When most folks think about the Product that they are marketing, they usually thing of tangibles. Something that you can hold and feel. For an artist, a real tangible woud be an original painting or prehaps a framed and matted photograph or print. The actual image on the print may be my own creation, or perhaps I work under contract to create a specific image that a client has requested.
Another product may be a service that is provided. A classic service that an artist can provide is teaching, so that others can learn to become artist. Many excellent artist supplement their income with workshops and seminars, essentially helping others understand some of the finer points in their artistic develpment.
But I believe that the most important product that an artist needs to consider in their marketing plan is to think of themselves as the product. Thinking of yourself as the product is also one the hardest thing to understand in marketing. For many artist that I talk to, this is also the most difficult subject for them to think about marketing. The idea for many artist is that they create art, and the collector buys the art that they created, and it should not matter who the artist is. In a pure art market, this may be true, but in the world today, who the artist is has a strong bearing on if the work will be purchased and at what price.
Another term for this is called Branding, creating an image/impression about a thing, that connotates certain values, such that collectors identify with and thus create demand. Tiger Woods has been “branded”, he will endorse only certain items, same as Michael Jordan. Artist have created brands, such as Ansel Adams who had hired a marketing (brand) manager. You see the same thing now with John Sexton and other artists. If you are associated with a gallery, the gallery ownership team will also be thinking about how to understand and create a better artist brand for and about you.
As an artist, we have our ideas, thoughts and ways of seeing, thinking and subsequently expressing these in our chosen medium. We decide to create images of nudes, landscape, the city dump, or we believe in a cause that we work to help promote, such as saving the environment. After a point, we create a body of work or maybe even what is termed a “style”. And that ability to express our selves in a particular way, is an indivdual ability that only we have, and is why collectors become attached to following an artist, not an indivdual artwork. The artwork is a byproduct of who we are or were, but since the collector can’t have us, they can have some of what we created.
So when oure thinking about how you can market your artwork, also think alot about how to market yourself, specificly creating a Name for yourself. Your brand name. More about this another time….
Best regards, Doug