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WHY PEOPLE AREN'T BUYING ART

Almost immediately after writing and posting "Why September Matters For Artists," which I consider a reality check for creatives, I was hit with reality myself.

In that essay, I explained that artists need to get extremely busy with the marketing and promotion of their work because September is their BEST shot at selling art, free of interference from big retailers gearing up for the holiday season come October.

Well, guess what? Big name retailers are kicking off THEIR holiday season even earlier than usual. In other words ... like ... NOW.  Have you seen the TV commercials?  Worse yet, have you seen the Christmas displays at some of the stores?  Already?

This is such bad news for artists.  Well, not bad news for saavy artists who are on top of things. Actually, it's not good news for artists who consistently drop the ball - if they've even picked up the ball - when it comes to putting themselves out there and promoting their work. 

Here's the thing. The death knells are already ringing for contemporary artists. People - and when I say people, I mean anyone who isn't wealthy - are simply NOT buying art.  Here are the cold, hard punches to the gut ...

1. Apple has just introduced its new iPhone 6 and smart watch. They’re the hot items of the 2014 gift-giving season. In short, things like electronics, new cars, etc., are continuing to connect with typical consumers.  BAM!

2. 20% of all American consumers are already shopping for the holidays and 40% will be hitting the stores come October. This means that they've already written their shopping lists which probably don't include art.  POW!

3. American consumers are in HEAVY credit card debt to the tune of $28 billion this year. The National Retail Federation says that's the highest in six years. Once again, that means money is tight.  WHAM!

4. The world economy is still on shaky legs and people are holding on for dear life to the jobs they have. People barely buy art during great economic times. They certainly aren't doing it now.  UGH!

I could go on with more illustrations, but I'll stop there.

It's a bleak picture, but this doesn't stop me from promoting artists and constantly writing and talking about contemporary art and doing what I can to create new art collectors.  However, I can't help but think that something is missing here. What could it be?  Oh yeah ... 

... THE ARTISTS.

Where ARE you guys? I don't see much marketing and promotion online. Social media is FREE of charge (although that's changing). Why aren't you taking advantage of one of the most effective venues out there?  Practically all I hear from artists are complaints about lack of sales, but I don't see much action to create those sales in the first place.

How can people buy things when they have no earthly idea that they're available? This is not the fault of art dealers or galleries. This is the responsibility of artists themselves. Period. The days of merely creating things and just HOPING they will sell or attract an audience are long gone.

You must get out there and promote. Promotion is a constant, continuous, persistent, relentless exercise in undying drive and devotion to your work and more importantly, yourself.  Even mice scamper out of their holes in the wall to search for food. 

People cannot buy what they don't know about. And now, with retailers bombarding us with holiday shopping campaigns, it appears the battle has been lost.

People aren't buying art because they don't know about art. People aren't buying art because no one explains to them what it might mean to their lives. People aren't buying art because there are too many other distractions and not enough artists walking up to them and saying ....

Hello, I'm here!

Has the battle really been lost? Probably, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still swing into high gear. If you've got game, the time for your "A" game is ... NOW.  Don't wait another minute.  People aren't buying contemporary art because they don’t know any better.  Why don’t you tell and show them otherwise?

Okay art world, with all that now said, I have a suggestion.  Next year, let's get a jumpstart on the big name retailers by kicking off OUR holiday shopping promotions in August.

What?  Do you think I'm kidding?

 

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