NOTE: Michael Damico, owner of Damico Frame & Art Gallery, presented a workshop at O’More College of Design in Franklin, TN on November 4, 2016. The following was adapted from that recorded event, entitled Business Sense Q&A: How to Develop Collectors of Your Work and addresses an art career. It has been broken into five parts. This is Part 4: the first half of the Q&A portion of the workshop.
I understand your thoughts about how pricing considerations need to include cost and time, but what are your thoughts on pricing artwork by the inch?
Damico Answers: I can’t claim my formula. I had a mentor who ran a $50M printing company give me that model. Since I don’t know a lot of folks running a company with that volume of business, I have to go with what works. And obviously his formula is effective. But it’s not detailed for a reason. It can be tweaked as you go. That’s what I do with it. I adjust the formula as I go along so that it suits what I’m doing. I don’t mind per-inch pricing if you have arrived at it based on some sort of semblance to the formula I shared with you. As long as it fits that model, go for it, but start with the formula first.
An Artist Asks: Do I need an online portfolio for my artwork?
Should everyone have an online portfolio besides Instagram?
Damico: It depends on what you’re doing. If you need to market to galleries, then yes, because a digital portfolio serves as your business card. But what are your objectives? My personal online portfolio hasn’t been updated in eight years, but I haven’t needed to because all of my commissioned work comes by word of mouth. My particular style of art is entirely based on relationship building. And I find new markets every year. As I progress in my framing business, I have to figure out what it costs me to step away from the shop in order to work on these portraits, so I have to raise my prices each year to coincide with business growth.
An Artist Asks: How do I market weird pieces?
Damico Answers: Yes, absolutely.
Then do you have advice for marketing your weird pieces?
Damico Answers: Definitely: Find out who the other artists are that are working on similar pieces and work with them. Right now, for example, people are inheriting art collected by their baby boomer parents. They don’t care if it’s fine art or not. In other words, there is always a market for the so-called “weird” stuff.
An Artist Asks: How do I find collectors?
How do you find those other artists to collaborate with? Or even collectors?
Damico Answers: Just get involved! Maybe they aren’t in Nashville, but in Texas or New York. Social media is good for observing. Get on Pinterest if you don’t like social media. I personally prefer Instagram because it filters my interests so well. And that is where I have developed the biggest following, which by the way, has led to commissioned portraits too. Just give yourself time. But you won’t figure it out by sitting there wondering. You have to experiment and try some things. In fact, a must read for anyone wanting to pursue art is Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. The fundamental factor to take away from the book is: don’t be afraid to screw up.
Continue on to Part 5: Q&A part 2.