Recent Interview – Beth Nicholas

Here’s part of a recent Artist Interview with Beth Nicholas, you can find more here http://stevegray.com.au/blog/

beth

Beth Nicholas is working in an Artist In Residents position in England and is allowing us to get an inside view of the role, and her part in it. I thinks it’s a great chance for us to all learn more about ways artists can interact with various communities and in this case a secondary school environment. lets look into whats, taking place.

www.beth-nicholas.blogspot.com

www.beth-nicholas.com

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Beth, where is the residency based?
Wycombe Abbey School - High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire is a private all girls boarding school is considered to be one of the best schools in England.

Read more of the interview here….

Getting a gallery.

The Frustrating Experience Of Getting A Gallery
The Truth About How To Land A Gallery
By Art Publisher B. Eric Rhoads

The first gallery that invited me in as a painter was on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, the big gallery row there. Because it was my first, I wanted to be there to deliver the paintings in person, and I can remember feeling really insecure. I told the gallery owner, “This is so unusual. I’m confident in everything I do. I’ve met CEOs of big companies, celebrities, and world leaders, and I wasn’t nervous then. But today I feel totally exposed and insecure.” Frankly, it was very unlike me, which made me even more uncomfortable.

My mind was playing tricks on me:

Why would they want my work?

Maybe they don’t know what they’re doing by putting me in their lineup?

Maybe they’re just sucking up because I own an art magazine?

Maybe they’re taking pity on me and will hang my stuff, knowing it won’t sell?

“Hello, Um, That’s Me. I’m The Artist!”

The gallery put my work up right away, and I decided to hang around for a while. Moments later, a couple came in, walked around the gallery, and landed on a waterfall painting I had done. They lingered, talking about how much they loved it and what it reminded them of. Though I was tempted to wave my hands and jump up and down and say, “I did it! Me, yeah, me, I’m the artist, wanna own it?” I stayed quietly out of the way until the gallery owner engaged the couple about the painting, then said, “The artist just happens to be here today.”

I got my strokes, the couple left saying they wanted to buy it but were not sure if they wanted to spend that much money on it, and said they would probably return, but they never did.

I wasn’t devastated that they didn’t buy. I had passed the test. Someone walked in and liked my painting. That was all I needed to increase my confidence. I felt like Sally Field when she received her Oscar: “They like me. They really, really like me.”

Sage Advice From An Artist

Since then I’ve sold many paintings, and the insecurity has pretty much disappeared, thanks in part to artist Michael Ringer. Michael visited our lake place in the Adirondacks one summer, and after I showed him my work, he said, “Eric, as a friend, let me tell you that you are your own worst enemy. All you did the whole time I looked at your paintings was apologize for them. You need to understand that they are good, but more importantly, you need to know that your attitude is impacting your performance. Stop apologizing. Every one of us went through the stages you’re going through. It’s part of developing as a painter. Quit apologizing and start believing in yourself.”

I took his advice.

The Reality You Don’t Want To Hear

If you’re not in a gallery, I know the dream you live, and I know how frustrating it is to be rejected. At the Oil Painters of America conference last weekend, a panel of three very well meaning gallery owners told the crowd respectfully that the odds of getting in their galleries was slim. One owner said he receives 250 submissions every single month. After the session, one of the artists in the room approached me and said, “What a downer. I guess I won’t be getting into a gallery anytime soon.”

Studying The Gallery Acquisition Process

For two years I’ve been studying the process of how to get into a gallery. It started because every artist I talked to was asking me if I could help them get into galleries, and because gallery owners were complaining about all the submissions they were getting that they ended up discarding because they didn’t have time to look at them.

Though you’d think galleries would want to see what is out there — and they do want to — the task is simply overwhelming. They have to be prudent, or all their time would be spent looking at artists instead of chasing down buyers.

The Danger Of Being Too Aggressive

Ever hear the expression “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”?  It’s true, but you not only have to be squeaky, you have to do it without being annoying, and without damaging your reputation by being overly aggressive.

The principles I laid out in a recent marketing letter about the importance of continual visibility also apply to gallery owners. If they keep seeing your work, keep hearing your name, and see buzz about you, it could elevate their interest in your artwork. But sending them multiple e-mails, making multiple calls, and sending multiple portfolios is annoying and could get you blacklisted in their minds. The trick is achieving visibility without being targeting galleries individually.

“It Sounds Impossible, Eric!”

So if this is the case, what can you do as an artist to build your brand in the eyes of art dealers? There is no easy answer, honestly, because there are many levels of dealers, many different kinds of art represented, seasonal businesses, and different times when different galleries may be looking for artists. Even if your strategy was to barrage every gallery in America with your portfolio, one time or multiple times, it would be cost-prohibitive, and in most cases your portfolio probably wouldn’t be opened or kept.

Therefore the solution is a strategy of continual visibility. Keep your name in front of art dealers by advertising in the places they’re advertising (though you could be perceived as a competitor), keep your name in the press constantly by winning competitions, and find ways to brand yourself continuously.

