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Taking your Art Business Online – GuelphToday

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With social distancing many artists realize that now more than ever it makes sense to take their art business online. Most recently Guelph Arts Council and the Downtown Guelph Business Association hosted Guelph’s very first Art on the (Virtual) Street event whereby artists pivoted their business sales to be 100% online. Artist participant TarasLachowsky reflects on his experience as an artist vendor and noted “human to human connection is important…my advice to artists going into online sales would be to organize your artworks and have really good photographs.”

How to bridge personal connections with your customers online and having great photo documentation of your artwork is just one of many things to consider when taking your art business online.To learn more about this process, I interviewed Ken Braithwaite, Web designer/founder, Ethos Design. Ken graciously shared these insights and experiences:

1. What’s involved with taking your art business online?

Everything you do online and offline gives people an idea of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. A website connects all of these because it’s where you get to define yourself online the way you want to. It also leads people through a simple sales process. People want to buy from those they know, like, and trust. So you’ve caught their attention, engaged socially, and shown you can be trusted as a professional.

DIY                                                                                                

Results can vary depending on your website budget. If you have tech skills you could opt for a DIY option like Squarespace or WIx. Both offer affordable monthly programs but you’re limited to the site themes provided. It may be too restrictive and you may need to hire a designer after the fact.

HIRING A PRO

Hiring a designer is a good option, but can get expensive. It helps to work with someone who demonstrates they’re interested in what you’re doing, and not just trying to sell their marketing scheme. You need someone who’ll take the time to get to know you, and what you’re about. Otherwise, you could end up with something you’re not happy with.

PAYMENTS

Stripe and Square are good forms of secure payments and integrate with most platforms. Square has the added benefit of providing a mobile, in-person shop, allowing you to use your smartphone to make sales anywhere with an internet connection. Both options are free to get started, and charge a per-transaction fee around 3%.

2. How best to expand your social presence and market your wares/services.

DIY

YouTube videos provide ideas for social media platforms. You don’t have to be great at every platform, just focus on two or three that suit your business. Some can be monetized. For example: if you started your own YouTube channel teaching people how to draw, the potential exists to earn additional passive income if your content is consistent and popular.

HIRING A PRO

If you someone to manage your social media, make sure they take the time to reflect your voice and spread your message. If someone says they’ll make three posts a week on one platform, I wouldn’t see that as a good plan. Trading time for money limits everyone’s potential. Social media is fluid and spontaneous. You’ll likely end up doing the commenting and messaging yourself anyway. That said, there are people who do this right and know how to make it work.

3. How to choose social media channels for your business/type of art.

Definitely instagram as a social hub – especially if you’re doing some kind of visual art. Post with purpose. If you’re able to teach people the tricks of your trade, YouTube and TikTok are great. TikTok has short educational videos with personal stories, and they’re super engaging.

The key is learning who your audience is, where they are, and then engage with them. Listen to what they say. Provide the type of content they want.

4. What ways can you suggest to engage with audiences and potential buyers?

Spend time growing your social networks. Focus more on giving than getting. Add new people and actually engage with them. Likes are the lowest form of engagement. Share and comment on their posts. Get to know people. They’d rather buy from someone they know, like, and trust.

5. Sales

You need to sell things to stay in business. To Sell is Human, by Daniel Pink, is a good sales book, helping you communicate key information without giving off that ‘sales-y’ vibe. Your online presence is about clear and consistent communication. What you say, matters equally as how you say it. Know who you’re talking to, and what they need to hear, and you’ll be on the right path.

Ken Braithwaite can be contacted at ethosdesign.ca, instagram: @ethosdco.

The Guelph Arts Council, and 2H Media are co-hosting a workshop to help introduce you to selling your art online.

2H Media’s Introductory E-Commerce workshop takes place on Thursday, August 13, from 10:00am to 12:30pm. GAC members will receive a promo-code to attend the work at no cost. Please email programs@guelpharts.ca to receive your GAC membership promo code.

For more information please click here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/introduction-to-ecommerce-presented-in-partnership-with-guelph-arts-council-tickets-113701889412

Presenters information found here:

Additional Resources for Taking Your Art Business Online
Guelph Chamber of Commerce Directory
Guelph Business Centre

This Content is made possible by our Sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

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Aurora Art show returns to in-person event – paNOW

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“I thought this is what I have to do,” she said.

