Category Archives: marketing


I just completed the IGNITE class with C4 in Atlanta. This is a class designed to “ignite” your art career and move you forward.  In participating in this, I created a marketing plan, which I have included below.  This is my initial version.  In presenting to some very knowledgeable people, I realized I need to change the following to really be successful:

  • Personalize my vision statement
  • Focus – it was felt to focus on the coolage party, when that takes off, the rest will come.
  • Target women in the 25-40 range. They not only have children for birthday parties, but friends getting married and many are in the corporate or non-profit world to eventually incorporate team-building and performance art.
  • Don’t ignore the suburbs
  • Snag the domain name of CoolageParty immediately
  • Once it gets going, re-assess my costs, they are low

I realized alot about myself – it was very eye-opening. I want to be part of a bigger art community that is well-respected. I’m not that interested in personal fame.  This was a big first baby-step for me.


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I recently spent a weekend helping about 80 people make collages at the Atlanta Art Festival.  Also, I’m part of an online group led by the ArtBiz Coach called the Artist Conspiracy  designed to help artists take their art career to the next level.  Recently I signed up for another online class called Flying Lessons  taught by Kelly Rae Roberts.   I feel my participation in these two groups has put my mind into overdrive and I’m seeing possibilities in places I never noticed before.

I helped four college girls put together collages at the Atlanta Art Festival. As they were leaving they asked me if I ever hosted “collage parties”.   I’d never thought about it, but a seed was sown that might not have sprouted at another time in my life.  Later, several girls, ages 6-10, wanted to do a collage of a “fancy” dress.  I drew a template in the shape of the dress below and helped them pick out paper to make their personal “fancy” dress.

Needless to say, the girls were thrilled!

What else can I do? I also had several boys ask for help on a collage of a dinosaur or car.  The possibilities are endless.

Right now – ideas are coming – next step is to work out the logistics.  It is important to keep watering this seed while keeping the weeds of self doubt out!

Do you think this is a do-able idea?  Do you think it is worth pursuing?  Coolage Party is just a working title – any ideas?  



Helen De Ramus on Social Media

I was honored to have been asked to sit on a panel for the Women’s Caucus for Art of Georgia .   This was organized by Corlia Kock, and consisted of artists Marilynn Brandenburger, Anita Stewart and Helen De Ramus.  

Because of my background as a media buyer, I have been researching this for awhile, and I no longer consider social media a phenomen, but it is here to stay!  I decided to use this approach for my portion of the afternoon.  The following are some statistics I found after researching for a couple of weeks.  Because the research is varied and is changes from day to day, I would approach these numbers as estimates.  (To prove a point, when I began this, Coca-cola was the most popular brand on Facebook with 31 million fans, it is now over 49 million!)

FACEBOOK – this is the most visited website on the planet, it hit ONE TRILLION views on 6/30/2011.  More people are on Facebook than there are cars on the road.

  • The average posts has a lifeline of three hours
  • Most people spend 20 minutes or less at a time on Facebook
  • 50% check in daily
  • There are 2.7 billion “likes” each day (and I found some statistics that had this over 3 billion!)
  • 20 million apps are installed a day
  • 23% check in at least 5x a day
  • average user had 130 friends, and likes 80 pagesthere are 30 billion pieces of content shared every month


  • There are 190 Million tweets each day
  • 11 new accounts are created every second, over 1 million a day
  • 59% of users have been on less than a year
  • 76% of users post, in 2010 it was only 47%
  • Average user has 115 followers


Marilynn Brandenburger giving her presentation


I gave statistics about Pinterest and You Tube also.   But, some other statistics I found interesting were the fastest growing segment is 45-54 year old, and 33% of all Americans over the age of 55 are on social media.

Also, 57% of people that talk to people online would rather talk to them online than in person!

What does this mean to artists?  I believe it is something to learn and take seriously.  I believe the recent Olympics are a testament to this, as the word “Olympic” was tweeted 4 million times in the first week of the Olympics, and had 1.1 billion page visits the first 10 days!!!!

The internet is full of articles regarding the power of “like” (read one I wrote in 2011 here), the power of sharing – there is alot out there about this!

I will follow up this blog with another blog about the power of like, and the importance of your “about” page!



The Artist’s Resume – How Much to Edit

Remember when you were first beginning your art career and building your resume?   Most of us were excited to be displaying our work in public and jumped at almost any opportunity – right?

gunpowder series 5×7

Well,  I am redoing my website, (in fact, this is my first post on my new blog!) and I have looked at my resume very closely.    What should you leave on and what should you take off?   I have spent the last several nights googling this and reading many blogs that address what to include in your list of exhibitions – which is the first part of the resume usually – do you agree?

