Sunday, May 13, 2012

Art Career Success with Local Businesses

Local businesses are often the best places to sell your original arts and crafts. If your goal is gallery representation, local sales can build your reputation, and fill in your resume. In addition, income from local sales can exceed what you earn with some galleries.


Most communities have an art association of some kind. You'll find them listed in the yellow pages of your local phone book, and sometimes online. Look in categories such as "Clubs", "Associations", and so on.

These groups are usually a mix of professionals and eager amateurs. At their meetings, I've seen everything from gorgeous, $10K watercolors to crocheted dolls in unnatural colors & fibers. No two groups are the same. Visit as a guest before joining, and see if the association or club is right for you.

Most art associations sponsor regular gallery shows in their own meeting place or in a town hall or library meeting room. They often have at least one outdoor art show, at which you can display your art and perhaps demonstrate your techniques.

Art association meetings include regular demonstrations (of art technique) by artists who will usually sell some art to the members, too. This can be a good outlet if you want to do demos.

Start by creating a form letter that you'll send to every art association in the phone book. When the demo is announced, make sure that the publicity mentions that you'll have art for sale, too. The art association takes a commission based on how much you sell, and everyone goes home happy.


Many art associations have working relationships with local businesses, especially restaurants, bookstores, beauty salons, and banks... anyone with blank wall space that wants an "art show" to generate interest. (They use this to attract visitors and for press releases, publicity, etc.) Libraries are less likely to be able to offer work for sale, but it depends upon the local laws.

This works best if the sales go through the art association. Next to each piece of art, place the art association's business card. On it, write the title of the art, the artist, the price, and how to contact the art association for more information.

Of course, this should be something better than voicemail; someone needs to be on hand to answer the phone. A member who works at home is good for this job.

If your local art club hasn't done this before, help them to set it up. The art association can have a single phone number, and use Call Forwarding to whomever is manning the phones that day.


If you are in an art association that doesn't have a working relationship with local businesses, bring it up at the next business meeting. Some members may already work at offices or shops that would cheerfully display your art.

There are issues to sort out, including how the art is insured, if it's protected from damage, and so on. You can check with other art associations and see how they handle it.

Once you start contacting businesses about displaying local art, you may be surprised at how easy this is.


In most cases, the art association makes the sale, and has a merchant account that accepts checks and credit cards. The art association takes a percentage of the sales, usually about 20%. At the end of the month, the association issues a check to everyone whose art sold that month.


If you don't have a local art association--or if their interests don't match yours--start your own. A simple, free announcement in the local newspaper will attract interest, and your public library can probably provide a free meeting room.

Selling your arts and crafts locally is a great first step for any artist. In addition, it's usually fun, brings you recognition from your neighbors, and adds a little extra beauty to the businesses that participate.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Art Gallery

Art Galleries are generally known for art that highlights the natural beauty all around the world. Everyday there are people creating entirely new works of art, and placing them in art galleries all over the world.

The type of art included in a gallery can vary. Art can encompass a wide variety of medium, such as, drawings, paintings, photography, and sculpture, to name a few. The purpose of the art gallery is to show off the work of local and national artists in a way that people will want to purchase them. Many of the artist's works can also be bought as prints. This allows the artist to sell more, while making the price more affordable to people.

Local Art Galleries

Art Galleries are generally known for art that highlights the natural beauty all around the world. Everyday there are people creating entirely new works of art, and placing them in art galleries all over the world.

The type of art included in a gallery can vary. Art can encompass a wide variety of medium, such as, drawings, paintings, photography, and sculpture, to name a few. The purpose of the art gallery is to show off the work of local and national artists in a way that people will want to purchase them. Many of the artist's works can also be bought as prints. This allows the artist to sell more, while making the price more affordable to people.

Local Art Galleries

Most major cities have wonderful art galleries. If you have never visited an art gallery, you should make a point to do so. You may think that an art gallery is not where you would want to spend the afternoon, but you may be surprised at how interesting an art gallery can be. Check your local phone book for an art gallery near you.

Virtual Art Galleries

If you have Internet access, then you can find an online art gallery, my choice as well. If you can view and possibly order from the comfort of your own home why not. Virtual tours of art galleries are a lot of fun.