Made from stainless steel and acrylics, as well as recycled products, each kaleidoscope is aptly named for its uniqueness. Pointing to one piece that took her eight hours to create, Joelson acknowledged taking on this artistic challenge was not simple.

“I went and took some lessons and I do a lot of experimenting on my own,” she explained.

Joelson’s daughter, Jodi, is among the other artists. Like her mother, she appreciates the in-person contact.

“Primarily I engage over Instagram and online and it’s nice to see people in person and actually describe your piece a bit and see their in-person reaction,” she said.

Some of Jodi’s pieces are inspired in part by a magazine she may have seen, while others by an image from a dream. She admits to often waking up and grabbing her ipad to begin work on her next piece.

“The amount of unfinished projects I have compared to the finished ones is like three times,” she said.

Mary McLeod’s work includes paintings and alcohol ink. One specific piece named “Ruby” almost appears to jump out at the viewer.

“You never know with alcohol ink what it’s gonna do. It takes on a life of it’s own,” she said.

McLeod recalled how, prior to COVID, the event was catered and held on the main floor of the Mann Art Gallery, which also offered free parking for both visitors and the artists. In between showing their pieces this week, each of the artists has been forced to ensure their meter has not run out.

“So you now we are all just adapting with COVID,” McLeod said.

The show wraps up Saturday afternoon ar 4 p.m.

nigel.maxwell@pattisonmedia.com

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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Haida Gwaii's All Islands' Art Show showcases works – Prince Rupert Northern View – The Northern View

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The All Islands’ Art Show is back at the Haida Gwaii Museum and is open to visitors until June 10.

More than 60 submissions were received, Jamie McDonald, coordinator and curator, said on May 26. In the six years that she has been coordinator, the show typically has received between 60 and 85 pieces.

A mix of both new and established artists is part of the show.

Anna Socha contributed an acrylic painting as her first-ever submission to the All Islands’ Art Show, and it was the first piece to sell.

Two fibre artists, Michelle Scott and Erin Harris, submitted knitted pieces inspired by the same book, How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior. Scott, the circulation supervisor at the Queen Charlotte library, made a “sea cozy,” tea cozy in the shape of a sea star. Then she passed the book onto Harris, who knit an ocean bed on a round piece of canvas.

A professional photographer presented a woven piece, and a collage artist did embroidery on fabric.

“It was nice to see there were a few artists that branched out, that presented a piece in a different medium than what they’re a professional artist in,” McDonald said.

The show opened on April 29, and more than 95 people attended.

Artists had the option to have their piece adjudicated by Andrew McDermott, past president of the Federation of Canadian Artists. He also offered a workshop on pastel techniques to a group on April 30.

There is also a virtual version of the show that had over 600 views at the time of writing this article.

If you are a resident of Haida Gwaii, you can attend the show for free.

READ MORE: Arts council returns to in-person events


 
Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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"The Future of Things Passed" celebrates contemporary Armenian art – Armenian Weekly

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Collectors Preview of The Future of Things Passed (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

NEW YORK, NY—The future of the Armenian community was on display at the opening reception of “The Future of Things Passed” exhibition in Manhattan on May 19th.

The exhibition features celebrated women artists of Armenian descent Eozen Agopian, Melissa Dadourian, Linda Ganjian and Judith Simonian. It is the first developed by the Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice, co-founded by Christopher Atamian and Tamar Hovsepian. Part of the proceeds from art sales at the exhibition will be donated to the New York Armenian Students’ Association Scholarship Fund.

Eozen Agopian, Christopher Atamian, Judith Simonian and Tamar Hovsepian (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

Atamian and Hovsepian launched the practice to promote representation of contemporary artists from marginalized backgrounds.

“We identified that we want to show marginalized groups—Armenian, women, LGBTQ+, people of color,” Hovsepian told the Armenian Weekly.

