|You think we can't make money from art? Think again.|
Granted I am not where I should be and I do have far to go for art to pay all my bills. But is terms of success for my first year, painting covered 60% of my expenses. Still far to go to reach my goal of 120%.
Understand too.....I live simply, but I do pay rent, and feed four people under age 20.
There is a lot of talk about the downturn and diversifying the economy; and I know ART; especially painting is probably not on the list of businesses that will take priority- but really, it should be an option.
I do not like handouts....(though they are sometimes necessary within reason)... I have been creating and marketing my art; and I think the focus should be on resources to promote, market and sell artwork, rather than the government being the largest Art buyer, or just giving grants for projects (these are important too mind you)
Art schools and courses never focus on the business side of art. Here I have a talent....how do I earn money from it? In fact it is never discussed at all......and most of the time, this is the intention of the artist...to earn a living from this talent. All the focus is on creative technique, and not creative Sales Planning.
After working in Advertising Sales (and Sales Management)for more than 10 years, I approach my art work as a business, I create a product, a brand. There are some who may have a problem with that focus, but that's how I prefer to look at what I do. YES, I create a product for sale....and I attempt to link product and buyer.
In attempting to run this business from zero budget, and use whatever resources are available, I have found that there are a few areas in which Artists can do with some help.
1) Can you have MORE workshops on THE BUSINESS OF ART - You know....sales training, marketing, promotion, copyright, licensing etc all the options we can use to make money from what we do?
2) Can you establish Art Co-ops? - Galleries run by the artists themselves. This is not a new model, it already exists-but a gallery in prominent areas, good location, managed by the artists in the area, under the guidance of a business advisor may just be the thing to get a local art market going in areas other than Port of Spain. Sponsor expenses for 6 months to a year, and after that they should be expected to keep things going. Allow business to take its natural course, let the artists be responsible for its success in year two....and three. If they run it well....it will sustain them.
3)It would be really great if you could assist artists in advertising their website/blog/ facebook page. - Most artists are able to establish the on-line presence. Marketing that on-line presence is always a great expense for most. Give support here...sponsor a campaign on local website or even a Google ad Campaign. Help us get out there. Like a huge billboard with my web-link! Awesome!
3) Perhaps some assistance in a PRINT ON DEMAND Website- There are foreign websites that offer Print-on-demand art sales, which takes the pressure of investing large chunks of money into prints, off of the artist. Most are on-line sales.....which are mailed out. The artist is paid for the use of the image.
4) Assist with shipping- One time I actually got an order from abroad for paintings....but the shipping cost was so high it turned off the customer. Can you subsidize this Uncle Government.....just until I get things up an running and establish myself? First two shipments perhaps?
5) How about organizing ART SHOWS abroad- a few times a year, Europe, New York, Canada? Caribbean diaspora really loves art from home......my guess is that they just don't know how to look. If this is already done, can we see the list of the artwork that is shown at these things?
These areas of assistance will not be handouts, because an Artist really has to begin the process themselves to even get to the point where this assistance could be useful. The thing is, that with a bit of assistance on the business side, you will have more "small businesses" more persons working for themselves, and the micro economy really needs developing. Take us into the realm of business managers, where needing "sponsorship" may be a thing of the past......help us raise up and get sales going...so we can market and export our art.
Can you help with that?