Artwork Archive Features My Photographs This Week

Artwork Archive is an ingenious online tool for artists to manage their collections of artwork--keeping up with things like where pieces have been shown, where they are currently displayed (helpful when working with galleries), when they have been purchased and other details that need to be tracked. It can also be used to maintain contact information for clients, galleries and others on your mailing list. And one of my favorite tools is the reminder it sends me each week about what I have coming up: submission deadlines, delivery dates, shows to take down, classes to teach, materials to submit and much more. 

 My landing page on the Artwork Archive site.

My landing page on the Artwork Archive site.

In addition to the "back-end" business tools, Artwork Archive also presents my work to gallerists, collectors, art consultants and others looking for artwork. In fact, I had a museum curator reach out to me with questions via Artwork Archive just last week.

So I was thrilled to get a note from Emily Zupsic from Artwork Archive today to let me know that two of my pages were featured on their blog this week. Here's a quote from the piece, which featured six artists: 

The beauty, essence and changing complexion of landscapes fascinates artist and photographer Lee Anne White. And, she carries that beauty over to her portfolio. It is completely and beautifully branded. In other words, as soon as you open her portfolio, you understand the type of work she creates. The clean grid formed by her square dimensions feels bold and modern. Another amazing feature of her portfolio? She includes just the right amount of detail when you click on each piece!

Anyhow, I thought that was pretty cool and just wanted to share. If you're an artist and need to track your own artwork, check it out. And if you're looking for artwork of any kind, it is a clean, intuitive site for searching.

10 Things I Learned About Art Festivals

I just wrapped up a year of art festivals—five altogether, with the two largest ones back-to-back these past two weeks. Three of the five were out of state; two were close to home. Some were small, local art and crafts fairs. Some were major festivals with art, music, food and other events. Some were just for contemporary art.

I’ve always believed in “putting yourself out there.” That’s what this was about—sharing my art with others, getting feedback, connecting one-on-one with potential collectors. I picked five very different shows, hoping this would give me a chance to learn the most. Here are some of the things I’ve learned, which I hope might be helpful to those who are considering getting into the show business:

1.     Art festivals are hard work. And by that, I mean physical labor. Consider moving your entire "gallery" (heavy tents, display units, furniture and artwork) four times in a weekend (to the car, to the site, back to the car and back to the house). There is also the preparation—making enough work to fill your booth. (This was my favorite part of the process, and I loved having the festival as a motivating deadline.) And, of course, there is manning your booth all weekend. Most events are two days, but some run three. This past Saturday, booths were open from 9am-7pm. That's a long day on your feet interacting with others. Some people find that energizing. Others find themselves drained by mid-day. Either way, what if you could build an art business mostly around creating art and traveling to interesting places to show and sell your work? There are many who do just that!

2.     Art festivals are highly susceptible to the whims of Mother Nature. I've always thought of festivals as having ideal weather. I now realize that's just because it's the only time I ever go to them. As it turns out, the events go on, rain of shine. But people don’t buy art when it is raining, snowing, freezing or 98 degrees outside. The weather can also take its toll on your booth or inventory. Eight booths were destroyed in heavy downpours at one of the events I attended. Heavy winds blew framed art off my walls at another. I heard stories of hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding along the way from other artists who have been doing this for a while. Still, they persist.

3.     How to talk about my work. When you talk to a steady stream of people all weekend, you start to get the hang of talking about your work. That was something I really needed to do. I now have a better sense of what stories to share, what to leave to the viewers' imagination, when to engage and when to step back and just allow viewers to enjoy the work. The best part of every festival was connecting with individuals drawn to my work, whether they purchased it or not. In fact, one of my favorite conversations last weekend was with a teenager who was genuinely curious, remarkably articulate and truly passionate about landscape photography.

4.     Every day is different. Some days people buy. Some days they don’t. Saturday and Sunday crowds tend to be different. And it’s really hard to know why or what to expect. The most consistent predictor I found was the weather. In beautiful spring or fall weather, people love to get outside and are generally in a good (and hopefully "buying") mood.

5.     Locally organized festivals tend to take better care of artists and promote events better. They have more at stake, the support of the community, volunteers on site, the attention of local media and are often doing these as fundraisers for some local cause. Certainly, there are exceptions, and that doesn't mean shows by promoters cannot be great shows. But I did notice a significant difference in the shows I attended.

