Why Buy Original Art?

The following post comes from an email I recently received from Barb Hadley, co-owner of Evergreen Fine Art. As tight as budgets can be this holiday season, purchasing a piece of original art will be joy year round. So, next time you are in a gift giving dilemma, create or share a piece of original art.

There was a  Dagwood cartoon in the paper the other day showing Dagwood in a jewelry store looking at watches. He asked the salesman if the store had any less expensive watches.  The salesman stopped Dag in his tracks by asking him why anyone would want to spend his time on earth wearing a cheap watch.  The next scene showed Dagwood, a little dazed,  admiring his beautiful new watch.
 
That cartoon got me thinking about art and why anyone would want to spend his time on earth living with a cheap copy or print instead of an original work of art.  Maybe he just hadn’t really thought about it, just as Dagwood hadn’t thought about the lasting pleasure of owning a fine piece of jewelry.
 
 Maybe the print buyer thinks prints will fill the space just as well, adding some color to the room, perhaps reminding him of a place he had visited. There is a place for prints and posters, and many are fun to have, but consider beginning to relegate them to the informal areas of your home, using them mainly for decoration. They will not transform an ordinary room in an important part of your home into a place of elegance and beauty.  
 
Maybe the print or poster buyer has never been exposed to original art, has never experienced the nuances of an original piece, has never had that moment where an original painting grabbed his heart. Maybe he never stopped to ponder the way the artist captured the light the way that he saw it in that one moment   Maybe he never really saw how an original piece of art could add richness to his home and to his life that a print cannot do, and wasn’t meant to do.  A beautiful piece of original art can show you how to look at a scene that you know well, and to look it in an entirely different way. You will marvel at how the artist knew just where to place that splash of color that makes the entire painting come to life. 
 
Original art will feed your soul and lift your spirit.
 
I can’t absolutely promise you that your original piece of art will appreciate, but I can promise that it will give you daily pleasure.  Does your stock and bond portfolio enrich  your life?  Do you look at it daily and admire the passion and talent that went into it?  Does it speak to you and make you happy? Does it bring beauty and richness to your home? And for that matter, does it always appreciate? Why not consider turning some of those numbers on paper into something tangible that gives you daily pleasure?
 
The most exciting thing that I hear when someone admires a work of art is “It gives me shivers.” That is the piece that you absolutely must have, even if it stretches your budget. Just knowing that it is the only one like it in the world, that it was created by a human being with a purpose; that you have taken on that purpose and made it part of your life; that is a pleasure beyond belief.
 
Phil and I still walk into other galleries and zero in on a piece of art that we must have.  It is an addiction that is so much fun and enriches our lives.  We want everyone to have that experience. 
 
How does one learn to feel comfortable choosing original art?  Visit galleries.  Visit museums.  Watch artists work and get to know them.  Buy art books.  Subscribe to art magazines. Take art appreciation classes.  Try your own hand at creating art; you may discover a latent talent, or at least gain an appreciation for the creative process.
 
Then invest in a small work that grabs you.  You can actually purchase original works of art by recognized artists for little more than $100. There are some real treasures in the $300 to $600 range.  Small one-of-a-kind glass or ceramic objects by excellent artists can be purchased for $50 or less. 
 
Then there is no turning back.
 
You will no longer be tempted by the cheap and tawdry. You will have a trained eye; you will have acquired a sophisticated palette. You will begin to demand the best.  We are all here such a short time, and there is so much beauty available to us. We mustn’t settle for less when we have the option of spending our time on earth surrounded by things that add depth and meaning to our lives.

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Special tools to help launch you to success in 2011!

Seems that now that the holidays are here, it’s the hardest time of the year to prioritize our personal and business responsibilities. I happen to be a firm believer in making lists, and at this time of the year they seem critical to me accomplishing all of my projects. Business planning for 2011 is one of those items high in importance, but with the hustle and bustle of the season it can easily get pushed down on my list. I am setting my goal to have my business plan done by December 15th, when do you plan to have your’s done? If that’s an overwhelming idea – I can help!!!!

As an early present to all of you, I am sharing with you my favorite planning tools and making a very special offer. If you email me at primary.colors@live.com I will send you my tools for setting goals and writing a strategy plan. I have used these tools with my clients and they are powerful in planning and holding yourself accountable. You will start by taking a 20 question professional inventory of where you are and where you want to be in the next 1 – 5 years. This personal inventory is helpful in identifying the strategies that will help you achieve your goal. Then we will follow the inventory with a strategies template you can use to plan and implement the steps to reach your objectives.

One of the hottest strategies that you can incorporate into your planning is Tag marketing (see my posts from November 18 and 22). To introduce you to the possibilities that this cutting-edge technology provides in engaging your clients, I have two exciting special offers available until December 17th!!!

Kick-ass Mobile Engagement Package
Custom Tag that carries your logo or brand
Mobile Optimized Landing page that includes up to 20 images and text slides that rotate
Up to 3 minute video (production additional)
Button for immediate contact of either a call now phone number or an email form for immediate communication to the artist/gallery/rep
Additional Vcard tag for your business cards, brochures etc, instantly uploads your contact information to your customers phone
Special Introductory Price: $350
List Price: $515

Generate Buzz and Excitement Package
Custom Tag that carries your logo or brand
Mobile Optimized Landing page that includes up to 20 images and text slides that rotate
Button for immediate contact of either a call now phone number or an email form for immediate communication to the artist/gallery/rep
Additional Vcard tag for your business cards, brochures etc, instantly uploads your contact information to your customers phone
Special Introductory Price: $299
List Price: $415

With a little hard work and planning, 2011 can be your best year yet. I hope you take advantage of these exciting offers and start planning to achieve your goals!

