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September 6, 2012

According to Everything Is Art.

In today’s age of technology, it seems more and more artists are finding it harder to get noticed. In reality, it is actually all at your fingertips, and there are loads of opportunities if you use the same passion you have for creating your work to get your artwork exposure. If you want to “make it” as they say, you have to look at your work from a business standpoint all the time. If you do not market your work, how can anyone see it? There is no such thing as a fairy art mother flying  around studios and turning you into the next Pablo Picasso; it just doesn’t work like that. A few key points can help you with the selling of your artwork and presenting a professional portfolio.

The first and most important way to present your work is to have your own website. It is vital! Not a website from another site, but your very own site! There is a big difference between the two. This is your first introduction as an artist. You should list your CV, press, and portfolio in a very clear and easy to read layout. Viewers should easily find the contact page. You have a few seconds to make an impression; make it count!  Most readers will not stay on a page very long looking for ways to contact you; they will move on to another artist. All images must be cropped to only show the artwork. Fingers holding up the artwork, walls, couches, rugs, and so on, should never be in a professional portfolio. If your art was in a show, and you would like to display pictures of that on your website, the press area is the place to do so.  That is one huge difference between an amateur and a professional. It is not enough to just create the artwork if your visual display of the piece is actually hurting your artwork.

 Social media sites do not count as a website, and no gallery ever looks at them as such. When submitting to galleries, never submit your social media as your main source for viewing your work. You can let them know if you have a huge following if you feel the need to, but your own website is what is professionally respected. On your site, your name should be clear, images in a high enough resolution to where they are visible, but low enough so that if you are selling your works people cannot save the images and print them themselves (you just lost a sale).
 Many websites offer a no-right-click option, which we strongly recommend to everyone. Separate your talents into different categories, but not so many that it becomes overwhelming. Carefully look at all of the pieces to see if they are all of a quality you feel is presentable. Lighting the artwork for imagery can be tricky at first, but it is very important to not have low lighted images that do not show the details in your work. Portfolios typically contain no less than 12 images, so select your best pieces and get marketing!
This is a great way to show your work and meet other artists. However, with many of these sites, you must be signed up, or a member, in order for buyers to contact you among millions of other artists. Most artists do not buy other artists work, so you want have an area in clear view that will list your own website and contact information, so that readers can contact you to make a purchase. Again, keep in mind to properly display your artwork whereever it is. Pay attention to cropping always, label your work, and (if possible) separate the work into categories. Use these community websites for networking with other artists, but forward buyers to your own personal website for purchase. Some of these community sites do charge a commission if you sell artwork through them. If you sell artwork from your own website, you do not not have to pay someone else a commission. You may be able to print your artwork through a printer close to you, and save a little money too. Always calculate into your price the cost of shipping, taxes, framing, time you spend, and so forth!
Some art competeions are an excellent way to get your name out there. We suggest looking into a few that give back to you as artist. Competitions almost always have an entry fee. Read to see what that entry fee gets you. Is your artwork going to be on the host’s website? Is your name attached to the entry, with your website viewable? If not, you have to weigh your options. With all the technology available at your fingertips today, there is no reason to not have your name and website address hyperlinked back to your personal site. There are always those out there looking to take advantage of people who may not know any better. You do not want to pay money to enter a contest where no one will see your work.
In addition to a website, artists should have a portfolio that they always carry with them. You never know who you may run into, and you can show your work quickly while leaving them a business card of course (every artist must have cards!), so that they can contact you. You can spend a few dollars on a portfolio or a few hundred, that choice is up to you. A portfolio should be at least a 9×12 (at minimum) black portfolio book, with at least 12 images to look through. Images should be clear and you should always have your name and contact information readily available. The same goes for a catalog, which is also a great option and cost effective. Printed catalogs, if done professionally, can be nicer than a portfolio at times, and you can leave a copy with whoever you showed it too. Display your catalog the same way as stated for a portfolio.
 If you have no press on your artwork, many will believe that you are not a dedicated artist. Press is what makes you as an artist. When submitting your work to websites, blogs, magazines, galleries, etc., be sure to always have your name and the title of the work in the image description. This way, your images are easily cataloged correctly on your part. For any type of press, you should submit a website and your contact information, and your CV/resume. As always, make sure your images are in presentation format! In Photoshop, you can embed your name into the image in the back end. Make tear sheets of all the sites that have featured your works and any other press that you have gotten, and include that on your website.
It may sound like a lot of work, but if you really want to be a working artist, these steps make a huge difference! Art involves both creating and marketing if you wish to make it a lifestyle, it will all be worth it.
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