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.
In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads shares thoughts on thoughts on how to approach an art gallery that isn’t local to you, and traditional fine art collecting versus the move toward technology.
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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.
In the art marketing minute, my goal is to answer your art marketing questions. Send me your burning questions to [email protected]. Or you can do a video question at artmarketing.com/questions. I’d love to have them. I have my producer read the questions. Amandine is from France. And she said that today she’s feeling a little extra overly sensitive about her accent because it’s her birthday. Oh, we need some. I don’t know if we have any birthday music or not. Let’s try it. Anyway, it’s her birthday. And we want to congratulate her, give her a thumbs up and an applause. And anyway, she was talking to her family back in France. And so she said she kind of picked up some of the more French. So obviously now you’re going to be overly self conscious about this. What’s our first question?
Thank you, Eric. So the first question is from Amelia Kintore from Costa Rica. We had a question from Amelia before. So this is a follow up question. I’ve heard you say many times to not approach a gallery through email. But what can we do as foreign artists to approach galleries internationally? I’m already a public figure in Costa Rica. I had many shows. I’m linked with real estate in national galleries. And one of my current 2023 goals is to find international representation, which do you think would be the most correct way to approach foreign galleries without contacts or the possibility to visit their shows?
All right, I think we got cut off there. They visit their shows and to meet them is what she was going to say. Well, first off, don’t listen to an old coot like me. Because if you know if you’ve got an idea, go for it. You know, don’t let me hamper you. But I do have ideas about this. I mean, here’s the real reason that I say this about galleries. I was sitting in an art gallery one time talking to the gallery director and he said, Do you mind if I open mail while we’re talking? Because I can’t keep up with it. I pulled out this big box. And I said what is that? He said, Well, these are all submissions from artists. He said I get 150 of these a month. He said I basically open them up peeking them and throw them away. And he said, I get 10 times as many emails he said, sometimes people drop in, I’ll be with a client that will interrupt me, I’ll kill a sale. He said, you know, artists don’t think about these things and how much time he said, you know, we spend a lot of time dealing with artists submissions that we don’t even want. And so you know this, this is something you need to be thinking about because you don’t want to get a bad rap or reputation with somebody in a gallery. Now, they’re inundated. And so in your particular case, because you’re International, or you’re you want to be internationally known, you’re well known in Costa Rica, you have a story to tell, and you might want to consider emailing him, but I recommend against best way to get into a gallery is to get invited in. That’s what I think and there are ways to do that. I talked about that in the book a little bit. But here’s here’s what we always want to do. You always want to think about who is my customer and what do they want. In this particular case, who’s your customer, it’s an art gallery, right? You want them to bring your work into their gallery so what Does an art gallery one? Well, first off, they want quality. They want quality. They want artists that are quality. So when you’re looking at websites, you’ve got to look at the quality of the work on their their website and say do I live up to it? Secondly, they want variety. And what I mean by that, you know, some galleries will do modern and traditional, most will do all modern are all traditional, but they want variety of subjects, and, and they want artists who can put together a portfolio of a lot of good work, you know, everybody, every artists can paint one good painting, but can they pay 50 or 100, and they produce enough work, that’s what they want, they, you know, you are inventory to them. They love you, they care about you, but your inventory. And if they if you can’t produce enough work, they’re not going to make any money on you. They want to make money. And they want proven artists who are easy to sell, and who have a national brand. Because somebody who has a national brand, somebody will walk into the artist and say, Hey, do you have a CW Monday? Or do you have a client ask IVIG that and, and that they can get more money, somebody with a big brand. And they want things that are big brand. And so if you don’t have a national brand, or you don’t have a strong enough brand, not every gallery gets all those national brand artists. But if your brand isn’t strong enough, no matter how famous you are in Costa Rica, it’s not going to help you in America or France or other places. It’s a story. They love stories, and it’s something they can talk about way if they decide they’re going to have you they can say, well, you know, this artist is in the National Gallery in Costa Rica, that that’ll help them sell things. But you know, the National Gallery in Costa Rica is probably a whole lot different than the National Gallery in Washington DC. So, you know, I think email contact is a disadvantage, because they’re going to filter you out your email might not even get to him. You know, I have people, I have two different people who do nothing, but go through my email and filter it out. Anything that that’s important gets to me, and when you send me something it gets to me, but you know, we all get a lot of junk mail and stuff. I don’t have to deal with as much of that now. So