In the Art Marketing Minute Podcast, you’ll learn how to sell your art, how to market your paintings and everything else you need to know in order to have a successful art career. Each episode answers questions from artists by host Eric Rhoads, author of “Make More Money Selling Your Art,” publisher of several art magazines and newsletters, and author of ArtMarketing.com.
In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads answers the questions: “How I should manage my reputation online and in person?” and “Without going through a gallery, how do I sell and unload artwork currently in storage?”
Have a question about how to sell your art? Ask Eric at artmarketing.com/questions.
Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 110 >
Submit Your Art Marketing Question:
What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.
FULL TRANSCRIPT of the Art Marketing Minute:
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Art Marketing Minute. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
This is the Art Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the Amazon best-selling book, “Make More Money Selling Your Art.” In the marketing minute, we answer your questions to help your art career brought to you by artmarketing.com, the place to go to learn more about marketing. Now, here’s your host, art magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.
Oh in the marketing minute I was sleeping there in the marketing minute I answer your art marketing questions. You can upload your video [email protected]/questions or you can email me [email protected] Amandine, our producer, what is the first question?
The first question is from Jen Wendling from Syracuse, New York. I am a new artist. I’m just starting to put my work out there. I’ve sold some pieces. What is your recommendation for new artists? And do you have any advice on how I should manage my reputation online? And?
Eric Rhoads 50:08
You know, that’s a really great question. It’s very astute of you to ask that question. Because if you’re just kind of starting, and nobody really knows who you are, um, some people do, obviously, you have, there’s an old quote, right, the old quote is, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. And so many artists start out and hurt their careers by making really silly mistakes, reputation, mistakes, marketing mistakes, and I’m not just trying to hock my book, but you need to read my book, make more money selling your art, that’s a really good place to start. But let’s just talk about that in case you don’t read it. By the way, I’ve got a great blog at artmarketing.com, too. So what I would recommend you’re brand new, you first off want to say, Okay, what do I want out of my career? What is my grand vision, now, I don’t know what age you are, Jen. But I’m going to pretend you’re 25. Okay. And I’m going to pretend you have a 50 year career ahead of you. And if you plant the right seeds now, and continue working the system, you’re going to be able to be by the time you’re relatively, you know, not terribly old. If you do it, right, let’s say five or seven years from now, you could be considered a very important artist, and 1015 years from now, you could be considered a master artist, and then ride that wave for the rest of your career. Now, you got to have the chops, I’m not going to talk about the chops, you’re gonna have to figure out how to get the chops, how to be a good painter, et cetera. That’s a whole nother animal. And I know CW is going to have talked about that a little bit. So I think the first thing to understand is, you know, what are my goals? What is my five year, three year, two year one year goal? What do I need to do? What and I would start out, in spite of the fact you want to do some big dreaming? And where do you ultimately want to be all of that stuff, setting those goals is important, I think what you want to do is start out by saying, Okay, how do I get what I need in your one. Now, if you’re working another job, what I highly recommend is not quitting your job, but I highly recommend is paint and figure out a way to get to the same level of income that you’re at in your job. And once you get to the same level of income, prove it for another year. And once you’ve proven it for another year, then you can quit your job, or you can phase out of your job because you get this overlap. And that’s a really great way to do it, because it takes some of the risk out of it. And that’s that can be nerve racking, because you quit your job, you don’t have any income, you’re under a lot of stress. Unless you’ve got savings, a lot of us don’t. So I think that’s one of the things you want to do. And I have a whole video series just about that one particular topic, somewhere, I don’t know where it is, but we can find anyway, the idea here is you got to, you know, everything you do isn’t going to go perfect. And you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. And mistakes are important because you grow from mistakes. And it’s better to make mistakes when you still have an income. Because once you’re relying on your income, if you make those mistakes, you’re going to be