The following is what I found most artists feel should be included in the resume:

  • Contact information
  • Education – if it is art related.  Artist residencies.
  • Awards and Honors – and include any cash prizes awarded
  • Solo Exhibitions – but if you only have one, but it in the “select exhibitions” schedule
  • Juried shows – can be a separate category – Show, Title, Gallery, City and State, Exhibition date – and juror (which unfortunately I didn’t keep)
  • Group exhibitions – this is where the editing really comes – do you want to include every show you had in a coffee shop?   I think it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.   I have changed this category to invitational shows, and decided to leave everything else out.
  • Bibliography – which is pretty much anything written about you.  Blogs and online press can be included if you are lacking in there.
  • and you can then include things that apply to you, like Related Professional Experience.  You can list talks you have given, demonstrations given, things like that.

gunpowder series 5×7

In looking around on the internet, I found several postings by galleriests what they were looking for.  Many of them say more than 4-6 events a year will scream “over exposure”, unless you are showing in places that are held in high regard.

Also, many don’t recommend including auctions you have donated too – UNLESS it carries curatorial weight.  Remember the work is usually only displayed for a few hours.

Also, many galleriest recognize the names of the many “pay to play” galleries out there, or vanity galleries.   Don’t bother including these – unless it is all you have!  Savvy gallery owners see through this ploy to make your resume appear larger.

So, I struggled with my resume – I only included solo shows, curated shows and invitational shows.  I did not include group shows where everyone that submits get in.  It isn’t complete yet, I still have to include groups I am in, publications I have appeared in – so I welcome any critiques!

I know this is a very subjective subject, and I know it can change from submission to submission, depending on what you are trying to achieve.   I welcome comments and ideas, agreements or disagreements!   I would love to hear other artists opinons.






This Tuesday’s topic is consistency.   Consistency is defined by as “the steadfast adherence to the same principles”.  I know, I know – it could be confused as being boring, being stuck, not growing etc.  These two quotes illustrate this:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgobblin of small minds.” Emerson
“Consistency is the last refuge of the imagination.” Oscar Wilde

But, when it comes to your both making and marketing your artwork, you should be exercising consistency of some sort.

Let’s start with your art – – if you are at the point where you want to get your work out there, you have reached the point where you must have a consistent body of work, meaning the artwork will be recognized as being by the same hand.   Every gallery will tell you that.  Working in a series is very important, so important that artist Lisa Call has begun teaching a very successful on-line class called Working in a Series

Next up – your promotional pieces.   There should be consistency within all of your material.  You should use the same font on your cards, in your newsletter, etc.  The banner on your blog, your newsletter and your facebook page should be the same.  (OK – I’m in the midst of redesigning mine, and when completed within the week, all will have the same banner). 

And, last but not least, social media!   Strive to blog consistently.   That is why I began the Tuesdays Marketing Tips – to have a consistent schedule.  I am striving to be on a regular schedule of posting the same day of the weeks, two times a week, but I continue writing when the mood strikes me.  This is a work in progress.  Another thing about blogging, consistently leave comments on other blogs – that is like leaving a calling card around the internet! 

If you have a newsletter, send it out with consistency also.

Right now, I’m researching and trying to learn more about blogging and facebook fan pages.  I will share what I learn here. 



It has probably happened to you. You tell someone you are an artist, and inevitably you are asked, what do you do?  “I um paint, many ah um different things, whatever strikes my mood at the – ah – time”.  You have lost your opportunity for a 30-60 second commercial about your work.

What is an elevator speech?   It is when the opportunity is given to make a point in a timely manner in the time is takes for a normal elevator to ride from the top to the bottom floor.

It is important for all artists to develop an elevator speech so you are not  stumped the next time someone asks you about your art. It should be 30-60 seconds and it is your chance to tell who you are and describe your artwork SUCCINCTLY to the audience.

I must admit, I have gotten lazy about working on my “elevator speech”.   Thus,  I have missed a few opportunities to connect with someone that is interested in my art. 

It is your chance to tell someone how your art is different, tell them what you are trying to convey, or what your goals are.  

You can use this at gallery openings, networking events, or at the dog park when you casually mention you are an artist to someone. 

