Marketing Tips For Artists

early sculpture
After being a fulltime artist for 49 years I have decided to pass on some useful tips to young artist desirous creating art as a fulltime job.

Several recent developments has revealed the poor management of the sales of my artwork over the past 49 years .

The Devonish art work was opened in i 970 in Barbados; at the time the sales were mainly to tourists as the local market was very limited.

Bajans started to collect my work as my success grew with the winning of several local art festivals and competitions, and publicity from international exhibitions in both print and television.

In addition to my three retail outlets I was in the habit of hosting an annual exhibition in the largest government exhibition hall on the Island.

The exhibitions were well attended and sales to locals grew over the years.
In my last local exhibition 75% of the artwork, both ceramics and wood sculptures were sold to locals; in an exhibition where 96% of the exhibits were sold.

Unfortunately I was not in the habit of keeping records of the images or buyers. I have held exhibitions throughout the Caribbean, Europe and North America and have sold over 1000 pieces with no idea where most of them are housed except for the pieces that were bought by government as gifts for heads of states.

The Devonish Art Gallery now has a website and I have been reconnecting with buyers of my art from all over the
world.
sculpted between 1970 and 1980

Lost Opportunities.

In recent years years I was approached to host retrospective exhibitions, but was unable to do so because there are no proper records of early buyers.

I was asked to produce a book showing the development of my art over the years, again I could not because of poor record keeping..

Carifesta is being held in Barbados this year (2017); the ministry of culture asked for samples of my early work to exhibit in an exhibition for the pioneers of visual arts in Barbados. It was a challenge to identify two collectors on the island in order to borrow the sculptures for the exhibition.

Lessons learnt.
1. Keep comprehensive records of your sold artwork, date, image, price, name, address, telephone number and email address if they are willing to provide it, you will have to record it anyway, if you have to ship the artwork.
2. Proper record keeping will eventually provide opportunities for publications, an email list and sales, keeping your buyers up to date with your wok and your development.
3. Inspiration. A buyer sent me an image of a relief sculpture he bought 15 years ago, he wanted to purchase a second sculpture as a gift for someone who was an admirer of the sculpture hanging in his home, not only was Inspired by the 15 year old sculpture but I was able to boost sales.
That was the third such experience in recent years.

4. Always date your artwork.

Historic value
Some one recently sent me an image of a sculpture that was bought over 40 years ago. They inherited the sculpture and were in the process of making a valuation of their art collection for insurance purposes and wanted an up to date valuation. Luckily they found me on the Internet

It became a guessing game because I had no idea what the buyer paid for the sculpture.

Recently a family sold their collection of my early works for more than four times my current prices.

Preserve your full art history. “

2 carvings were carved between 1970 and 1980; There are still in Barbados.

4 Comments


  1. There is such good, sound advice for artists, here. I know personally how difficult it is to market your artwork. When I tried to market my artwork, there was not much material out there on how to proceed. I wish I had come across an article like this at the time.
    The tips, hints, and suggestions offered here are spot on …. Want to open your own art gallery, want to know how to price your artwork? … you have come to the right place!

    Reply

    1. Thanks for your feedback; I have learnt from experience ,almost 50 years of it.

      Reply

  2. Hi. Thank you very much for the tips. I am going to show your post to my wife. She occasionaly sells her ceramics artworks but she doesn’t keep any records. Most probably she will say she is an amateur, but I think her works are great and maybe one day she will need the records you are writing about. I wouldn’t like her to lose any opportunities.
    Thank you for great article

    Reply

    1. Every one starts an an amateur, her early works can be her greatest assets one day; I hope she listens to you. Best wishes.

      Reply

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