Saturday, November 06, 2010

I want to be alone...

I ordered new art business cards today.  I usually order cards twice a year in batches of 250 because I go through a lot by including them with sales packages, in greeting cards as well as networking.  I also randomly 'drop' them in places like restaurants, stores, etc. You just never know where your next sale will come from.

I also order new cards twice a year, as I like to reflect new work and images in the cards. These show one of the gyotaku prints that I am using of a salt cod.  It represents the printing as well as the cultural aspect here.  The cards provide my basic contact information that can be found anywhere by anyone with computer access anywhere in the world.  So why are artists so afraid to publish their contact information in blogs or on websites?  Are there documented cases of hundreds of artists being stalked and harassed by allowing access to themselves?

I find that some artists are very reticent about showing contact information online and I find that a bit puzzling. After all, if the artist cannot be contacted, how can business be done?  Whether through a virtual business card or contact information on websites, blogs or social media, information at the minimum of how to reach an individual is vital.  I look at my art as a business and if I'm in business then people need to be able to reach me.  Would you open a store and not tell anyone where it is or how to email or telephone you? 

I did a little research of my own the other day on a dozen random artist blogs.  They all showed art, most of it for sale.  On eight of those blogs I could not find an email address or in several cases not even the full name of the artist.  Five of them did not show pricing but asked those interested to email them. In some I had to really work to find information, wading through page after page before finally drilling down deep enough to find what I needed.

These artists are losing sales and viewers fast. 

If I cannot see pricing, if I have to hunt for your contact information and if you do not provide your full name, I won't be staying and won't be coming back.  The world of art is about networking and communicating with other artists and with collectors.  If they can't reach you, or you put a dozen steps in their path to find the information, you will lose opportunities and yes, you will be alone.


Billie Crain said...

It is weird that artists are so shy with their contact info online. I've had my email addy available on my blog for ages and have never been harrassed. I have received commissions via my blog, though. Makes you wonder what they're thinking, doesn't it?

Yelena Shabrova said...

I think it's a false perception of buyers that makes artists publish no or very little contact information on their web sites or printed materials. The argument that I hear repeatedly as a web designer is that if someone really likes the art, they will not terribly mind to dig for contact info and that those who are up to no good don't need to see it on every page of the web site. While the argument has some merit to it (an email can be harvested by spammers, a phone number can be used by telemarketers), there are so many other ways to easily gather your contacts that it is hardly worth the effort to hide it and to inconvenience prospective patrons. It's rare that someone is so mesmerized with a piece that they will go to any length to contact the artist, more likely they will leave frustrated and will never come again. It's not just a lost sale, it's a chance to form a relationship missed. And without a relationship, it is impossible to gain long-term patrons.

Jeanette said...

On reflection Billie, there are different levels of participation in creating art. Some do it just for pleasure, some to get some exposure, some to make a living. Perhaps that impacts how much information people are willing to share.

I agree Yelena with that false perception. Its the same as shopping in a store. How many times do we put something back on the shelf because it has no price tag on it?

I believe that the artist needs to look at the site through the eyes of the buyer and make the act of purchasing or contacting the artist as simple as it can possibly be.

And you're right, the relationship with the collector is vital.

Lori-Lee Thomas... said...

Wow! My email and website were the first two links I added to my blog! Thats crazy! Love the salt fish print by the way. I would totally hang that in my house. I've seen my fair share of them growing up. :-P

Jeanette said...

Yes, it seems the obvious thing to do Lori, but there are lots who don't and it becomes a detective game to see if you can find contact information.

I quite like how the salt fish are coming out and there is one with your name on it as a thanks for your help.

Alyson B. Stanfield said...

Jeannette: You're right on target! I've been banging this drum for years (hard to find name, difficult to contact).

Here's another one. Sometimes I go to an artist's blog and can't find art! It's not in the first couple of posts, so it disappears from the page. It's why I recommend art with every post.

Tanja Udelhofen said...

Thanks for this article! I agree and will check twice if my contact information can be found easily.

Olivia said...

Very attractive cards, sober and elegant.

Jeanette said...

Alyson, I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking this way. I just don't understand why anyone with a site or blog would not provide information and make it easily accessible.

And yes, I've seen the same kind of sites where I have to search for the art as well as the contact information. There should be a compulsory test built in to make the author see how many clicks it takes to find items before its allowed to be published. :)

Tanja, I'm glad you found it useful. If you put yourself in the shoes of the viewer or buyer, then you can easily see if your information is accessible quickly.

Thank you Olivia. I wanted the art to make the statement on the cards and it seems to work against the dark background.

Jean Spitzer said...

I too like the card design. Very nicely done.

About contact information and pricing--you are absolutely right. To sell, saying "how much" is critical, and being able to get in touch is so necessary.

Even stranger, a charity web site that doesn't make it supremely easy to donate or volunteer. Very self-defeating.