6.     In addition to needing inventory in all price ranges, it really helps to have a signature “gift” item for $20-25. Even at slow shows, the artists who had this still had sales to cover their out-of-pocket expenses. I haven’t figured out what mine is yet.

7.     Every sale you make takes effort. Art is not a commodity. It is a very personal purchase. When others buy art, the connection they make with the artist is usually an important part of that process. In turn, I genuinely loved connecting with buyers--hearing what attracted or spoke to them, how they planned to use the artwork, and even a bit about their personal lives. I love knowing my work has found a good home.

8.     Not everyone is going to like your art. In fact, most people will never even cast a glance your way. And that’s okay. We all have different preferences for food, music, clothes and, yes, art. I'm learning not to take it personally.

9.     Inventory portability, durability and weight are all issues to consider. You have to load and unload your artwork every time you go to a show; it can take a beating in your car if you don’t pack them well; and customers have to carry pieces home once they are purchased. I switched from glass to acrylic midway through the season; now I'm exploring options to eliminate framing altogether.

10.   Each venue is different. I'm not sure I realized just how different each show is until this year. If you’re going to participate in festivals, you have to figure out where your audience is and go there. Is it big cities or small, rural communities? Is it an arts-and-crafts fair or contemporary art show? Indoors or outdoors? Mountains, coast or plains?

I had several good shows and a couple of truly forgettable ones. I believe I have a better sense for which types of shows work for me and which don’t. If I continue participating in art festivals, I have some changes I’d like to make in my inventory and the way I present my work. For now, however, I just want to rest and spend some time in the studio creating new work. I also have other markets I’m anxious to explore—in some cases, based on feedback I received at the festivals. Whether I continue participating in festivals or not, they were good learning experiences and I loved being able to share my work with others in a casual, outdoor environment.

I also made some wonderful friends along the way. The artists and art
isans I met at these festivals were kind, generous and hardworking. They’d lend a hand in a heartbeat and were generous with tips and advice. We’d keep an eye on each other’s booth for bathroom breaks, and keep each other company when the weather turned bad and festival goers went home. Some of these folks make their living doing two shows a month; others were more like me, just trying to figure it out. I tip my hat to all of them and wish them much success in their artistic and marketing endeavors.

New Online Image Archive

Stock photos of inviting outdoor living areas, inspired garden design and innovative landscape architecture are as close as your fingertips. I am pleased to announce that my new, searchable stock photo collection is now online. [Click on Image Archive in the blog navigation bar or Search Stock from my portfolio menu, or add www.leeannewhiteimages.com to you favorite bookmarks.]

This new site includes many of the features of my old site, as well as a few new ones. In addition to searching by keyword (still the quickest and easiest method), you can also browse major categories for images. And you can still create, save and send lightboxes to your editor, art director, photo editor or author. It’s easy to request a custom quote and invoicing is still available.

At the new site, you’ll find lots of new images in addition to old favorites. Images from dozens of recently photographed and previously unpublished projects from top pool designers, landscape architects and gardeners are featured. New work is being uploaded on an ongoing basis and additional images (digital and film) are available offline—so be sure to let me know if you don’t immediately find what you’re looking for. My goal is to make your job as easy as possible—to deliver visually fresh, high-quality images on time and on budget. If you would prefer to send a stock needs list, I’ll be glad to handle the search for you and send either light boxes or a CD of images for review.

Special image collections include:

• Outdoor kitchens and dining areas
• Pools and spas
• Patios, terraces and outdoor hearths
• Water features
• Private gardens
• Container gardens
• Plants and gardening

In addition to stock photography, I have also included a new collection of fine art photographs available as prints. These include color seascapes from The Mutable Sea series, as well as intimate black-and-white portraits of the southern Sea Islands.

Enjoy browsing!

Photos ©2007 Lee Anne White. Design credits: (top) Clemens & Associates, Inc., Santa Fe; (bottom) Robin & Paul Cowley, Potomac Waterworks, Oakland, CA.

