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The Thriving Artist - The Clark Hulings Fund 2nd October 2016
Create A Thriving Art Business

Create A Thriving Art Business

Alan Bamberger is an art consultant, advisor, author and appraiser who specializes in research, business management, the marketing of original art, and art-related documents, but he is best known for his regular post to ArtBusiness.com, which he also manages. With nearly 40 years of experience in the art world, Alan works with artists, collectors, other art professionals and galleries to solve difficult art situations. Topics Include:

Price Consultations with Artists:

  • Problem solving using available images, background info, and the piece of art
  • Recommends price structure for individual pieces and overall collections
  • Explains how they can defend their prices to interested parties

Older Art vs. Contemporary:

  • Older art has a secondary market in place with a finite quantity of pieces available
  • On older art: “I price based on the moment, based on available information, and based on primary market information.”
  • “When an artist is still active, it’s not clear what the future trajectory of that artist will be, where their prices will go, or what they’re going to do” all of which can change the value of their art.

Artists as Sole Proprietors:

  • Step into the role that you want to fulfill
  • “I’ve met so many artists who know so little about business, and business was not something that was taught in art school or even discussed.”
  • “You can’t survive as an artist if you’re not selling enough art to pay for food and rent.”
  • “Artists have become far more aware that it is not simply a situation where you sit in your studio and paint or create or sculpt…”
  • “I focus on what happens when the art is done, when it’s ready to go out into the public, now what?”
  • “Artists have never had more opportunities to advocate on their own behalves, to get their work out there, to talk about what’s behind it, to talk about themselves as artists.”
  • “If you can’t sell your art, you’re not going to survive as an artist.”

Common Mistakes of Resumes & Portfolios:

  • The artist website as the portfolio
  • Importance of having an identifiable brand
  • “The artist has to present themselves in ways that pretty much anyone can understand and connect with and appreciate.”
  • “Having confusing online profiles or presentations would be, I think, the most common mistake”
  • Don’t leave it to your audience “to figure out the brand of this artist, what’s their unique voice, where are they coming from, what’s the story that this artist and the art, what’s the narrative, what are they trying to tell us?”

Increase the Value of Your Artwork:

  • The characteristics that make famous artists famous
  • “Document everything that you’re doing.”
  • “Narrative makes a piece more buyable.”
  • “Take a photograph of it, take some notes, write down a couple of sentences, keep decent records, because if it turns out you’re a long running success, at some point, institutions or collectors or whomever will want to explore and learn the whole story.”
  • “You can’t take long sabbaticals between individual works or series or bodies of work.”

Getting Your Collection Appraised:

  • Things to consider when purchasing a piece of artwork.
  • “Contact your insurance company and ask them what they need in terms of an appraisal in order to insure your art.”
  • “At the beginning, you can, for a while, just use the cost of goods as the approach.”
  • “Monitor market activities for the artists you collect just in case there is a substantial price fluctuation, you may just want to have those pieces revalued for insurance purposes.”