SURTEX: Beyond the Art - Surtex

On the Surface

SURTEX: Beyond the Art

SURTEX: Beyond the Art
by Jeff Grinspan
Grinspan & Co

Hungry for advice and direction on building vibrant and profitable operations from licensing and sale of your art?

SURTEX helps hundreds of attendees jumpstart their art businesses with a wide range of educational opportunities, including three days of info-dense conference seminars that yield a slew of questions from dedicated, curious, and committed show goers.

This column is designed to help fill in any blanks regarding the who, what, where, when and how of monetizing art.

Q. What do you consider your best tool in getting the word out about your brand?

A. The first thing: do NOT spend too much time trying to present yourself as a ‘brand.’ Branding requires a long list of elements, not the least of which is maximizing your look… which takes time — usually a lot of time. Many artists get too bogged down attempting to define who they are and too often slow to a crawl doing the day-to-day work to get the word out. There is not one singular tool, there are many. Here are a few of the TOP tools:

  1. A vibrant and dynamic website. Make sure you include a blog that gets updated regularly to take advantage of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Defining and tagging your art by categories and subjects will help others searching for “rooster art” or “tropical patterns.”
  2. Develop a hit list of the key categories and companies you believe are right for your art. Initiate a regular and consistent method (personal emails, newsletter, snail mail) for putting new art constantly in front of the eyes of the correct art licensing decision-makers.
  3. Keep your presence on social media churning with an on-going infusion of your art and activities. Post often to your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social group sites with visuals, as well as the story behind development.

Q. What are the top three things a designer should NOT do when starting out?

A. Number 1: Don’t concentrate on the bad. Funnel all of your energy into the things you need to do right and do so with tenacity, persistence, and a “never say die” attitude.

Number 2: Don’t start out with a limited portfolio. Make sure you have way too much art. It will give you a head start on creating new for the future, as well as provide evidence you are a hard-working, “what do you need next?“ artist not willing to build a business on a few dozen images* (see below).

And Number 3: See the previous question! Do not spend time trying to be a “brand.” If you are going to be one, it will surface all by itself.

*How many images is a good start? You should have a minimum of 24-30 collections — groupings with several main images and coordinating borders in a variety of product contours.

Jeff Grinspan is an independent art licensing consultant who works with individual artists on their ‘art nutrition’, which in turn helps to achieve a vital and profitable art business. Questions from readers are welcome. Please email, subject line SURTEX: Beyond the ART.