As with walk in art galleries, virtual art galleries are also worldwide. Listed below are a few galleries that you can visit online.

o Art Vitam, Miami, Florida

o Art of this Century, Paris, France

o Art Space/Virginia Miller Galleries, Coral Gables, Florida

o Artco Galleria de Arte, Lima, Peru

o Casa d'Arte San Lorenzo, Pisa, Italy

o Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, Miami, Florida

o Espace D'Art Yvonamor Palix, Paris, France

o Galleria El Museo, Bogotá, Colombia

o Galleria Habana, Mexico D.F., Mexico

o Galleria de Arte Isabel Aninat, Santiago, Chile

Take the time to experience wonderful works of art at your local art gallery or on the internet. Even if you are not an art enthusiast, the works of fine artists all over the world will impress you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Art Collecting Tips

Just because you have money doesn't mean you have to spend it. In art collecting it can actually be a disadvantage to be flush with cash, at least when you're a beginner. I say this because it's harder to resist the temptation to purchase art when you have money. Even if you're a financially disciplined person, art can play on your emotions and you can find yourself spending more freely than you ever have before. Take the time to learn about the kind of art you want to collect. Unbelievable deals don't come around often, and they rarely come to beginning collectors. There will always be quality art to purchase. The best thing for you to do is take your time and learn, learn, learn about the artists or category of art you want to buy. When you feel that you're ready to take the plunge and buy a piece of art, be sure to learn as much about the artist as you can. Especially examine the artist's auction records if there are any. Auction records are not definitive, but they are very helpful.

Narrow down your collecting interest as much as you possibly can. You can like all kinds of art, but it will serve your best interests to narrow down the scope of your art collecting interests as much as possible. The more you narrow down your collecting interest, the more of an expert you're likely to become in that particular area. One of the greatest joys of collecting art is learning so much about an artist that you feel almost like you know him, or studying the period of history in which the art was developed. The more this is done, the greater your appreciation of your collection will be, and your enthusiasm and knowledge will be evident when you show off your collection.

Yes, you should buy a piece of art because you love it, BUT take the financial aspect into consideration too. It has become a cliché in the art advice business to tell people that the best thing for them to do is buy the art that they love. This is good advice, but somehow hidden in that statement seems to be a subtle message to not take the financial aspect of the piece into consideration. I say buy the art that you love, but also make sure you're not paying too much for it and consider your end game. I wouldn't advise asking, "How much money can I make on this painting? Or How much will it appreciate?" Rather, just be sure that you can recoup your investment. Tragedies can happen, and sadly what people first consider selling to raise money is their art collection.

Buying work by a deceased artist is generally less financially risky than buying art by a contemporary artist. This is because the art market for a contemporary artist has not really been tested. Most deceased artists have some kind of record of sale on the secondary market, whether it be at an auction or a gallery. This record gives you an idea of what is an appropriate price to pay for a work by a certain artist.

Just because a painting is signed "T.C. Steele" doesn't mean T.C. Steele actually signed it or even did the painting. What often happens is that a family member, often a wife or son or sister, signs an artist's paintings after he dies. If this is the case, it decreases the value of the painting. Of course, an "artist signed" painting could also be a forgery. I've seen plenty of paintings that bear the signature of an artist who clearly didn't do the painting. An art appraiser can assist you in determining the authenticity of a signature or painting.

Just because a desirable artist did a painting doesn't mean that the painting is desirable. Every artist had his good days and bad days. Some had more bad than good. Certain periods of an artist's work are also more desirable than other periods. Also, if an artist is known for painting landscapes, a painting that he did of a cat is probably going to be much less desirable. The medium is also important in determining desirability. Overall, oil paintings tend to rank as most desirable; however, there are artists who work in all mediums but whose watercolors or prints are more in demand than their oil paintings.

