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Friday 29th November 2013Inspiration for Your Gallereo Blog

One of the best tools for your Gallereo page is the blog feature. You've probably heard us urging you on to use it, but perhaps you're holding back for some reason. Not every artist takes to writing, and some truly hate it, but a well-written blog really can make the difference between making a few sales and more dynamic success. One of the most common problems non-writers struggle with when starting out, though, is what to write about. Hopefully, this post will inspire you to take your blog out there and turn it into a fun, exciting project that stops being a chore and starts being a great tool for your art sales.

The most important thing to do with your blog is to write about things that interest you. Even if you're not the best writer in the world, your readers will be able to tell that you care about the things you're posting about, and it will resonate with them and they'll want to come back. Passion helps your natural 'voice' to come out in your words, and you'll see the benefits of it almost instantly, as you grow to enjoy it.

You've probably already embraced the art world fully into your life - most artists don't work in a vacuum, they live and breathe art even if they have to deal with a day job. When you're on the net or out in your hometown, keep an eye out for things that inspire you. Listen to what speaks to you, and use that as the kernel for a post. It doesn't have to be a thousand word essay on the relative merits of modern expressionism (although kudos if that's what inspires you) - even a simple image can reach out and touch people.

If that doesn't work for you, or you've already tried it, remember to talk about you. While you don't want every post to be about you or your artwork, it is your blog and you should be using it to inform your readers about what's happening. Are you excited about a piece you just finished? Share that excitement with us. Are you struggling with a piece that's been in your studio for months that just won't end? Tell us about it, and maybe your readers will provide you with the inspiration and encouragement you need to finish it up.

Above all else, make your blog reflect who you are as an artist. If you're not sure who that is, exactly, then try using your blog as a tool to help you figure it out. What would you want to post? What would you want to read about? What do you see that makes you want to turn to the person next to you to share it with them? That's what your blog should be about. Enjoy!

Posted on November 29th 2013 on 10:56pm
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Tuesday 26th November 2013Don't Fall Prey to These Old Refrains

Every artist, without exception, has chosen to go into art because it's what they love to do. Nobody wakes up one day and says to themselves, 'Well, time to quit my job and become an artist to make some real cash!' We've all arrived where we are because its what we really want to be doing. That being said, we all have times when we find ourselves in the creative doldrums, not producing anything and not quite sure how we got so stuck. If that's where you find yourself, take a good honest look at what's holding you back, and see if you're unconsciously using any of these common artist's excuses for not doing what you love.

"I'm just not inspired!" is probably the most common one, and we've definitely all felt this way at one time or another. We recently posted an article about some ideas on how to deal with creative burnout, so be sure to check that out. Beyond that, though, there are some decent structures you can use to start generating ideas. Immerse yourself in the art world, find something you're passionate about, and try your hand at it. Use random input from the world. Most importantly, stop telling yourself you have no inspiration and just start doing SOMETHING. Anything. Once you unblock the logjam, your natural creativity will reassert itself.

"I can't find enough time to work on my projects!" is another equally common excuse for not creating, and it has an extremely simple answer: make time. Work, family, and life in general get in the way, but in the end we always make time for the things that we really want to do. Prioritise your artistic time more highly, whether it's on solid afternoon in the studio every week or even only half an hour every day. If it's truly important to you, you'll make it happen.

"Nobody likes my work!' is an excuse that can often lead to others. As artists, most of us are naturally sensitive, and even those of us who aren't easily offended can still be cast down by negative feedback (or even a lack of constant positive feedback). There are a couple of ways to handle this: change your work (not recommended), use it as motivation to excel (better), or join a group dedicated towards constructive critiques (best). A critique group will help you deal with almost all of these excuses, and keep you on track and producing the work you love.

Posted on November 26th 2013 on 05:37pm
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Friday 22nd November 2013How to Stand Out from the Pack

One of the things that staggers most artists who are getting their start in online art sales is the sheer overwhelming number of other artists who are already out there creating. We all react in different ways - some shrink away from the idea, some don't care, and some view it as a challenge. No matter how you handle it, however, there are some great ways to make yourself stand out from the pack that modern digital art sales has become.

