I recently had the immense joy of spending a few days at Miami Art Week, a.k.a. Art Basel Miami, the most important contemporary art event in the Americas, where I got to view more art than I did during the entire year (talk about a sensory overload!).
While in Miami, I met with wonderful people who had so many interesting insight on the art world and where it's heading.
As I was heading back to my hotel on Saturday, I started thinking about a few key "aha" moments of my weekend and made a mental note to myself to share those with you this week.
Because what's the point in learning all of this, if it all stays in my head, right?
So here it goes... 4 things I learned during my visit at Miami Art Week that can help you in your art career!
#1 Creating a body of work that people can recognize is the first step
I know you love working with different mediums, styles and subjects, but if you want to make it to the big leagues, you need to choose. People (especially gallery owners) need to be able to spot your work among a hundred others. You can experiment as much as you like in your studio, but when it comes to showing your work publicly, make sure that your style is consistent and constantly evolving into something that is more substantial and meaningful.
#2 Nailing your storytelling is essential
How good are you at telling a story? Whether it's your own story or the story behind specific pieces, how you can draw people's attention and invite them into your world is key. Not only is it important to position yourself and your work to potential buyers, but it's also absolutely necessary if you are looking at getting gallery representation. How can a gallery represent and sell your work if they have nothing to say about it? This takes practice, a lot of practice, but it's well worth it.
#3 Building a following will open you doors
I had a conversation with a gallery owner at the SCOPE art fair and we were debating about whether or not artists really need gallery representation to make it. Of course, we both agreed at the end that gallery representation can't hurt. So I asked him how artists should go about to get that representation. His first answer was "the work needs to be solid and credible." Well, that's a given, right? When I asked him about networking with the right people and building a strong following, his answered was: "Well, that won't hurt either." The conversation continued around the fact that the more an artist can demonstrate that he/she has something to bring to the table, whether it's an audience or a collector base, the more open a gallery will be to discuss future partnership opportunities.
#4 Perception is EVERYTHING
And this brings me to the most important lesson I learned over the weekend, a lesson that I've been confronted with more than once working in PR for the last 15 years...
That lesson is: Perception is everything.
What do I mean by that? Well, how confident are you about your work? your career? your worth? I was looking at gallery owners doing "busy work" in their booth, art collectors boasting about their recent acquisitions and artists doing more name dropping than a Kardashian on a Friday night and that's when it struck me, half of the battle is about looking and feeling confident. Just to make myself clear, I'm not saying you should be misleading or lying. But rather, work on developing your confidence and building on the positive you've got going in your business, instead of dwelling on what could be.
Remember this: people who buy your art are investing not only in your work, but also in you.
They'll have more interest in buying if they feel you have a bright future ahead of you.
Were these insights from my experience at Miami Art Week new to you, or are you already applying all or most of them to your own art business? Share in the comments below!
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