Artists Secret Weapon- an Art Designer.
As a national art designer, focusing on relevant art in different cities and states at the same time, I thought it would be a good idea to share what I feel is relatively important information for artists to know. For over 15 years, I have been a part in placing art in a variety of facilities from restaurants, hospitals, corporate offices, Fortune 100 company residences, and upscale boutique hotels. I am always looking for new art and artists with whom I can work since it is essential to my business. I need to be very conscious of my ability to present fresh, new work to established and new clients.
Unlike a gallery that generally represents a few artists, I, as an art designer, represent my corporate client and private collector. Consequently, like 90% of other art consultants (I am the first art designer), I do not have a brick-and-mortar store and do most of my business from my home office. This makes it a challenge to discover new or less publicized artists outside of the region from where I work. I would love it if more people would come to me, but the reality is, I'm hard to find, just like many of my competitors. And because I am often busy with the previous artists I've placed in my career, I find it extremely difficult to find the time to visit open studios and outdoor shows, as much as I'd love to do and see it all, especially considering artists are some of the most influential people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I do, however, make it a point to attend art expos every year, as many gallery openings as possible and I do peruse the premier trade magazines such as Art World News, American Art Review, Art News, ArtNet, and various other regional art magazines, such as Western Art and Architecture, Art of the West, Art Collector Magazine, and several others.
I do, however, highly rely on a less time consuming way to discover new art and new talent. In one word, or rather two words- the Internet. It has become an integral part of my business. The advent of this technology has made my job of locating images easier and it facilitates the compilation of a slide presentation that can be emailed to a client for the ongoing art selection process. The usual cumbersome procedure of scheduling face-to-face meetings to review and cull through hundreds of images with all members of a selection committee has been made easier with electronic presentations. Much of the initial groundwork to eliminate and select images can now be done at the convenience of the client on a computer. Once the client expresses an interest in something, I can then contact the artist.
At the point where I need to show the client actual artwork, it is preferred to have it unframed. I know, right? Unframed. Generally, when working with corporate clients, the whole process of looking for art includes selecting the proper framing. The corporate facilities design and planning department, along with the architect, have preconceived ideas about what they want the space to look like. This includes everything from architectural detailing down to the wall and floor treatments. Aside from that, when I'm putting together several hundred pieces of art together for a presentation, frames can make my job less focused, not to mention heavy. We don't want to distract from the art, and defuse the focus from it by something that is interchangeable. I will show art framed, but it is definitely preferred unframed. Hopefully this helps the artist, as it will save unnecessary energy and cost, and do me a huge favor in the process.
Currently I am working on a very nice project and we have already gone through several hundred images electronically. As we narrow it down, I will now begin contacting artists to arrange getting the actual pieces. I will continue to put together electronic presentations to further the selection process until we finalize the whole collection.
So, if you're an artist, and you have a website that is acting as your business card, it is hopefully working for you. If not, this is where an Art Designer like myself can be a game changer in your business and career, and you may not even know it. Having available electronic images of your work is helping streamline my business dramatically. I can store information without taking up valuable space in my office, and I can easily find and transmit this information at my client's convenience. Be sure all necessary information is conveniently available, such as Image, Title, Medium, Dimension, and Retail Price. If you are considering being 'found' or 'discovered,' use the traditional methods of getting your name and work out there by participating in as many open studios and art shows as possible! I would hope even after being noticed, you continue to be involved in the art scene to constantly evolve as an artist. And whenever is practical for you, advertise in one of the better trade magazines. And if you don't already have a presence on the Internet, do it now. Reach out to an art consultant, or me an art designer, who understands the business, and has worked in the art industry extensively. Similarly with my clients, I personally offer a free art consultation to my artists, and see if working with me is a good fit. Having most of these steps sorted out in advance will streamline the process, and get the work moving in the right direction... out the door, and into the clients business or residence.