We've covered a lot of tips about how to actually get eyes on your work already - so be sure to check out those posts if you haven't already. We cover some great tips on SEO for artists, specifically related to your Gallereo page, how to leverage social networking and your Gallereo blog to create a fanbase, and other essentials for the digital age. But standing out in a crowd is more than just getting people to look at your work - it truly comes from two main elements, and they both start with embracing art completely and utterly into your life. So if you haven't done that, go for it - we'll wait.

Probably the most important thing that will help you stand out (and further develop your own artistic sensibilities at the same time) is living, breathing and eating art every day. If 'artist' isn't your day job, it can be a bit more difficult, but it's absolutely essential that you immerse yourself in the art world. Getting a sense of what else is out there, what's contemporary, what's reactionary, and what's innovative - no matter what your style or medium or sensibility is - will help you figure out where you want to go and how you can differentiate yourself from everyone else.

Equally important is to not be intimidated by the flood of work that some artists post online. Instead of posting every single piece that you do, ensure that you're showing only your very best work that represents who you are as an artist. Figure out what it is that makes you different, or even what it is you want to make you different, and highlight that aspect of your work. You'll find that your own uniquely individual style will start to emerge, the more you start to embrace both the art world as a whole and your own personal desires.

Posted on November 22nd 2013 on 07:43pm
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Labels: , artists, tips

Wednesday 20th November 2013Tips for Overcoming Creative Burnout

Creative burnout is the dreaded spectre that hides somewhere in the back of every artist's mind, and every once in a while climbs out to scare the living daylights out of us. All of us have felt it at one time or another, and coped with varying degrees of success. Sometimes, we really do just need a break - but other times, that's simply not an option. Fortunately, with a bit of careful thought, it's possible to overcome it with a minimum of fuss and get back into the the spirit of doing what we love: creating.

Creative burnout can come from a number of different sources, but in almost every case, the ways of coping with it are similar. It all starts without finding out just what's troubling you. Creative blocks are almost always directly attributable to something, even if it's just that you've been in the studio for 20 hours a day for the last week (actually, that one's pretty obvious - get more sleep). Take a break, do something completely unrelated to your art, and come back later with a clearer head.

In many cases, that's not an option, unfortunately. If you find yourself constantly coming up empty in the inspiration department, try reaching out to other artists. Many artists are introverts, and that makes us a bit more shy about reaching out to other artists, but not only can they be incredibly inspiring, sometimes it's also nice to realize that you're not the only one who's had a creative burnout period - and they may have some other advice on ways to overcome it.

While we all love to sell our work, a constant focus on artwork that will sell can seriously impact our creative inspiration. Don't ignore the monetary side of things, because 'starving artist' shouldn't have to be your lifestyle, but don't overemphasize it. Consider dividing your creative time into two streams, one that is purely self-expression and another that is intended to bring home the bacon.

No matter how you wind up dealing with your burnout - and this is by no means an exhaustive list, just a starting place - remember that perseverance is the key to overcoming any kind of creative problem. You won't get anywhere by not trying. Trying using your frustration as a tool to inspire you, and you may find that your creative block becomes your most useful creative asset.

Posted on November 20th 2013 on 08:01pm
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Labels: inspiration, tips

Friday 15th November 2013Choosing Your Portfolio Pieces for Gallereo

No matter what type of artist you are or where you choose to exhibit your work, the single most important choice you have to make is which pieces to include in your portfolio. Selecting the work to include on your Gallereo page is almost important (if not more), because the body of work you choose to show potential customers will have a direct impact on their opinion of you and your body of work as whole, and so whether or not they want to buy one of your pieces.

Naturally, you're going to struggle with it. That's ok - it's a testament to your emotional connection to your work that you have a hard time sorting out what to include. Fortunately, Gallereo is almost infinitely flexible in the way you choose to organise your personal page. This allows you to categorise your work into various distinct bodies, which can be very useful if you've experimented with different types of media or with different styles within media. If you tend to find yourself working in series', then you've almost got a built-in categorisation system. The same applies if your style has evolved over time but you still want to sell some of your older work.

When it comes to selecting the pieces you want to show, remember that you obviously want to include the best of the best on the first page people see. While you have the option of including every single piece of work you've ever done, they're not likely to all show off your talents equally. It can be agonizing to make decisions about which pieces make the cut and which don't, but it's always worth it as it helps you to prioritise which pieces you feel are your best work. But beyond that, do you really have to choose which is "best"?