There are a lot of great deals on eBay. There are also a lot of fakes, junk, inexperienced sellers and shippers, and hucksters. eBay can be a great place to learn about art, but it's not usually where the best pieces by an artist appear. This is because the best pieces are usually brokered between dealers and their clients. Occasionally, such pieces make it onto eBay, but usually through live auctions. eBay can also be a financially risky place to buy art. The number of fakes, questionable works, and bad paintings on eBay is quite high. Unless you are an expert in a particular category of art or on a particular artist, I'd avoid buying on eBay until you're sure you know what you're doing. Even then you can still make mistakes. (e.g. buying a print that was described by the seller as a painting, getting an excellent buy only to receive the item damaged because it was improperly packaged for shipping)

Most art dealers aren't dishonest, but the dishonest ones have a radar for those who want to be quickly parted from their money. When buying a painting from a gallery or dealer, try to find out as much as possible about where the painting came from. Provenance enhances the value of a painting. Also, if the price seems to be out of line with similar pieces you've seen by the artist, ask the dealer how he came up with the price. He may have very sound reasons for the price difference (or you may not be familiar enough with the artist), but if he becomes defensive or combative, be suspicious.

Pricing art is an art. It's also part science and speculation. Art is not a commodity. Therefore, there are significant variations in price, even among the works of one artist. It's not unusual for an artist to have a high auction sale price of over a million dollars and a low one in the hundreds or low thousands. This happens for various reasons, usually related to size, medium, and period created. Always remember, any price can be put on a work of art, but there's no saying it's worth the tag price until it sells. Also keep in mind that pricing art is not formulaic. There are dealers out there who are intentionally trying to rip people off by making them overpay for art. But most dealers use all the knowledge they've spent considerable time acquiring; they research, they talk to other dealers, and then they come up with what they consider to be a fair market price for a piece.

Don't be an art day trader. Unless you are an art dealer, I don't advise buying paintings and quickly trading or selling them for something else. I have not met a collector yet who has not lost money doing this. And the collector usually ends up frustrating the art dealer he's dealing with in the process.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Framed Art the Inexpensive Way

Framed art needn't cost the earth. In fact framed artworks can be very inexpensive way when you allow yourself to reconsider exactly what constitutes a frame and, indeed what determines art.

First of all, one must reconsider the nature of art and its role in our daily lives. As an Art Director of Urban Fine Arts which is a contemporary framed art company I hold what is perhaps nowadays a slightly out of vogue opinion on the nature of art for somebody in my position. That is, I do believe that art should be beautiful (even if it's only a face that mother could love) and I do also believe that art should be in some way "framed" and we shall also reconsider here in a moment exactly what "framed" means.

In-keeping with the popular trend, I don't believe that art should necessarily demonstrate a significant degree of skill in the making and neither do I believe that art need be some high-brow, sacred thing nor that it even need be recognised as art - however, as I say, I do think that art should be beautiful. Its an opinion that has occasionally put me at odds with many of my peers, but its a belief that I would like to argue for in this article and maybe entice you to recognise the art that exists all around you (yes even within the room in which you sit right now) and encourage you to "frame" the artworks so as to appreciate their beauty and just maybe even stretch your notion of beauty that little bit further.

It's been said that "truth, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder" and those of you familiar with this post modern paradigm will also appreciate that any definition of art can be equally subjective.

As an undergraduate I was subjected to the, now standard, induction for all art students which sought to deconstruct the "popular myth" of art as our lecturers saw it. We were told that there existed no rigorous definition of art beyond merely describing it as "that which we understand as art" or "that which hangs in a gallery". Every "popular myth" of art, we were told, had so many exceptions to it so as to prohibit its validity.

Of course, there are many things which our society recognises as art that are neither beautiful nor could we argue that they involved a significant degree of skill on the part of the artist. On famous example is Marcel Duchamp's installation of an upturned urinal entitled "Fountain" which is not something that many of us in layman's-land would recognise as art were we not told that it is art and were we not to find it in an art gallery labelled as such. And yet, Duchamp's Fountain is considered a seminal work of the early 20th Century.

So, am I now trying to persuade you that your toilet is art and that your toilet seat is the frame? No, not because I don't believe that your humble loo is framed art (that's for you to decide), but because I don't believe that intellectual persuasion towards a doctrine of art is ethical or fruitful.