Hovsepian has previously worked with all of the artists featured in “The Future of Things Passed” in former galleries she has curated. She laments that while artists like Simonian, who gained renown within the downtown Los Angeles art scene of the 1980s, are internationally acclaimed, they are not as well known among Armenians. Through her joint curatorship with Atamian, she hopes to educate and cultivate a new generation of Armenian art collectors. 

“Larry Gagosian is one of the wealthiest, most famous art dealers, and he doesn’t have a single Armenian artist that he represents,” she offered as an example of the absence of support for contemporary Armenian art. “Why is there not a single art gallery in Chelsea that shows Armenian artists?”

Contemporary Armenian artists lack visibility both within the Armenian community and the broader contemporary art world, according to Hovsepian. She recalled the “Armenia!” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which displayed the artistic achievements of Armenian people up until the 17th century. 

“You can’t title an exhibition ‘Armenia!’ and stop and then not talk about what’s happening now. Where is the contemporary Armenian art?” Hovsepian asked. “Outside of Arshile Gorky, who do we have at the Museum of Modern Art?”

“The Future of Things Passed” explores how art can “deconstruct and uncover elements of the past through sense memory and found objects, while making lasting statements through these interpretations,” as stated in an essay presented to visitors at the gallery door. The orientation of the gallery toward the future is inspired by Armenian Futurism, defined by Sylvia Alajaji as “a realm in which re-imaginings and re-claimings of queer and otherwise marginalized Armenian pasts give way to futures of possibility and wonder.”

Atamian says that Armenian Futurism, theorized by artists like Kamee Abrahamian, Mashinka Firunts Hakopian and Hrag Vartanian, can inspire creativity and visionary thinking beyond pain and hardship. 

“How do we create an inclusive vibrant forward-thinking Armenian community that thinks about its future and being progressive and being at the cutting edge?” Atamian posed. 

Atamian, a celebrated writer, editor and translator, noted how the artwork on display repurposes memories and found objects from the past. For instance, Ganjian’s series “Map of Her Prayers, No. 1-6,” incorporates inscriptions from a prayer book her grandmother carried with her through Der Zor during the Armenian Genocide. 

Map of Her Prayers #5 by Linda Ganjian (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

“How do you take something from the past and make something beautiful that’s forward thinking and that people want to collect?” Atamian said of the impact of Ganjian’s artwork.

Atamian believes that Armenians should support contemporary Armenian artwork, not only because it is beautiful, but also because it can promote Armenian political causes, such as Armenian Genocide recognition and the peaceful resolution of the Artsakh conflict, by generating an emotional investment in these issues. 

“People need to know who Armenians are,” Atamian said. “Americans and people in Europe don’t have a gut reaction to it, because they don’t know about it. If you have a piece of art or a book that is Armenian, you have an emotional connection rather than just a policy paper.”

K Sherbetdjian attended the opening reception and was struck by the emotional intensity of Ganjian’s artwork. 

“I’m looking at each individual component, and I’m wondering what the story is behind it and what the significance is for the artist, and then also what the significance is for me. The text that’s incorporated is in Armenian. I don’t speak Armenian. I just wonder what the passages are. It looks like there’s doorbells. I’m wondering if that is a signal to God or a signal for help. I like pieces where there’s a lot to think about,” Sherbetdjian reflected on “Map of Her Prayers.” 

As an artist, Caroline Gates recognized her own art studio within Studio Ballou, a painting of an art studio by Simonian. Gates wandered into “The Future of Things Passed” after a painting by Simonian near the door caught her eye. 

“Even in the abstraction you can hold onto something concrete. It does a really good job of taking us back through spaces that are familiar, but we could see it through every lens of the different times that we were there,” Gates said while studying Studio Ballou. “I feel very placed. I could stare at this forever.”

Studio Ballou by Judith Simonian (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

Atamian and Hovsepian plan to continue curating exhibitions to place artwork by artists from marginalized backgrounds within institutions like museums and galleries. They hope Armenians will support their fellow artists by collecting contemporary art. 

“This is as beautiful as the art you find in any museum and community, so why not represent it?” Atamian posed. 

“The Future of Things Passed” will be on display until May 29, 2022 from 11 A.M.-7 P.M. on the ground floor of 138 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian’s first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.

Lillian Avedian

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