Besides crappy art, what is the first thing you think of when you think of things hanging on the walls of a doctor’s office? Did you think of the graduation certificates of universities and hospitals? What do you think they are there for?
They are there to instill confidence. That is what consumers of products and services want most. And like those medical certificates that hang in nearly all medical and dental offices, artists would benefit from advertising their professional strengths to potential customers as well. But how can you do that?
I was startled to see how little “proof of professionalism” there was in the artist studios I visited during Vancouver’s fabulous East Side Culture Crawl. I suppose if I had spent more time with the artists, some professional documentation might have been shared with me, but I believe in being proactive.
A wall display, a beautifully done book or portfolio or a video are some of the ways that you can make your professional achievements visible to visitors to your studio. One wonderful example of this was a studio wall full of photos of people standing in their homes with the artist’s work hanging beside them. It was a confidence-inducing display.
There are so many ways you can communicate your professionalism. It is something you should consider because the art buying public is not stupid. Art buyers, in general, have a higher level of education than the population at large. They know that anyone can call themself an artist and they want to have confidence in the artist they support, so be sure to have a way to deliver it in a thoughtful, tidy and impressive way.
More than many commodities, consumers often do not feel adequate to know what is “good” or “bad” art. They value the opinion of others and that opinion can be provided by the information you select to prove your professionalism (sales, commissions, exhibitions, collections, training, degrees, etc). Make it simple, beautiful and clear.