A Marketing Message from Art Publisher B. Eric Rhoads Room where Vincent Van Gogh died A few weeks ago I visited the grave of Vincent Van Gogh, in the quaint little Northern French village of Auvers-sur-Oise, as part of our annual art cruise. We were walking the same streets and trails Van Gogh traveled and painted. Van Gogh has become the model of the "starving artist." How many people have told you the life of an artist can't be a good one because it's such a struggle? It's a lie. Though adversity stimulates growth and life's problems do typically make us better people and artists, the idea that success in their lifetimes is not possible for artists is simply a lie. In that same town, artists such as Daubigny, Pissarro, and Corot were great successes, as were many artists around Normandy and Paris. Yet we hold on to this romantic notion that we as artists have to struggle. The Church Van Gogh painted What lies are holding you back as an artist? We have all been held back by lies -- lies others have told us, lies we absorb, lies we tell ourselves. You can either choose to believe them and allow them to affect you, or you can choose to prove them wrong. We all cling to the lies we've heard from family members, friends, teachers, and colleagues, [...]
It's summertime, and art is selling. I'm hearing from galleries around the country that are having a great summer. If you're an artist they're representing, that's great news. But what happens when summer is over? Can you survive on a few paintings sold over the summer? Or would you like to have consistent business all year? I'd like to share a strategy that can keep the cash coming in every month of the year. Vacation ModeWhat I failed to mention is that the places selling a lot of art this summer are vacation spots. Anyone who runs a retail location knows that people are a little looser with their pocketbooks when they are on vacation, in a non-stress, non-work environment. Those vacationing in expensive resort areas are likely to be able to afford a nice memory of their trip to hang on their wall, whether it's a painting of the local area they're visiting, or just something they love that will help them remember where it was purchased. I have a house filled with memories purchased when we were in "vacation mode." We're out to dinner having a great time, maybe we've had a couple glasses of wine, and we wander into a gallery, and WHAM! We fall in love with a painting. Since we want our vacation time to last forever, this is a great way to [...]
The Pearl inlay surrounding the guitar I made in the summer of 2014. As I approach a giant milestone birthday, my friends and family have asked me about my plans. On the past two big birthdays, I've had my closest lifelong friends visit the Adirondacks to help me celebrate, because the Adirondack Mountains is the place I love the most. This year, I wanted to do something different, but I wasn't sure what. Then it came to me. Since I started playing guitar just two years ago and have come to love guitars, I decided to challenge myself to make a guitar to celebrate this milestone. Cutting the boards for the side of the guitar. Making a guitar seemed like a giant challenge and something I'd never do on my own, and that was the attraction. I simply wanted to push myself, as my way of celebrating. I also thought about it a lot and knew it was so far out of my routine that I'd probably never do it. I didn't want to keep thinking about it, and I knew that if I didn't tell others of my plan it would be a lost dream, so I started spreading the word to a few friends, knowing that I'd be embarrassed if I didn't produce. Bending the wood with heat. The problem with making a guitar [...]
Fireworks will light the skies around our great nation this week as we celebrate our independence as a country. Yet thousands of artists I hear from are lacking independence. They long to quit their jobs and create their art full-time -- without having to live the life of a starving artist. Yesterday I met a man who told me the story of spending years in art school to get his MFA, yet he was never able to make a living with his art. He said to me, "No one around here can make a living as an artist." I didn't want to disagree, but I know artists nearby who actually make a great living as artists, and who are not as accomplished as he. The reality is, you can quit your job and become a full-time artist and make just as good a living or better in most cases. If that sounds like a stretch to you, it's not. I work with people every day who have done it, including some professionals who were already making excellent money. One artist who follows my plan sent me a photo last week of a pile of checks. She is living the dream, just three years after she started. One of my missions in life is to help artists (painters, sculptors, photographers, crafters, etc.) live their dream. I have lived the life of [...]
Today, art competitions are all the rage. Yet many artists still ignore them, thinking they're a waste of time. Competitions are tools you can use to build income and career, kind of like selling your painting more than once -- only ethically! More important, if you become a winner, entering a competition is the single most significant thing you can do to make your career soar quickly. Not only do art competitions give you a chance to win prize money (which is like getting paid twice for a painting, if it's already been sold), it gives you visibility -- which is great for your branding to potential galleries, collectors, and other artists. People love to associate with winners. Even if you're not the grand prize winner, just by being a finalist, you're in the category of winners. And if you enter a painting that sold, let's say, for $2,500, and you win $15,000, it's like selling six more paintings -- plus you don't have to share the revenue with your gallery. One gallery owner told me, "I find artists by watching who is winning competitions. I also learn of new artists when I'm judging competitions, and I watch who is advertising." What are the benefits to entering an art competition? You can win prize money You can win publicity when winners and finalists are announced You can [...]
In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads explains whether frames really make a difference when it comes to selling a painting; and shares advice for students on how to start supporting yourself as an artist as soon as possible once you graduate.