So you’ve create your artworks and you’re ready to promote your art exhibition or event. You could use the Internet and all manner of promotional web sites, blogs, mailing lists and systems to get your creativity out there, but at the end of the day, certainly at the beginning of your art journey nothing beats personally showing your art to people in your area who can actually turn up to your real world art show.
I don’t really want to drag around a big art art folio
Imagine if every time you show your art to people that you have to open up a big art folio. This can tend to be a bit confronting. It looks like you are trying to sell them something right there and then, so they tend to get turned off straight away. I had this very problem when I first started out so I set about solving it and came up with a solution…
Let me introduce you to your new best friend; your Personal Organiser Mini Art folio
I don’t really want to lug my artworks everywhere with me just in case someone takes an interest, so what I do is keep a mini art portfolio with me at all times when I’m in exhibition promotion mode.
This is how it works…
The key is to talk to people as you meet them in your everyday life and somehow let them know that you are an artist, but without actually saying up front “I am an artist and look at my artwork”. Instead you need to help them to ‘discover’ that you are an artist, and then ask you for more information.
For example, when you are in a shop and the manager of the shop serves you and asks how your day was, rather than saying “pretty good thanks”, say something like “oh I’ve been very busy working on an artwork for an exhibition”. Invariably they will ask you what kind of art you make, at which point you can open your trusty personal organiser mini art folio and actually show them.
A personal organiser or Filofax is a pretty non-threatening kind of object; everyone is used to seeing them, so its no big deal as you open yours up as you are paying for something.
After you’ve shown the shop manager your work you can invite them along to your exhibition. Invariably they will be quite honoured to be asked. Pop their details into your personal organiser pages. When you leave the shop also add a few notes, detailing any useful specifics about the person you’ve just met, and in particular which artworks they seemed to respond best to.
Your personal organiser portfolio is not limited to use in shops, use it everywhere! In the office, when you are socialising, when you are sitting in the park, on the bus, train or in the gym, absolutely everywhere. At any opportunity let people know that you are an artist in casual conversation and when they ask for more information, just whip out your art folio, engage their interest, take their details and invite them to your exhibition. The key is to engage people in conversation such that they ask for more information about you, rather than you just rattling on about yourself and boring the pants off them.
If someone you meet starts going on about how their brother, sister, mother, dad, grandpa etc is a fantastic artist then the chances are that they really will not be interested in your artwork even though they make for a pleasant (mostly one-sided) conversation.
When you first start using your personal organiser art folio it is very tempting to invite all your close friends, family, and relatives along for your first exhibition expecting that they will think you are fantastic, the next big thing and support you by buying all your artwork. In the majority of cases I have seen, unless your friends, family and relatives are very generous, all they will do is tell you how very clever you are and then drink all your beer, wine and nibblies, making for a very expensive art exhibition.
Instead try to invite people who might actually have a disposable income with which to buy your artwork such as business owners and professional people. Good art costs good money and the people who are generally interested in buying good art have good incomes, so invite those people! After talking to people for a while, you should start to become a bit of an expert a picking out potential prospective art buyers and useful contacts.
I’m not saying don’t invite your family at all to your exhibition, just be prepared to have a very nice but very expensive party if you do.
Do it all the time
The secret to promoting your exhibition successfully with your art folio lies in using it and having it with you ALL THE TIME. Keep all your credit cards, money, notes, names and addresses in there. The more you keep in there the more excuses you will have to open it up.