If you've already got a portfolio pre-Gallereo, think about the choices you made when you were selecting. Do the pieces still represent your style? Do they still represent your talent level? Do they still accurately represent that most-elusive thing, your artistic self-expression? You'll probably want to go back and include some additional pieces, and leave of the current ones out, but that's ok.

The important thing to remember is not to fall for the temptation to include everything you've ever done. You may think, 'Oh, well, it's all digital, I don't have to worry about space constraints!' - and you're right, but you do have to worry about the attention span of your audience. When another artist website is only a few clicks away, you have to make sure that you're captivating your audience or they're just going to wind up somewhere else - and showing 500 of your pieces on the front page is more likely to push them away than pull them in.

So plan carefully, and put your best foot forwards. Give viewers the chance to dig in deeper to your work if they want to, but pick the best of the best to put on your front page as a showcase of your range of abilities.

Posted on November 15th 2013 on 09:03pm
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Labels: portfolio, tips

Wednesday 13th November 2013Tweak Your Artist Bio To Draw In Buyers

One of the most dreaded aspects of preparing a portfolio and setting up your Gallereo page for many artists is when it finally comes time to write your artist bio page. As many visual artists aren't nearly as comfortable with the written word as they are their own medium of choice, it can become a daunting proposition, and many artists wind up selling themselves short with either a poorly-written bio or simply not including information that people find interesting. Fortunately, we're here to give you some tips and pointers that will help ensure that your bio page shines just as much as your favourite masterpiece.

First of all, let's go over the typical and boring factual stuff. Now before you all groan, there's a good reason that this stuff is typical - people tend to want to know it, and they may even wonder at your reasoning if you decide not to include it. This includes things like any formal art school training you've had, how many years you've been working in your chosen medium, any gallery shows you may have had, awards you've won, and juried competitions you've won.

However, as any good artist knows, the most technically-excellent work is worthless if it doesn't have any flair or style that makes it appealing. Savour is what makes life worth living, and since this bio is all about your artistic life, you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't include some. Tell us about your inspirations, your passions, and what makes you do the things you do the way you do them, but do it in a way that's uniquely your own. Humanise your story. It will make you seem far more real to your potential buyers than a bulleted list of your education and accomplishments.

The crucial point to remember is that people aren't likely to want to read an entire essay about your artistic life (at least, not at this stage in your career). If you're inspired enough to write something in a long format, then by all means do so, but host it on a separate page and link to it from your bio page so that readers who want to dig deeper can, but those who just want the highlights don't have to read everything that ever happened to your artistic life.

This is where the crucial balance comes in - you have to entice your readers, hint at your motivations, draw a sketch of who you are - save the photorealistic oil painting of your life for another place and time.

Posted on November 13th 2013 on 04:09am
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Labels: sales, tips, writing

Thursday 07th November 2013How to Boost Your Selling Price

In every aspect of life, value is a very tricky thing to pin down, but that goes double for the art world. The value of an artwork is distinct from the actual selling price, but they are definitely related. As an artist who is just starting to sell work online - or perhaps just starting to sell at all - it can be very difficult  to decide how to price your art. We've discussed some basics before, so please swing back and check out our post on the topic here, but what happens if you're not happy with the price point you're selling your work at?

Conventional wisdom would tell you that you simply have to wait, and let your fame spread so that your work will accrue value - but remember, typically when you see artworks sold at auction for seven figure price tags, the artist isn't actually receiving any of that money. New pieces are likely to command much higher prices at that point,but for those of us who are impatiently stuck in the starving artist phase, this is scant comfort. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to immediately boost the sale value of your artwork.

First of all, it's important to understand what makes artwork valuable beyond the pure artistic merit of the piece. Essentially, it comes down to the story and information behind the piece that adds character and value. Part of a good piece is the experience a viewer has when they look at it, and every additional aspect of detail that can be added to the piece and its history will enrich the experience of the viewer. Keeping that in mind, one of the most important things you can do to add character to a piece is to sign it. It sounds simple, but if you had two pieces side by side of equal artistic merit and one was signed and one wasn't, which would you pick? Titling and dating work along similar principles, and if your career really takes off, you'll be very happy to have that information.

If you work in a digital medium or something similar where prints are your main result, print a limited run and number them.  Prints are often sold in runs of 50, 100, or 250, although really you can sell as many as you like - but remember that the fewer in the print run, the more value each print acquires.