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Marketing 101 revisited

So now you have had a brief overview and some quick ideas on how you can use a tag to build collector relationships, develop loyalty and expose art to a broader audience. As we close out 2010 it s a great time to plan for next year and beyond. You should be asking yourself, “Did I make as much money as I expected to?”

If you are one of the lucky artists or galleries who achieved or exceeded your sales goals you are to be commended. If you have paintings lined up against the walls waiting to find a home – ask yourself “What could I have done differently?” There are probably as many answers to that question as there are solutions – but no matter what your answer it’s probably an element from Marketing 101. The end of the year is a great time to return to the basics of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Whether you are an artist or a gallery owner, ask yourself some of these questions (and I am sure you can think of many more!)

Product: Artist – Am I creating work I feel good about? What differentiates me from other artists? Gallery – Do I have artists in my gallery that appeal to my clientele? Am I actively pursuing new artists and helping them develop in their careers?
Price: Do collectors view the work as a “good value?” Value doesn’t imply cheap – but refers to supply versus demand. (I think I’ll have to expand on this in another whole blog post!)
Place: Artist – Am I in galleries in markets that have a demand for my style? Gallery – Do I position my gallery to reach multiple channels of consumers; walk-in, solicited and on-line for example.
Promotion: Do I use the proper tools to engage my clientele? Am I implementing and using public relations, advertising, community outreach, etc?

I read many blogs on a daily basis, most look at a microcosm of what’s ailing art sales but few ever address the “BIG PICTURE” Although fine art is rare, with the number of artists trying to earn a living it is also a commodity. It is our responsibility to market art so that we continue to drive demand and differentiate the work we create or represent from the masses. As you plan for 2011 think about what you are doing to engage your clientele, educate collectors and drive demand for the art you create or represent.

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“How can I use a tag to help me sell more art?”

So now that you have an introduction to tag marketing you are probably wondering “How can I use tags to sell more art?” Let’s take a minute to explore some of the creative ways that individuals and organizations are implementing tags to deliver added content and increase revenue and retention.

My first example comes from one of my favorite cities, Chicago. I love the Chicago Institute of Art and have spent many an hour exploring it and the multitude of other cultural outlets the Windy City offers. Makes sense it would be on the forefront of making art easily accessible to the masses. Take a quick look at this video which promotes art and the tags attached to each piece in this public installation.
Art Loop Open

Next, let’s explore some of the common uses for tags by galleries, artists and museums.

Maximize the Impact of Your Marketing Communication Efforts: Imagine being able to mail an advertising piece that would let recipients preview the exhibit they are thinking about visiting. Tag can help you make that vision a reality. For instance, you could link people to a slide show, video, virtual tour, or lecture excerpt just by adding a tag to your advertising. Here’s an example where an artist used a tag specifically for this reason.

Provide Fast Access to More Information: A tag can help you provide far more information than could possibly fit on exhibit signage, and it can help you expose digital content in a way that can be consumed by visitors on their mobile phones. More information gives them a stronger connection to you and an incentive to purchase.

Keep people engaged after the main event: You might let people scan a tag as they exit to be added to your mailing list. A tag could also link departing visitors to a mobile site where they could make a charitable contribution at the point when the joy and memories your organization has given them are most fresh in their minds.

As ambassadors of the arts, it is important that we continue to nurture and engage our society in the appreciation of fine art. I am a believer that tag technology is a tool that will invigorate and sustain the cultural community.

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Are you engaged in mobile marketing? You should be!

The next wave for reaching your customers and building your brand is happening now through mobile marketing. Consumers are rapidly embracing smart phones with over 49.1 million smart phones in use today in the US alone. At least 50% of US homes own one or more smart phone and are using this technology to browse, shop and gather information. The sale of touch screen smart phones continue grow exponentially, opening up new marketing opportunities. Savvy marketers are finding ways to leverage these consumer devices to create brand building activities that increase customer loyalty and convert more consumers to buyers.

Here is how it works. You place a specially created 2d barcode on anything in print. With over 2 billion tags already in existence, millions of people have already downloaded the free Microsoft Tag reader and are using it. Consumers are realizing that when they hold their smart phone over the tag, the digital information or video content appears in the smart phone window. No typing a URL or texting, waiting for a response – in an instant your message appears – driving it deeper into the hands of your potential buyer at the moment it makes the most sense.

Mobile is important for a number of reasons:
It has an immediacy that consumers expect.
It provides a portal from the real world to digital content.

To be successful the mobile activity has to follow some best practices:

The activity must be engaging.
The content must be relevant.
There must be a call to action.

Is mobile marketing a trend or just “fly by trendy”? From my research, I think that this is the next “thing”. Think back to when the internet was introduced and you may have wondered “do I really need to have a website? Does a digital footprint even matter?” We all know how important that move was to business. Now you have an opportunity to engage your digital presence with your print materials. This is still new enough to garner word of mouth excitement yet it is also established enough for anyone to piggyback off of the successful adoption of the technology. Over 100 million magazines since August 2010 carry Tags in their advertisements and editorial.

Watch for upcoming posts on how this technology can be used in the arts community.

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