- by Barney Davey
Phoenix collage art and mixed-media artist, Katie Kral, publishes her musical instrument pieces as digital fine art giclée print reproductions in the print market.
Recently, I had the pleasure to meet Katie Kral. She is an inspiring local artist here in Phoenix who specializes in collage art and mixed media art. She also publishes reproductions of her collage art as digital fine art giclee prints.
Developments in artists’ careers & technology arrest my attention
I am perpetually interested in learning how visual artists’ careers unfold, and how evolving technology and e-commerce continue to dramatically affect how fine art prints are created, produced and marketed.
It was at the intersection of those interests where Katie caught my attention. When I noticed she was a local artist with a listing on Groupon, for one of her giclee prints, I had to learn more and contacted her.
Is Groupon a suitable advertising medium for visual artists?
For those who don’t know, Groupon negotiates huge discounts—usually 50-90% off—with local businesses. It then sends the deals to thousands of subscribers in our free daily email, which results in new business for its advertisers. Groupon arguably is the hottest private company on the Internet. It recently rejected a $6 billion buyout offer from online search giant Google. It was either a brilliant or boneheaded decision to pass on the offer. Time will tell how it pans out for the Groupon’s founders and investors.
What I found in meeting with Katie and her business partner was that the Groupon offer for her print did not generate the sales she had hoped for. It didn’t help that her offer was on a sidebar and not a featured item on the email I received. This had to have hurt her sales. The good news is there is no fee for participating. Groupon makes the sale and pays the business out of the proceeds.
Katie is on the cutting edge with her art on Groupon
If you can deliver your work nationally, as an artist you can arrange to have deals done in different cities, providing your work is acceptable to Groupon. It makes sense some cities are more likely to be responsive to an offer from an artist selling fine art giclée prints than others. Groupon is in 177 cities as of this writing and growing. Katie is going to continue to test the concept in other markets and hopes to be featured instead of on a sidebar with her future offer.
In general, generating sales success for giclee prints on Groupon will always be a challenge as art prints are not as universally popular as dining and entertainment offers. Nevertheless, there is potential for residual promotional value in participating. Katie, for instance, finds herself featured in a blog post here.
What I found when meeting with Katie and looking at her career was she was already doing many of things I regularly urge artists to do. She has created a line of images based on musical instruments. In fact, her “Ray the Guitar” piece was the one I saw in the Groupon ad.
Creating synergy is how artists can leverage their marketing
Being a fan of both blues guitar artists and of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughn, the giclée print reproducing her original collage art helped grab my attention on the Groupon email. Besides painting thematically, which is a cornerstone trait of successful print artists, Katie has managed to garner a number of high profile pieces in influential local magazines, including Phoenix Home and Garden. She has created custom artwork for local Google offices in Arizona, and corporate real estate giant Del Webb and Pulte Homes. She has also had the honor to work on restoring the 1926 Historic Civic Plaza in downtown Phoenix.
Getting one’s work sold in museum is no easy trick
Katie’s latest and most prestigious honor to date is having her work being sold in the Musical Instrument Museum, which recently opened here in Phoenix. MIM is a world class facility devoted to displaying and showcasing musical instrument from all over the globe. It is well worth the time on your next trip to Phoenix.
Having such good fortune or creating it, (She sought the deal with MIM), to occur in one’s career can only help enhance it and set the stage for good things to come. This is what I predict for Katie. She has talent, ambition, more than capable full-time support, thematic work, marketing smarts and the drive to want to make a successful career in the print market. Adding in being willing to try new things like Groupon, and having the moxie to get her work sold in a museum are positive indicators of potential great success.
When you work for the greater good, the karma reflects back
Having a cause and a passion for a cause can not only help to do good things for the cause, the side benefits to the artist can be substantial. Having suffered for more than half her life from endometriosis, she champions for Endometriosis Research and Awareness. It affects 1-in-10 women, or approximately 176 million worldwide, which is a staggering number. It is hard to diagnose, causes great pain and can lead in infertility.
To her credit, Katie talks openly and freely about her experience and donates a portion of all of her sales to Endometriosis Research and Awareness. She is using her art career to help others who also suffer from this dread disease. A positive by-product might be greater awareness for Katie and her art career, which is a good thing. But, if you have the chance to meet her, you will know her passion purely comes from a true desire to help.
A successful art print and art licensing career in the making
All-in-all, I rate Katie as having her career as moving on the right track and picking up speed. When you put all the things she is doing together, you create a prescription for success and a long prosperous career. Such is what I predict for Katie Von Kral. You can say read it here first.
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