Here are some tips:
Write is down and keep it to a few sentences.   
Always identify yourself. 
Talk directly to the listener
Practice your story until it sounds unrehearsed while you sound confident.
Have different variations of the speech so you can adjust it for your audience.

 “Hi, my name is Vickie, I work with mixed media on canvas.  Using acrylic paint and also collage and household items, like coffee, tea, alcohol, I create texture and layers. Lately I have been experimenting with fire, using a blow torch and actually burning gunpowder to create more texture”.   I’m still working on it!

Don’t miss your chance for a :30 to :60 commercial about your artwork.

Do you have a killer elevator speech?  I’d like to see some good examples!


New Feature!

What I hear the most from struggling artists is they want to “create” (insert dramatic movement here, we tend to be dramatic after all) and not spend their time marketing.  I disagree – marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, from the way you define your art to the way your present yourself. As someone who has spent over 25 years in the world of advertising, I understand the value of advertising and public relations.  It has, after all, paid bills my entire adult life.  

What do I do in my day job? I place broadcast advertising (TV, cable, radio) for major clients (Home Depot, Kia, Hyundai, Trader Joe’s to name a few)  while digital advertising is butting it’s head against the door.  Advertising is a great indicator of the economy, so much so I could chart it based on layoffs and hirings.  Rule of thumb, when the economy is good, advertisers spend money. Savvy advertisers know to spend money in a down economy, but they are few and far between.

Because advertising is an industry for the young, to stay on top of my game I decided professionally to become an authority on social media – more on that at a later post.

With that said, I had an “aha” moment and decided it was time to share some of my insights with fellow artists.

First of all – what is marketing?  The American Marketing Association defined marketing in 2007 as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customs, clients, partners and society at large”.   Are you still not understanding the value of marketing?

First and foremost are the 4P’s of marketing:  PRODUCT (defining your product and your audience), PLACEMENT (where will your audience see it), PRICING (an on-going discussion for artists), and PRESENCE (the result of marketing, both advertising and public relations).

To make this artist friendly, I am going to write an on-going feature that will define many of these mysteries for you – and how it relates it back to your art-marketing.   Some of the topics include:

  1. Your elevator speech – how to respond to what you create in the time it takes to descent ten floors or so.
  1. The value of branding – creating a body of work
  1. Evaluating opportunities – making money vs. exposure
  1. Saying No, No, No – when to donate and why not to donate
  1. The importance of the artist statement – defining your relationship with your art
  1. Creating your reputation
  1. Juried Shows – when to submit and when not tor
  1. Growing a backbone – how to take rejection
  1. Why the way you present yourself always matters
  1. Social Media- every advertiser is there – why not you?

This is just the beginning – if you have more topics – I’d like to know.  Next up will be a blog about the elevator speech, which is so important there is a wikipedia page about it (and I’d like to know how many people actually looked it up!).


Spring Moon 24×36 on canvas

Now you have a place to call your own.   But, do you want it to be like everybody else’s?   Even if it is just a room, an apartment, or a recently purchased house, don’t you want your surrounding to reflect who you are?   I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my surrounding to look like it came out of an Ikea catalog.   Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I’ve always surrounded myself with furniture and accessories that I felt were unique to me.

Which brings me to the first reason to buy original art – you are purchasing something that is unique to you, it is a one of a kind piece.   It is as unique as you are – there is not another one exactly like it in the world, just like you are one of a kind!

The remainder of the reasons are in no particular order.

You have found something that gives you pleasure, it moves you aesthetically, or moves you on a sensory level.   This gives you a personal connection to the pieces, a connection only you have with it!

You also are supporting an artist and allowing the artist to continue to create.   And, you are probably supporting a small business owner.   If you are buying from a local artist, or from a local gallery, you are supporting the local economy.

Don’t be afraid to buy original art.    It doesn’t have to be as difficult or as expensive as many people believe it to be.   Most galleries are happy to talk to you about their pieces, and there are many places that carry small pieces that aren’t that expensive.   I myself have ornament sized paintings that I sale for under $50, and many purchasers have returned to purchase larger pieces.   And, if you do buy an original piece from a gallery, most artists are happy to talk to you about the pieces.

So, unless you want your home to look like everybody else’s, search our original art in your local area, check out art festivals, check out co-ops.   There is plenty out there!


Chances are, if you are reading this, you are using Facebook and have probably clicked the “like” button.   After taking a workshop yesterday on Social Marketing for Artists, the power of “like” was referred to.   It got me thinking….   what does it mean when it comes to promoting yourself or your business.  After all, it has been integrated into millions of sites.

