IT PAYS TO ASK PEOPLE TO SHOW YOUR ART
It may seem that suddenly my art is being shown in a lot of places, but actually it is the result of my taking the time and making the effort to reach out to businesses at every opportunity. And believe me, not every one responded favorably, in fact some didn't respond at all.
I always try to keep my eye open for opportunities. Whenever we go out to eat, go to a doctor's office, or any other location where I see blank spaces on the wall, I think about whether it would be an appropriate place to show my art. If I decide it is a good fit, then I pick up a flyer and look for an email. If there isn't one, I approach the staff and ask for an email contact. I have found that emails get much more attention than using regular mail, and it allows me to send them photos of my work. I also put in a link to my website so all they have to do is click on the link to see my work. And, believe me, that effort pays off.
In the last month, I have landed three additional locations to show my art. One restaurant, one gallery and a doctor's office. It simply makes good sense to use whatever avenues you may have to seek representation. But understand that not all will respond. I sent a letter to a local restaurant and they never responded, possibly because it was a letter and not an email. I included my business card and a "rack card" with my artist information, but it just doesn't come across as well as seeing the artwork itself. So, don't expect everyone to jump at your offer, but don't get discouraged either. Keep looking and keep applying and eventually you will have a positive response.
We recently returned from Savannah, GA where I hung art in a coffee shop with wall area for display of artist's work. Their policy is normally to give artists one month at a time for display, but because I live 2 1/2 hours away, they gave me 2 months. As I was leaving the owner approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing a pouring workshop when I return to pick up my art. We talked about the details and when I returned home I sent her a flyer & photos for advertising and she is going to set one up. We also went over to Tybee Island and I stopped at a small art/framing gallery to look around. They weren't busy so I was able to talk to the owner for a while. I happened to have one of my "Oceans on Glass" pieces with me, so I went back to our hotel and did some research on the shop. I liked what I saw and decided to show it to her and she put it in her shop! She is now asking me to bring in as many prints as I can. They apparently are big sellers. People want nice art and this makes it more affordable for them. No problem! I am taking them up when I go back to pick up my artwork at the coffee shop and hold the workshop.
I mentioned a doctor's office and that is an interesting story. We are newer patients with our doctor, but in a short time my husband and I have developed a good relationship with the practice. They announced they would be moving to a new building in a month so I gave our doctor (not the head Dr) my business card and showed him a couple photos of my work. He said he would give it to the head Dr and we left. The other day we were there again and I asked him when they were moving. At the end of March was the answer. Ok, I needed to get serious if I wanted art displayed. When we left I drove by the new office, and was able to get in to look around. We went home and I looked on their website for an email. There was none so I called and asked for one explaining my purpose. They gave me an email to use and that afternoon I sent it to the head doctor along with photos of my work and a link to my website. I also explained that I was experienced in displaying art and could give references should he so desire. Well, early the next morning I got a surprise! When I opened my email there was a reply from the Dr stating that he really liked my work. Not only that, he said that they had decided to feature the artwork of their clients instead of just using what he called "boring old artwork". They would hang the art, display the artist's bio, and set up a page on their website titled "Art in the Office" for anyone to check out what's available to purchase. What a great idea! The new office has large wall spaces for display purposes so I am very excited about this opportunity. And it is in another city close by which expands my reach even further, all very nice indeed. But it never would have happened had I not taken the opportunity to reach out.
This doctor is very progressive. There are small video players in each exam room that offer info about procedures, etc. When we had a meeting with the doctor, he explained that he wanted to shoot a short video interview with each artist to be installed on those players so that as patients wait to be seen, they can watch the interview and learn about each artist while viewing some of their work. WOW!
I decided to get a professional photo of myself for the bio in the doctor's office. My friend who's a photographer took me to historic downtown St Augustine for the shoot and it came out very nice! Up until this time I was using a photo my husband took which was nice, but it was time for something better. This friend is also making the professional prints of my artwork. She has given me reasonable prices and in return, I have helped her get her own artwork into some shops. And that's another thing you can do, offer to barter work or help one another out when possible. It builds relationships and widens your circle of contacts. It can make a big difference!
Another thing I did was to go to Vistaprint.com and order new "rack" cards and business cards. Rack cards are 3 1/2 x 8 cards that advertise your art. It has a space for your artist statement, a photo if desired, plus all your contact info. These are great for advertising, especially with matching business cards. I had some nice ones, but they were geared toward my "Ocean Meditations" paintings & my "Scenes of St Augustine" paintings. The new ones feature my "Oceans on Glass" series. I make each set different so they are easy to tell apart. These new cards also match my biography!
Below are some photos from the doctor's office and my new photo/bio & cards. Enjoy, thank you for staying with me, and see you next Friday!