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July 2009

Always include the CITY & STATE in an invitation to an event.

Recently, I've noticed a chronic problem as people market their work on the Internet. They seem to forget that the Internet is a worldwide audience.  Here is one issue that is almost too obvious.

Invitations to an event should always include the CITY and STATE!

You would not believe how many email invitations never mention a city.  I am sure this must be happening everywhere. If your announcement is an invitation to an event, be sure to include this strategic information. 

Recently, I was corresponding with a museum in Delaware County.  I had visions of the Chesapeake Bay and a short drive for people from Baltimore or Philadelphia.  Eventually, I realized that they were in Indiana!  Mental reset!

In all Internet announcements for exhibitions, shows, lectures and more, don't forget to show the city, state or province, where the event is located.  

Depending on how wide your email list extends, you might even ADD THE COUNTRY (e.g. Paris FRANCE versus Paris, Texas).  

Marketing on the Internet connects you to a global audience.  Be sure to provide all the relevant information to communicate with this audience effectively.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Gallery Series: Finding Galleries, Submitting Images, Working Relationships

At the beginning of this year, Don Friedlich, Andy Cooperman and I wrote a series of articles originally published on Etsy that I think all artists and makers will find useful. These articles cover some of the most common questions asked by emerging artists.  It is rewarding to know that these articles are now available as a resource to anyone who wants to read this information.

You can find the entire series HERE on my web site. These articles are also on the Professional Development Seminar page on the SNAG web site.

The four articles are:

Galleries: Are They Right for You?
by Don Friedlich

Introducing Your Work to a Gallery
by Harriete Estel Berman

The Nuts & Bolts of the Gallery/Artist Relationship
by Andy Cooperman

Galleries: Issues to Consider After Your Work Has Been Accepted
by Andy Cooperman

If you want to find out more about any of the authors of these articles click on their names to go to their web site.

I hope that you find this information helpful.  If you have any further questions just ASK Harriete at: bermaid@harriete-estel-berman.info. It would be helpful to every one to hear your questions.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 


Always use BCC to send group emails

Using the Internet and email may require a whole new "etiquette book" to be written for good manners.  One the of worst offenses is an innocent, but much too frequent, mistake:

  Using "CC" to send email to a large group.

The CC address list reveals every email address to everyone else in the group.

Many people are (or should be) concerned that their email address may be picked up and spammed with emails they don't want.  Don't be the one who helps spread bad email practices.   

["CC" stands for Carbon Copy, an old typewriter method that used carbon paper to make copies while typing.  In email, this is used to add a list of addresses to receive "copies" of the original email.]

Do NOT use the CC option when sending email to a large group.  Unfortunately, spammers and viruses have designed programs to secretly copy every visible email address and then propagate their undesirable junk.  If even one recipient has a virus, then everyone on your CC list will suffer.  Anything that makes it easier for viruses or spammers definitely falls into the category of bad email manners.

Another problem using the CC option is that some people use the REPLY ALL option, not realizing they are repeating the circulation of their email to the whole group again!

Good email manners!
Instead, address the email to yourself in the TO: box, then use the BCC: box to address all the emails.  With this method every email address is concealed from the recipient except yours.  An added benefit is that it makes the email look a lot more personal. No one can tell whether you sent out the same email to 2 people or 200 people.

["BCC" stands for Blind Carbon Copy referring to the fact that the addresses of all other recipients are not revealed.] 

It is also wise to send a test email to yourself before sending it to 20, 40, 60 people with spelling errors and formatting problems.  Your 2nd test could be to a small group of people such as your Critique Group or sister or brother for a review.  Make sure that the formatting is consistent in all popular email programs and servers.  After you have a report on the appearance from a number of different individuals with different computers, then go the full step with a mass email using the BCC option.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info  
 

Speaking about the Professional Guidelines

HEB1.72
Harriete Estel Berman Name Tag
Recycled tin cans, brass rivets.

Did you ever want to learn more about the Professional Guidelines in person?

I will be speaking at the Enameling Conference titled, SURFACING, on August 9 from 11:10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 



The Enamelist Society Conference, Oakland, CA   
August 7 - 9, 2009
 
The topic is a brief and entertaining review of the Professional Guidelines including multiple tips on how and when to use this valuable information. Meet me there!

Discussion (after lunch) answering professional questions starts at 1:30 p.m.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


How can I find a gallery to show my work?

In the previous post, John Jensen wanted to find a gallery that would show his knives.  My first response is to work toward developing your target audience directly.  In his case, it is with the knife collector audience. For each reader, it will be some other select group.  However, if you really want to be on a gallery's radar, then there are several steps you can take.

