An overview of commonly asked questions with answers
Questions Asked By Artists
As I have promised, here is another of my blog posts dedicated to helping artists gain a stable income from their art practice.
A while back I did an email campaign based on my previous market research. The market research pretty much consisted of me posting free consultation for the art professionals & artists and listening to their questions.
After a few online interviews, I have realized that the questions tend to be the same. Let me mention just a few of the questions that the artists commonly asked me.
Apart from how to gain recognition as an artist, the second most common question was how to make a living as an artist. The third one was about art residencies in Berlin & Europe in general.
I would like to start with the 2nd question because that was my initial inspiration for the previous blog post on how to sell artworks via 3rd party websites.
After preliminary research I have found out about the abundance of options where to upload the artworks, I did even more research, posted a poll, and sent tons of private messages. Then the result was the blog.
Yet Another Survey in LinkedIn Group Art & Marketing
The positive feedback has encouraged me to think even more about how I can help artists to gain regular income from their art practice. So, I have started to wonder where those who buy the artworks actually go.
I conducted another survey and to my great surprise purchasing artwork online ended up with only 8%. Needless to say that I was gutted. The previous blog post took so much time and effort and it turned out that it is the least popular way to acquire new works of art.
Anyway, life is not about what you think that you know but about what you have and I have the results of the poll.
The Winner of the Poll Was Artist´s Studio Visits
Funny enough I have heard that before but I just did not know it was so popular to purchase the artwork directly from an artist.
I did some art tours back in the past and I had gallerists telling me that the people from the tour came again. As a matter of fact, I used to run Experience on Airbnb, taking people into various art spaces in Kreuzberg, Berlin before Covid-19.
So, I dusted off the art tour and did some tweaking. Plus I invited some more artists to open their studios, usually on Saturdays afternoon.
Organizing Art Tours
If you want to be updated regarding the upcoming art tours in Berlin feel free to join my group, Contemporary Art Tours Berlin, on Meetup.
So far I have 2 art tours running on Saturdays. Each of them is in a different venue and location because it would be too demanding for one venue to be available every Saturday in one month.
The first one takes place on the borderline between Kreuzberg & Neukölln, the second one is deep in the heart of Neukölln. Each tour goes to an art venue like an art gallery or art organization and then to several artists' studios which are artists from the area but they do not necessarily collaborate with the visited art venues.
Sharing is Caring
The reason why I am sharing the idea and the process is actually linked to the first and most frequently asked question by the artists on how do I gain recognition as an artist.
The answer is a relevant and dedicated network and that is why I encourage people to participate in art collaborations.
By organizing an art tour in your district or region and reaching out to fellow artists and bringing people passionate about art to your studios is the way to go!
It is always easier to approach people by saying I am organizing this or that and are you interested in taking part? Rather than saying I want you to do this or that for me. Art collabs ideas and networking are crucial to establishing flourishing art practice or art business.
Where Do People Purchase Artworks?
Getting back to the results of my 2nd poll about where people go to purchase an artwork. The 2nd place was taken by face-to-face interaction such as purchases made in a physical space of art galleries and of course the art fairs.
The 2nd place has validated that direct interaction is still heavily used and a much-preferred method of establishing your name and sales.
The 3rd place was actually taken by Social Media. Yet again it has been confirmed that Social Media are not just for dancing youngsters sharing their videos or posting images from your holidays.
As a matter of fact, 28% of you actually go on Social Media either LinkedIn, Instagram, and others to purchase artwork, which is an astonishing number. It also stresses the importance of having a presence on Social Media especially if you are an artist regardless of your age.
Sadly, quite often I come across artists in their early 30´s telling that they have heard of for example Instagram but that they don´t have an account.
From my point of view and experience, it is an incredible shame because it is extremely hard for curators or potential collectors to notice your artwork if nobody knows about it.
Yes, I know that it is quite controversial to encourage people to do Social Media because Mark Zuckerberg, Google, and many others collect your data, and then they serve you ads based on your interests and searches.
However, the way I see it, it is very naive to think that you can protect yourself from being part of this data collection. By simply not participating and being hidden in a dark cellar in a corner under a rock, you rob yourself of an option to create an independent income from selling your artwork.
How I see Social Media
Here I would like to use an analogy and compare Social Media to the invention of cars. Because the automobile industry creates so much pollution, you also have so many car accidents, the overuse of cars damages your own health and yes it is frequently used as a weapon to purposely drive into a crowd of innocent bystanders causing needless casualties.
The same goes for Social Media. It can take too much of your personal time and damage actual relationships.
There is a lot of hate and several other very harmful behaviors which can result in deaths and suicides same as cars.
Even worse, as we have recently heard, the negative content is actually encouraged by the data collectors because nothing increases engagement more than negative news or comments.
And yet, I cannot imagine how you can stand strong and independent on your own two feet without embracing Social Media.
Honestly, I cannot see that I would be traveling from A to B using horse carriages, and as sad as it might sound the same goes for Social Media.
Keep in mind that Social Media or any other product should be used with a purpose and be critically evaluated. Nevertheless, you cannot avoid using them.
To Sum It Up.
The Best Questions You Should Ask As An Artist
Q1) Where do art collecting people look for artworks to buy?
A1) 33% goes to open artists´ events, 31% face to face in galleries or art fairs, 28% via Social Media, and 8% via 3rd party websites selling art
Q2) Do I have to be on Social Media?
A2) Based on the provided research, if you want to sell and gain recognition as an artist then, yes, you have to.
Q3) How do I gain recognition as an artist?
A3) By creating meaningful art collaboration and building a dedicated audience.
Q4) How can I reach a dedicated audience and create meaningful art collabs?
A4) By setting up your own art events such as art tours within your art community or district.
Q5) How do I make a living as an artist?
A5) By letting the world know about your art practice.
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Written by Veronika Hykova
All photos are from Unsplash