We are continually amazed (yet entertained) by Dumb Things Artists Do To Try to Get Into Galleries.
Dumb, because they’ve given no thought to their target audience, and how to best reach its members. Instead, they’re wasting their valuable time and they’re damaging their art reputations in the process.
Today’s favorite is dubbed The Half-Assed Approach. In which a man toting a portfolio over his shoulder bursts in, announcing, “I’m a half-assed artist, I heard about this place a few months ago . . . do you print here? What’s your website? How can I get someone to look at my art?” while he’s on his way back out. Since he considers himself half-assed, why wouldn’t we?
Last week, our favorite used The Craigslist System. This takes the form of a posted ad: “Art Galleries: I invite you to my store to scope out new talent.” Apparently the artist didn’t realize that art gallery owners don’t scour Craigslist ads each day, hoping to find serious artists whose work sells.
Some artists prefer the Portfolio on My Cell Phone Method, as in, “Here, take a look at this picture on my cell phone. By the way, do you exhibit photography?” We all know how valuable photography on cell phones is.
Many artists have not thought much about fit (with the gallery), professionalism (theirs) and most importantly (for them): Opportunity Cost. Here’s a multiple choice question, where you can pick the choices that artists often don’t:
A) Is this an opportunity that’s right for me to spend my (valuable) time on?
B) Is this opportunity worth some effort on my part, in order to yield good results?
C) Here’s an Opportunity, and It Costs Me Nothing (And There’s Certainly No Effort Due).
Correct answers: A & B. Because nothing beats market research, followed by an understanding of the target audience, with effort given to finding the most likely-to-succeed approach.
Research. Understanding. Effort. Translates to Most Likely to Succeed. It worked in high school, didn’t it?