Captivate means something, a person, an object, or an idea attracts and holds attention or interest, most often by beauty or excellence. To captivate is to enchant.
If your artwork fails to enchant and captivate your desired audience, it will fail to sell to them. The only way to know for sure your art will pass the test is to get it into the marketplace. Present it often to targeted buyers. If you are getting orders and moving your art, you know it is captivating.
This training comes with a no-BS policy.
That means I’ll tell you when I know there is more to the story than just saying something. For instance, above I mention showing your art frequently to targeted buyers. I know this is a problem for you already because you are in this training. You want help to find buyers.
As such, I realize telling you that you need buyer feedback is not necessarily all that helpful, especially if you haven’t had enough time to work on getting your art in the marketplace. When you don’t have the data, you must rely on your gut instincts and S.W.A.G. (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) Factoring.
I trust most who have joined here come with real-world experience and a degree of confidence the art they make is somewhat captivating. Sometimes you need feedback to make tweaks that change how well your art sells. Your art might be 80–90% ready for market, but it’s not selling. You must make value judgments. Is it the subject matter? The pricing? The palette? The size? Or, the media or substrate? What you need is feedback to help you modify what you are doing to make it more marketable.
You won’t be left hanging. In the training you receive here, you will learn how to identify buyers and connect with them. How to build a mailing list and network in your circles of influence to help you grow awareness for and sales of your art. Your valuable feedback will come from them.
I understand why some artists chafe at the thought of tweaking their art.
They look upon the creative process as something well beyond the mundane world of commerce. Unless artists are super lucky, they may miss the chance of building a business around selling their art. You can have it both ways meaning you can desire and achieve prosperity without losing the opportunity for your art to live on for posterity. The most significant deciding factors are the thoughts in your head.
You can make art with the highest purposes and with the best intentions to sell every piece you create. These ideas can and often do coexist in the minds of successful artists. What I mean by your thoughts are that the more passionate you are about holding your high ground when it comes to making and marketing art, they more you influence everyone around you.
Trying to make art to satisfy some faceless future arbiter who might hold the decision whether to place your art in a museum collection is fruitless. That is one way to become a starving artist. You can and should decide you are going to be the best artist you can be and be the best marketer of your art you can be.
Be the Boss of You, and Everyone Else…
Just determine you are not going to let anyone take those things away from you. When you remain resolute and standout with integrity and humble pride, you will find those qualities are nearly irresistible to others. When you add to the equation your art is captivating because you make it that way, you have an unbeatable combination.
We’ve talked now about using feedback to make your art more captivating. Think of a musician getting feedback from band members, studio artists, and producers. Or, an author taking in suggestions from editors, proofreaders, publishers, and agents. Plays start Off-Broadway to get them tweaked for the Bright Lights. In the same way, you can apply useful information to make your art more captivating.
Okay, but what about consistency?
So, glad you asked. Here is what Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery, has to say about consistency.
Step into my shoes for a moment and view your art through the eyes of a gallery owner. You will quickly see that as I consider an artist for representation, the decision I am ultimately making is whether I am willing to invest in the artist and their work.
I am going to devote expensive wall or pedestal space to displaying the art. I am going to have staff spending time and resources promoting and selling the work. I am going to spend advertising dollars informing potential clients about the work. To make this kind of commitment, I must feel confident that I can see a return on the investment.
This is not to say that I am not willing to stretch and take risks with unproven artists, but I am far less likely to make such an investment if I see inconsistency in the work. My concern is that I will make the investment and begin to build a following for the artist’s work, only to have the artist make a sudden and drastic change in their style, forcing me to start over again. It can sometimes take years to build a following for an artist, and during that time a steady stream of consistent work is key.
Consistency touches everything!
Yes, consistency in theme, style, and presentation is of utmost importance to gallery owners, patrons, and collectors. But, it goes beyond those things. For sure, it extends to pricing. We’ll get into pricing in another lesson. As such, we’ll say in today’s connected world, the only pricing policy that makes sense is one that is consistent across all the channels you use to distribute your art.
Your branding, your marketing and your messaging should all be consistent. Of course, you can shake things up to keep them exciting but look for the way to keep them connected and consistent with your overall strategy for making art and marketing art.
Consistency of Subject Matter. Example: Don’t mix abstracts, horse paintings, figurative work, and landscapes in the same show. Pick one of those types of paintings and build the show around them.
Consistency in Image Quality. Images are all created by a similar process and have a cohesive look and feel to them.
Consistency in Presentation. Maintain a consistent framing or canvas mounting style for paintings and observe similar discipline with sculptures, video, and other art forms.
If you are not known for something, you are known for nothing.
It’s a noisy world. One that is much louder than any previous time and getting worse. That means you want to stick with something that gives you a chance. You’ve dialed in, or are working on it, making art as captivating as you possibly can.
The next step is to apply consistency in your art and your marketing. You need a considerable crossover. Similarity brings about familiarity. Being familiar helps you break through the clutter and turn down the noise on your competition. Your competition goes well beyond visual artists. It’s anything that appeals to your intended audience’s interests and discretionary income funds. Consistency in how you make your art and how you market it will help you raise your game. It will make it more captivating and easier to sell. You can compete at a much higher, more efficient level when you’re in tune with what you are doing.
Of course, you don’t want to become a homogenous non-descript entity. You want to become an exciting visual interpreter and stimulating marketer. You have enormous latitude within the bounds of consistency to make a wide variety of art. You want it to be compelling, and you want it to be recognizable to you as the artist.
Success in any endeavor is made through taking the right action and doing the best things to get results consistently. Making captivating art on a consistent level and consistently marketing your art to captivate your audience is how to have a lasting, rewarding, and profitable career.