how do you solve this problem? How do you get galleries and other countries to want you? Well, the first question is, you’ve got to ask yourself, why? What do I want to accomplish? You know, sometimes we have these visions of what, you know what something looks like, and what is going to be happening there. But why do you want to do that? I mean, it when you’re, you’re dealing with other countries, now you’re dealing with special packaging, probably more difficult packaging, you’re talking about shipping things, longer distance, higher expenses. I don’t know if there’s any import taxes or things like that, that you are they have to deal with. But there are a lot of things you want to consider make sure you’re you really want it if that’s what you want. Now, I had a gallery owner telling me that he watches artists who advertise. Sometimes he keeps an eye on him for years, he said, and if their work is consistent or getting better, and he sometimes will call them and invite them into the gallery. He said he also secretly has a different name. And he watches them on social media and Instagram. He watches their behavior, he watches, what they’re posting, are they posting good things? are they posting bad things? Are they inconsistent? are they posting pictures of their, you know, their drunken parties and their head in the toilet? He said, because when I see that I instantly write him off. He said, Because I have to have people who are perceived as professionals. He says that artists who advertise prove that they’re good business people, because they understand what it takes. They’re increasing their value, they’re increasing their chance of success. They’re increasing their brand. They’re developing a collector base. And he said that way, we don’t have to do all of that for them. He said, That’s high risk. I want people that people already want I want them to come into the gallery and say, Hey, I need an Eric Rhoads painting, right? So the advantage for you if you’re building a brand, if you’re advertising yourself, you’re building a brand, you’re helping people become aware of you. But that’s not enough. You have to create interest, you have to create desire. And then eventually you have to create purchase. And that’s about longevity and consistency and always being there. Because what happens if somebody will see an ad one time, and they won’t act on it, they’ll just see it because you know, people flip through things. But they might go Oh, that’s interesting. And then they’ll go you know, next time they see it, they go Oh, I like that artist. And the next time they see it, they go oh, I liked that artists. I want to watch that artists and the next time they see it, they might go well, I you know, I’d kind of like to own something from that artist, you know, so now you’re getting them to interest and desire. And then at some point, if you keep reminding them they might see something. Oh, that’s the painting. That’s some I’m going to pick up the phone and buy. And you also have to understand that people are in and out all the time, right? You know, some people feel rich one day and poor another day, depending on what’s going on in their life, you know, they just inherit some money, or they just get a bonus. Or if they have to put a new roof on their house, they’re feeling poor. And so you want to always be there, because you never know when they’re going to be in the market, you know, it’s their birthday, they decide they’re going to spend some money on themselves. And they’re going to pick a painting in this magazine today, and you better be there and the one time you’re not there as the day you’re going to miss out on that sale. So it’s, it’s a, it’s a big game, you know, it’s something that has to occur. But what I want you to do is think in terms of your fishing, right, I’ll use a fishing scenario. So you throw your line in the water, and you’re always throwing your line in the water and you catch a fish. And then you take the fish off, and you throw it back in the water versus you take the fish off, and you throw it in your pond. And so you catch another fish, and you throw it in your pond and you keep catching fish, and you throw them in their pond, and they get bigger and bigger and bigger, and they reproduce and there’s more fish, and eventually you eat them, right and you have enough fish to to take care of you the rest of your life. Right? The whole idea here is you want to advertise to bring in fish. And then you want to get them to come to you. They want the ad to go to your website to sign up for your newsletter, you gotta have some special incentives to get him to do that. Now they’re in your pond. Now once they’re in your pond, you feed them, you develop them, you talk to them, you you can talk to them a little bit more frequently, you’re still advertising because people are in and out of markets all the time, but you still advertise to constantly bring more efficient, some of the fish in your pond are going to end up buying things, some of the fish outside of your pond are going to end up buying things but you’ve got to constantly be developing. So you can also tag your ads, you can tag them with things like credibility builders, you know, like I am in the national proud to say that I’m in the National Gallery of Art collection in Costa Rica. Or you can also say things like, I’ll be adding one new gallery this year, you could say only one new gallery this year, you want to create scarcity, you want to also not look like you’re desperate, you know, if you just say now seeking galleries, that feels desperate, but if you say not adding one new gallery this year, you know, and by the way, you can see me in these four other galleries that way, you know, it’s like, oh, this is special. And then maybe somebody will see that and say, Okay, I want to come on board. All right, lots more about that kind of thing. In the book, Amandine, what do we have next?
