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Promote Your Art: Successful (Marketing) Portfolio Tips

Promote Your Art: Successful (Marketing) Portfolio Tips

Aletta de Wal

A good portfolio answers the question “Who Are You and Why Should I do Business With You?”

A Great Portfolio Gets All the Action.

“A talented artist submitted his very professional portfolio of silver sculpture to me. The artist had a solid background in the arts, good inventory and serious credentials, and was reaching out to dealers in cities across the country hoping for greater exposure of his work. His promotional materials were nicely presented; the photos of his work were compelling. The artist was both articulate and polite on the phone and his correspondence was direct and to the point. Even though I was impressed with both him and his portfolio, I passed on representing him because his style of art was not suited to the collectors in my community. I recommended that he submit his work to galleries. I even thought of a few places where his work might sell. I gave him the names and numbers of several good galleries to contact. He seemed happy for the feedback, and thanked me for not sending him away empty-handed.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a great portfolio. As an art representative and alternative gallery owner, venue owners often ask me for the artist’s statement, biography, exhibition list and images for each of the artists I represent. When the artist is prepared, it makes my job selling their artwork, that much easier.” A.C.T. Art Marketing Mentor & Artist Representative Margaret Danielak, a graduate of the A.C.T. Art Marketing Workshop and owner of Danielak Art.

Why You Need a Professional Portfolio

Your professional portfolio is a visual snap shot of your art and career. A great portfolio builds confidence. It helps viewers decide to buy your work, represent you or talk about you to friends and art professionals. It is a “stand in” for you and acts as a portable studio.

Isn’t My Web Site Enough?

Artists often tell me that they already have a web site where people can view their work and learn about them. Why do they need a hard copy portfolio? Isn’t that “old school?”

Think about the viewers’ experience.

I look at hundreds of web sites and some get lost in the blur. My first impression often determines how I will look and how long I will stay. I may leave right away, look at each page in order of the menu, or I might bounce around to get a sampling.

The first time through a portfolio, I can scan the contents from start to finish and then go back for a closer look at certain sections. I tend to go in the order you’ve presented it. I can linger. And the images are usually better than on a web site.

The experience of thumbing through a printed portfolio uses three channels of perception: seeing, touching and moving. The more channels, the more memorable the experience. And the point is for the viewer to remember you.

Your web site is a mirror of your hard copy portfolio. YOU NEED BOTH.

Once you have a hard copy portfolio, you can easily align your web site or Blog with this material and create a CD version.

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