Option 1. Participate in group shows hosted at a gallery or non-profit exhibition space.
Option 2. Do your research to find galleries that show work within your price range, media and style, then send them a "package" about your work.

To pursue Option 1, assuming you really want to have your work included in a gallery show, look for group shows that are occasionally sponsored by galleries or non-profit exhibition spaces nearby. These are usually based on a theme, specific media, or an exhibition of the local arts guild, etc.

You should join as many guilds and art organizations as you can find, both at a local and national level.  Join organizations both within and outside of your specific network such as local Arts Guild, SNAG, and ACC (American Craft Council).  Look in their newsletters and publications for possible exhibition opportunities and make work to fit these shows. 

Adapt to a theme.  If the theme of a show is "purple with red spots" then you need to make a knife that is "purple with red spots."  If the theme of the show is political, then make a political knife. If the theme of the show is boxes, then make a box for your knife.

Jensen_dagger_cover
Dagger of the cover of 500 Knives
John Jensen

There can be no holding back with the definition of whether your knife fits a show. Look at the exhibition themes as broadly as possible and think about how your work can fit.

Here is an example: A few years back there was a publication of Exhibition in Print sponsored by SNAG about the senses. Your knife might have fit right in if your photo included touch (in other words,  sharpness of your knives) as an example of the senses.  (I am not recommending cutting yourself with knives here. I am simply suggesting that a knife with a sharp edge could be about the senses especially if your photo and Artist Statement spoke to the theme.)

As I mentioned in the previous post, marketing art and craft work is not just taking a photograph and PhotoShop-ing the image.  You need to think about how you can find opportunities in unexpected places and develop a following for your work.

Galleries won't do this for you, they will only follow your lead if you have proven that you have an audience that wants to see your knives.

Wishing for new opportunities outside the knife world will not cut it. (pun intended). YOU need to find these opportunities in every way you can. By the way, you should definitely get your own Facebook name if you can and name your image files when you send them out following to previous blog recommendations.

Look at the recent Profesional Guidelines document Working with Digital Images Effectively so that you know how to title your image files properly.

While we are talking about images, I have also noticed that knife makers seem to Photo Shop their images into multiple views combined in one image (sometimes with vibrantly colored backgrounds) such as the images of John Jensen's knives in the previous post. My impression is that this style of image is not appropriate to the gallery context. I would keep your photos for galleries to backgrounds that are white (or graduated white to dark) with one view of your knife per image. Use the Professional Guidelines document Guide to Quality Photographic Images to help evaluate your images for the galleries.

Hope this information helps.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


How can I market my work when galleries resist?

Krystallos
Krystallos
John Jensen

Dear ASK Harriete,

I was wondering if you had any guidelines on how to find and approach galleries. I have a hard enough time with people being freaked out by my work (knives) that I want to make sure I'm doing everything else right to help offset the "Knives are not art", or "Knives are weapons" B.S. that I often encounter...

Any tips and techniques on getting galleries to say "Yes"?

Thanks,

John Jensen

Dear John,

You do have the ultimate difficult object to show in galleries . . . and frankly, I am wondering why you want to be in galleries at all.  Knives do have a market but it is usually not in a gallery setting.

Galleries are in the business to show work that they think their customers will buy, otherwise they will go out of business.  They base their decisions on their business experience, as well as their own interests and personal tastes.  If their business grows, they develop a following of like-minded clients that reinforces their earlier decisions on which artists to represent.

Syndrome
Syndrome
John Jensen

If galleries lack interest in showing knives, it is most likely because they think that your work will not appeal to their client base.  This is a business decision and is not a reflection on whether knives are art or craft, etc.

In my next post, I will suggest ways to become more involved in the gallery scene, how to find a gallery, and how to improve your chances that a gallery will choose to show your work. However, I think you have much more potential finding buyers and collectors by using the Internet, in addition to connecting with books and magazines about knives.

Make it easy for knife enthusiasts to find you.  The Internet is fantastic for connecting both makers and buyers of unusual or less common objects.  Since your work is in a distinct niche market, the Internet could serve you well.   Join and use as many online groups as you can find that will show images of your work. This includes Facebook, Flickr, and Crafthaus as examples.  These sites offer a number of specialized groups, especially Flickr. They also list online exhibitions and real world exhibition opportunities as a service to their members . . . or you could sponsor an exhibition yourself.

