Saturday, February 5, 2011

Not enough to just paint - Business Matters

The artist and works at the Rio Grande Fair
Time was when an artist stayed in their studio and hoped a gallery owner would come calling. You entered exhibits to garner awards and call attention to yourself but you did not actively market your own wares. But there has been a sea change in that over the last two decades. Street fairs became art fairs and then festivals and you had to get into the best ones to have an audience that would buy your works. I know artist that do 18 to 32 weekend shows a year. Or did before the economy went south.

I had done at the most eight fairs a year and dropped to only three last year. Some shows are having a tough time filling booths and galleries are going under. I feel quite lucky having two galleries showing my work currently. But I and other artists have begun to actively look at marketing our own works without travel time and money and booth fees. Enter the Internet.

Time was you paid someone to build you a website and update it for you. Then software made it easier to do yourself. But driving people to your website required marketing and so you were back to the fairs and exhibits with cards given out with your website. Still websites are more catalogs or brochures of your work. They have saved printing costs and trees. Then came Facebook as a marketing strategy. And for me it began with a profile page and posting my latest works. Then came the fan page - Binford-Bell Studio.

I initially thought of the fan page as a way to steer people to my website but then found I was selling paintings shortly after posting them on my Facebook fanpage. And yesterday through an innocent question to my friend Katherine McDermott, owner of Artspace Gallery, about paypal I discovered the store front available on Facebook - Payvment. So yesterday I worked hard at getting my store front set up. It is in the Shop Now tab on my fan page wall. Payments are run through my PayPal standard business account. Bye bye having to have an expensive merchant credit card account to sell on line. I'm ecstatic, but also very busy exercising my left brain.

Are you still just painting? Time to put that computer to use for more than downloading and storing images.

1 comment:

  1. Facebook's storefront is a great addition - and one more avenue of many that are needed in this economy. I had a long conversation yesterday with a man who is starting an unholstery/refinishing business (an artist in his own right) - and he guesstimates that he spends about 50% of his time on marketing of some sort or another.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.