harder, more costly. So I would recommend that that procedure, but where you’re going to start is you got to start building a collector base people who are interested in your work, you got to start building a database of people who have expressed interest in your work. And a database of people have expressed interest in your workshop, you got to build the right kind of website. And most people do websites wrong. There’s a whole whole chapter on that. And and you need to look for ways that you can get frequently in front of people in a tasteful way so that they’re going to see your artwork and a lot of people do that with newsletters and I have a whole section on newsletters because most people do newsletters completely wrong. And you know, they make it all about them and nobody cares about you. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to offend you, but they don’t even know you yet. Why would they want to read your newsletter unless you do something in your newsletter that is really interesting to them. So look for look for something, they care about that good about them and then pepper it with the stuff about you and it’s gonna it’s gonna go much better. The idea is you want to build your own media and when you build your own media, that means you get them on your list. And that way you can talk to him through email, etc. Now, there’s a whole social media marketing thing you know, and that’s very important, more important than ever, but it’s not everything. And if you are of the generation that has grown up with only social media, you’re going to assume that nothing else exists. And I have a mentor that I actually have paid a lot of money to, to teach me a lot about marketing. And one of the things he says is, if you’re only digital, you only have half of a business. And what he means by that is, there are other ways to generate income, you know, a gallery is not digital, you might be advertising a gallery on Instagram, or Facebook, or they might be advertising you. But that’s not where you reach everybody, there are certain people who have money, who are not looking at your Instagram or your Facebook, and you’ll never figure out how to reach them all. And so what you want to do is ask yourself, Where is the money? Where How can I stand in the river where the money is flowing? So where what are the rivers where money is flowing? Well, art shows as a river where money is flowing, you know, you’ve got 10 shows, you know, in your local community, you know, if you’re, if you’re up for it, if you’re good enough, you know, you have these art shows, like the LA art show, Palm Beach art show Baltimore, you know, those kinds of things, where you can buy a booth, they’re expensive, but they’re probably worth it. You have art magazines, like my fine art connoisseur, you know, all these billionaires who read it and buy art, I want to advertise your tells me it gets $80,000 Average sales from each ad, but that’s a cumulative effort. And also he sells, you know, $500,000 paintings. So you know, you got to try a lot of different things, and you got to stick with it, because you’re in it for the game, the long haul. And what typically happens when people are first learning marketing, they like, oh, I tried that didn’t work, I’ll go somewhere else. And then I’ll I tried that it didn’t work, I’ll go somewhere else and keep doing that. And you just burn out everything, when if you stick with something, and you just keep building on it, you build momentum over a long period of time. So that’s kind of a first piece of that. The second thing is about reputation. Now, reputation matters more than you can possibly imagine. If you make the wrong moves early, you are getting yourself in trouble. Okay, so let’s just assume that, you know, you get, you get invited into this gallery, and you haven’t done your homework. And it turns out the gallery has a bad reputation. And they’re taking advantage of people and they’re not paying their bills, and they’re not paying their artists and you know, everything is going wrong with them, you get tainted by their reputation. On the other hand, if you got invited into like one of the top galleries a super important, you know, high high reputation, they know that they only select the best, that’s a booster to your reputation. And there’s a middle ground, you’re gonna know you’re gonna have to go into that middle ground before you go into the high ground, typically, not always. But you want to ask yourself, you know, can I be patient? Can I take my time to get invited into the right places? I have whole whole chapters and videos on getting invited into art galleries, but and getting invited as the answer you don’t want to call on him. Sorry, don’t do it. There’s a whole reason. And that basically, is you’re going to annoy them and they don’t want to be annoyed. So get yourself thinking about your reputation. What what is my brand look like? Am I elegant? And my cheap in my colorful, you know, what is the brand? What do you want to stand for watch branding, don’t copy branding, because people come up with branding concepts and strategies because they have a specific thing in mind. That