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Commissioned paintings are both a blessing and frankly, a bit of a pain. On the plus side, you’re probably getting paid more for a work you create in the studio. That’s good. On the other hand, you are put in the sometimes difficult situation of taking a concept to the visual stage.
When I start a commission, I ask clients for pictures, elements that they want included in their painting. I’ll also encourage them to talk about why this work is important. Oftentimes, these conversations yield valuable clues to their vision. The vision, after all, is what I’m trying to re-create. There’s another tool you can use in your planning stages with your clients–the mood board
Used widely in the design world, a mood board is like a design board. It’s a place where you display elements of style, color palettes, and images. It’s a way for you to capture the feeling of the concept. For the artist, it’s a helpful way to capture ideas and concepts in a way that makes the actual creation of the work easier and more focused.
You know how it is: a client comes to you with an idea, one of those I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it kind of ideas. As artists, we understand this. We know how it is when the idea is bouncing around in our heads, waiting to be freed. We know how to rein in it in. The trick though, for a commissioned painting, is bringing the client’s vision to life.
Discussing the concept works. Adding some visual elements to a client’s mindset can help bring you closer to your goal–a satisfied client.
Today’s Monday Marketing Meeting focuses on you and the one advantage you have over every other artist out there–your own niche and style. What you bring to each work of art is you. That cannot be bought or sold anywhere else.
It’s common practice for an artist, especially a beginning artist, to try and emulate the style of a fellow artist. It’s natural. It’s also a good way to learn technique and perhaps most importantly, an eye for detail. In this process of learning, you are studying art closely. Your power of observation becomes keener. Once mastered, that is a good jumping off point to developing your own style.
Art, like just about everything else, has its own trends and fashions. What is popular today may be criticized tomorrow. To safeguard your market, your aim should be consistency. Consistency in style helps create loyalty in your customers. They look forward to your next creation. Now, I’m not saying not to experiment, but your art is your brand. This is what you want to market. The best way then for you to market it is to know just what your brand or niche is.
Focusing on niche marketing opens up new possibilities for you. Your work becomes your image. Your image, visible in different venues, creates your brand. With your brand defined, you can better market your work.
Consider your brand and using advertising such as Google’s Adwords. With a consistent message, you can take advantage of a more well-defined audience. Rather than trying to buy advertising for “painting,” you can seek top ad placement positions for more revelant searches such as “floral paintings of the Midwest.” Less competition for ad space helps you be found quicker. You also take a step forward in your ranking as an authority in the subject matter.
As I’ve often written, the art world is highly competitive, filled with individuals driven by their passion to create. As such, the self-representing artist should grab any advantage they can in this field. Focusing on your unique niche will enchance your marketing efforts.