Everyone is welcome to join the Leavenworth County Artists’ Association for their April meeting at 7 p.m. April 10 at the Heritage Center. The program will be given by Vanessa Lacy, owner of the Vanessa Lacy Gallery. Her gallery is located on the ground floor of the Kansas City Livestock and Exchange Building in the West Bottoms.
She will speak about her art career and gallery. She will give tips on how to improve your applications to galleries. Vanessa will also explain how to nurture and grow your personal following with email and social media and how to do pragmatic pricing with your own art.
For those who attend, you may also get access to a 50 percent discount code to save cash when applying to her gallery for open calls. This should be an excellent opportunity for local artists to visit with a successful artist in the Kansas City region and to ask questions.
The means by which we market our art keeps changing as social media keeps changing. In the past, I suppose that you had to be associated with a gallery to sell or you had to already have developed a reputation and following so that people would want to collect your art.
Today, galleries are still important, but people can show their work on the various forms of social media which get out images of your work to that part of the world with which you are linked.
What I find strange about marketing art is that success does not entirely seem to be associated with how well you do your art, at least if compared to what I would call traditional norms. At times, it seems that the value of a piece of art is determined by what the potential buyer perceives as being a piece worth having.
If a buyer thinks that your work really touches them and they would like to use some space on their walls or in their house, then they may be willing to pay for your art. Or if they think that your art has the potential to increase in value, they may buy it for the investment whether it was a pretty painting or not.
Art is strange that way. Someone with a really catchy or cute name may be able to sell art just because of the name attached to the piece so that the owner can claim that they own one of those pieces. There are art museums filled with pieces of art done by un-schooled or self-taught artists whose pieces have crazy values, even though you could see that some of those pieces look like they were done by someone with no art training.
I visited one of those art museums in the Appalachians years ago and was astounded by what they were collecting as highly valued art simply because it was done by folks who taught themselves way back in the mountains. I have done carvings that I feel were better pieces than what I saw in the museum, but I do not have the mountain background nor have I lived in poverty like they did, so my work would never be collected and valued like what I saw in that region.
Art is a strange world. The rules do not seem to make much sense if one of the means of measurement is what I might consider to be good art, but Vanessa Lacy will be at the next meeting to discuss some of those topics and explain how to market your art.
Matt Nowak is a retired natural resources specialist and lives in Lansing.