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Business Smarts for the Creative Arts (October 2014): Marketing and Social Media

By Caley Cannon

Personal Effectiveness

Brainard Carey’s New Markets for Artists is a companion to his Making It in the Art World.  Together, these volumes offer practical guidance on career development for emerging creative professionals.  New Markets for Artists demonstrates ways to make effective use of social media tools and other online platforms to create a do-it-yourself art community and marketplace.  Although the historically nontraditional methods of exhibiting and promoting creative work—such as the use of Kickstarter, eBay, and Facebook—are becoming more established, a strong emphasis on the role of galleries, museums, and art dealers still exists in many creative fields.  Much of the information that Carey offers concerning social media platforms is very elementary; however, his approach likely will appeal to artists and designers who do not have much experience with these tools and want a basic explanation of ways to use them to advance a creative career.  Throughout the book, Carey encourages artists to take a proactive, independent approach to career development, rather than passively waiting for success to happen.  In Making It in the Art World, Carey looks at various approaches to earning a living as an artist.  Offering useful examples, Carey demonstrates that the path to a successful career in that arena need not follow the traditional route through galleries and dealers.  Many artists, such as Damien Hirst and Banksy, have developed new approaches to the sale of their works that are independent of gallery representation, and rely instead on self-promotion.  In light of this, Carey provides practical suggestions for presentation techniques, the establishment and maintenance of professional relationships, and professional skills such as time management, public relations, and marketing.  The concepts covered in Making It in the Art World are general and applicable to artists working in any region or medium.

Constance Smith offers more in-depth guidance on building a creative career through effective marketing in Advanced Strategies for Marketing Art.  Smith covers topics ranging from sales techniques, promotional materials/advertising, and art placement in galleries to business competitions and art fairs.  She recommends creating a marketing plan so that professional efforts are consistent and focused.  Her book includes worksheets and exercises to prompt readers to consider multiple components of art marketing, such as identifying a target market for artwork, and using sales techniques and promotional materials.  Smith examines a variety of markets that artists may consider for their work, including public art, set decoration, and corporate businesses, as well as galleries and museums.  The chapters on art competitions, art fairs, and open studio events offer thought-provoking questions designed to help artists determine their career path.  Chapters also provide an inside look at the jury process and practical tips for success, such as a list of supplies to keep on hand during events, recommended reading, and professional organizations that help artists expand their career development research.

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