Hello Joanna, thank you for taking the time to share some insight into your life as a professional artist. Can we start by asking you to introduce yourself and your art?
Hi! I am Joanna, I am a London based painter who seeks inspiration from cities. I am particularly interested in graffiti and urban art and how it relates to a moment within the city and the architecture it is on. I love the way that buildings and structures become an artist landscape or graffscape. I look to capture atmosphere, city life and urban expression within my paintings.
Can you tell us about the methods you have used in the past to promote and sell your art – both online and offline?
I have been avidly using Instagram for over a year now and feel this has surpassed the likes of Facebook and Twitter. It makes perfect sense to promote my art through a visual platform like Instagram. This, coupled with the importance of hashtags has allowed me to not only promote my art but also discover, follow and interact with other artists and galleries which is what it is all about.
My website is incredibly important and being a WordPress site, I can update it myself and have recently been listed as one of the top 50 Contemporary art blogs to follow.
I am also on LinkedIn which is not traditionally an artist platform but there are many forums relating to art that I actively participate in – any interaction raises my brand profile and builds awareness, plus I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and insights with like-minded people.
Being a member of art specific groups which have resources that aid promotion. Axisweb help artists promote their works by giving them a profile within their network and Be Smart About Art have monthly networking events where you can meet gallerists and other artists which is so important.
Artsy is an interesting platform but you must be represented by a gallery to be included in it. Saatchiart you can self-represent so could be an avenue to pursue. I have a couple of paintings on there but need to add more to assess the productivity of it. I have also set up an online gallery called Concrete Gallery and will be exploring avenues with this during the 2nd half of 2017.
In addition to networking events, other offline marketing primarily is in the form of art fairs and exhibitions – I am part of an artist co-operative called Espacio Gallery in Shoreditch. I also have an agent that specialises in art rentals for offices and am the resident artist for a design and build company that does office fit outs and refurbs.
Which methods have you found to be the most effective in finding and connecting with potential buyers?
It’s hard to pin point which method is the most effective as I believe that everything I do is always attracting me to potential buyers and raising my brand awareness. Like I said before though, I genuinely believe Instagram is a no-brainer when it comes to connecting with potential buyers. But people buy into people and their personality which is why it is important to get out there, mix with the right people and always have business cards on me!
We are particularly impressed by your commissions from large companies such as House of Fraser, the NHS and American Express. Can you tell us a bit about how these opportunities came about?
I was approached by a construction company who built various flagship stores including House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer and B&Q. They wanted to present their clients with a painting that represented the building and I was asked to create a body of work celebrating the flagship stores and the brand within the stores. It was this commission that started my appreciation of architecture and it has been within me since.
How important do you think your website and social media profiles are to both promoting and selling your art and also to building connections with potential buyers?
Very important! It is tough to dedicate time to all the channels I have and I do have my preferences to which ones I update more than others. You can be the best artist in the world, but unless people know about you how are they going to purchase from you?
What advice would you give to other artists that need help to promote and sell their art? Should they focus their efforts on online marketing or are the traditional methods such as approaching galleries still as important?
Blend both on and offline activity. Go to suitable galleries, introduce yourself and follow them on Instagram. Interact with gallery managers when you meet them in person and comment on their posts. A ‘like’ results in a number… A comment is communication and the start of a dialogue.
Show me an artist that doesn’t want a gallery to represent them. With gallery representation, you can focus on the art and they can focus on promoting you. It’s the dream. But the reality is there are too few galleries, and the increase in online platforms like Saatchiart and Instagram mean that artists can self-represent.
Finally, can you tell us what you’re working on at the moment and any details of upcoming exhibitions?
I am just finishing some paintings for a show in July called ‘Walk | Don’t Walk’ inspired by a recent trip to Art Basel in Miami. This will be at a gallery in Old Street. I also have a show in October ‘Edge of Ordinary #6’ at Espacio Gallery. I hope to exhibit with the Red Arrow Gallery in Art Miami this year plus I have just been accepted at Chelsea College of Arts to do an MA in Fine Art which starts in October.
Oh, and some more painting and marketing 🙂