As a working artist, it’s not enough to produce art: you need to promote your art as well. Your artistic path may be more about your inherent need to create and leave your mark on the world. However, this won’t help introduce your work to the art community. Making sure that your work reaches the right audience and potential buyers is crucial to achieving success. If you don’t make an effort to get your work out there, no one will be able to tell you how much they love it – or purchase a piece.
Promoting your art should not feel overwhelming. You don’t have to do everything at once. In fact, one of the important things about successful promotion is that it is targeted to the specific aims you have in mind. This means that the very first step in promoting your art effectively is to decide what you want to achieve.
If you have only just begun your art career, then you may want to concentrate on building up a reputation and a collector base in your local area. On the other hand, you may be ready to move on a national or international scale. Perhaps you want to make your mark within the community connected to your medium, or to develop the interest felt by people interested in the theme you specialize in. Evaluate your current position in terms of your art career and connections, and decide on the goals that you would like to achieve. Promote your art accordingly.
At Agora Gallery we understand that promotion is an aspect of an artist’s career that should develop all the time, just as the art itself does. Here are some tips from the experts at Agora Gallery on the best strategies to promote your art effectively.
#1 – Use Your Portfolio to Promote your Art
In developing a strong artist portfolio, your goal should be twofold. You should be able to both develop your brand and package your art. Your portfolio should make it easier for you to submit to competitions, post on your website and develop marketing material. One of the most important elements here is the visual reproduction of your art, as this will be what attracts the viewer and what he or she is most likely to be moved by.
Here are some general guidelines for portfolio development:
- Each high exposure photograph should be well executed and visually compelling. Remember, in marketing art it’s the visual that will count the most.
- Each image should be accompanied by succinct and captivating text. Details such as size, media, and title should be included, as well as a brief description of the work. One of the best ways to catch a potential buyer’s interest is to tell the story behind the artwork.
- A strong bio should also accompany the work. If you manage to get a potential buyer’s attention, they will almost always take a new interest in your work as well. Don’t be afraid to share your story: your background, how your art developed, what inspires you the most, and what you hope your art can give to the world.
#2 – Promote Your Art with a Strong Internet Presence
Digital marketing can take several different forms:
- Online galleries like ARTmine are becoming the norm and provide a great venue for promoting your art by attracting the attention of new collectors and art enthusiasts.
- An art website or artist page on a popular website is also a must-have to promote your art. It provides an easy and convenient way for fans to find you online and view your latest work. Include the website’s address on your business cards, and in emails you send out to your mailing list.
- Social media has become a powerful tool for both reaching new fans and staying in touch with established ones. Setting up business accounts/pages on such sites as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest is a great way to generate and maintain interest in your work as it evolves.
Oresegun Olumide, a Nigerian artist, had not been very regular with posting his works on social media. However, once the hyper realist painter did become regular, his works went viral almost immediately. In February 2016, his images on Facebook were shared over 50,000 times and he went from 800 followers on Instagram to more than 27,000. There are countless examples like this in every creative career. An internet presence can truly make a huge difference.
#3 – Art Competitions Can Promote Your Art
For the emerging artist, art competitions provide one of the most effective ways to gain exposure in the art world. In fact, art competitions are renowned for discovering and showcasing noteworthy emerging artists and even, sometimes, launching their careers. Here are some of the main benefits of art competitions:
- Art competitions enable you to display your work among your peers. Experts agree that this is one of the best ways to push yourself as an artist. Any feedback you receive will give you new insight into your art and enable you to grow as an artist.
- They get your work in front of gallerists, curators, and editors, who can in turn positively impact your career. In fact, winners of art competitions almost always benefit from extensive promotion efforts from the hosting gallery or organization.
- Your work will receive invaluable visibility. Even if you don’t win, participating in the competition can yield dividends in terms of getting your work out there. In fact, this is considered one of the most cost-effective ways for beginning artists to gain valuable experience and build their resumes.
