Licensing artwork and contracts are both big topics. Salli Swindell creates social expressions art for greeting cards and believes that licensing is not always best and a flat fee is sometimes a better option. She explained, if artwork is licensed to a company that makes a product but does not sell anything – that is a bad deal. Sometimes she would rather get a flat fee up front. Salli admits there is a lot to learn about licensing. An artist can license artwork for web use only, one time only, thus a wide variety of options exist. Salli may be in the minority in thinking it is OK to give up the rights to artwork. She may never use the artwork for another purpose and is a very prolific artist. It has worked well for her but most people do not want to give up rights to their art. Salli believes having a good Rep helps with contracts and negotiations. Cathie Bleck hired an entertainment lawyer to assist her with negotiations and licensing. She said it is best to know your negotiating position and to not be afraid of negotiating. It was suggested that it is best to select a rep that works with artists in your art genre and that reps can be found by searching online.
Selling art online, in a gallery or art show was discussed.
All agreed an online and/or social media presence is necessary. Most artists mentioned success with their own website, Instagram and/or Facebook. Some artists had a preference for Instagram as it was a more visual social media platform. Salli Swindell usually posts an original piece of art daily and uses her Instagram site as a mini-portfolio. Jess Sheeran has found Etsy easy to use and advised the audience to not be intimidated by it. As mentioned previously Keith Allen built an online fan club by posting helpful videos and daily pop-up art updates on Facebook. Since great visuals are so important Hilary Gent hired a photographer to handle her Hedge Gallery social media.
Mike Guyot cautioned about posting too much personal information on social media. His insurance agent mentioned that a thief could take advantage knowing when Mike is out of town.
Hilary Gent opened Hedge Gallery to exhibit her and other emerging artists work and make art more accessible to all. She likes to exhibit artists that have the ability to talk about their artwork and tell the story behind it in a way anyone can understand. Being willing to share the emotional story of the art, in a personable way, is the key to making a connection with an audience. She does work with artists that are shy and not outgoing but feels that they do well as long as they can share the story of their art and not be afraid to let their personality shine through. Of course having professional images online or in a printed portfolio helps her get to know the artists work. When reaching out to gallery owners make yourself stand out from the crowd by including a video of how you create your work or a photo of yourself are a couple of suggestions. There are so many ways to get your work noticed in this age of digital hashtags. Hilary encourages people to not be intimidated.
Even though she is a gallery owner, Hilary never discourages artists from selling their own work online and believes social media can work with the gallery to the artists benefit. Visitors to the gallery take photos all the time and Hilary encourages them to link the photos to the artists’ website/social media; thus introducing the artist and their work to more people.
In addition to art galleries, art shows are another way to reach a wider audience. The art show application process starts online months in advance and usually requires a fee. Mike Guyot recommends reading the application and contract carefully. Some shows do not allow art reproductions to be sold. He admits art shows are hard work and long days. He recommends going to art shows at the set-up to see what is involved. Mike has a large van to transport artwork and modular artwork display walls. One has to be ready for any weather at outdoor shows. Due to hot weather Mike lost a ton of weight at a four-day art show in Ann Arbor. More experienced with art shows now, he prefers shows that are easy to set up and have good food. Some shows he recommends are Cain Park, Boston Mills, Lakewood and Ann Arbor. Jess Sheeran tries to create an atmosphere at art shows and likes to know the dimensions of her display area in advance. She wants to utilize all the allocated space wisely and displays her handmade critters vertically so they can be seen from far away. Jess also displays any awards or magazine articles about her art.
So much fantastic insights and advice from talented artists! What advice do you want to add to the conversation?
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