My #artist friends meet my questions about selling their art via #cafes, #bars and public spaces such as #libraries or hospitals with condescending eye rolling. Their verbal responses run from disinterest to mock indignation to huffs of righteous contempt to the suggestion.
Some of it, in my opinion, is simply unspoken anxiety about asking.
Others are trapped in the comfort zone of low expectations: they cannot see past their own experiences. In other words, they cannot imagine the possibilities.
Of course there is the snobbery too. “Cafes?! Pshaw!” they exclaim. “I’ll only hang my art in a cafe for free if the restaurants hosts a dinner party for my friends for free!”
Occasionally, I’ll hear variations on, “I’m a professional artist and that is only for college students and hobbyists.”
A noble, but self-defeating, attitude. They have no faith in the opportunity, so are blind to the possibilities.
And there are great possibilities.
For example, I have a friend that hung a mixture of ten paintings and prints in the Cafe Wren, an excellent coffee house in Luck, Wisconsin. The art ranged in price from $150 to $500. Her entire obligation was to drop the art off and pick it up thirty days later.
The cafe owner even hung the art.
The artist was skeptical. Considering the poverty in the region, like many artists, she has never had much success selling her art locally. This is one reason she travels to Texas, Colorado and along the Mississippi River Valley fifteen or more weekends per year doing juried art shows.
Her hesitancy was based on a number of factors: an artist’s wounded pride at being shown in only a “#coffee shop”, being judged by peers as showing in a less than a “gallery” and her lack of experience with this type of retail sales.
In truth, I had to twist her arm. I think she agreed more out of fidelity to my faith in the possibilities than in a desire to have art in a coffee shop. As I reminded her, the art wasn’t going to sell packed in the boxes and waiting for art show season to start again.
To her surprise she sold nearly $1,000 worth of art.
That’s right: in the winter! In a town of less than 1,100 people! In northwest Wisconsin! Almost two hours from Minneapolis!
What would have been possible if she were in five cafes? Can you imagine if she were in ten? Considering the debatable value of an art gallery’s high commission rate, or costs associated with traveling to art shows across the country, the 30% commission paid to the cafe was a great deal.
Of course, the type of cafe matters too. The Wren has a reputation for excellent food, fresh coffee, friendly service and interesting art. Plus the shop sits on a main state route attracting many tourists and passerbyers. The art is simply one more way the Wren promotes itself to visitors. In this respect the management of the Wren act on their imagination too. They act on what is possible. They have faith in the value of the opportunity.
Take some time read this article by Alex Markovich entitled, How can an artist/photographer become popular? Then make the time to think about what opportunities are passing your business and your life by out of emotional or intellectual reluctance to leave your comfort zone. How can innovative ideas and actions lead you to new opportunities for your life and your business?
Use your imagination and have faith in the possibilities.
Then, let me know. I’m always inspired by hearing of the possibilities.
Art Lectures. Lecture #1. “How can an artist/photographer become popular?” by Art lectures by Alex Markovich
Introduction. *** Lecture #1. “How can an artist/photographer become popular?” In order to make reading my sites more useful, as well as interesting, I decided to put one question and answer into a…