yours is the absolute best.) Use your creativity, create your own style, but cater to your target market... But not too much. you need to find a balance, you need to avoid cliche. I'm an artist living on Cape Cod, the bulk of the people buying art here are not looking for a severed limb in a jar, (That's a really gross example I know but it illustrates my point.) but that's not to say I want to paint cottages with white picket fences surrounded by hydrangeas. That is not me. So I focus on the things that drew me back to the Cape. Landscapes, Seascapes, and Skyscapes, while trying to capture the unique light you can only seem to get here. Take a boat for example, below is one of my quick paint sketches of a sailboat:





Now look at how another artist, Tom Melillo, captures similar subject matter:



Two different artists, two different styles, both Sale-able on Cape Cod. ( I never should have shown you Tom's work because he has really done a much better job of both creating his own style and making it appealing and recognizable... If your interested in owning any of Tom's art, let me know and I'll put you in touch with him!)



Now I have my inventory... I chose what to paint and how to paint it, now how do I get my self seen. Seen, not recognized... not yet anyway. That's all I really want at this point.

This past week I've worked on a website, done some free advertising, and updated my blog. These things are a start. But how do I take that to the next level. How do I build the momentum and get people to SEE my work. They have to first see them before they can recognize them. And... how do you do it as a starving artist (not yet literally, but getting closer...) I've put myself out on these free sites:




Or check out my online store here!





Now where do I go from here?  Any suggestions I would love to hear from you.

Until next time!

P.S. When I say that I would love to hear from you, I mean that I would love to hear from you... There's a comment box below. Can I get an Amen?

IF YOU LIKED THIS INFO, I NOW HAVE A VLOG ON YOUTUBE. YOU CAN FIND IT HERE:

https://youtu.be/KVTa2_lv4OU




Monday, February 28, 2011

Okay, so it's been a while.....



(This is me painting...)


For anyone who was following... I'm sorry. For those of you who just read to be polite, well, thanks... I guess. Sorry to say,"I'm back!"

I have been working through quite an artist block. I've had one painting on my easel for over a month now. I like it, but I think I'm scared to ruin it, so I procrastinate. But... I'm not really sure if I'm procrastinating or it's something else. My dyslexia/ADD is working overtime lately. I really am having some trouble doing stupid things. The other day I was trying to buy a bottle of wine in a store that I hadn't been in before and I couldn't find anything, like literally couldn't find anything. all I could see were thousands of bottles of wine, but I couldn't see any single one of them. I couldn't pick out which were Cab, or Merlot, or Zin, and I couldn't even find a label I recognized. (That's how I buy wine sometimes: "Not Sure how it's gonna Taste, But it sure has a pretty label!") It's not that I can't see the forest through the trees, It's finding one God damn tree in the forest. I had the same trouble last week trying to pick out a birthday card for my sister. Again, could see thousands of cards but couldn't focus on any single one long enough to see what it said. So I ended up with a nice Bat Mitzvah card and that was that. So is this related to my painter's block? Who knows? But it's given me something to write about again.

Friends have heard about my dilemma and stop to check in, motivate, encourage. They've brought dinner and wine.(100 Grove St. BTWs.. don't forget to lock your car.) They've pushed without pushing too far. The help is appreciated as is the company. Some days it's tough just sitting and staring at this painting. I can see in my mind what it will look like. I can see on the easel how it looks now. I don't know why I have trouble bridging that gap. So, I've been trudging forward slowly and surely. A little progress made here and there... But I need a motivator... So I'm donating it to a good cause! There is a nursery school on cape that needs some playground equipment that just isn't in the budget. They are going to have an auction to raise the money and I'm putting my painting in their auction!!!  I'll fill you in with all the details as I get them. The auction is on March 11th.(I think!) I now need to finish the painting. The imaginations of lots of tiny tots are riding on it. HAH! Instant motivation! I'm also thinking of making it into prints and offering half the proceeds to schools playground program,but don't have the money to get the prints made. First things first, though. Lets finish the painting.

On that note. When you make your living by being a painter and you have painters block, you really don't have much of an income. The Christmas season was pretty good to me and I made money in line with what I was making actually "working" for a living. But, it really drained my inventory. I haven't replaced what I've sold ... I may have to get a job... Or sell some paintings.

Until next time... I've got to walk the dog... In the rain :(



You can buy a painting here:

(that a link...click it!)

This is what that painting ended up looking like:




Thanks for reading!