The second question is Felicia from Maryland has, as our world heads more into technology, and the younger generations don’t invest in fine art as their parents or grandparents? Where does that leave us artists who love to paint and draw? Should we start moving with the times into more digital times? How are things changing and advancing? And what does that mean for the fine art?
Well, Alicia, you know, do you really believe that’s true? Have you seen evidence of that? Do you have any data points? Do you have a lot of data points? You might be telling yourself a story? This is something we all do we hear a thing or two, we hear somebody say something next thing you know, we assume everything is like that. Now, let me give you an example. I used to be a radio DJ. And like one of the DJs that I worked with said, you know, we should be playing the song. Everybody’s calling for this song. Well, the reality was everybody wasn’t calling for that song. It’s just that he happened to pick up the line a couple of times, and he happened to catch somebody calling for that song. But we we had data points, we put checkmarks with every song everybody asked for. And that song wasn’t really getting requested, but he believed it because that was his story. So you’ve got to ask yourself, am i Believing story? Now, here’s the news. The news is that the grandparents and the parents who bought art at young ages, that didn’t really exist. I mean, it might exist in a couple of cases. But, you know, young people typically don’t buy a lot of art and the kind of art that they’re buying when they’re young. When I was, I don’t know, 17 1819 2017 I think I bought I saw this really cool poster of a man with a sword and a lightning bolt and he was sitting on a horse with wings. And I bought that poster and I probably paid $25 for it. I thought it was a lot of money. It was framed and I hung it up in my apartment. And that was my art my bigger Purchase. But what happens is our art tastes change. You know, when I was 20, I probably had different art up than when I was 17. When I became 30, that changed, I in my 30s, I bought photographs, because I was into photography. And in my 40s, I bought my first painting on a trip with my wife, we were walking through New Orleans, and we saw an artist and we thought, Oh, we’ve never seen an artist before. And we bought a painting, and it was probably 200 bucks. And it was a lot of money to us at the time. And then later, you know, as I got older, I started, we took a couple more trips we’d find decided to buy paintings on trips, we wandered into galleries, we’d buy paintings. And then as I got older, and I got more money, all of a sudden, I’m spending, I remember, when the first time I spent $5,000 on a painting, I was like really nervous. Because I thought, you know, how can anybody spend $5,000 on a painting, you know, now I look at that and go, Well, that’s a bargain, because that painting today is probably worth $50,000. But that’s a whole nother story. So everybody goes through these phases. And by the way, everybody’s in a different place. They’re in a different place. Mentally, they’re in a different place physically, you know, people have cycles in their lives. And we might assume that young people aren’t interested because they’re into digital art, and they’re into NF Ts. And that’s true. That’s no, there’s no doubt about it. But I have a friend who is a young tech entrepreneur, he’s probably not even 40 yet. He’s probably not quite a billionaire, but he’s close. And what does he do with his money, he buys art. And he’s buying it online. He’s buying it on auction sites, he wanders into galleries on trips, and he’s buying good art. And he is he told me, he says, you know, he was a little embarrassed because he asked me to go to lunch with him one time, because he wanted to know more about art. And he said, I’m a little embarrassed because I only can spend $25,000 a month in art. And I thought I said, Well, you know, you’re ahead of most. And, and so don’t assume anything. You know, there are cycles, there are interests in different communities and sub communities. You know, what people in New York buy might be different than people in Brooklyn or people in Chicago or people in LA or California, you know, there’s, it depends on your interest. You know, if you’re a modern house person, I know people who have vacation homes. And so you know, I have a friend that has come home and Telluride, guess what’s hanging in his house and tell you right? Western paintings, guess what’s hanging in his modern apartment in New York, modern paintings, guess what’s hanging at his house in Connecticut, traditional paintings. So you know, everybody’s got a little different tastes at different times. And so don’t get all freaked out about that. When you’re selling art, though. You want to think about this, you’re in a business. And when you’re in business, things are constantly changing. And you have to keep an eye on it. And you have to watch the data points. And there might be a time when nobody’s buying art, like you say could happen. And But things could change. You know, Kim Kardashian, all of a sudden starts talking about paintings everybody’s gonna want paintings, or Damien John, or you know, or whomever. And so, just think about that. And also, there’s a group of people who are what I call success driven people, right? They’re the people who buy Lamborghinis, people who drive Bentley’s, you know, we may or not, may not be able to relate to them, because we’re not doing those things. But the reality is that they will buy status items, because it makes them feel better. And they they want to, they want to kind of show off who they are. And so