Have you ever stood in an art gallery and said to yourself: "My work
is better than the art in this gallery. Why are these artists selling in
galleries and I'm not?"
I have spent the last several years helping artists answer this
question. I have discovered it is the little things that can make all
the difference in an artist's career.
Before I share some of these little things that add up to make a big
difference, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason Horejs, I own
Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have owned the gallery for over
eight years, and have been in the gallery business for 17 years.
Can little things make a difference in your career? I invite you to
ponder the suggestions below, all ideas I will expand upon in my
upcoming workshop. These little ideas, put into practice with your
marketing plan will help you present your work more professionally. They
will help you get into galleries and sell more of your art.
Quality Check. I have known and worked with hundreds of artists over the
years. The most successful artists are devoted to high quality. They
have the ability to step back from their work and look at it through
their buyer's eyes. Art collectors are picky. They demand attention to
detail. Their homes are immaculate. You must create work that will fit
seamlessly into their homes.
Your medium doesn't matter - sculpture, jewelry, paintings,
photography or fiber art - the presentation must be flawless.
Think of each work you create as a masterpiece. Treat it as such.
One small thing to improve the quality of your work: Invite someone
you trust to evaluate the quality of your art. You should invite an
artist you admire, or a designer, or a gallery owner over to the studio
for coffee. Present 5-6 pieces. Ask the question "what are three things
I could do to improve the quality of my presentation."
An objective observer will see your art in a way you never could.
Repeat this process every 1-2 years and make a commitment to constantly
improve your quality.
Read a Book. Collectors and dealers love to talk history. As you begin
to show in galleries and interact with collectors at shows you will find
they love to talk about past masters. Your relationships with collectors
and dealers will deepen if you can converse fluently about art history.
I suggest you strive to understand the major art movements from the
impressionists through the present day. This understanding will also
enrich your work as you are inspired by the great artist's lives and
One little thing to work on: Visit your local book store or
Amazon.com and order a biography of one of your favorite artists. Commit
to read 2 artist biographies per year. Don't limit your reading only to
artists you like. I wasn't a fan of Willem deKooning's work until I read
about his life. He is now one of my favorite artists.
Analyze your Competition. You don't have to reinvent the wheel when it
comes to marketing your work. With a little work, you will find hundreds
of artists whose work is comparable to yours. Learn from them. Do what
One little thing to work on: Every week, devote one hour to
researching your competition online. Type keywords describing your work
into a search engine and you will quickly encounter your competitors.
Develop a list of 10 artists you feel are closest to you in style,
genre, subject, and/or experience. Analyze them.
Where is the artist from?
What is his/her background?
What is his/her education?
What does the artist's resume look like? What about his/her bio and
What galleries is he/she showing in?
How does he/she advertise his/her work?
How is his/her work priced?
How is he/she presenting his/her work?
The insight you will gain through this weekly exercise will prove
invaluable to you as you develop your marketing plans. By understanding
your competition you can better tailor your work to the market. You can
price your work competitively. You can better understand the types of
galleries you should approach.
Use an Inventory Number. As you begin to experience success, organizing
your inventory becomes critical. Using an inventory number is an easy
way to start to control your inventory. As you move artwork from the
studio to your galleries, and from gallery to gallery and inventory
number will make it easy to track your work. Titles can get mixed up,
but inventory numbers are almost infallible.
If you don't already have an inventory numbering system, start with
a high number (3000, for example). Nothing says "new artist" like a low
Send a Thank-you note. As you begin to work with collectors and
galleries, your goal is not to sell art. Your end-goal is to create
relationships. Relationships will lead to a lifetime of sales. You will
be amazed what one simple thing like a hand-written thank-you note can
do for your relationships. In this age of digital communication and
voicemail interaction, a hand-written thank you note stands out.
When a gallery sends you a commission check you should immediately
sit down and write a thank-you note. Keep the note simple:
Spend Some Time on Marketing. I am amazed at how many artists will spend
long days in the studio, weeks in workshops, but then wonder why their
work isn't selling. Often, these same artists are devoting very little
time to marketing. You should be spending 10% of your time marketing.
You will be amazed by how much you can accomplish in this small amount
of time, and this is one small thing that will make a huge difference in
My upcoming workshop will give you concrete, actionable guidance in
organizing the business side of your career. I will also give you an
understanding of the art business from the perspective of a gallery
owner with 17+ years experience in the business.
If I can give you one idea that helps you sell one work of art would
it be worth $59 and four hours of your time? I am going to give many
more ideas than just one. If you are ready to put your art career on
track and start selling your work, sign up now, before the class fills.
For workshop information contact
J. Jason Horejs
7039. E. Main St. #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251