It appears to me futile to argue for a definition of art or seek to produce a litmus test for recognising it. However, I do think that there is some value at least in challenging people's idea of what is art and encouraging people to frame the art all around you.

Rather than bore you with an intense argument on this subject I will merely provide an example for you to consider.

An art dealer friend of mine through whose hands have passed works of art worth six figures has upon his study wall, not a great work by a recognised master but a worthless looking paper invoice from his water cooler supplier firm. The invoice would be nothing above the ordinary to any casual viewer and its place upon his wall would at first seem bizarre. However, what is significant to him about this particular invoice is that the seemingly random system regenerated number of that particular invoice is the exact date of his daughter's birthday. Add to this that the company happens to be called Gemini which is his daughter's Christian name. The logo for the company is an image of a young girl holding a star in her outstretched hands. The invoice is attached to a pencil crayon drawing his daughter did at school based on a poem the teacher had read to them in class about God. The picture she has drawn is of a star in an outstretched hand with the words written underneath "He holds my world in His hands".

Nothing but a chain of happy coincidence you might say. And, of course, these details are only of significance to him. However, when, as in this case, the object holds huge significance for an individual it becomes as wealthy and significant as any great artwork in any gallery. And when that art is framed within the context of something else we cherish (in this case the child's artwork) the work becomes art purely by the framing and yet the irony is that we only framed it because we first recognised it as art.

Urban Fine Arts - Framed Art Gallery []

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Buying Pop Art Paintings

Contrary to popular belief Pop Art actually started in the UK in the 1950's and not in the USA in the 1960's as most people assume. One phrase espoused by art historians which fairly describes the origins of modern pop art is that pop art was born in England and grew up in America . Now aged well over 50, the good news is that Pop Art is very much alive and kicking and looking very sprightly for its age. In fact, in more recent times there appears to have been something of a renaissance of young pop artists around the globe - again finding its origins in the United Kingdom and, once again, moving west to the USA .

Many small galleries, websites, eBay and even more traditional décor retailers are now featuring a range of affordable pop art paintings. So what's so new about this? Pop Art's been around for a long time hasn't it? Isn't it old school?

Some would argue that the recent and re-explosion of the retail trade in the sale of original Pop Art paintings is the post-modern realisation of Warhol's vision of the role of art within modern society. Warhol's work in democratising art production and ownership were naturally hindered by the physical limitations of the amount of art he could personally produce. This inspired Warhol to set up his Art Factory (a studio production team mainly producing screen prints of Andy's original designs in the earlier years and a fully autonomous art machine in later years).

However, one might argue that Andy Warhol's achievements in canonising pop art, whilst of course outstanding for the work of just one man, didn't fully realise the mandate of a pop/popular post-modern art form in that they were inextricably enmeshed with his personality and artist-as-celebrity status. Industrialist art emancipates art from the modernist notion of the struggling artist working magic in his lonely garret and returns instead to an earlier model of the art studio collective producing art to order.

One might therefore adopt the belief that this earlier pre-renaissance model of art production, rather than being outmoded, tallies more with a post-modern realisation of the role art occupies in society and defies the now archaic modernist notion of the artist as inspired genius. That's why this author contends that we young new breed of Pop Artists have truly democratised art production and ownership - claiming it back from the aficionados and beard-stroking critics who stole art from the people from whom it finds its genesis.

Once was the time that every abode was adorned with original art from the first daubs on cave walls to the highly decorated homes of the Egyptians through to the intensely decorated artefacts of the Celts. Pop art in one sense has reduced art to the mundane (Warhol's Campbell Soup can being an obvious example) and yet, simultaneously, elevated popular culture, media and celebrity itself to the lofty heights of art.

The most encouraging thing about this new-breed of pop artists is the way it offers, at last, real art back to the people at a price every working man or woman can afford - a price dictated by the labour involved in its production only and free from the price hikes that galleries would make in order to preserve it for the very elite.

This is the reason why this author strongly believes that Pop Art, rather than being an historical art movement, is in fact the true future of art - its art for the people, by the people. In fact with the ever consistent growth of the importance of celebrity and popular culture you can certainly expect to see pop art around for a long time yet.