What If The Odds Are Against You?

Yes, you might get lucky and get discovered. But getting into a gallery is somewhat like landing a part in a major motion picture. There are a few thousand galleries (and fewer in your style, your quality, your subject matter) and tens of thousands of artists. (There are over 40,000 reading this e-mail as we speak.) The odds are against you.

The only way to beat the odds is to get lucky, be introduced by a friend, or stay visible continuously so when a dealer is in the market for someone new, they don’t say, “Who was that artist I saw?” but, “Let’s call YOUR NAME.” You need to brand yourself just like a product is branded, with continual repetition. And the benefit is not only gallery visibility, but visibility with collectors, which will increase demand.

Achieving The Impossible

When someone tells me something cannot be done, I’ll work hard to prove them wrong. I love a challenge. Though the challenge of landing a gallery is daunting, you can do it if you stay visible constantly. Make it your mantra. Frequent exposure sells products, and it can do the same for you.

Winston Churchill said it best:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Respectfully,

Eric Rhoads
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Grow Your Art Career

Who Needs Food Anyway?
The Basic Needs To Grow Your Art Career, And The Power Of Visibility
A message from art publisher B. Eric Rhoads

One of my friends is the well known CEO of a giant multinational corporation. I read recently that he has a net worth of over $400 million. We’ve known one another since we were both teenagers and he wasn’t yet famous. You would know his name, but he wouldn’t want me putting this story out for the press to pick up, so I can’t share it. Let’s call him Fred.

Very early in Fred’s career, he said this to me: “Eric, for most people the basic needs are food, water, and paying the rent. For me, if I want my career to soar, the basic need is advertising and public relations. I pay for it before I pay my rent because I know it will result in the best jobs and best opportunities.”

It worked. Fred is famous. He’s one of the super-rich, he has his own helicopter and his own jet. He has a giant apartment in New York, another in the country outside New York City and another in a billionaires’ ski resort town, and probably others he hasn’t told me about.

A Lifetime Commitment
Fred is one of the smartest men I know, and as I watched his career, he always made sure that his most basic need, advertising and PR, was his highest priority. In fact, at an early age he met a young PR person and cut a “lifetime deal” with her. When he couldn’t afford her services, he said, “If you help me now, when I get rich I’ll stick with you and be able to pay you lots of money.” He stuck to his promise, and they have been side-by-side business associates for decades.

He gets it. What about you?

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Most of the people who are rich and famous understand that the most important thing in boosting their career and staying on top is PR and advertising. Hollywood celebrities thrive on tabloid rumors because they know that if people are talking about them (good or bad), it’s good for their careers. In Hollywood, the kiss of death is no press.

How visible are you?

No one ever gave me this advice, and I wish they had drummed it into my head at a young age. It took me decades to really understand it. The law of visibility is a reality for anyone who wants to be considered a celebrity in their area of expertise. Stay visible frequently.

How Crass, Eric
In your world as an artist, you may be saying, “I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want to be a celebrity.” That’s fine, but you and your art are a product. And products that succeed follow that mantra: “Stay visible frequently.” (Please, no e-mails about my crass reference to art as a product. Like it or not, if you’re selling something, it’s a product. You are a product. You are a brand.)

12 Steps To ‘Stay Visible Frequently’

1. Make it your mantra.
Everything you do should relate to staying as visible as possible. Make it your goal to make a giant PR effort at least weekly.

2. Don’t be timid.
Chances are you can’t be exposed enough to be overexposed. Look for an excuse every day, every week, to get your name in front of potential customers.

3. Concentrate your efforts.
Ten impressions to 10 different audiences are not 10 impressions. That’s one impression to each of 10 audiences. Wherever you’re focusing your attention, dominate that medium with continual visibility. Most people can’t afford to dominate more than one or two things. It’s incorrect to think you will achieve better response if you buy five ads one time in five different magazines. NONE of them will work for you effectively. Yet the same money spent on five ads in five issues in a row of one magazine will bring you tremendous results. If you have a limited budget, dominate something with that budget.

4. Never ever stop.
This has to become your lifestyle. Like the film stars say, “If they’re not writing about me, I’m out of business.” If you want to be a giant success, you work your advertising/PR strategy every day and every week for the rest of your career. Out of sight, out of mind. Out of mind, out of business. Advertising and PR builds upon itself. Think of it as a house that is never finished. You start with the foundation, keep building until the house looks finished, and then you keep adding on.

5. Starting and stopping is like starting from scratch.
I know people who advertise for a couple of issues of one of my magazines. They will buy a couple of ads, lay low for a few months, then buy some more, then lay low. Each time you lay low, you lose share of mind because you’re not reinforcing your brand. Apple never stops. Ford and GM never stop. You can never stop if you want wild success.