may not be what you think it is. But try to figure out you know, who has been buying my paintings? What can I understand about them? What do they like about them? What is the story behind them? Write stories for every painting? I I think this is really critically important story stick. And 50% of the people who look at your paintings in a gallery environment, are not the kind of people who can get it. You know, 50% are like, Oh, I get it and 50% need to be told how to get it seems crazy. That’s just human nature. Right? You get it? I get it, but you know, somebody who’s a particular type of person, they’re not going to get it. So think in terms of that and then start building you know, I, I think you know, it’s I like the idea of dominating a particular magazine to dominate it for five or 10 years. I have one artist who was broke bankrupt, hardly had any money and decided to advertise in one of my magazines. I think it was fine art connoisseur and just the bought what she could buy, which was a quarter page or half page or something in every single issue, never skipping it. And it was hard. And I said, Look, you know, after the first year, you’re going to feel a little nervous about this, because you’re spending this money and you’re not really feeling the result. But you got to build your brand and your reputation. And after, after that, all of a sudden, you know, invites started coming in to be judges and to do galleries and to do shows, and you know, stuff like that. And things started selling and moving. And then better galleries came on board after a few years, and she was able to get rid of the crummy galleries. And you know, it just was like, elevating up and has stuck with it for 10 years, and it has put this person into superstar status. Now, you got to be able to paint or draw or sculpt or whatever it is you do photography. So keep that in mind. But it’s a long game, and you got to play the long game if you want to succeed. Well, also, I should mention that, you know, there is no difference between your personal reputation and your business reputation. I had a gallery owner, I’ve told the story a few times, gallery owner and a major, big city, big gallery, important gallery fired, fired an artist, because the artists kept posting pictures of, of the crazy stuff that he was involved with, in you know, you know, partying and stuff like that. And now you could probably tell yourself a story. Well, you know, that’s the reputation I want. But the gallery got complaints about it, one lady wanted to, it turned her off so much, she wanted to get a refund on her painting because she didn’t like what the artist was standing for. So you got to keep that stuff in mind. I have another artist friend who’s very prominent, and he insists on sharing his political opinions on social media. And no matter what you think, and no matter how much you want to stand for what you stand for, which is fine. But just know, if you do that. You’re going to make 50% of the people hate you. Sorry, it’s the truth. They’re not going to be able to overcome that. And you know, you’ve seen this. I mean, you’ve seen people who have boycotted companies, because they got political, and they just, you know, these companies shouldn’t be getting political. I don’t want to get polluted. Anyway, that’s about online reputation.
The second question is from Deseret homes, Sharon Lee, from Washington, my art galleries all closed during COVID. I’m not interested in gallery hunting or hanging in short shows anymore. How do I sell and unload artwork or lean storage?
Eric Rhoads 1:03:01
All right, well, so I’m gonna get a little down on you here. Desert free, no offense intended. But it sounds like you’ve given up look, in the world of business. And if you’re selling paintings, you’re in the world of business, your small business, whether you like it or not. And in the world of business, you’re gonna get your gut kicked in, you’re gonna get your teeth kicked in, you’re gonna lose paintings. I had 12 pieces in a gallery out west, the gallery went bankrupt. I never got my paintings back. Luckily, by some stroke of luck, I was at a party, I met a guy I talked to him, he says, Oh, we’ve been looking for you, my sister owned this gallery. And we’ve been we’ve gave up looking for you, but we have all your stuff. And they sent back in 10 years, 12 years later, miracle, but for years, I thought I’d been burned, you’re gonna get burned. It’s part of doing business. You don’t like it? I don’t like it. But it’s part of doing business. And if you give up and say, Well, I’m not gonna go into any galleries, because all my galleries closed during COVID. Guess what, not all the galleries did close. There are great galleries out there that are thriving, not just surviving. And there’s a lot of other things that you should be doing. So if you’re giving up on galleries, if you’re giving up on shows, don’t give up. Now, if you decide you want to give up because you just don’t want to put up with it anymore. I get it. That’s fine. You might be at a stage in your life where you just don’t want to do that kind of work. But the reality is, if you’re gonna sell artwork, you