Tuesday, February 12, 2013

107 How to sell paintings Part 2

IN MY PREVIOUS entry on how to sell paintings I wrote about quality as a means to sales. I recently purchased and watched all 4 hours of Eric Rhoads’ Art Marketing Bootcamp. I was surprised that Rhoads never mentioned the quality of an artist’s work. Perhaps it was assumed. But after watching just a few minutes I realized there is a lot more to this selling business than I had previously thought.

Rhoads is the publisher of Fine Art Connoisseur and Plein Air Magazine, two of the finest art magazines published today (read his art marketing blog here). I respect his editorials and the fact that both magazines have high standards in publishing and the art they showcase. The DVD is a series of speeches given at the first Plein Air convention in Las Vegas last year. Rhoads is an excellent speaker and I found his presentation engaging. There was too much information to review here, plus everyone who watches will get something different from the presentation. I suspect mid-career artists will glean valuable information. Artists who previously were prospering but now face a downturn might benefit most of all.

I changed several aspects of this blog based on information from the series. Rhoads explains that an artist is a brand. I named my blog Thick Paint because I initially started the blog from my fascination and frustration with painting thickly. But I now realize that my name is my brand. So I rebranded this site Brad Teare with a sub head of The art of Thick Paint. Rhoads reasons that an artist must have a promotional campaign just like BMW or McDonald's. Accurate branding, or projecting a clear, authentic message, is at the heart of that process. Rhoads also suggests that blogs and web sites are essential to getting broader recognition but few readers read below the fold or below midway on a blog. So I reformatted my blog so more topics are above the midway point on the screen. If you feel this is an improvement (or a detriment) please leave a comment. Your opinions will help us all figure out how to make this work.

One of the most anticipated themes of the DVD was how to make advertising work. Rhoads again suggested the campaign model. Don’t place ads, he suggests, create an advertising campaign. But unfortunately he also advises if you don’t have the money to advertise with a campaign, don’t advertise. I don’t currently have the funds to advertise correctly so I’m locked out of that avenue to improve my career. He cautions against going into debt to advertise and I agree. Debt for artists can be a quagmire.

There are other fascinating ideas; how to get into a gallery, how to work effectively with gallery owners, how to leverage relationships in the business. Another change I intend to make that was not explicitly mentioned in the program is to start signing my work with my full name. Previously I’ve contented myself with Teare as my signature. If my name is my brand I need to broaden its recognizability by signing my full name so people can read it. It seems too good an opportunity to miss. Even though I'm fortunate to have a unique last name my full name allows me to be more easily located via the internet and other venues.

If you know how to jump the gap from no funds to advertise to implementing a successful ad campaign I hope you will offer your ideas below.

Brad Teare February 2013

PS- Another benefit of the DVD was I finally learned how to pronounce Camille Przewodek's name.


  1. Like you, I don't have the funds to do an advertising campaign. I appreciate this information, Brad, this is a frustrating business. $147 for a DVD sounds a bit to much though.

  2. Hi, Brad -- Just an observation - I couldn't find a way to purchase one of your works. Your site has several paintings and woodcuts, but the "Contact" page mentions a gallery that currently does not have any listings for you (that I could see).

    Also, Marc Hanson has decided to try an etsy.com site, as explained in this post:

    I very much enjoy your blog and your YouTube videos (subscriber).

  3. You're right Dave! I need to update my links and contact info. Needless to say I need a lot of help in the business side of the art business. Many thanks for the heads up.

  4. I agree it was pretty expensive. I really needed the kick in the pants, though. I'm really trying to get creative about raising the capital to do a campaign. We'll see if it works. Wish me luck!

  5. Hi Brad:

    It's a testament that you are taking serious the skills needed to develop art as a business. Those are different skills than being a painter. For many, this can be quite a challenge. But I'm glad to see that you are benefiting from the perspective of Eric Rhodes.

    I also reasonate the idea of a clearly signed painting. As that painting lives on and travels the universe, being viewed by different people, chances are that the only thing that would bring them back to associating that work with YOU is a clearly readable, legible, signature.

    Of course, over time if you become immensely popular, an illegible scratch of a signature would probably due.

    But I just can't get over how many artists don't sign their paintings clearly. I've seen many works that I've admired, but couldn't read the signature. That artists loss because I couldn't find them.

    I also like that you've gotten the notion of your brand. Very cool, "Brad Teare, the art of thick paint!" I like that!

    Good luck and a prosperous 2013 to you!

  6. You don't have to spend a fortune to start an advertising campaign. If you have a Facebook business page and can afford $5 a week, you can do some interesting things with it. Online advertising is much cheaper than print advertisement and mobile ads seem to be the next big thing. You can use Facebook as a training ground for what works, then take it to a higher level once you've gotten a handle of it.

  7. Sergio, I assume online advertising would be cheaper but I am not sure if it would reach the right audience. But it might be worth a try.

  8. Brad, I am a little late to your post, but as a fellow artist with a great deal of time and studying in on business, marketing and branding, I offer my comments anyway :)

    First of all, you don't need to sign your full name. As a brand "symbol" the WAY you sign your name - as in the name itself, plus the style and any flourishes or embellishments - IS the symbol, or logo. In fact, if you've signed all your paintings one way and then you start to sign a different way, it could indeed cause confusion and in that respect set your brand back a bit. In my case, with a last name that's 15 letters long, I could never sign both my first and last name!!! It would obliterate the whole painting!!! LOL. So, please don't worry about signing both your names. Many, many artists do not. And even major companies. Eg. you know Coke is Coca Cola ;)

    As for online advertising... you can target quite well using Facebook adverts - they are very specific. Online methods like Google adwords don't tend to do well for artists - at least fine artists. If you paint skateboards and surfboards, as an example, it can work quite well.

    Magazine ads work really well, but as you mentioned, you must have a campaign. Minimum of seven imprints to even start seeing a return, according to current advertising "law" - since it takes that many times for a person's brain to register that they've actually seen the ad and what it means.

    Hope this helps!

    (aka Christine Friedrichsmeier)

    1. Keena-You're right. If you have a long name signing the whole thing is too much of a chore and might mar the art (it might run across the whole painting! :) Maybe facebook advertising would work with small price items like Black and white woodcuts. I will have to look into that. Thanks for your ideas. They're great!

  9. Brad, I enjoy your youtube videos so much and will be joining you on for your concertwindow thingy this week. It's too bad that artists need to spend time, and lots of it, on marketing. I guess we all need a brother, like Van Gogh had, to take care of that for us. I've decided at my advanced age to just paint in the hopes that my grandchildren (37 of them) will each want and receive a really nice painting when I die. And I hope it oozes love into their lives for years and years beyond my death. Thanks for sharing so much of your learning/experience with us. I can't believe how much you give all of us for free!

    1. No problem! Thanks for your comments. Incidentally were you able to catch the Concert Window event?

  10. You mention that my video does not discuss quality. It may not have been in the one you watched but we believe it is critical. All artists should strive to achieve the highest possible level of quality.

    1. Thanks for adding some clarity to my review. I probably missed the nuance concerning quality. I certainly didn't sense that you were saying that quality is irrelevant. But as many of us know, it often is not enough. Thanks for your comments! I look forward to future DVDs.

  11. Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly facts. Your website is very valuable. Thanks for sharing. Promote your website

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