Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Shrinking Violets Should Apply Elsewhere"

"Hi!  I'm Julie Townsend and I am the artist.  If you have any questions about my work just let me know."  I had a few opportunities to say that last night at the First Friday event down at the gallery in the Las Vegas Art District where I hang my art.  I rent a small wall there for the past year that I can maybe squeeze 15 paintings on and have been to a number of these First Friday events.  The difference with last night was that I shared the main gallery room with my artist friend, Jan Arduini and we were the featured October Artists.  Needless to say, this week has been a busy one for me. 

Unlike many might believe, being an artist isn't just about sitting in a well lit studio creating amazing artwork but rather there are many hats that must be worn along with that paint stained apron.  You are the CEO, CFO, Marketing Director, Accountant, Shipping, Inventory Manager, Sales....well actually, you're the whole enchiladas!  It all falls on your shoulders, unless you are so well known that you have a manager or your own gallery complete with paid staff.  Reality is that you will have to spend time dealing with these details if you want to be successful.

It was a week ago, that I said to myself, "NO MORE PAINTING" and I turned to getting all my pieces ready for the show.  That means varnishing, framing, adding hanging wires, completing the paperwork, writing a few creative and witty paragraphs about each piece, uploading images to blogs and websites and then finally packing up the whole chute load into the truck and then hanging it at the gallery.  Thankfully, this show is hung for a month but when I take it down at the end of October it will be just in time to start showing to perspective Christmas shopper crowds at the weekend Farmers Market. 

I was very happy to find this helpful blog title:

Selling Your Art – The Golden Rules of Art Sales Hand-to-Hand Combat

I loved how Mr. Wilder compared selling art to a battlefield.  His words, "Shrinking violets should apply elsewhere" really hit home.  Even last night, I tired to balance the "Let people look" to "Should I engage" question over and over.  A couple hours into the show, I noticed a couple that had fixed their attention onto one of my pieces.  I was trying to appear as if I wasn't ease dropping on their conversation, but certainly could hear them discussing details about where they would hang it and things like that.  It was obvious to me that they really liked my painting.  I was getting pretty excited inside but still I hesitated to go over and talk to them and then to my utter dismay, they walked out of the gallery and without my painting.

I was pretty upset with myself for not having gone over there and tried to talk to them.  Fortunately, for me about an hour later they came back and were overjoyed to talk to me about their decision to buy my painting.  It was definitely the highlight of the evening for me. They are happy with my work and I am happy to have created something someone unrelated to me likes enough to spend their hard earned money to procure.  That is what this business is all about.

What did I learn?  That the only VIOLETS in the room should be ones I have painted on a canvas!

Jan and I posing with our friend Jeff Oldham in front of some of our work

My main display as you walk in the gallery front door

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