Finally, be sure to include the story of the piece. What inspired it, what it means to you, where you did it, all of these things help create a narrative around the piece and enhance the experience of the viewer each time they look at the piece. Nothing is ever created in a vacuum, and viewers know that - help satisfy their curiousity, and you'll be raising your prices in no time. 

Posted on November 07th 2013 on 05:35pm
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Labels: , prices, sales, tips

Tuesday 05th November 2013Important Skills for Online Art Sales

We artists are a complicated bunch, without a doubt. Passionate, creative and sometimes mercurial to a fault, these traits are nevertheless what drive us to become artists in the first place. When it finally comes time to sell our work, however, things can get far more complicated than most of us are prepared for. The skills that make us great artists don't necessarily also make us appealing to art buyers. Some of us are naturally good at liaising with buys, and some of us lucky enough to overcome our foibles based on raw talent alone, but some of us (ok, a lot of us) have to actively work at making sales.
One of the most important things for artists to embrace is the power of networking. I know that it sounds a bit like business jargon, but really what it comes down to is the ability to make useful human connections. A great many artists are introverts, which can make it an agony to put ourselves out there in the public sphere, but it's important to bite the bullet and get used to it. Few famous artists can get away with being recluses, and fewer still can become famous from seclusion. Get out there and promote yourself, whether it's online or in the real world, and you'll start to raise your profile even as you gain confidence.

Hand in hand with self-promotion goes the ability to write well about your work. This is doubly true for those who are shy about in-person self-promotion, as the ideas are the most important part. If potential buyers don't understand your vision or where you're coming from, they're going to wander off in favour of an artist who can speak fluently about their own work. It takes practice, for many of us, but the practice is worth it - and if you publish everything you write online, you'll probably start seeing some SEO and traffic benefits as well!

When you go through both of these steps, it's important to think about how you present yourself. Again, I hate to fall back on business speak as business is often such a dirty word in the art community, but you have to accept the fact that good sales come from clever business skills as much as - or more than - raw talent. Consider your personal branding - in effect, the personality you present to the world. People know Andy Warhol as much for his personality as much as his art; the same applies to Salvador Dali and a host of other famous artists. That's not to say you should grow a funny moustache (although who knows, it might help) or dye your hair platinum blonde, but starting to become aware of how others perceive you can make a huge difference in your sales.

Posted on November 05th 2013 on 07:41pm
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Labels: sales, skills, tips

Friday 01st November 2013Use Image-based SEO to Drive Traffic

As you've learned by now, search engine optimisation is one of the most important tools for artists to use when selling artwork online. Unavoidably, most SEO tips and tricks are geared towards online text, simply because that's how keywords are entered into search engines - but with a bit of careful planning, it's possible to ensure that your artwork appears near the start of any image searches. Most of these tips will be specifically targeted towards Google rankings, as Google is the number one source of search engine traffic by a huge margin, but they should help your images rank more highly on other search engines as well. We're going to assume that you've followed our advice from past posts and taken steps to ensure that your on-page text (titles, descriptions, etc) about each image is as descriptive as possible.


Going above and beyond the on-page text starts with how you actually save the images themselves. Google always appreciates a fast-loading page, so images with smaller file sizes tend to get more preferential rankings. Those of you with even a passing awareness of digital images will know that there is a correlation between file size and image quality, and naturally you don't want to try to use a low-quality image to sell your artwork. The heart of this balance lies in your image compression settings. The JPEG file format can strike an amazing balance between image size and quality, but in 99/100 cases, you can get away with using a compression/quality setting of 80 or even 70, which saves a huge amount of file size when compared to a setting of 100. Experiment, and see what balance looks best on your work - in some cases, you may even be able to get away with a setting of 60 without a noticeable loss of quality.


Once you've optimised your settings, be sure to choose a filename carefully. Use as much description as possible, including your name and the title of the work at the very least, and consider including the medium, the date, and where it was created. But instead of making it all one long word that Google may have difficulty parsing, use dashes to separate words, as Google treats a dash in a filename as equivalent to a space.

 

Finally, make sure that you set what's known as the 'ALT' text for your images. In its original purpose, ALT text is intended to be read by navigation-assistance programs for blind users in place of images, but it has found another use in the SEO field. Include all your descriptive information in the ALT field as well, although try to switch up the formatting of the text so that Google doesn't consider it a duplication of other content on your page.

Posted on November 01st 2013 on 05:28pm
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Labels: seo, tips, traffic
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