A couple of weekends ago I was in Coronado, CA, a city near where I live, having lunch with one of my niece's and her husband. He and I had gone to a BBQ restaurant, ‘Lil’ Piggy's”, the weekend before. If you live here or ever come to San Diego, CA GO! They have good food there! My favorite is the pulled pork sandwich with the coleslaw inside, thank you very much! Make sure you try the corn fritters. They come with this honey butter, oh baby! And the jalapeno poppers are good too! They take a pepper, roast it, stuff it with cheese and then wrap it with a slice of bacon. Mamacita! Also make sure you go to the Hotel Del Coronado and get some Moo Time ice cream. It is expensive but well worth it!
Sorry everyone, I get a little side tracked sometimes. I think I have ADD! Anyway, the weekend he and I went to lunch at ‘Lil’ Piggy's, I said I wanted to check out the art gallery next to the restaurant. We walked over and I peeked inside but didn't go in. I was thinking of talking to the gentleman that worked there about my art but got cold feet and we left. Afterwards I told myself I have to get past the fears and rejection and just do it next time. They are probably going to say no more than yes but I can't let that stop me from trying. When the three of us went back the next weekend to the same restaurant I kept looking over at the gallery and I told myself I have to go in there this time and talk to the person about my art no matter what happens. I didn't have any business cards with me. I was going to bring some but because I don't have my web page up and running yet, I felt a little apprehensive about handing them out without people being able to see my work. I don't have a lot of pieces right now and I wasn't sure if my blog was “professional” enough of a place for people to go and see what I can do. I was telling an artist friend of mine about the experience and she said, “If that is all you have, go with it”!
After we finished eating I made a beeline for the gallery; went in and looked around. They had some cool Dr. Seuss art along with some other artwork that I liked. My niece and her husband walked in a little after I did and she said, “Here he is”. Standing there looking at the art I thought maybe they didn't know where I had run off to, but since I drove, they were not going anywhere without me. As we were about to leave I got the courage to go up and asked the gentleman working there if they accept local artwork and do I have to be established in order to get into the gallery? The first thing he asked me was, “What kind of art do you do”? I hesitated at first because I was somewhat nervous, and thought if I told him, he might not accept my art. I said right now I am doing wildlife art. He was courteous and told me we don't accept any wildlife art but that I should try the gallery around the corner, they deal strictly in that type of art. I got his card, thanked him and off I went to the other gallery with my niece, her husband and their baby in tow. I don't think they thought an old man could move that fast but I was determined to do it!
I went in and checked out the artwork they had there and as I was looking at one of the pieces, a lady that worked in the gallery came up to me and started to talk about the painting and the artist. I was patient, polite and waited until she was done, but I was looking for an opportunity to talk to her about my art. When she finished I asked her the same question I asked at the other gallery. She was polite but said, “We only accept established artists”. I knew that was probably going to be the answer before I even went into either gallery but I had to ask anyway. I asked her for a business card and was going to tell her about my painting that was in the fair this year but she turned around and walked away before I could. I felt a little snubbed but I can't take it personally. Even if a thousand doors are closed in my face, if I don't give up, the one that does finally open will make it all worth it! I have to be patient and keep at it!
I learned the importance of having my business card with me at all times or a card that has at least one or more of my paintings on it along with my contact information. Every art show I have gone to the artists either have one or both! I decided to send them both a thank you card with a picture of my whale painting on it. It may end up in the trash can, but you never know what might happen unless you try!
When I thought about becoming a full time artist I hadn't really focused much on the marketing side of it. I just wanted to paint and hopefully sell my work. But I have come to realize that marketing is a big part of getting recognized and selling one’s art. It scares the hell out of me because I am not good at promoting myself. If I am not going to be good at it, then I need to find someone that can help me who is. Seek and ye shall find! Knock and it will be opened to you! There is a lot of good information out there and I need to start looking or asking for it! Men aren't good at asking for help or directions, right ladies?
Since last December I have been working on having some note cards printed of two of my paintings along with trying to get some prints made. Of the 30 plus years I have been involved in graphics, first as a Technical Illustrator, the last 14 have been in printing, where I presently work, at So Cal Graphics in San Diego, CA. I have come to realize that it has and will be a big help to me down the road.
Once I had some cards printed I thought, “OK, now what do I do”? How much do I sell them for? How many in a package? So I went onto the internet and looked at what other artists were doing trying to see if I could get an idea. In the process I came upon a couple of sites that deal with the marketing side of art. One is artbizblog.com and finearttips.com. Both sites were very helpful, not just with my note cards but with other ideas on how to promote and sell ones art. On Alyson Stanfield site, (artbizblog.com) I left a comment to thank her for helping me. Part of her response was, “Glad you found the info here helpful for your marketing efforts”. When I first read it I thought, “Marketing”? Then the light went on in my head and I realized, Duh Mark! I was just looking to sell something that had to do with my art! The idea of “marketing” never crossed my mind! I can be a little slow sometimes. It’s probably more that I have a tendency not to listen to what people are telling me. Ya Ya! I know what I am doing! This gets me into more trouble than I want to admit. Marketing can be as simple as handing out business cards to something as big as entering an art show. It is all going to get me to that point of becoming a full time artist and eventually selling my art.
This blog is a marketing tool. I was nervous about starting it because once I did I knew it meant that I was going to be “out there” trying to keep up with it, working full time, dealing with everyday necessities, setting aside time to paint and now having to deal with marketing! My head is going to explode, “No”! At the beginning of the year I told myself that I had to get focused and produce as much art as I can. One painting a year is not good enough! This whole experience with my current painting and what happened at the fair has been a real eye opener for me. I can't explain the feelings I have right now, maybe it is a sense of accomplishment! I am trying to stay humble and not get cocky, but I am excited about being back next year and having even more and better art to submit! My main focus right now is getting exposure though. But damnit, it is nice to win an award and be recognized! The shock has worn off and I have set some high goals for myself. I know I still have a long ways to go to becoming a full time artist. Marketing is not just about my art, it is also about who I am. My loves, dreams, desires, hopes, my very heart and soul! It is, “the marketing of Mark Sanders”! Now let’s see, where is the next art gallery in San Diego, CA that I need to walk into? All of them!