When you click on the button, it ensures your entire network knows you “like” this.  This is the only button that allows you to gain access to groups and fan pages.

I believe marketing can be very valuable when word of mouth is utilitzed.   This button allows this to happen and in some cases, it will create viral opportunities (maybe one day, maybe!).

Now – liking something on Facebook doesn’t mean the same thing as liking something in real life.  It let’s your network of friends know you appreciate what you have seen.  Personally, I think it makes the post more credible when people have “liked” it, because most of us care what our friends like.

Some statistics I found that I thought interesting:   On the average, a Facebook user that hits “like” has more than double the average friends and tends to be more active in social media.  These users also tend to stay on the sites a little longer.

Think about it and do the math.   If an artist posts a painting and has 150 friends, and just 10 of them hit like, then the painting is seen by their friends.  If they have an average of 150 friends, that is 1500 extra people!

Do the search engines pick up on the “likes”?   Hard to tell.   From my reading, Google, Bing and Yahoo are very secretive about their practices.   It is possible they are using the like buttons, but I think you would have to have a blog or a website to get their attention.   If anybody know more about this, I’d love to know.

I’d love to know your thoughts.   Many of you know I love the reciprocity of promoting on facebook, more on that and sharing later.

I think liking something is supporting your friends, it isn’t reviewing them.

Your thoughts?

Oh – I can’t write a blog without putting an image of my work up –


What are you doing?

If you have twittered, you have answered that question everytime you twitter. If you are reading this, you know what Twitter is. However, if you are like me, much of Twitter is still a mystery. Twitter allows you to “follow” experts – all in 140 characters. What you get from Twitter depends on what you put into it. I thought I’d post some things I’ve found that have helped me get followers. Here goes!!!!

1. Be active – post regularly. I try to post something every day just so my name is “out there” regularly. The more frequently you post, the more people will find you.
2. Share – send an interesting tweet you see to your followers. This is done by placing “RT” in front of the message and then it becomes a “retweet”. When I don’t have anything to say, I “retweet” interesting tweets or quotes that are posted.
3. Say something interesting – do your followers want to you know you are doing your laundry or brushing your teeth? Unless some laundry detergent or toothpaste is following you (and brands do follow you), chances are they don’t care. Think about sharing information that your followers will find interesting. I found I get retweeted the most when I say something about my painting process. I posted a tweet that said “i need to keep a record of what I’m layerng in paintings. right now gesso, then soot, coffee, run a comb through it, dry, start again” – it got retweeted several times. I also post the link to my blog and my Facebook fanpage when I have a new posting. This always results in more followers and fans on Facebook. Ask questions too – I often ask if anybody knows what is going on in #atlanta art (more about the # later).
4. “Shrink the Link” – Back to the link mentioned above – shrink it! I do this by going to which gives me a much smaller link. You don’t 1/2 of your 140 characters be the link.
5. Getting Retweeted -a good rule of thumb for retweeting is to post around 110 characters. When you are retweeted, your name, becomes part of the 140 characters. That is one of the reasons you shrink your name. If you are using a name with 20 characters, it makes retweeting an entire post tough. I learned this and finally adjusted my name on Twitter to @vmartinart
6. Interact – comment on other posts. Think about the old Dale Carnegie model to listen to your customers (followers – and don’t get a big head because you have “followers”, everybody on Twitter does).
7. Be searchable – if you are reading this, chances are you have an interest in art. To find other artists – use the hashtag (#) in front of key words. In Atlanta, both Art Relish and Creative Loafing use the hashtag for #atlart. I was able to read a book with a group of artists by using #dekooning. To find these people, go to and type in the # – with whatever keyword you are interested in. Of course, put this in your post so you can be found by those with the same interest.
8. You want more followers? Use #follow Friday (#ff). Tweeters post the names of their favorite twitters with #ff in front of it. Look to see if they are of interest to you and follow them and they will generally follow you back. And, post your own favorite twitterers on Friday too.
9. Before you follow someone back, make sure it isn’t a spammer or a porn sight, unless that is what you are looking for. They are lurkers and are always looking for new twitterers hungry for followers.

I’m still learning. I have found some amazing artists around the globe. Ok, some of them are from another globe, or planet. I have had success with connecting with artists. So, if anybody knows how to connect with COLLECTORS, let me know.

I’d like to know how you find Twitter, and how it has helped you. And, I’m sure I left much out, so tell me what else we should all know!