what what do they buy, they buy status items and art. And you know, they wander into a gallery and they see a painting that’s a quarter million dollars or a million dollars or half a million dollars. And they go I’ll take that, you know, make some feel great. And you know, it may be something that they love, it may be something that is a status piece because it’s famous artists, you know, you never know I mean so there’s just a lot of different things. But one thing that people do is they hang brands right? Those people they hang brands right they hang brand clothes in their closets and they have brand cars in their multiple garages and they have big mansions that you know that are branded mansions and and the artwork are brands you know if you if you own a Clyde ASPA big painting, that’s a big brand and that’s it’s something that hopefully the collector will go you know, I love it. That’s why I bought it but there are people who do buy paintings big because they’re famous, as a matter of fact, I have a friend of mine, who just passed away, was a billionaire. And he lived at the top of Beverly Hills in this big mansion that he bought from a famous movie director. And I walked into the house for a meeting, I walked in, first off his garage doors open, and there’s a Bentley, and there’s a rolls and there’s a sports car. And you know, there’s a bunch of things, we go into house and we had our meeting, and I said, I see you have a lot of art, can you tell me about your art? And he said, Well, yeah, I’ll walk you around. He said, I don’t know much about it. I have people who do that for me. And, you know, I thought, oh, and so he walks me around. He said, Well, that’s a Jasper Johns. I said, Well, tell me about that. He says, Well, I don’t really know anything about it. But I bought it from this guy, and I paid a million dollars for it. And that’s what was important to him. He ended up selling that painting for like $50 million, or something, which is pretty cool. But anyway, you know, everybody’s got a different reason not everybody’s going to be passionate for the same reason there’s no right or wrong. It’s just you have to don’t tell yourself stories. Now, dealers, art dealers have to keep up with trends and popularity, and what’s happening in Hong Kong or Chicago, or Moscow or wherever. And so, with the internet the way it is, everybody can see everything and everybody and so you can be discovered. But don’t get caught up in assumptions, assumptions will, will hurt you. I get caught up in assumptions I get wrong. Most of the time, you know, I’ll hear a little piece of evidence. And I’ll assume that’s true for everybody. If that you look for evidence, if there’s no hard evidence, then it may not be a trend. And I ended up making stuff up because I think I hear something and it changes my attitude. But be careful, because the stories that you tell yourself will limit your thinking. And if you think no one wants it, guess what happens? That will become true for you. So manage your mindset, read books on mindset, read, thinking Grow Rich. Manage mindset, and mindset has to do with this thinking. So it may be true, I don’t think it’s true. I just think the timing is is different. And by the way, there’s, there’s education that needs needs to take place. We have to educate consumers constantly. We have to get our stuff in front of them. And you got to look for creative ways to do it. That’s what I do for a living. That’s why people advertise in my magazines because they want you know, we have all these billionaires who read Fine Art connoisseur. They want to be in front of them. I get it. I have galleries that sell really expensive paintings to those people. Anyway, that is today’s art marketing minute.
This has been a marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com
Well, this has been fun today. And it’s really been an honor to have Clyde Aspevig on what what a terrific human being. And what I love about him is that he’s so humble. He’s accomplished so much, but he’s so humble. I hope that you guys will all come and join us at the plein air convention in Denver Clyde, if you’re listening, come on down. You can be my guest. We won’t even put you on stage. You and Karolina just come on down. That’s coming up in May. Watercolor live is coming up in like any minute. So it’s January 26 through 28th. And if you have not watched the video yet at watercolorlive.com about people who are a little bit insecure about their ability to paint, you should watch it, it might change you. And also go to pleinairmagazine.com to see the current issue of quite so big and you should get that issue but you also should consider subscribing. If you have not seen my blog where I talk about art and life and things. It’s called Sunday coffee. I do it on Sunday mornings, just because I feel about writing about something other than art. And so check it out at Coffeewitheric.com and also know that I’m on the air daily on Facebook. It’s called Art School live. And you can find it on YouTube. I’m on a 12 noon Eastern every weekday, and you can subscribe at YouTube. Just search art school live and hit the subscribe button also, if you don’t mind, give me a follow on Instagram and Facebook at Eric Rhoads as always. Everybody botches it, it’s R H O A D S There’s no E in there. All right. Thank you for tuning in today. I’m Eric Rhoades, publisher and founder of plein air magazine and fine art connoisseur. Thank you for your time today. And remember, it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see you. Bye bye.
How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Submit it at artmarketing.com/questions to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.