Choose which competitions to enter based on which would best aid your current career goals. If you are working on making a name for yourself in your medium and want to impress your fellow water color artists (for instance) then water color competitions might suit you best. Similarly, if you are interested in taking your career to the national or international level, competitions with awards which will help you do that are the most sensible to enter. The Chelsea International Fine Art Competition, which Agora Gallery sponsors every year, is a great example of a competition with awards which are designed to help artists to increase their exposure and develop their career.
#4 – Network, Network, Network
Building a robust network in the art world is one of the most effective ways to promote your art. In addition, a network can expose you to new art opportunities that you might not have otherwise known existed. There are a number of ways in for artists to promote their art through networking and building contacts.
Remember that your art is a business, and just like any business, networking is an important part of making your work relevant within the art community. . The best ways to network on a professional level is to become an active participant in art organizations. Not only will you be able to make friends who in themselves can become enthusiastic promoters of your art (and you for theirs), but these organizations offer a wide range of resources that can help strengthen your business model and give you support in promoting your work and building your brand as an artist.
Locally hosted art fairs, street shows, and open studio events provide a unique opportunity for you to connect with other artists in your area. In addition, as you become a fixture at these types of events, you will build a presence in your community and start to be recognized as a local artist. Remember to also bring print materials like business cards and flyers to these events. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth – chat with people and if they are interested in your work, respond warmly.
Another important aspect of networking is following up with existing buyers. Your old clients know your work and have already expressed sufficient interest. Instruments like artist newsletters or even phone conversations can be used to keep them updated.
Don’t ignore the benefits of networking with artists, or putting time and effort into friendships with art professionals. The value of these relationships is obvious, from providing support and inspiration to introductions to key members of the art scene. At Agora Gallery, we frequently hear our artists talking enthusiastically about how the influence of the other artists they met at their opening receptions at Agora has impacted their work and their ideas.
#5 – Getting Active in the Community can Help Promote Your Art
When you volunteer to use your artistic abilities to benefit your community, you build your reputation as an artist and can gain unexpected opportunities to promote your work.
Some of the best types of community outreach include:
- Charity events: Donate your work to a local charity auction, or volunteer your services at the event yourself.
- Local schools: Volunteer your time to go into classrooms and teach students about your particular method of creating art. Teachers love to host visiting artists, and this is a great opportunity to build your reputation in the community.
- Community projects: Many towns and cities are taking art to the streets via community mural projects. Volunteer your skills and expertise and you will leave a visual reminder of your presence in the community.
Remember, a critical part of promoting your art is about taking advantage of unexpected opportunities as they come up. If you are painting as part of a charity event or working en plein air in the local park and someone approaches you and inquires about your art, take that opportunity to give them your business card and perhaps even add them to your mailing list.
#6 – Look For Gallery Representation
If all this seems a bit overwhelming to you, know that there is help out there. Promotional galleries like Agora are attractive to artists for precisely this reason. Working with an established, respectable gallery will propel your career forward, sometimes beyond your dreams. The scope of representation varies with each gallery, but you can usually count on exhibitions, various promotions, participation in events, and public relations.
Some of the services that galleries offer emerging artists are:
- Press Releases, Artist Profiles, and Artist Statements: Promotional galleries will usually have a staff of professional writers to help you develop compelling content focusing on your work and on you as an artist. This material is featured on their website as well in exhibition catalogs and publications. It helps collectors and potential buyers to know more about your creative process and artistic content.
- Digital Representation: Established galleries usually have a large following on social media and representing with them means that you will be featured on these platforms regularly, thus enhancing your online presence and outreach.
- Exhibitions: Promotional representation includes participation in collective or solo exhibitions with an opening reception to which the entire gallery clientele of buyers, collectors, and media professionals are invited. The development and distribution of online exhibit announcements and also other promotional media surrounding this event is the responsibility of the gallery.
- Professional Guidance: Galleries understand your art, the marketplace, and the business of being an artist. At Agora Gallery, for example, artists receive all sorts of guidance, from how to price their artwork to finding collectors through online exposure.