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April 7, 2011

HOW TO FIND RECOGNITION FOR YOUR ART

Category: — artifizz admin @ 12:25 pm

The art patron...

Occasionally, someone asks me how they might gain greater recognition for their artwork or crafts. Well, the Internet offers lots of opportunities, but you should choose carefully the ones you avail yourself of. After all, time is precious, and you should spend most of your time doing art, not going cross-eyed in front of a screen (like I do).

·    Search Google for “art,” and then select “News” in the left hand column. This will focus the results on hits that were specifically designated by the originator as news. You won’t see wiki and magazine articles about technique, history, biography, etc. What you will see are reviews of gallery openings, and announcements of art fairs and museum exhibitions (along with a lot of miscellaneous stuff with the word “art” in it — ignore these). Click on the articles, and in the comment section, make an informed observation about the work described in the article, and then add the words “more info:” followed by a link to your online gallery page. The informed observation is essential, so read the article carefully, otherwise the gatekeeper will reject it. Be sure to use your real name as your user ID, and not some goofy nickname. This shows you stand by what you say, and it creates a “web presence” for your name, i.e. buzz. Lots of times, the site’s gatekeeper will let this link get by, even though their policy states that no “advertising links” are allowed. Once your comment appears on the site, you will get visits from readers interested in art who might not be artists, but instead are potential collectors. These are the eyeballs you crave! (At the bottom of the Google page, you can create an “Alert” and have a set of search results e-mailed to you every day. This is helpful — it forces a bit of discipline if you have to look at these things in your in-box. You will need to have an account with Google for this to work.) BTW, I have found that the Wall Street Journal art pages (http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-arts-movies-music.html) are a good place to post comments — lots of folks with lots of $$$ read those pages when they are supposed to be doing something else, like bond-trading.

·    If you list your artwork on artifizz (and I think you should — it costs nothing for guaranteed publicity!), list at least a few works for sale, with prices shown. I know: if someone buys one, you have to pay my commission (about 14% including 7% PayPal fees), but it isn’t all that likely that you will sell an artwork online anyway, and my commission is low compared to galleries. If you do sell one, consider the publicity boost you get when your artwork is displayed and talked about in some far-flung place. But the main point of putting a price on your work is that you spare potential buyers the embarrassment of asking the price. I am certain that asking the price is a “point of resistance” (as they say in the marketing trade) for potential buyers, especially if cyberspace transmission via email delays the “ask.” If a would be collector can see that the price isn’t $2.5 million, they might be pleasantly surprised. And then, rather than make the purchase online — a risky endeavor with art — they might take a trip over to your studio or gallery for a real life visit. And then you can charm them, ply them with booze, and gain a lifetime patron. Oh, and for this to work, you will need to put at least your nearest city in you artist profile. (This is an essential and unique feature of artifizz: it allows users to “drill-down” to regions, and see artworks, events, schools, fairs, and museums specific to that region. Take advantage of this and provide your town on your artist page, even if you don’t want to give your precise address.

·    Assuming you create an artist page on artifizz, and list a few works, then also use the Photos page in your artist profile for some shots of you at work in your studio surrounded by works in progress — these images lend some brick and mortar verity to your online profile. Next, create a Twitter account. Use your real name there, too. And then, go to your artifizz artist and artwork pages and click the Twitter “share” button at the bottom of the page several times a day — it only take about five seconds, all the text is entered for you. (For subsequent clicks in a given day, you do need to vary the text by at least one character or Twitter will reject it, so just add a space or a colon, or something like that. Easy.) But you have a life and can’t sit in front of Twitter all day, right? No worries. When you leave your studio to grab a bite to eat, or let the dog out, or whatever, stop by your laptop or smartphone, and click the share button on one of your pages. Make it a habit, and you won’t have to think about it much. As you follow more people in the art world, and gain more followers (you will), watch your “page views” count go up on your artwork pages. I find that each tweet grabs about twenty page views, and I have meager number of followers. One of these views will translate into a sale, and more buzz, and more sales, and so on, until you are the next Damien Hirst and everyone hates you (but you are fabulously rich, so you don’t care — or so I’m told).

·    And while you are in the “share” mode, be sure to sign up for Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Digg, etc., and click those share buttons on your artifizz artist and artwork pages. The impact is real and measurable. It gets your name out there, and raises your prominence in search engines — slowly, your name will float to the top. And use your real name — you don’t want a goofy nickname to get all the buzz.

·    Visit local restaurants; doctor, dentist, and law offices; banks; auto dealers; whatever and ask them if you can show some of your work in their waiting room or lobby. Nothing political or risqué will fly here (well, risqué might…), but be careful — you don’t want to alienate anyone when you are going begging for publicity. Try something small for starters. Be sure and tell them you will help to install the art, and will remove it at their convenience, no hassles. And if one of your retail marks consents, be sure to leave a stack of business cards (you can actually print some from you artist page on artifizz — it’s a cheesy little feature we provide).

·    If you post your art on Facebook, be sure to include the title of the work, and rough dimensions so that potential buyers can inquire about it by name and get a sense of how much space it will occupy in their living room. And you should probably put your real name in each caption — Internet buzz, again. One other thing about Facebook: I notice all the time that artists post their work there, that is, they slap un-captioned photos of their work on their wall. Lots of artist friends compliment them, and admire the work. I am sure that yields a great feeling of validation inside, but it won’t sell your work. You need non-artists, non-”fb friends” to see it. Be sure to at least “friend” non-artists whom you do not already know (gallery owners, people who facebook “like” glossy art magazine pages or museum pages, etcetera. These are potential buyers, do a search ofnFacebook for them). And if Facebook is your only venue, be sure to create a page for your work, and share items from it frequently.

·    Create a blog, and do short posts about what you are working on, your philosophy, what you learned today, what you hope to learn tomorrow, etc. And share these posts on Twitter, Digg, Tumbr, StumbleUpon, etc. And list the blog in your Facebook profile. Once again, use your real name on the blog. You may not get lots of hits, but you will get some, and your name will pop up in “art” searches done by potential buyers — Facebook won’t yield the same search engine presence as a blog because your wall doesn’t focus on specific topics and repeat them the way a blog does, so do both. And put a link to your artifizz artist page in your blog profile. In fact, you can even contribute to the blog and forum pages on artifizz, and get more free exposure.

·    One last thing, a plug that will help us both: occasionally — once or twice a year — buy a “feature” on the artifizz homepage. A two-week feature will cost you only $8 to feature your work globally (meaning it shows up in every region, or $4 locally). A feature will make your work the first thing visitors see when they visit artifizz. Your art on the homepage will make the site a more dynamic place for visitors. And it will send a sliver of revenue my way, so I can justify keeping the site going and feel your love.  In return for your investment, I will toss a free homepage “feature” your way now and then, and I will “Tweet” your work numerous times when you feature it. In short, I will be your advocate. In fact, I’ll be your advocate whether you feature stuff or not. I like art, it inspires me. I created artifizz out of genuine interest in art (I do some fiction and poetry writing myself), and because I know how to write code and don’t want spend my life writing code for consumer widgets. So I enjoy this, but there needs to be little cash flow at some point to help  justify my investment of time. (Sadly, Google ads yield next to nothing — about $10 per year — apparently no one ever clicks them…)

Thanks for your support, and may the wind be at your back!

(Comments or suggestions are welcome!)

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