How you present your two or three dimensional art speaks volumes about how you feel about your own art product.
Creating your art is just the start in marketing your art. Presenting your art is like adding the icing on the cake. It is taking the next step and presenting your art product with the same care and creativity that you used in creating it.
It should come as no surprise that there are entire industries devoted to understanding how visual appeal affects the buying habits of the public. All businesses utilize these findings in a number of ways, from creating the packaging of their product to the displays that they use. What is surprising is how many artists do not recognize the importance of utilizing the same research to enhance the visual experience of the very art they have worked so hard to create!
There is a very real gap between the real world of art marketing and theory of art marketing. Most artists have been exposed to the theory aspect of art marketing, not the facts, which is unfortunate, because just a few changes in their approach to presenting their art could make a huge difference in their sales!
It is a fact that by properly displaying and presenting your art, you are creating added value to the piece itself. Ask any Master Chef, Gardner or musician. Ask any major retailer. A lot of thought and effort goes into creating the visual atmosphere that makes the art that much more appealing to an already interested audience.
So what IS Proper presentation and display of your art? In two dimensional art, it is the framing that an artist creates or selects to visually enhance the art piece. In three dimensional art, it is the display setting of the art piece.
In two dimensional art, the basic concept for the proper framing of your art product (and that includes photography) is simple. Your framing should enhance the colors and feel of the art image by pulling those same features outwards. If matting is used, it needs to pick up the same colors used within the artwork and those same colors and textures need to continue with the molding used for the frame. Stark white mats, common with photographers, trick the viewers eye and upon looking away, all they see is the bright white of the mat. Use selective color to enhance your photos.
If no matting is used in the piece, then the frame needs to replicate the colors and texture of the art piece.
Glass covered art needs to have non reflective glass so that the art can be seen by the viewer without glare. All the framed pieces need a sturdy way to display the piece on a wall.
For very large pieces of art, where a frame may be impractical, an artist should always use gallery wrapped canvases (NO staples on the side) and continue the art around all four sides.
If you create commissioned art and are presenting it to the client for the first time, always show it in a frame. Have the frame available for purchase, but always show it in its best possible light. Use your “good” easel for the presentation. There is a reason for the popularity of the “unveiling.” It is part of the atmosphere of suspense and showmanship and is designed to add the WOW factor. Use it creatively with your own clients.
Proper presentation is subtle. Your framing should enhance, not overwhelm the art piece.
With three dimensional art, an artist must be creative with the means to properly display the piece to its best advantage. A beautiful pedestal stand that can rotate is best but setting a piece on a stationary stand that can easily be walked around will work. Pottery benefits from the same ideas as sculpture.
The “unveiling” is a good use of suspense here as well. Depending on your art sculpture, lighting the piece to emphasize texture, form or colors is also part of the presentation.
Artfully arranged drapery also offers a wonderful visual effect. Jewelry stores are usually experts in creative displays and the artist who creates and designs jewelry should study the techniques. The brilliance of gold and silver is one reason many stores set their pieces on solid black velvet and turn up the lights in jewelry cases.
Be subtle but creative in your presentation. Nothing you use should overwhelm your art piece. Whether you are at a show, or in your studio or at a client’s home, use presentation to add value to an already valuable piece of art. Have your client give you a few moments alone to set up your mini unveiling. Have a place in your studio where you showcase your best piece to share with the walk in client. Always have frames ready and available or a framer who can accommodate your client when working with two dimensional art.
Too many artists groan about costs but in reality, there are many cost effective and creative ways to beautifully display and present your art. Use canvases or mats that can be ready made. Locate framers who can work discounts for you. Wait for the big catalog sales. Incorporate the costs of frames into what your clients invest in your art, whether they want the frame or not. That helps you build a supply of frames which you have found compliment your style.
In the real world of marketing your own art, presentation of your art is a key element! Spend a little time, effort and money initially and you will begin to see a big return on your investment!