- EAST - WEST
- SOUTH LETTER
Article by Jason Horejs
Arizona - April, 30th, 2013
Have you ever stood in an art gallery and said to yourself: "My
work is better than the art in this gallery.Why
are these artists selling in galleries and I'm not?"
I have spent the last several years helping artists answer this
question. I discovered that it's the little things that make all
the difference in an artist's career.
Before I share some of these little things (that add up to make
a big difference!), let me introduce myself. My name is Jason
Horejs, and I own Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have
owned the gallery for over 12 years, been in the gallery business
for 21 years, and have written two books sharing my experiences
with artists like yourself.
Have you read my emails over the last few weeks? I am preparing
to host an intensive workshop in your area to help artists, like
you, become focused, organized and successful. If you are hoping
to attend, then I encourage you to sign up today before the class
Can little things make a difference in your art career? I invite
you to ponder the suggestions below, and I will expand on each
of these suggestions during the workshop. These little ideas,
put into practice with your marketing plan, will help you present
your work more professionally. They will help you get
into galleries and sell more of your art.
Quality Check. I have known and worked with hundreds of
artists over the years. The most successful artists are devoted
to high quality. They have the ability to step back from their
work and look at it through their buyer's eyes. Art collectors
are picky. They demand attention to detail. Their homes are immaculate.
You must create work that will fit seamlessly into their homes.
Your medium doesn't matter - sculpture, jewelry, paintings, photography
or fiber art - the presentation must be flawless.
Think of each work you create as a masterpiece. Treat it as
One small thing to improve the quality of your work: Invite someone
you trust to evaluate the quality of your art. You should invite
an artist you admire, a designer, or a gallery owner over to your
studio for coffee. Show them 5-6 pieces of your work, then ask,
"What are three things I could do to improve the quality of
An objective observer will see your art in a way you never could.
Repeat this process every one to two years and make a commitment
to constantly improve your quality.
Read a Book. Collectors and dealers love to talk history.
As you begin to show in galleries and interact with collectors
at shows you will find they love to talk about past masters. Your
relationships with collectors and dealers will deepen if you can
converse fluently about art history.
I suggest you strive to understand the major art movements from
the impressionists through the present day. This understanding
will also enrich your work as you are inspired by the great artist's
lives and works.
One little thing to work on: Visit your local book store or Amazon.com
and order a biography of one of your favorite artists. Commit
to read 2 artist biographies per year. Join a book club (Xanadu
Gallery hosts a book club for artists!) Don't limit your reading
only to artists you like. I wasn't a fan of Willem deKooning's
work until I read about his life. He is now one of my favorite
Analyze your Competition. You don't
have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to marketing your art.
With a little work, you will find hundreds of artists whose work
is comparable to yours. Learn from them. Do what they do.
One little thing to work on: Every week, devote an hour to researching
your competition online. Type keywords describing your work into
a search engine and you will quickly encounter your competitors.
Develop a list of 10 artists you feel are closest to you in style,
genre, subject, and/or experience. Analyze them.
- Where is the artist from?
- What is his/her background?
- What is his/her education?
- What does the artist's résumé look like?
- What about his/her bio and artist's statement?
- What galleries is he/she showing in?
- How does he/she advertise his/her work?
- How is his/her work priced?
- How is he/she presenting his/her work?
The insight you will gain through this weekly exercise will prove
invaluable to you as you develop your marketing plans. By
understanding your competition, you can better tailor your work
to the market. You can price your work competitively. You
can better understand the types of galleries you should approach.
Use an Inventory Number. As you begin to experience success,
organizing your inventory becomes critical. Using an inventory
number is an easy way to start to control your inventory. As you
move artwork from studio to gallery and from gallery to gallery,
an inventory number will make it easy to track your work. Titles
can get mixed up, but inventory numbers are almost infallible.
If you don't already have an inventory numbering system, start
with a high number (3000, for example).Nothing
says "new artist" like a low inventory number.
Send a Thank-you note. As you begin to work with collectors
and galleries, your goal is not to sell art. Your end-goal is
to create relationships. Relationships will
lead to a lifetime of sales. You will be amazed what one
simple thing like a hand-written thank-you note can do for your
relationships. In this age of digital communication and voicemail
interaction, a hand-written thank you note stands out.
When a gallery sends you a commission check you should immediately
sit down and write a thank-you note. Keep the note simple:
Dear Tim, Thank you for your check for the sale of "Evening Tide".
I appreciate everything you and your staff do to promote my work.
Please let me know of any way I may be of service.
Spend Some Time on
Marketing. I am amazed at how many artists will spend long
days in the studio, weeks in workshops, but then wonder why their
work isn't selling. Often, these same artists are devoting very
little time to marketing. You should be
spending 10% of your time marketing. You will be amazed
by how much you can accomplish in this small amount of time, and
this is one small thing that will make a huge difference in your