Cultivating Your Inner Art Collector



“The Animated Digitizing of Graffiti” 2014 GIF animation.

Im currently working on a public research project about how the value of an art work is generated by those who are non art makers as well how artists are reaching and finding new collectors. I see a nice steady trend of artists selling their work directly to interested collectors. I have also observed artists developing new marketing skills that are being applied to targeted audiences as well as cultivating their patrons. More and more art fairs are popping up as well as online platforms that make acquisitions accessible in 2-3 steps or less.

I posted the questions below to my facebook timeline first to see how my audience would react. I also tagged a few specific people for their experiences with the subject. Where do stand? Share your views below.

Question: If you are an artist, where do you stand on this above? Who is your ideal collector? What is your primary method for reaching new potential collectors of your work? How have you upgraded and or expanded your methods over the last 5 years? What role does technology play in the future of making your work more accessible? Have you put yourself in the reverse role?  What kind of awareness do you need to meet the interests and demands of your perceived collector?

Question: If you are not an art making person, how does an interaction or experience with the actual artist effect the way you may purchase their work? Have you, or do you reach out to the artists that you would like to acquire works from? If so, how did this effect the process? As the patron, what role would you like to play in acquiring the works? Would you consider proposing a  private commission? Would you seek out an art dealer, gallery or auction (online or offline?)

In July of 2012 I wrote a similar blog post about this topic asking a few similar questions, you can catch up on this here, there a some great comments –

Some of today’s facebook feedback:

  • Alise Mae Snyder It’s challenging to be taken seriously as an artist when you represent yourself; Unless you’re an innately marvelous salesperson or an avid online marketer I think it’s difficult showcasing you work with out the help of others.
    3 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Alise Mae Snyder your work *
    3 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Ryan Seslow Hey Alise! Understood, artists in 2014 need to understand how to create an individual platform for direct sales. The use of technology is super helpful, but perhaps that may lack an actual emotional connection.
  • Ryan Seslow Online marketing or basic person to person marketing skills can be learned, as well as sales skills. I do believe this is a practice, so we all must upgrade our skills regularly. Borbay is perfect example of this.
    3 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Alise Mae Snyder After digging I found this really great quote from your man Borbay that is incredibly inspirational.; ” The best advice I received was this: “if you want to be a painter, paint every day.” And, realize this is an unregulated market and there is no job…See More
    3 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Hrag Vartanian The biggest weakness I see is artists often aren’t good at editing themselves and collectors don’t always understand that. Curators, galleries, critics, and others play that roll and help artists fit into larger narratives and ideas in other people’s work.
  • David Sandum Working more and more directly to collectors/interested people without galleries, using social media and personal studio visits as base. It is however important to have some gallery exhibits. Please talk to Nat George She recently wrote a very interest…See More
    3 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Ryan Seslow Alise, Hrag and David, thanks so much! all so true.
    3 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Artiste Dave Rogers Somewhere along the way artist started depending too much on galleries, curators and critics to sell them as an artist. The most important sales person an artist can have is themselves. I often hear other artists complain about why does that artist and not me get the attention. I tell them because they know how to sell themselves and their work. While I dont have a steady stream of collectors, there are a few people who do buy my work, because of the communication we have had about my work, and the fact that I keep in touch with them. I invite them to events (not just mine), I share my work with them, I invite them to my studio for sneak peaks on new works, and I even tell them about other artists I think they might like. This change in the idea that artists have less to do with the value of the work than the market does came about with the introduction of the art market and has been on a steady incline of belief ever since. So many artist today think that it is enough to just make work. I cant tell you how many artists out there say “I hate talking about my work” than cant understand why people dont buy their art. An artist ability to not only talk about their work, but relate their work to the art market is a critical aspect of the value of the work.
  • Ryan Seslow Well said Dave!
    4 minutes ago · Like · 1
    • Patrick Aievoli If you are asking if it behooves an artist to create a brand or persona – haven’t they always done that? Isn’t that why God made berets? A uniqueness of the individual. Not meant to be snarky just saying that you don’t buy the artwork you buy a piece of the artist. The collector develops their brand by being on the shelf with the other bottles.
    • Ryan Seslow Right on Pat!


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