The territory is established and all that remains to command and conquer, but it will take precise and well planned tactics to penetrate the intricate barriers posed by the issues previously established.
The Curation Process
The entire purpose of curating a body of work is to gather a cohesive collection to share with others that they never would have been able to be exposed to otherwise. The entire concept of a single source compiling a diverse and eclectic collection is inherently flawed. It’s utterly impossible for one person to singlehandedly compile a collection of work without bias and to continually be able to provide new and exciting work that doesn’t begin to only represent the personal taste of the curator.
That’s why we should bring in collaborators into the curation process that art is not their expertise.
Involving outside influences unburdened with previous knowledge of art trends and valuation will bring a fresh, new and pure voice into the conversation that will view the art for what it is, and not what it could represent in the historical context of the art world.
I’m not saying ditch the experts, but rather change the roles a bit. The appropriate system for today’s market would be a collaborative process where the art professionals can provide the connections and references to gather the wide, unrefined collection of art and then expose those with an untrained eye and unconstrained taste have a say in a particular piece’s importance to be included.
The system would be simple: a curation board would be established consisting of the necessary components of art critics and artists, but should be equally matched by other professionals in their own regard. Doctors, lawyers, anthropologists, teachers, musicians and other credible experts in their respective arenas should have an equal say in the process.
Once the Curation Board is assembled it would then be up to the art experts to gather a wide variety of artwork and let the board anonymously rate their top picks, and afterwards gather the aggregate scores to establish the final collection that would be available for sale. It would be of minimal commitment for the board to participate, requiring a few minutes of the week to sit down and pick their choices.
Credibility in transparent collaboration is the key to equitably pricing and choosing a body of work.
By making this process visible to the end consumer, it would show them that by filtering the artwork through this system it would be impossible to arbitrarily price the art at unfair levels which would start to build more consumer confidence in the art industry.
Radical innovation is crucial and it needs to happen now.
The art market has been bleeding for years and we need to infuse it with some new life and get it back into the spotlight as a critical and essential component to a well-cultured and diverse business environment.
In my previous post I highlighted a few of the issues faced by the art professionals of today, and now I’d like to provide a few potential solutions or alternate paths of travel to navigate closer towards credible capitalization. In order to come up with any reasonable answers, one must ask the right questions about each:
Where is credibility derived from within our consumers’ eyes and how is this credibility measured or documented?
What elements are required to facilitate the process from artist to customer and how can we use technology to its potential?
What’s driving the shift in demand from reproductions to original artwork and how does one re-position to accommodate?
How have the longstanding target markets fragmented, who are they and which ones to shift towards and focus on?
In order to understand where the opportunities lie in the market, one must identify the biggest factors that have shaped it to its current state. Let’s get down to brass tax and establish a few of the biggest issues.
Compiling a cohesive yet eclectic collection of artwork is a skill that takes decades to perfect, yet the expectations of curation have changed a great deal. Consumers in both the private and commercial sectors have become more skeptical of the source of the artwork, and demand to know the where the art was sourced from and why. There used to be an inherent credibility associated with a single professional individual putting a collection together but now consumers expect a more collective approach of multiple influences collaborating to compile the body of work. But how can one establish credibility in such an unstructured expectation? There are a few ways that I will get into when we start talking solutions.
We don’t need walls or warehouses anymore. Gallery space and/or exhibition locations are definitely an added benefit but they are more of a luxury than a necessity. The purchasing environment is no longer done over a glass of wine at an gallery opening and like many other industries has moved to an online environment. Consumers don not feel the need for the most part to be able to walk up within inches of the artwork to make a purchasing decision. The bulk of art sales are now made without ever seeing the art in person, making the capabilities and features of the website absolutely critical to even get close to emulating the first person buying experience.
In the late nineties and early two-thousands, reproduction capabilities were king. Not only was the demand extremely high for well-priced archival edition reproductions as opposed to original artwork, but very few distributors had the means to create these reproductions. Understandably with improvements in large format printing technology and innovation, high quality printers, scanners and software have become much more accesible to smaller enterprises but has also widen the gap between mid to small sized distributors and the behemoth printing specialists.
Those that chose to focus on solely the printing of reproductions gained the capability to keep prices extremely low but lost the ability to source quality artwork. Meanwhile those that chose the path of growing printing capabilities while spending proportionate efforts to seek out artwork have become unable to compete at the commercial price-points but have been able to remain a credible source to obtain art. The issue now is at what point does one stop being a knowledgeable art dealer and into a profit-driven distributor? And with the demand for reproduced art falling, where to the opportunities lie for both parties?
With the aforementioned changes in the market and consumer expectations, they have also redefined the purchasing groups completely. It used to be just private collectors, individual purchasers and commercial buyers, but the market has fragmented into much more distinct target markets. Within all three groups, newer segments have arisen with even more specialized tastes and expectations making it impossible to service all three effectively.
These are by no means the extent of the issues faced by art dealers and distributors but provide a basis to start formulating a plan to evolve and adapt. So let’s start talking about how to put some of these opportunities into action.
Assessing value has and will forever be the intricately difficult yet pivotal component to ensured success in the art industry.
The days of arbitrary appraisal and curation are dying fast.
A great deal of eternal influences over the past decade have shaped the industry into something unrecognizable from what it used to be. Some hinder, some revise and some provide opportunities to capitalize on that were not present in recent years. Yet with all that is changing, many professionals in the industry refuse to adapt to the new world order and cling to the archaic guidelines that have protected them for so long. It has stagnated many areas of the market, now flooded with unsubstantiated values and ubiquitous work making it near impossible to find and appreciate truly special artwork.
The rules of the game have changed and to bring life back into the market,
one must be as creative in managing art as it is to create it.
