“Boot Camp for Artists”
By F. Lennox Campello
As many of you know, for over a decade or so I have been teaching a course for artists and arts professional, that course, for the last few years has been known as “Boot Camp for Artists.”
That seven hour seminar, which has been taken by over 2,000 artists and arts professionals from all over the Mid Atlantic is designed to deliver information, data and proven tactics to allow artists to develop and sustain a career in the fine arts.
In the past, I’ve discussed the importance of artists having their work at the various art fairs held around the world, most notably during Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) week in the Greater Miami area.
Presentation is a huge part of an artist’s professional life, and more often than it should be, presentation is a detractor and takes away from the artwork.
Why am I discussing that here? Because before you start exploring the various ways to get your artwork invited to the “big dance” during ABMB week, as an artist you should be ready to play with the big dogs when it comes to all the tools of the trade needed to set foot in a world-class art fair.
It is not unusual for me to step foot in a gallery and see artwork which (at least from a presentation point of view) is “not ready” for primetime… this is getting to be rarer and rarer as galleries struggle to survive, but still there.
In its seven hour format, the seminar covers a wide range of structured issues, including the below list, but essentially artists should at least be aware and explore:
1. Materials – Buying materials and strategies for lowering your costs, where and how to get it, etc.
2. Presentation – How to properly present your artwork including Conservation issues, Archival Matting and Framing, Longevity of materials, a discussion on Limited editions, signing and numbering, Prints vs. Reproduction, discussion on Iris Prints (Pros and Cons).
3. Creating a resume – Strategy for building your art resume, including how to write one, what should be in it, presentation, etc.
4. Juried Shows – An Insider’s view and strategy to get in the competitions.
5. How to take images of your artwork
6. Selling your art – A variety of avenues to actually selling your artwork, including fine arts festivals, corporate acquisitions, galleries, public arts, etc.
7. Creating a Body of Works
8. How to write a news release
9. Publicity – How to get in newspapers, magazines, etc. Plus handouts on email and addresses of newspaper critics, writers, etc.
10. Galleries – Discussion on area galleries including Vanity Galleries, Co-Operatives, Commercial Galleries, Non-profit Art spaces, etc.
11. How to approach a gallery – Realities of the business, Contracts, Gallery/Artist Relationship, Agents.
12. Fine Art Fairs – Discussion and advice on how to sell outwork at fine arts festivals, which to do, which to avoid, etc.
13. Resources – Display systems and tents, best juried shows and ones to avoid.
14. Accepting Credit cards – How to set up your art business.
15. Grants – Discussion on how to get grants in DC, Regional and National, including handouts on who and where and when.
16. Alternative Marketing – Cable TV, Local media
17. Internet – How to build your website at no cost, how to establish a wide and diverse Internet presence.
I promise to get back to reviewing some art shows next week; meanwhile get your artwork up to par!