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business & art & mentoring - plus ps screaming fish

updated wed 7 may 03


Janet Kaiser on tue 6 may 03

When you have been around a while longer, Stacey, you will see that many
here on Clayart direct sell, sell through galleries and shops, do fairs,
have their own outlets, sell via the Internet, etc. etc. The archives are
stuffed with experiences, thoughts and advice from the complete beginner
out of school or night classes to the long-toothed pro with X years
marketing experience under their belt.

I am a gallerist, not a maker. It is my job to promote and sell the work of
individuals on their behalf. Either they come to me or I approach them. I
only have to judge whether the work submitted is good enough to take up
valuable exhibition space and has some sort of selling potential. In my
experience, many makers/artists are very suspicious and cautious if we
approach them out of the blue, so on the whole it works better if they
decide to come to us because they have heard about the gallery from other
makers/artists, customers or by other means.

However, please dissuade yourself and others from the pipe dream that some
fairy godmother is going to come along knocking on your door, offering to
do all the selling and promotion whilst you do the creating and making. It
just ain't going to happen! The world does not work that way not matter
what "business" you are in.

It is why advertising is such big business, why exposure locally,
regionally and nationally in all media -- including gossiping at the well
or the modern-day equivalent known as networking -- is so vitally

Does not matter if you are producing world famous products which are
household names and brands, or are a newly established maker... Everyone
has to promote themselves and their goods. No one is going to do it for you
and will certainly not take all that work off your hands out of the
goodness of their hearts. Indeed... It would be treated with upmost caution
if someone did rush in and say they would like all you can produce! That is
how some makers/artists have been ripped off in the past. Beware of
gushing, enthusiastic "promoters" and self-styled "philanthropists"!

Most successful artists/makers spend up to 50% of their time on promotion
of themselves and their work! The monetary cost often equals that of the
materials and equipment for the work they produce! You do not believe that?
Well, start keeping account and a count of the hours spent on everything
from designing posters to answering the phone. Include the time spent by
others on your behalf... Family usually being the first on the list here.

As with everything else in this life, there is simply no quick fix.
Promotion involves a lot of hard work which will take a long time coming to
fruition. The investment of time and money has to be factored into
everything that you do and undertake as a maker/artist. Whether the
maker/artist is "suited" to this work or not, it will ultimately decide
whether one succeeds or not.


Janet Kaiser - The screaming fish referred to an incident in NY City where
a living fish... probably carp? was taken out of a tank for a customer
wanting to cook gefilltefisch, as it is known in Yiddish. It apparently
screamed all sorts of prophetic warnings in Hebrew at the poor man handling
it and caused a rumpus in the shop. The guy involved (not Jewish - did not
understand a word) the shop owner and the customers in the shop all
gathered around in shocked amazement, but the fish was quickly gutted and
filleted without further to do and sold. The shop owner tried to hush the
story up by denying the whole incident, but word got out so that even I
heard about it here in my little corner without newspapers, TV or any other
window on the world except radio and Clayart... Which just goes to show the
power of gossip!

*** From: stacey ballard

>snip< There are so many
>artists out there, waiting for someone to knock at their door and say "you
>know I been looking for you...and the artwork that you do...let me pay you
>top dollar for what you have and support your living while you create
>more" Well, I have never seen it happen (I would love to, though).

*** THE MAIL FROM stacey ballard ENDS HERE ***
TRUTH is too precious to tell every fool who asks for it...
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