Look online for knife organizations, knife conferences, knife craft shows, even events that attract knife enthusiasts. I am not familiar with the knife world, but the Internet definitely makes research much easier for anyone interested in niche markets. The point is that you want to be found by people who are more likely to appreciate and buy your knives.  If your potential clients are not the typical gallery clientele, then you need to "show" your work where your audience will find you.   

Jensen_dagger_cover
Nuibiru, 2008,
Cover photo for 500 Knives

John Jensen

Keep going...look online for blogs about knives. If you can't find one, start your own.   With a little bit of effort toward building your online visibility, your audience with grow dramatically. 

I'd also like to bust the myth that a gallery will do all the work of marketing for you.  They will do some, but you can't be a market success unless YOU take charge of marketing your work. 

I noticed that you will have a knife on the cover of 500 Knives.  Great news! Your next step is to look up every one of the knife makers in the book. Look at their websites or find them online. Look where they show their work. Email them, network with them online. Ask them, "Where do you show your work?" Look for shops or stores that sell knives as well. This might be a much better direction than galleries since stores are accustomed to buying merchandise outright, rather than showing work on consignment.

Stay tuned for the next post about connecting with the gallery marketplace.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Get your own name on Facebook now!

Did you know that you can get your own name on Facebook?  Do it now! This is a fast and easy step for creating an identity and visibility for your artwork and your name.

For my original Facebook account, I was assigned some random number as my identity.  Now, my Facebook address is   http://www.facebook.com/harriete.estel.berman/   No longer am I an anonymous number.  Facebook is the LARGEST photo sharing site on the Internet. And it is free. It is also easy to keep your Facebook page completely professional. There are many choices regarding how you share you personal or professional information.  This is a very convenient way to introduce your art or craft to a wide audience.

Choose your "NAME" carefully. Once it is done, there is no changing it.  If you have a common first or last name, use your middle initial or your middle name (like I did).  A second option would be to add a number, but I recommend that you try to make your name more unique with a middle name or middle family name rather than a number.  It just doesn't seem all that unique or memorable to be Adam.Evan523.

To find out how to get your own name on Facebook CLICK here. 

You never know who might be looking for you online; a customer, a curator, or an author doing research for an article.  Get online and increase the visibility for your art in every way you can.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Uploading Images to Social Networking Sites: What size is recommended?

ConIDchair_full1000
Consuming Identity Chair
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

When it comes to uploading images to Social Networking sites for online viewing, you want to keep a couple of important factors in mind.

  • Image size for optimal online viewing is usually about 1Mb.
  • Some sites impose a size limit.  
  • Check to make sure your  digital images show up properly.
  • Take full advantage of tags and descriptions for each image.

I've found that a file size in the range of one megabyte (1Mb) or less is a practical size for nearly all social networking sites. When you upload an image,  most online 2.0 sites will automatically downsize the  digital image file to fit their template for thumbnail images.  These sites typically retain the larger file so that if anyone clicks on the thumbnail, a larger pop up image will open.   Use these built-in features of 2.0 sites to your advantage.

Not too small!  Small images (for example 100 x 150 pixels) may look fine for quick review as a "thumbnail" for your website, or as the thumbnail on a social networking "page" or "portfolio."  But if a potential buyer clicks on the image for a larger, closer inspection, and the image does not increase in size, it is very disappointing.  Click on the image above to see the difference.

I've also heard of people intentionally uploading small images out of fear that their work may be copied.  Frankly my advice is to "get over it."  Move on.  Keep developing your portfolio with skill and artistic vision amplified by hard work.  A copycat, if one ever occurs, will be found out soon enough.  The recurring benefits of larger, high resolution images far outweigh the small chance of abuse.   

Not too big!  Don't upload an image file that is too large either.  Many people have high speed connections, but very large image files (e.g. 3MB and larger) may take such a long time to render on the viewer's monitor that they stop and go elsewhere. 

Always try a test viewing of your online images as if you were a potential curator or buyer visiting the site.  If it doesn't show up the way you expected, find out why, delete it and re-upload a corrected image file.    

Check here soon for upcoming blogs on tags and descriptions to get the most out of uploaded images. Read the previous blog about image labels.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Image labels generate Internet visibility.

Stimulus Plan4.72
Stimulus Plan Pins
Recycled tin cans, ss rivets
Available at Sienna Gallery

Your photographic images can be working for you across the Internet at the speed of light, 24 hours a day.  So as you "sign up" and upload your images with various social networking and portfolio sites, take the time to label your images for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to maximize potential traffic.  Proper titles, labels and descriptions help search engines find your work. 

