Marketing 101 for the Artist – Part 2

In Part 2 of this 5-part series, guest contributor Steve Gray discusses the artist statement as an important component of your marketing strategy.

Your works and you – what you want to achieve

Your aim is to market your product, your ‘commodity’, your artwork. That’s step one out of the way. Now let’s take a leap and see what comes next.

In planning and creating your work you have thrown your mind into the deep end, philosophically, culturally and goodness knows how else. You are pleased (to some degree) with the work. Now you want to be able to communicate some of that ‘mindfulness’ of approach to your prospective buyers. Here’s how.

Write an artist statement to ‘eloquently communicate your visual efforts via words’ telling the reader about what you wanted to achieve and how you went about it (easy huh…?) then find a way to let everyone know this information exists.

Then hand it out via your marketing avenues and viola! you’ve done it… phew too easy… But what’s that? You don’t know where to start with an artist statement? Few people do. My thoughts are… give it a try.

Consider these points for developing one:

  • Jot down single words and or longer comments that you or others have used to describe your work (stick with the positive comments please).
  • Write out any aims you had in producing the works (to explore colour, tone, rhythm, subject matter etc).
  • Do your research. Take a look at other artist statements written about works in a similar style to yours, then start to dissect it to see what might fit your own works. (Avoid any words you don’t understand or can’t readily articulate verbally. If someone asks you to explain what you meant, you need to be able to communicate it.)
  • Start to cut and paste the information into some form of statement that has a beginning, middle and an end.
  • Keep it short and to the point.

Over time you can add to it, edit it, work it about, until you have a document you and others can read and make sense of it. Please remember this: it’s often better to have a document that is easy to read, rather than one loaded with big words and confusing statements.

Now that you have some form of an artist statement ‘floating about’ in your head from all that philosophising, consider who you are aiming the information. (Yeah I know the reader of the statement). But seriously who is that reader? Your target audience. And who would that ideally be? Is it a buyer, a gallery operator, an art critic and curator, your family or other? Perhaps it’s a mix of these, but consider picking the main one(s) you want to appeal to and focus on what they want to know. For some it will be what inspires you, what direction you’re headed in, how you ‘evolved’ in the process; all of this and more perhaps.

Aiming to get a gallery to represent you? This is considered by many to be the Holy Grail. Take the time to research various galleries and the style of works they represent – that should help you to narrow down your marketing target.

Armed with a statement about your works, and an idea of who you are aiming to communicate with, you can now take the next step.

In our next post we will look at different methods to promote you and your work.

All posts in ‘Marketing 101 for the Artist’:
Part 1 – Why do artists have to bother with marketing?
Part 2 – Your works and you: what you want to achieve
Part 3 – Communicate, plan and prepare, and media
Parts 4 & 5 – Handy tips for online marketing

Steve Gray - Guest Contributor on Artin GeelongSteve Gray – Artist & Writer
“After years of looking at artworks in galleries (far and wide), and interviewing a big bunch of contemporary visual artists, I came to the conclusion there are still many artists who need a hand with marketing what they do. I hope this series of ‘mad jottings’ on the basics gives you some info to work with.” http://artstuff.net.au and http://stevegray.com.au/blog
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