Interview With A Local Contemporary Artist About Digital Marketing In The Art Industry
The art industry is one that is filled with many people who usually have a different opinion about technology than a good chunk of society. This industry has many professionals who have unique challenges and opportunities due to technological changes.
Regardless of technological changes and rise in computer art, someone looking for art will always prefer something that is made with the hands of a human being. The authenticity, skills, quality of work and dedication is unbeatable by any machine.
The digital world that we now live in has forced most businesses to embrace digital transformation in order to remain relevant and stay competitive in their industry. We like to think that as technologies evolve and change over time, it adds new possibilities for artists to expand and improve their brand.
Recently, we had the opportunity to meet and talk with a local artist. As digital marketers, we couldn’t help but ask some questions about his opinions on the topic of digital marketing.
Who are your favourite influencers?
In general, people who have perfected their craft or people who are steadfast in their pursuit of it. I look for genuine, modest talent that I can learn from. In my experience, that is always where true genius comes from. I get nervous when people use their own perceived traits of likability to further commercial interests. What is being created should be at the forefront.
How Do You Currently Market Yourself/ Your Art?
Rarely updated Instagram page. Marketing from galleries (their own social media/ newsletters/ visitors to the gallery). A surprising amount of business (almost all commissions) is through word of mouth.
How much time do you spend on marketing your work? Which channels do you use?
I spend almost no time marketing my work. My only real outlet is Instagram at the moment.
If you had to pick 1 social platform, which one would you pick? And Why?
I would pick Instagram because I think it plays well to human impulses. It is fast, simple and visual. Perfect for a visual artist.
What challenges or struggles do you currently face with your digital strategy (and what are you doing to try to overcome them)
I do not like the concept of vying for attention from the internet. It seems wholly unnatural and sometimes detrimental. I just try to keep things simple. I would probably do better be
ing more personal but that isn’t me. For now, I should focus on more regular updates.
If you could time travel and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give, in relation to digital marketing?
I would probably advise that I stick my head in the sand for a number of years and get seriously good at painting first. You can still make quite a bit of money, quietly during this stage. Then start with a website/ Instagram displaying a really good product. Next, I would use those as tools to bring new galleries on board as production and sales allow. I see a lot of artists on social media get confused and stuck making work that hundreds of other artists are making because it is popular on social media.
I have noticed a massive, massive gap between popular art on social media and work that actually fuels art careers. If you make good art, people buy it. If you make bad art, people don’t. I think the most important part is simply holding yourself to the highest standard possible with regards to your product. That is what your digital marketing will be built on, especially as it is so visual.
In the art industry, it’s not unheard of that galleries take a 50% cut when selling a work of art. With the rise in digital marketing and use of social media, we believe that 50% might be an unreasonable share of the pie for the average artist. No matter how reputable the gallery.
How often are these galleries promoting YOUR work? How much work are they putting in? If you had your own marketing team, would you be satisfied with the amount of effort they put in marketing your art? Is it worth 50%?
We do agree that art galleries have once empowered artists and helped them become more successful. And with digital transformation happening everywhere, the role of art galleries need to go a transformation as well. If the role and responsibilities of the art gallery in the digital age remain the same, they will risk becoming obsolete.
Social media and digital marketing is a truly empowering phenomenon and not enough people realize its strength and potential. Because artists now have access to the same marketing tools that galleries do, this places them in a position where they could at least negotiate the 50% cut. If you have a good online presence, then the sales will follow. There is no doubt that the gallery is still an important asset for many people. But let’s be honest, most people will probably look for art online before deciding whether or not it’s worth it for them to go see it in person.
Your presence on the internet is like the cover page for your art profession. If your cover page is good, your art will sell. But what if your cover page is better than your gallery’s cover page. Just think about that.
Written by: Simon Kadota