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Marketing 101 - A Starving Artists Tale

Recently, I met a very talented artist participating in a New Orleans weekend sidewalk exhibition.  The event was juried, and the quality of work was generally very good. When I asked the artist if her art was a hobby or her profession, she confirmed it was the latter. Apparently it had been a disappointing three years.

During the time I was in her area of the exhibit, I observed her sell two pieces, each costing over a hundred and fifty dollars. I wasn’t surprised by the sales; her work had an interesting style and she presented herself quite well.

Why wasn’t she selling more work?

I went back to her booth about an hour later and asked for her card. She didn’t have one. Had she run out? No, she didn’t use them. Did she have a handout of any sort? No. Could I see more of her work on her website? Well, she had some work on a shared site but couldn’t remember the URL.

The lesson in this unfortunate tale is: As good as you are, if people don’t know you, don’t have a way of contacting you, don’t have a way to see your work online or refer you to others, you are almost guaranteed to be one of the “unnecessarily” starving artists. A business card and an Internet presence are two basic marketing essentials. It’s sad to say, but I encounter this scenario all too often.