Marketing Your Work

If you're going to be a successful photographer or, for that matter, any kind of artist, you've got to take care of business and market your work. After all, there is a difference in being and artist and making a living as an artist. Too many artists tend to overlook (if not down right look down on) this, but we shouldn't. It is the key to making a living doing what we love.

To make a living as an artist--whether as a fine artist, freelance commercial artist or performing artist--we have to master the same skills and professional attitudes as self-employed persons in other occupations. That means managing our money wisely, pricing our products and services fairly and profitably, investing in marketing, understanding the importance of copyright law, and negotiating fair contracts, as well as insuring our health, business and future. He have to think like business people, to work like entrepreneurs.

Whether we paint, take photographs or throw pots, art is our way of communicating with the world. But we haven't communicated a thing if no one sees our work. To make that connection, we have to market our work--whether we choose to do it ourselves or hire someone to do most of it for us. (There are certain things that only we can do.)

The first dozen years of my career were spent in marketing--helping companies position and promote their services. As a magazine editor, my marketing skills were far more important to the survival of the magazine than my ability to edit. As a book author, the publisher looked to me to promote my titles. And as a photographer, I don't have work unless I'm continually promoting myself to potential clients. It's just the way our world works. At a minimum, every artist should have the following marketing tools:

1. A logo and professional letterhead stationery.


2. A media kit or sales kit (depending upon the audience), which will likely include some combination of a biography, resume, artist statement, samples of your work or brochure.


3. A portfolio that showcases your best work (and only your best work). It should also feature the kind of work you want more of.


4. A website, which serves as an easily accessible online portfolio, but can also promote your latest projects, give potential customers a feel for who you are, and even sell your work online.


5. Internet portals--which are, essentially, websites run by other organizations that allow you to showcase a few pieces of your work and to provide a link to your website.


6. Blogs and social networks, while not yet essential, are rapidly becoming a popular way to connect with potential clients and to promote your work.


7. And finally, ongoing promotional mailings to potential clients--whether postcards, query letters/proposals, direct mail/email pieces or other unique promotional mailings.

Try  tackling marketing with the same creative energy you put into your work!

Build Your Own Website

If you are looking for a do-it-yourself, online website builder, there are several excellent services to choose from. These are template-based services that allow varying degrees of customization along with hosting services for a monthly or annual fee. In most cases, you'll save a good bit by paying the annual fee.

Most, but not all, of these services offer a free trial period. Take advantage of that to build a sample site, play around with design options and familiarize yourself with their tools. Some are easier to work with than others and their approaches to design vary significantly. Some offer several options--from a bare-bones website to a premium account with e-commerce options and much more. If you know HTML and XML code, you can often add much more customization to a site. But if you don't speak those languages, don't worry: These sites were designed with you in mind. Here are some of the services worth checking out:

FolioLink
SiteWelder
Big Black Bag
Visual Server
FolioSnap
Impact Folios

When you visit their sites, spend time checking out as many of the sample sites as possible. You'll quickly get a feel for the standard design elements and organizational structure as well as how much flexibility each service offers.

CMYK Creative Showcase

Another new online venue for emerging artists is the CMYK Portfolio. Produced by CMYK Magazine, this online portfolio is a creative showcase for emerging art directors, designers, photographers and illustrators--those pursuing careers in advertising, design and visual communications. It's a place creative directors, agency principals and art buyers go to recruit recent graduates of art schools and universities.

Portfolio sites like the one offered by CMYK are excellent portals for getting your work out there and seen, as well as for building traffic to your personal portfolio website.

Ugallery.com for Emerging Artists

There's a new website to help art students launch their careers. Ugallery.com is an e-commerce site featuring the work of emerging artists from universities, colleges and high schools across the U.S. They specialize in the work of artists who are either pursuing an art degree or have recently graduated with a BFA or MFA.

To maintain quality, all submitted artwork is reviewed by a panel of business art professionals: Alex Farkas, co-founder of Ugallery.com; Deborah Mosch, painting professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design; Alfred Quiroz, painting professor at the University of Arizona; and Carol Wittner, owner of Sky Fire in Jerome, AZ.

In addition to helping emerging painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers and other artists launch their careers, Ugallery.com offers reasonably priced artwork for collectors. Search by medium, genre, color, size, artist, school or price.