Guest Author - Debbie Striker
Some ideas will work better for certain types of artwork, so look through the list and decide which ones are a good fit for you. Also take a few moments to consider the ones that at first seem not to fit at all. With a bit of creativity, you may find the perfect outlet to keep you working full-time in your passion.
1. Restaurants ~ Think about locally owned restaurants that are just opening or who are in the midst of remodeling. The larger chain establishments often have specific requirements in place for decorating that they have to work within and likely have a specific retailer they must buy from.
2. Interior designers / decorators ~ Interior decorators work directly with their clients and are always looking for unique artwork to offer. By building relationship with several designers, you will have quite a few people who are familiar with your work and ready to buy from you as soon as they find the perfect client.
3. Custom home builders / Model homes ~ When home builders are displaying their new designs for the public to purchase a new home, they always want the best artwork for their model homes. While they often use interior decorators, you may be able to make the connection with the builder first that will then expand into a relationship with the designer. This could also be an excellent resource for finding out which designers are most respected in the community and stay the busiest.
4. Hotels ~ Before you rule this one out, consider that you are definitely not trying to provide artwork for every room. The front lobby is a wonderful place to be displayed as well as any bar or restaurant in the hotel. Many high end hotels also offer gift shops where guests can buy all kinds of memorabilia from their visit.
5. Private schools ~ Parents often pay a lot of money to send their children to private school. In turn, not only is the education expected to be higher class, so is the building and artwork the children are exposed to every day. Can you teach children how to do what you do? Volunteering to teach a class on your particular type of artwork can also be an excellent relationship builder.
6. Realtors ~ When people are selling their homes, they need to have their home show as beautifully as possible. Many people paint, install new carpeting and do all kinds of other things to improve their homes for sale. Part of the realtors job is to make suggestions to their client about home improvements that could increase the desirability of their home.
7. Libraries ~ Does your local library have a place to display artwork? Our libraries have a theme for each month and they invite folks to display their artwork within that theme for the month. Contact your local library system to find out what they offer or to suggest the idea if there isn’t anything currently in place.
The most critical aspects of becoming a selling artist are to get your work displayed where a lot of people will see it, find the people who enjoy your work and who can afford to spend what you deserve for your art.
Here are a few tips to remember when you are approaching these outlets:
Come prepared - always have a portfolio of your work available. With digital cameras and high quality printers, it is easy to create a professional portfolio without spending a bundle.
Be open to suggestions - listen carefully to what the other person is saying and see if you can come up with a way to get to display your work that benefits both of you. While they may say no at first, by working together and looking at options, you might be able to turn that no into a yes.
Be prepared to consign - consignment means that the person displaying your artwork gets a percentage of the sale. While it would be nice to be able to sell every piece outright, often you’ll need to consign the work to get it installed. Keep very good records of your consignments so you always know exactly what pieces are where. Also be sure that the consignment is in writing so everyone is clear on exactly what percentage of the sale each person will receive. It’s also a good idea to include in your agreement a statement of who is responsible if the piece is damaged.
When using any of these outlet, make sure your artwork at least has your name clearly on it. The more contact information you can include, the better. When signing your art, you may be in the habit of using a symbol or something that looks more like a scribble than a name. Remember, if someone really likes your artwork, they may not have the time to ask lots of questions about it. If your name and studio information is clearly written, then they can at least search the internet to see if they can find contact information for you.
Be creative! You are an artist, after all, so use your creative mind to come up with more ideas to put your artwork out to the world.