Monday, February 28, 2011

TV Worth Watching

I'm so happy. Just realized that past episodes of one of my favorite PBS shows -- Art:21 -- are available to watch anytime for free on Yeah! I don't always like the featured artists but I always learn something interesting and get lots of food for thought. Stokes the creative fire!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Let's Brainstorm

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of having lunch with my new friend Ann Jenemann, a plein-air artist from Cincinnati. Ann and I got to talking about the marketing and selling of art, and how it's been changing, especially since the arrival of the Internet. Ann told me about an interesting web-based program in which people subscribe to an online service that sends them a new, inexpensive reproduction once a month to hang in a frame on their walls. When they get a copy of a painting they really like, they can then go back online and purchase the original. That's a really unique concept!

That got me thinking... Whoever thought this up has created a successful innovation in marketing art because they've tapped in to some important trends in our society, like: 1. People are shopping online, even for art. 2. People--even people with money--like to try things out before they make a big financial outlay. 3. People enjoy constant change.

Okay, so let's brainstorm. What do we know about consumer behavior in 2011, and how can we creatively apply that to the sale of art? What lessons can artists glean from the methods other producers are using to market their products? Ideas? Thoughts?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ethical Dilemma

Here's a true story I heard recently that offers a valuable lesson for all of us artists dealing with galleries.

A woman came in to a gallery and really liked a particular painting by a local artist. But instead of buying it, she went home, googled the artist's name, found her website and contact info, and called the artist to ask if she could purchase the painting directly from the artist. I'm sure she thought she could get the painting for a lower price because they were cutting out the middle man -- the gallery. 

Wisely, the artist very politely thanked the woman for her interest and then equally politely told her that all sales needed to go through the gallery. The potential buyer never returned to the gallery to buy the painting. So in being honest, the artist (and the gallery) lost a sale. But what would the artist have lost if she'd gone the other way?

Obviously, if the gallery had found out about it, she probably would have lost her chances of ever selling in the gallery again. Gallery owners do talk to one another, so she may also have lost her reputation, at least in the general region where she lives. And in gaining the reputation among collectors as someone who is willing to undercut the price of her work, she might have also destroyed the long-term monetary value in her work. That seems like a lot to lose for the price of one painting.

What do you think? Did she make the right call? Have you ever been faced with an ethical dilemma?