What I aim to do is challenge the status quo and make some new rules of the game to share with the rest of the industry with the ultimate goal of revitalizing parts of the market that have fallen short and show the immense untapped potential in many unacknowledged opportunities. This is the beginning of a series of postings identifying these shortcomings and hopefully providing some answers on how to differentiate oneself within the market.
Let’s start nailing down some of these winds of change.
Well placed and thoughtfully chosen art can hugely benefit a patient’s recovery process.
In my previous post I discussed the conceptual nature behind the effect well chosen and well placed artwork has within healthcare facilities and their patients.
So how do we market it?
It is up to how one markets this idea behind the artwork to be able to acquire accounts. Here are a few tangible methods I’ve uncovered during my work in this industry of providing visual assets to the treatment healthcare offers to its patients.
Firstly, the art distributor must research the desired facility and identify a few key factors:
- Who does this facility serve (condition of patients, what they suffer from, etc.)?
- What spaces are available for the artwork to occupy (wall size, interior decorating, lighting, etc.)?
- What subject matter is most effective (botanicals, landscapes, abstracts, etc.)?
- And finally, how can one communicate how the artwork addresses these issues beyond just a portfolio?
Rather than proposing a few images and explaining all this,
The power of the mock-up is underestimated. My first request is for the client to send a few photos of the space and provide a variety of examples and options for them as they would appear in person. For example, I recently obtained a few photos from an oncology center and they came into my email looking like this:
Not quite the best photo, but it’ll do.
Allowing clients to just send a cell phone picture via email alleviates the need some feel to take the extra few steps to obtain a high quality photograph and includes them in the process which creates a personal involvement into the success of the project.
And we ended up with this.
My selection was from of one of my own original series of water botanicals with my intention of displaying positive growth and serenity, and the close-up perspective to allow personal introspection rather than a wide landscape that in some cases can provoke a sense of anxiety of what lies ahead. In cancer treatment it is essential patients are confident that they can take one day and one step at a time in their treatment and not to focus on the overwhelming overall perspective.
As you can see, a little bit of love goes a long way.
Fixing the perspective, image quality, lighting among other things allow the client to see what the piece would look like in the space in a way a catalog simply can’t. By providing a little bit of custom work before getting the account, I’ve taken a cold call to a lasting account. After doing this image my inbox was flooded with more photos of the rest of the facility, asking me to do the same thing and before the end of day they had found themselves a cohesive collection of images and a contact willing and able to service any future visual needs.
Art matters, but it’s up to those who distribute it to properly convey the true potential and value.
Successful marketing can enable great art to be appreciated to its full potential and be seen as more than a trivial wall-piece.
Thanks for reading, stay posted!
Many times people take for granted their surroundings without ever realizing the intricate inner workings of constructing the environment they’re currently in. Whether it’s in the hospitality arena in the form of creating ambience within a restaurant or the artwork selected for behind a five star resorts receptionist area, a great deal of planning goes into creating the appropriate feeling for guests, customers and in this case, patients.
Within the healthcare industry, the services provided are incredibly specialized to the needs of the patients and many healthcare facilities don’t realize the immense impact the wall decorations can have on the patient’s state of mind and recovery. Take a burn treatment facility for example; one does not clothe the walls in industrial abstract art with rough textures but rather something more conducive to the patients’ need to feel a sense of calm and to be visually soothed. The color palette is paramount to achieving this effect, cool greens, blues and lower temperature palettes are optimum, not to mention the subject matter which needs to be organic, such as macro photography or succulent botanicals and rushing water.
With that said, it’s a matter of marketing to be able to communicate the artwork’s importance to those tasked with assembling the facilities visual space.
By using a few simple tools to showcase this, an art consultant and distributor can acquire large-scale business in a way many independent artists cannot with just a simple portfolio.
In my next post I would like to identify some techniques to showcase the artworks potential and acquire the account to continuously provide new artwork for the client into the future. A partnership with a single facility if developed successfully can lead to a great deal of future business from other branches and counterparts, keeping the a steady cashflow into the business.
Silly putty and duct tape had a lovechild and its name is Sugru.
We love fixing and changing things in our daily lives to suit us better; from quick fixes, personalizations or just cosmetic additions it’s fair to say that we’re never satisfied with “as is.”
Meet the real world customize button: Sugru
Made from silicon and completely malleable upon opening, Sugru then hardens into a heat-resistant, high-impact and totally durable self-adhesive modification for honestly whatever you feel like adding it to.
From customised ski-pole handles to circuit board modifications, Sugru has it covered.
When I first saw the new Microsoft store locations I almost walked in thinking Apple had gone through a drastic rebranding, but quickly realized it was just a Linux-based copycat. I was dumbfounded that something this blatant would go through without resistance and after quite a long time apple has finally been able to copyright the layout and look of their distinctive stores.
Your move, Microsoft.
We are blessed.
From the ever-expanding wi-fi networks, access to unlimited information (give or take a few websites), to the devices we have to get to it we are blessed with the gift of information. We don’t take much time to empathize with other areas of the globe without such capabilities and it’s fair to say we don’t understand their perspective.
But the first step to change or understanding is to find a common ground to communicate. Besides laughter, art and design is a close competitor of universal language and Maral Pourkazemi has forged a few steps between our smart-phones and Iran’s internet reality. It goes to show the power of design to assist communication not only for complicated ideas but cultural boundaries as well.
As a marketer it’s unfathomable to think that the methods and abilities to communicate what we’ve come to know could not exist, but they truly are geographically specific. It’s crazy to think what global marketing and communication could (and should) be if everyone around the world had the same tools we do. For now it’s a work in progress.
Take three minutes of your time to listen to her creative process in creating his beautiful infographic.
And obviously take a look for yourself below:
(Large file, give it a second to load.)
Full article here.