Okay. This is the third and final marketing post in the series (though I will answer all questions posed in the comments of all three posts on Sunday) and I have only two key phrases for you:
1) Marketing may be an art, but it ain't art.
2) If you're only exposing yourself online, you're only as good as Paris Hilton.
Do you like them? I took all of, like, two seconds to think of them and I think they're quite catchy. Not bumper sticker worthy, but still, I'm proud of them.
Anyway. First things first. Marketing may be an art, but it's not art. You can't neglect one or the other; It's crucial that you balance your art and marketing efforts. There's is absolutely no point in having a huge and lovely inventory that never gets sold because of ineffective marketing. And likewise there's no point in marketing yourself into the ground for an inventory of four paintings.
The amount of time you spend on each is going to vary depending on how time consuming your art making methods are and how efficient you are at marketing -- but I would say for me it's at least a solid 50-50. Sometimes leaning decidedly more 60-40 in the marketing direction. And if it falls below 50% -- you'd better believe my wallet feels it. Not right away, but a month down the road.
And while I enjoy marketing, I don't like it nearly as much as making art. (that's where the catch phrase comes in). And some people don't like it at all. But honestly, if you want to be a professional artist, you're going to have to find a way to make it palatable. Professional art and marketing -- inseparable. Until you get rich and famous and you can hire some guy with a snotty name like Theodorus Alexander Hamilton Ltd to promote you while you do the hermit artist thing.
Now, this is only vaguely related, but I want to rant very briefly about fine art snobbery because it irritates me and shoots many nice artists in the feet. I see a lot of this attitude: "I'm a fine artist, so I can only sell limited edition giclees with my images on it. If my work appears on any other sort of product, I'm selling out and I'm not really a fine artist."
I was going to preach a long few paragraphs in defense of getting your art out in as many creative ways possible -- including t-shirts, calendars, etc. -- but instead I'm just going to say this: think about it for two seconds. Seriously. I know those really big famous artists like Da Vinci and Vermeer etc. would never be caught dead on t-shirts etc., because that would devalue the original pieces, but . . . oh yeah, that's right. They're everywhere. Put your art everywhere too.
Onto my second amazing catchphrase. The one about Paris Hilton. I see a lot of artists who are struggling to make a living at it only promoting online. If they ask my opinion, I always say: get your work out in the real world. In my opinion, there is no replacement for real life exposure.
"But Maggie," they all say (and if I had a dime for every single time an artist tells me this I could hire Theodorus Alexander Hamilton Ltd right now) "but Karin Jurick/ Duane Keiser/ fill in the blank with some famous daily painter just has their online blog and they make x amount of money every day from their paintings."
Okay, no. Just stop right there. They don't just have their blogs. All of them do gallery pieces, or portraits, or private showings. Show me someone who looks like they do 100% of their marketing online and I will show you someone who does incredible marketing online . . . and incredible marketing offline. Read their blogs -- interspersed between their daily paintings, you will find mentions of their bigger pieces and their galleries that represent them and exhibitions and openings and magazine articles and . . . are you getting my gist here? You may acknowledge that you need help figuring out how to get your work out in the real world but it's just not right to say that you don't need to be out in the real world.
The internet is a wonderful thing for the professional artist. It opens up a tremendous amount of business and makes being a pro possible for many people (myself included). But it will never replace seeing the art in person -- seeing you in person. Because while you may be an amazing artist, there are a million other amazing artists out there, but 900,000 will never leave their studios or promote their art to the fullest extent. Don't be one of those 900,000. If you want this, really want it -- go get it. Don't go 50%. Go 100%.
All questions in the comments this week will be answered on Sunday, so ask away (or disagree with me too if you do)!