Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Business advice from Gene Simmons...

The daffodils are coming up...each day I wander around the property delighting in the daily progress of the various bulb plants and the flowering shrubs. I love watching things grow.

So what am I doing talking about Gene Simmons (and yes, I am referring to the dude from Kiss)? Well, I take my inspiration from many sources. Mr. Simmons has recently launched a new record label in Canada. I was reading an article in the 'Report on Business' magazine insert from the Globe and Mail newspaper (Friday March 27, 2009) on this new venture. Gene offers his take on success, "It's not just about records. You've got to have the complete package: the image, the positioning, the vibe, the media connection. It's not just your means TV and movies and getting your songs out there". I thought this next comment was interesting: "The Who had their biggest success ever by being on CSI. And Led Zeppelin got more bang for buck on one song by putting 'Rock and Roll' on an Escalade commercial." Gene goes on to say that while purists have a problem with this sort of marketing, we should remember that "they're still living in Mom's basement, and they are 35 years old." :-)

Well maybe I am more in the purist camp than not as I care quite a bit about what is associated with my name and my images but what Gene is affirming here is the notion that we need to always be thinking of fresh new marketing strategies. I agree. Our greatest successes can come from very unexpected sources. We have all heard of thinking outside of the box but do we do it?

No matter what state the economy is in, there is always money moving around. I mentioned in a previous post (click here to read) about the two most expensive sports in the US (oddly enough, involving horses and yachts) and how an artist might tap into that wealth. Here are two more examples of creative marketing: A man here in Ottawa makes a living doing landscapes of golf courses. He enjoys painting landscapes and by featuring a vista of a golf course he has found a way to tap in to the golfing crowd. Golfers are passionate about their courses and membership in a premier, prestigious golf course is much sought after. These folks have money and they apparently love to have a print of their favourite course in their den or office. The artist has partnered with the golf courses to offer exclusive prints. This artist also loves hockey and he loves doing portraits. He went after the hockey market (we have a hockey franchise here in Ottawa - the Senators) and he now gets commissions to do paintings of the players playing the game and he also does commissions of players as well as players with their families. This isn't the traditional approach for a painter. Most traditional methods of selling art involves being represented by a gallery, having shows, etc.

Here is your smile for the day...The writer of the article Steve Ladurantaye asks Gene for his thoughts on the state of the economy in the US. The final question is: "How would you fix things - what's the Gene Simmons stimulus package?" Gene replied, "I am the stimulus package, baby."

I agree. We may not be rock and rollers but we are our own stimulus package. Our careers are in our hands. We all have our own personal limits as to how far we will go to market our art. Some artists shudder at the thought of doing market driven art like landscapes of golf courses. Others license their images to everyone and everything. (Maybe they just don't want to live in Mom's basement!) So how far are you willing to go? Is there a happy compromise you can make? Are you really thinking outside of the box?


Laure Ferlita said...

What a gorgeous daffodil! So bright and sunny.

Of all the people out there, I wouldn't expect to find Gene Simmons to be giving sound business advice, but I do think he's spot on! And he should know as long as he's been out there.

I guess it's just hard to take him seriously when you know he runs around with his face painted black and white!! :-)

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Laure, you made me smile...I can assure you that he isn't running around with black and white face paint anymore!

When he says that we need the complete package, the image etc. and he mentions "the vibe", I am not quite sure I know what he means. Vibe - vibration?... Am I supposed to seek a 'vibration' with people? :-) Any hip people care to respond? I think I need help...

CountryDreaming said...

Possibly what Gene Simmons is saying when he refers to "the vibe" is that you have to act the part for your audience. In other words, showmanship. For Gene Simmons, it means not just being a rock star, but acting like one.

Being a relative newcomer to selling photographs, I'm still trying to figure out if there are any special ways that artists generally are expected to act, and if so, how far should I go with it? Or maybe an artist is given extra leeway when it comes to "the vibe" and it's more a matter of communicating your vision to help your audience know how they should expect you as a unique individual to act. Either way, I would say to stand out and make it memorable.

Teresa said...

Love those luscious rich yellows in the daffodil... you did a great job!

Gene Simmons: When I saw your blog update on my blog and saw his name one eyebrow went up. Kiss? Business advice? All I could see was that repulsively long tongue snaking out toward the camera! However, he IS a successful businessman and I think he makes some good points... which we can then translate into our particular area of business.

Interesting post!

Jan said...

Great daffodil and great post, Teresa! My sister is a marketing whirlwind who browbeats me mercilessly about not marketing my paintings AND myself. Her question is always, "Do you want to be a Starving Artist with impossibly high standards as to where your art ends up or do you want your art to at least pay for itself?" Actually, she doesn't say an artist with high standards - she says a poor art snob with an attic of unsold paintings! She's forever telling me it's the marketing, stupid, it's the marketing! (take off on Bill Clinton's "it's the economy, stupid")

Not that you don't care where your art ends up, but don't be so choosy that you don't sell anything!

Her main thing is to try to push me into the society that buys art with advising me to volunteer here or join this club, etc (not necessarily art related)as people will buy from someone familiar. I guess that's good advice but I'm just not into that sort of thing! Are we supposed to "prostitute" ourselves just to sell our art? Unfortunately, that's what it feels like to me.

Jan said...

I posted a couple of hours earlier but felt I needed to clarify something.

I think it's great if an artist likes smooozing with people as I do feel that's what it takes to sell yourself as well as your art.

I just don't feel comfortable doing it - it makes me feel like such a fake.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi C.D. Interesting thoughts on "the vibe". Seeking to stand out and seeking to make making it memorable is great advice.

Hi Teresa - I try not to picture his tongue! :-)

Hi Jan. Well your sister is right, marketing is very important but I can see why you wouldn't be keen to go the route suggested. I don't have the time to join various non art related clubs, especially ones I don't have an interest in.

I am visible in the community in other ways and I do enjoy meeting people on the studio tour I participate in. I also feel that people can get to know us from our press material, our websites and our blogs. If someone is interested in my work, I think that when they read info on my website, or browse through a few of my newsletters (which can be read from my website) or perhaps if they care to read some blog posts, they should be able to get a sense of who I am as a person. That is part of the reason I do these things! :-)

Vic said...

Super Post Teresa, and one to make you courses who would of ever thought of that as an art resource/money spinner !Love the Daffodil, just in time for Spring.

Pencil Sanity said...

I love your writeup on this subject and Galleries. I have just recently approached my first Gallery and will be waiting for the vote from their art committee. Thanks for sharing this with us.

DALSING said...

I have been giving much thought to marketing and your comments (and those of Gene Simmons)were of great help. Thanks.

littleChild said...

Thanks for sharing the business from Gene Simmons. What I like most of this post is that the marketing strategy used by the painter to make his own business opportunities on his own way.

It's good to do what you love to do and his passion I think made him successful on his business.