Intro by Skip Cohen
In dozens of posts over the last few years I've written about the importance of working together with other artists and vendors to help reduce your costs. For example, I've talked about sharing the cost of a direct mail piece, splitting it with two other vendors. A wedding photographer might share an oversized postcard with a florist and bridal shop. The costs are reduced to a third of what each would pay and all three companies become ambassadors for each other.
Then, at ShutterFest last spring I spoke with a relatively new photographer who was able to take her business to the next step by sharing studio space with several other artists. With both a direct mail piece and real estate, everyone gains the benefit of the partnership.
On the phone with my good buddy Kevin A. Gilligan a few weeks ago, he told me about an upcoming exhibition through an Artist's Collective. It's the perfect topic to expand the concept of strategic partnerships in imaging. Here's my point - you don't have to do it all alone. Kevin shares five outstanding ideas about the benefit of working together with other artists. It's a win/win for everybody involved.
Interesting in seeing more of Kevin's work? Just click on "Liquid Gold." And if you're in the area, Kevin has a workshop series coming up at Silvio's in Torrance, CA. later this month and limited to only twelve people. Here's the link.
by Kevin A. Gilligan
Six months ago, I joined the Hermosa Beach Artists’ Collective: Twenty photographers, painters, sculptors, and mixed media artists, located in Hermosa Beach, CA, about 30 minutes from Los Angeles. We rent a warehouse, and put on exhibits monthly. The gallery is generally open six days a week and staffed by volunteers. It has been a great experience so far. I’d recommend it for your consideration. There are many reasons to join, but I’ll give you (5) five good ones below.
Joining with 20 other artists in an Artist’s Collective opens up your world to a wide variety of artists from whom you can learn. I’m a photographer, and swim primarily in those waters. Since joining I’ve been exposed to other amazing photographers but also other art forms I know little about. For a self-taught artist it is a wonderful learning opportunity.
2) Shared Expenses, Permanent Space
Creating your images, framing them, finding space and renting space is expensive and time consuming. I’ve been in over a dozen group and solo shows. It’s great to have a consistent 8’ x 8’ space where I can regularly show my work.
3) Increased Exposure
When you have 19 other people to publicize your exhibit space and show times, you have better market penetration. Leveraging everyone’s contacts means we get more eyeballs on our work. On average, shows are 1-2 weeks, every show we’ve had this year has brought hundreds of people in to see the work. One of the great things about this group is that it is a 501(c)3 promoting education in the arts for kids!
Being in a collective with regular shows motivates me to keep my work current and push to be the best I can be. When we have a show coming up, I want to hang beautiful art that will sell.
5) Networking, Networking, Networking
The benefits of being in a collective include better odds of selling your work, but the connections might be the real gold. Our exhibits get press coverage, and my work has been featured in news. I’ve been contacted by multiple interior designers who are interested in my work. Today, an art foundation called me and asked me to join their roster of artists. The networking benefits are tremendous.
What makes it work? All have to pitch in! At least one person has to take the lead to make sure “the flag does not touch the ground” and coordinate efforts. Many artists have multiple gigs, it’s best if you have several full-time artists in the group that can devote more time.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.