6. Leverage your visibility strategy.
Seek ways to get others promoting you while you sleep. Get others acting on your behalf. The best tool ever invented for an artist is an art gallery. If you have five or six galleries in different regions of the country, you are being promoted every day to the customers in those galleries. They are professional sales agents. One — or six — more galleries showing your work can do more for you than you can do on your own.

7. Participate in co-advertising
The best deal going is when you can buy ads for your work at half the price. Many art galleries will run ads exclusively promoting your work if you’re willing to pay half the cost of the ad. It’s a great deal for both of you, drives customers to their gallery, and it builds your brand, which increases sales, buyer desire, and, ultimately, demand, resulting in higher prices.

8. Become a press release maven.
News outlets locally, local art pubs, even national art publications are always on the hunt for a story. If your release appears on their desk on the day they need to fill a page, you might get lucky. Frequency builds your brand with editors, so any chance you have to issue a press release (on something legitimate, like an award or a new painting), send a release to everyone who reaches the audiences you want to reach. Get to know the editors, ask about upcoming stories, and make suggestions as to how you might fit. If you ever wonder why some people seem to get all the press, that’s why. And if you can find someone to do press for you, especially a pro, they can pitch stories on your behalf.

9. Facebook and Twitter matter.
Brands are built by frequent posts with smart information, great photos, and interesting links. Build a giant friend list and post frequently, with relevant and interesting things (we don’t care about your cat’s hairball or your political opinions).

10. Bigger is better.
The psychology of advertising says that if you run bigger ads, or more ads in an issue, you are more important. That is how top blue chip art galleries built their reputations and how they keep them alive. You must be successful if you’re running that much advertising. Fake it till you make it. Run ads as big as possible and as frequently as possible.

But frequency is still more important than size. If you can afford only one full-page ad, I’d advise you that four quarter-page ads in four consecutive issues is better than one full-page ad in only one issue. Dominate with frequency, and then, as soon as you can, increase the ad size to grab more notice and stature in the eyes of buyers.

11. Advertising is perceived as editorial content.
Research indicates that consumers prefer newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV stations that have ads to those that do not. Ads tell about things people may want or need. In art magazines like Fine Art Connoisseur, which I own, our readers love paintings, and they look at the paintings in ads as much as the pictures in the stories. Readers love seeing those pictures, and may well not remember you as an advertiser, but as an artist they now know. One of my advertisers told me she became perceived as famous because she is in every issue of the magazine, without skipping, ever. Of course, it helps her business because she never stops and her image is always being reinforced.

12. Volume overcomes time.
A new art gallery once asked me if there was a way they could become as well known as a gallery that had been in business for a hundred years. Though time + consistent visibility is the strongest marketing tool, you can get very close to an equal position in the minds of audiences with a high volume of advertising, with a high volume of frequency, over a shorter period of time. I told this gallery owner that within three to five years, his gallery could be perceived as one of the biggest and most important galleries in America if he ran four to six pages in every issue for three years. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it realistic? Not for many. But this is one way to overcome the advantage of time.

But Eric, How Can I Afford It?
My friend Fred, whom I mentioned earlier, told me he invested in PR and advertising before he paid his rent. He knew that the investment would lead to success, and therefore he made huge sacrifices. He drove an old beat-up car, he lived in a crummy apartment and didn’t go out to dinner much. He put the good things in life on hold so he could buy the visibility that would eventually result in success. Did I mention that his net worth is over $400 million?

The Law Of Conflicting Values
One of the great laws of the universe is that two good things may be in conflict. Truth and justice are both good things, but one may have to be chosen over the other. In art, your conflicting values may be financial success versus the respect of other artists. For instance, we all know of a famous artist who is extremely wealthy but whom most artists do not respect. He chose wealth over the respect of other artists.

To accomplish frequent visibility, you may have to choose visibility over certain basic needs to roll the dice on building your career longer-term. Most successful people I know had to make those tough choices. You can always find a way if you’re passionate enough to make something happen.

The Agent In Me
Artists keep asking me to be their agent, but I simply don’t have the time or the desire. Yet I believe that anyone with some marketing skills like those I’ve acquired could make an unknown artist one of the most famous and financially successful in America within three years if they had enough financial resources and drive. I do this for businesses on a regular basis with my consulting practice in marketing, but those clients typically have the resources to pay my fees and spend the money on big campaigns for long periods of time.

For you, without a lot of resources, it will simply take more time. A steady drumbeat of visibility over time will eventually get you where you want to be.

Do Something Daily
I guarantee I will get 50 e-mails about how “my circumstances are different” and how someone doesn’t  have the money to advertise. I don’t doubt that. Yet you can still carve out one hour daily to create visibility without spending a dime. Some who see a clear vision will find the money from friends, family, and personal sacrifices. You just have to want success badly enough. Following this program is not for wimps. It’s for people committed to becoming a major household name among collectors.

Nothing good is ever accomplished without risk. Your success is 100 percent determination to succeed at chasing your dreams.

Go knock ‘em dead. You can make great things happen.

Eric Rhoads
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