Before you can start marketing your artwork you need to assemble information about your work. Artist statements, resumes, business cards, postcards, and mailing lists are all essential building blocks to building websites, visiting gallerists, and promoting exhibitions and open studio events.
An artist statement should tell the reader who you are and what makes your work unique. It is putting your images into words. This is an example written by MAYUMI LAKE that illustrates the point.
"For over the past fifteen years, my artwork has dealt with the interaction between the real and imaginary. Relying on both media references and autobiographical elements, I explore issues of memory, identity and desire. As a Japanese woman who has been culturally conditioned to conceal and contain rather than reveal, I am interested in uncovering my own identity by aggressively evoking emotional reactions from my viewer."
This should be updated as changes occur on your website/blog. It is then available 24/7 for anyone who wants to see it and it can be printed if necessary to include in a presentation.
This gives potential buyers more reasons to consider a purchase. It also gives supporters the information they need to promote your work.
It should include anything that documents your professional career -education, teaching, exhibitions (museum, solo, group), art fairs, workshops, residencies, commissions, public collections, awards and honors, publications.
Business cards are useful for people you meet that seemed interested in your work as well as serving as a small advertisement of your work. Often at artfairs or open studios potential collectors, gallerists, or art professionals will collect multiple business cards of artists that interest them to review later. To ensure they remember your artwork be sure and include a large image & make sure you include your website, email address and phone number.
Postcards are still a good method of keeping in touch with collectors. I collect Jody Williams work and look forward to receiving her postcard on her holiday open house every year. Keep good records of everyone who has visited your studio, seen you at an art fair, or has purchased your work. Ideally, they should all get a postcard and an email with the same image that is on your postcard telling them of the upcoming exhibit of your work. I would also recommend having all the new work on your website (be sure and include prices) so people can preview it before the opening. I have read on blogs that many had advance sales because their collectors wanted to make sure they could buy them before they were sold to others. It also allows collectors who aren't able to come to the event to still purchase your work. In Minnesota we consider this blizzard insurance.
Collecting names, addresses, and email addresses of you customers or others interested in your work is critical to marketing your work.
This is a quote from Ginny Herzog who does national art fairs as her primary means of marketing.
"I use Constant Contact for my email announcements for my exhibitions. I have an email list totalling 2250, organized by geographical zones or cities. I send emails out to the entire list about four times per year with my exhibitions for the season. I do a couple of emails the week of a show to the city list only, as a reminder with the show's website, dates, times and my booth number. I include a linked photo of a new piece of work on each announcement. I also pass out postcards at the shows with a photo of my work and contact info."