BASIC INFORMATION:  Every image that you post on the Internet, whether on Facebook, Crafthaus, Flickr, or other social networking/portfolio sites, needs to be labeled with the following information:

  • Artist's name
  • Title of the work
  • Copyright symbol
  • Date of work
  • Media or materials
  • Dimensions (height, width, depth)
  • Helpful other tags (if possible)

Some sites make it easier than others to incorporate this information.  Each site might need to be labeled in a slightly different way, but a little effort can attract a lot more traffic.

WarmSunshine72
Sunshine Pin
Recycled tin cans, ss rivets
Available through Sienna Gallery

Help people find your work.  Although most people are familiar with searching, there may be enormous variations in how they initiate a search; whether by artist name, the title, a rough description, the materials, date, etc.  Let this influence your approach to labeling when uploading images. 

Create a variety of ways for search engines to "hit" your work.   For example, in the "Title" box for labeling photos, I first type in the title of the work, and then add my name and date of work within the "title" box.  That way if people are searching the "titles" category for my name, they will find my work.

Same goes for the "Description" box.  Type in all the relevant information about your work in the "description" including your name (again) and other relevant search terms for your work.   

One more suggestion is to spell your name in the tags in a variety of ways if your name is often misspelled.  For example, my first name is "Harriete."  There are several common variations such as "Harriet" (no E at the end) and "Harriette" (with 2 t's.)  My middle name is "Estel," but it is often written as "Estelle."  Don't think I'm crazy. Even if someone misspells my name, I want them to find my work.  Isn't that your goal?  Think about how people regularly misspell your name and use it in your tags.

Time for visibility.  I know that labeling is a bit tedious, especially if you are uploading multiple images.  One time-saver is to compose much of the information in a Word document and then "copy" and "paste" to alleviate some repetition. I use my image descriptions document for just this purpose and a special Word document of "tags" to speed up the process.

Keep in mind that search engines can't "see" an image and can only search on the words that you type in to these tags and boxes.  The payoff, thereafter, is that the labels will be working for you tirelessly across the Internet for a very long time.     

Harriete Estel Berman
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 
P.S.   All of these recommendations depend on having great photographic images and understanding digital images. The Professional Guidelines has a new document titled Working with Digital Images Effectively. Use this document as a checklist or guide. If you don't know how to work with digital images, take a class at your local high school or college offering adult education classes. Also Lynda.com  offers a really amazing web site with tutorials as either a yearly subscription or purchasing a CD. Knowing how to work with digital images effectively is a skill that every artist and crafts person needs to learn and master. It is as important a tool as your paint brush, potter's wheel, glaze or drill press.


Use social networking sites for visibiliy

I enjoy surfing around the Internet looking at work by other artists and craftspeople.  However, sometimes when I discover an attractive image or piece of work, if there is no supporting information, I am left disappointed.  It is like the artist didn't care to put any effort in explaining the work.  Lacking some kind of description, or at least a list of materials, forces me to guess or speculate or make up my own assumptions.

Online viewing is different than viewing work in a museum, gallery or craft show. When online, I do not have the option of looking at the real work, walking all the way around, standing far away and then looking close.  An online image is limited by the size and quality of my computer monitor (the 72 dpi of all Internet images) and by the quality of the photographic image posted by the individual artist.  People may even be looking at your work on their mobile phones or PDA's (Personal Digital Assistant). A description included with the work will help them decipher this postage stamp size image. 

MeasuringCompliance_600
Measuring Compliance
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Detailed information will help the viewer to interpret your images. The title, media, and materials give the viewer a better insight about the work. The dimensions give the viewer a clear idea about the size of the work. Some work looks smaller or larger, than in reality. For example, in this sculpture titled Measuring Compliance (left) people often assume it is a "miniature."  In fact it is a life size 3rd grade desk and 3rd grade chair. Without the dimensions, would you assume it's height is 7 inches - or 7 feet?.   Big difference!

It is also a good idea to group your work on these sites by categories that are appropriate to your work. Most sites offer some method to organize your photos. Take time to make these categories interesting.  This way if a person is looking at your albums or sets, you are offering a rich resource of information.

The Internet is your marketing and sales department.  What do people see in your work?  What do you want people to know about your work?  The Internet will speak for you if you simply provide the information along with your images.  Compose at least a brief description and statement.  You can always edit it later.     

Harriete Estel Berman
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 

P.S.  In an earlier post, the following was itemized for your artwork descriptions:

Basic Label Information

  • Artist's name
  • Title of the work
  • Copyright symbol
  • Date of work
  • Media or materials
  • Dimensions (height, width, depth)
  • Helpful other tags (if possible)

Stay tuned for information about using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for maximum visibility.