got to do the work. And it’s a pretty much full time job. I always say, if you’re marketing your own art, you got to spend 20% of your time which is roughly you know, two hours a day or one day a week out of your five day week to work on marketing your art, you know, it’s just you got to work it you got to be talking to people you got to be selling Listen, you gotta be marketing and putting shows together, you know, all this stuff, I mean, it’s just all part of it, if you don’t do it, you’re not going to get the results you want, the more you’re willing to put into it. And in the early stages of your career, you put all that time and effort into it, and then you don’t have to do as much still got to do it. You can’t completely disappear. But if you keep, keep it alive, keep the train running, you’re gonna have a big impact. But how do you sell and in this case, she says unload artwork, currently in storage well, okay, so if you want to just unload everything, let’s, let’s say, you’re not going to pay it anymore, you’re not going to try to market your art anymore, you just want to unload everything? Well, you know, there’s a lot of things, you can do a garage sale, I know it sounds silly, you can do an art sale, like a garage sale, you can do Facebook marketplace, if you want, you can place some ads, or local ads, depending on the prices and how many paintings you can play some local ads, you know, in the local media, newspaper, websites, whatever, you know, if you have something here in Austin, we have the East Austin studio tours, you can participate in that, you know, get space in one of those studios, with somebody else, pay them for a little of their time, or whatever, put your work in there, and they get big crowds through you can sell that way. You know, you can try to sell it online, and, you know, put together a website with all the stuff that you’re offering. If you’re trying to get rid of it, then it’s all about price, right? Because if if you’re willing to dip price, you’re gonna get rid of things much faster. If you’re not willing, then you’re going to it’s going to take longer, you can still do it, but it’s going to take longer. I think that the real question is, how do I sell artwork, if I don’t want to do shows and being a gallery, and that becomes pretty much a self marketing strategy. That means you’re promoting online, you’re promoting on social media, you have a very specific strategy for social media. And you also are promoting in other places, because as I’ve said before, stand in the river where the money is flowing, right? So get into art shows, but you don’t want to do art shows I get that. But where can you stand where the money is flowing? Well, you know, I’ve got art magazines that have rich, rich, wealthy collectors who love art. And so that’s a concentrated audience of people who are going to buy paintings proven to buy paintings. So you know, you’ve got to get known there, build your brand, you know, that kind of thing. And those things matter over time. Now, if you are Deseret, you’re kind of like done with this, you’re at the end of your career, you just don’t want the paintings around anymore, you’re not going to paint anymore, I would, I’d probably just go to somebody locally who’s already set up, maybe it’s an art gallery, and just say, Listen, get rid of these, I need a minimum of, you know, X number of dollars for each of these, or, you know, I’ll sell you the whole bunch for X number of dollars, and let it become their problem. And they might have a big sale. Or maybe you can get somebody, if you have a list in you have people who have collected your art in the past, to a studio sale, you know, I’m retiring, and I’m getting rid of everything. And this is your big opportunity. And by the way, these paintings are going to be more valuable than ever, because I’m not going to pay it anymore. Right? So, and you need a story. Everybody needs a story. Now my rule is the story has to be true. You can’t lie. But you need a story. You know, I’ve decided to stop painting. You know, I made a great career and I had a lot of fun, but I’ve decided to focus on travel. You know, so I’m going to sell out all my inventory or you know, maybe you have a health issue and you can say I’ve developed a health issue. And my hands aren’t going to be steady for much longer. You know, you can come up with some story, but it’s got to be a true story. You can expand on it. You can enhance it. But don’t lie. Don’t lie. That’s important. Okay, that is today’s art marketing minute.
Well, this has been the art marketing minute with me. Eric Rhoads. My goal in life is to eliminate the idea of the starving artist to help your dreams actually come true. So if you want to submit questions, simply email [email protected] And to learn more about marketing ideas, you can visit Artmarketing.com. Thanks for listening.
How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.
> Visit EricRhoads.com (Publisher of ArtMarketing.com) to learn about opportunities for artists and art collectors, including:
- Art retreats
- International art trips
- Art conventions
- Art workshops (in person and online)
- And more!