Thursday, December 31, 2015

Finding buyers for artworks

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     Artists and artisans have a difficult time connecting with buyers. Their creations can languish in their studios. But it need not be.

     Painters, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, weavers, fiber artists and others produce works that sell in the right venue. Different venues, however, attract different people. There's the rub.

     High end galleries still show high end works. Particular galleries have homed in on a particular market segment. They select works they think will appeal to the buyers they attract. 

     Some galleries have morphed into high-end gift shops. They serve more of a second tier market. Customers who frequent these shops are likely to be well-heeled with disposable incomes. But they are not necessarily knowledgeable buyers of art works. Frequently they are looking for handmade gifts.

     Many artists and artisans use the Internet. They establish a website or use sites like Etsy or even eBay to attract buyers. They also use social media to show their works--Facebook is one example. 

     Example: Ella paints realistic pictures in oils and acrylics. She has exhibited in galleries, attended up-scale shows, and has taken some private commissions. She supplements her income by teaching. Her classes are popular--with beginners as well as with advanced students. She has found that she gets real enjoyment teaching young people. Her studio is in a converted garage, and she convenes classes there. She runs several multi-class sessions during the year. All this activity has spread her reputation, resulting in sales. 

     Example: Travis is a sculptor. He works in bronze, and it is a tough market to conquer. To bring in income, he made arrangements with other sculptors to produce their bronze castings. He works also with museums and galleries to produce fine reproductions. Recently, he has begun selling fine reproductions to gift shops and decorators. He uses Facebook to drive interest to his website. 

     Example: Mary is a weaver and designer. She turns out small rugs and wall hangings. She has a website and is on social media. All this activity keeps her busy with projects that come from decorators, collectors, high income individuals, and galleries. She does a show twice each year where regulars seek her out and she meets new people. With her artist's eye, her knowledge of fibers, and her weaving skills, she has tapped into a new market segment. She produces woven pictures of people and animals, working from photographs. Private commissions are coming in.

     Artists and artisans today have more opportunities than ever before. Social media drives people to you. There is a real market out there for whatever you do. And there is a real market in teaching others. 

     With today's marketing opportunities, artists and artisans no long need starve in the garret. Reach out to the buying public.  

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