Sunday, August 23, 2009

Art as Business: Commissions II

Sometimes I feel like I am in a boxing fight. I start out a bit lucky – “ PANG POUF” – two lucky blows. Then I’m so happy about it that that I do nothing – and I get some beating (wasn’t I starting to win this fight?). Ok – I change strategy: I think, I analyse my opponent, figure out a better approach – and yes I get in a hit “POUF”. This makes me so pleased that I start punching without any afterthoughts. Which of course gives no results and just makes me tired. I take two steps back and try to remember what it was that worked just before – and back into the fight again...

Luckily I don’t give up easy and I can take a lot of beating!

In 2007 when I realized I was not getting any more requests for monumental paintings I had a suspicion that marketing might be what I needed, but also that learning new techniques suitable for art in public places could be helpful. I had already taken a course in enamel, but it is a very expensive material and a course wasn’t enough to make you feel like you mastered the technique. I applied for money from a foundation to finance buying some starting material, workshop costs to experiment and to make samples - and to finance printed materials for marketing. I was granted the money.

Back to “Start where you are”
This doesn’t just mean start from the beginning, but start looking in your close vicinity. I realized that maybe I should go for the small fishes (and work my way up) instead of only the big ones. I should try to catch those who didn’t even know they wanted to commission art and I should start just where I was (this was in 2007). I had noticed that my own tenant owner’s association had started some work to improve the entrances – so I contacted the board. I explained I was an artist and that art might be just what we needed in order to add that little extra. I offered to make a suggestion (sketch loosely on an idea) FOR FREE. No strings attached.

I got the commission to make a series of enamels for the 11 entrances!

I went to London and came back. I had my marketing material printed (folder) – and send it to many tenant owner’s associations. Nothing Nada. Dead end. I had forgotten the “start where you are”-principle.

Ok – I tried a different approach. I talked to everyone around me and tried to find contacts closer, where I had a chance to get heard. Because this is it: You need someone to talk for you to be given the chance to make an impression. Personal introduction (or recommendations) is everything. It doesn’t matter how good you are if no one gives you the chance to prove it.

With this strategy I have started to get in some (minor) hits – and this is where I am right now. Not to get too pleased with myself (loosing concentration!) - I have to develop my fighting skills further.

Join me next Sunday Night for round 4 - and learn my new strategies TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
Sorry – should of course be: STRATEGIES TO GET MORE COMMISSIONS.

read next post >>


aimee said...

funny and informative - i'm really enjoying this series!

Veja cecilia said...

Du skriver så underhållande och välformulerat, och jag bara suger i mig informationen!

Muriel said...

You're a super hero yourself!

●• Thereza said...

i'm really enjoying this series :) tou put it in such a fun way!
love the pouf! bit hehehehe

Anairam said...

I am really enjoying this series, Alexandra - even though I am not an artist, I think what you say actually has a broader application to everyone who does freelance work. Oh, networking is everything - I have seen it in my own freelance career (as proofreader) - problem is, networking just doesn't come naturally to me! I am a bit of a hermit/loner, so it is difficult!

marie-louise said...

Åh, Alexandra,
vad mycket man får att tänka på här!
(fast jag hinner inte läsa igenom allt och så är jag ju lite vissen på engelska)
Men du är på gång - det är skitbra!

Lotte said...

It´s super nice reading Alex...Like these Sunday series :)))

mia said...

am so enjoying this Sunday series, I can totally identify with what you are saying.

Marchi Wierson said...

really great!!

Alexandra Hedberg said...

Thank you for your encouraging words. I thought about it not once, not twice, but many times before I decided to start this series.

I hope I can continue to live up to your expectations!

Kitty Kilian said...

Yikes, networking.. I have come to this series late so I hope you will write about HOW you do such horrible things as talking about your art with everyone.. ()Until they all really hate you)