Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Thoughts on The Business Side of Art

This will be a rather long post on my blog, but I hope you will read the full post....
I have been thinking of have a meeting at my studio of various artists to discuss the business side of art ... marketing ... inventory... organization ... goals, etc. This thought has been going through my head for at least a year if not longer. I had mentioned it to a few artists to gauge their interest in participating in what I began to call "a round table discussion." I finally scheduled a meeting and sent out an e-mail to about 20 artists and we had 12 or 13 attend the first meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Cypress Dance
Pastel 24x20
I happened to read a post on LinkedIn the next morning talking about the business side and marketing. I went to Gary Boyler's (the author) blog to read the full article. I posted a comment and just about an hour or so later I received an e-mail from Gary. Here is what I posted as a comment on his blog, and here is the link to the original article.
"Gary, I came to your blog through LinkedIn …. because what you said hit a nerve with me. I just had a meeting at my home with twelve “like-minded” artists to discuss our experiences, what we are trying new, how we can stay true to our art, and a general discussion about the best way to market. Each artist brought their own unique experiences to the table. Also, I love the comment above about it being about conversations and relationships. I said this many times, it is not always about “me”, but what is it about the client or customer? We need to listen more than we need to talk! We need to be proactive. And that is what this group will be doing."
I think you should read this if you are interested in marketing in these trying times. Gary Boyler: Why Some Artists Will Almost Certainly Thrive And Prosper In The New Economy His article has some very good information in it and might start you thinking!
Here is what Gary Bolyer said to me in an e-mail:
Hi Marsha, I just received your comment on my art blog today (Gary Bolyer Fine Art). I took a look at your paintings and wow, I was completely blown away. They are breathtakingly beautiful.
I would like to feature you on my blog tomorrow. I would like to talk about how you had an artist group meeting and how that inspired you and motivated you. If you could write me a couple of paragraphs of how you got the idea, how you put it together, and if you plan on doing this again, that would be great.
I will be putting links to your website and talk about your work. I would also like your permission to put some of your beautiful images in the article.
Let me know what you think, Gary Bolyer
Gary Bolyer Fine Art
So, I responded to his e-mail with a "thank you" for his kind words, etc. and formulated several paragraphs to give him an idea of what I did and what the meeting was about. Here is my answer to him....

"we will be meeting quarterly and each time at a different artist's studio or home. That way the moderator for the meeting will be different each time. I find that I tend to talk a lot and "impose" my thoughts .... maybe. It is nice to have a different viewpoint even to the moderation of a meeting.

 I have been discussing the possibility of a "round table" meeting about the business aspects of our art careers for quite some time. Those artists that seemed most interested were the ones I invited ... which was about 20 - 25. Several already had things that prevented them from coming, but noted they wished to be kept on the list so they could participate in the future. We shall see if they meant it. We had 12 or 13 at this first meeting. Mostly painters (of many different mediums), and two were potters -- one of which is relatively new. We want to be sure to have some ideas from different media, not only painters .... if they suffer from the same marketing issues .... and I think it is universal, no matter the medium of art. We had one that uses Etsy quite successfully, one that does quite a few outdoor festivals (the better ones), and several that go the gallery route. Quite an interesting combination, but what I wanted to have. Each would bring their own expertise to the group, but also gain from another's experiences with a venue that is different. It was suggested that the next meeting we should pick one topic or two and focus solely on that for the evening (or sometimes a Saturday).
 One attendee took wonderful notes which she scanned in and e-mailed to me. I have not had a chance to read them yet. Since I was the "moderator or facilitator" of this meeting, I found it hard to keep notes myself (though I am a good note taker). I really tried to keep people on topic. My first talk to them was to have them give us name, medium, and a couple of sentences about what they needed most, or what seemed to be the biggest problem for them. I started, and said I needed to be better organized .... and they all died laughing! They consider me organized. But my thing is to be better at picking the best for me and planning and not missing any deadlines. Also, to keep better address list of potential clients.
 About being inspired and motivated.... it does not take much to inspire or motivate me. My brain never seems to quit!"
Musical Waters
Pastel 24 x 20
You can read what he took from my answers to his questions at: Blueprint for Building a Community of Artists: An Inspiring Message of Hope from Marsha Savage. And the two paintings I am showing here are what he picked to post along with his feature on the blog.
I really appreciate Gary and many more wonderful artists that take the time to appreciate another artist and their work, and their efforts at making the business of art work in these trying times. Please go to the blog and either "like" it or "share" if possible. This is one way to spread the word about artists helping artists. Very important, don't you think?
I would love to hear your thoughts, so please do comment. I would appreciate it ... and I think Gary would enjoy hearing what others think, too.
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