The idiom or aphorism “God is in the details” expresses the idea that whatever you do you should do it thoroughly and completely. I like to think of such thoroughness as “leaving no stone unturned,” that is, let no detail –no matter how small — go unexamined. And, yes, for any artist “it’s the little things that count” when it comes to establishing relationships with collectors. Those are some of the things that I took away from my conversations with the art collector and entrepreneur Dean Cameron and artist Rush Cole. Yet, surprisingly enough, neither could seem to recall specific moments or words, just that they began to talk, kept the conversation going and art entered into private art collections.
“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult.” Hippocrates
Dean Cameron says, “I love it when an artist shares their truth about their artwork and even what it means to be an artist (the struggle is real). I enjoy getting to know them personally and not just their pedigree. There is a lot of very beautiful artwork out there and visual attraction can sure get the conversation started, but what usually prompts me to purchase is when I have developed a relationship with that artist. Nearly every painting we own has a story of some type.”
Dean recalls a relationship with an artist that started as a chance meeting at a printer. “The Artists name was d l’Aigle. He was having printing done as well and he and I struck up a conversation. In a very similar fashion he and I became friends, as well as me becoming his publisher. I helped him sell numerous prints and originals. Sadly we lost d’lAigle a couple of years ago. Pam and I own 3 originals. If there is a single key…say hi and strike up a conversation. Even just say hello!”
Rush Cole’s words remind me of the importance of starting the conversation. No need to wait until you have the perfect elevator speech or business card. (Don’t make excuses, or justify not taking action). We are all human. Others may not remember the exact words or moment you first spoke, but they will remember that you connected with them. Get the conversation started and keep it natural. Have lots of conversation too!
Last year, an Artist Marketing Resources article (read it here ) featured some of the many art projects of Dean Cameron, including mention of his private art collection of over 200 paintings and numerous prints. In a more recent conversation, Dean said–“I am privileged to have made many artist friends (some I have had professional relationships with as well). In many cases I have tried to help artists build relationships through networking without contractual binds as well. Funny thing I have always believed in the cheesy “what goes around comes around” philosophy. Of the over 200 paintings Pam and I own a good 50% are from artist friends. I tell many, that most successful artists sell a lot of work BECAUSE of the Internet. It’s about building relationships and trust in your brand. People buy online when they trust the quality of work or the merchant that is selling it.”
Even Dean Cameron’s online gallery, Flootie, is set up to make connections with each of the artists there. Rush Cole is a Flootie artist member and you can review her portfolio here.