Monday, May 9, 2011

Displaying your art in cafés and restaurants

A lot of artists and photographers ask about the benefit of displaying their art in cafés and restaurants. As great as it would be, most of us will never get the chance to display in a high end gallery, so this is usually the best option.

I've displayed my photos in a coffee shop with great success. I chose a theme that was relevant to the area. I printed only live music photos specifically shot in local venues. I also chose images of bands that I knew were popular rather than my own favorite shots.

I printed the photos myself on my Epson 4800. I also framed and matted them. I used mid-priced polycarbonate frames, these look professional, don't chip or scratch like wood or metal and won't break the bank. Total cost was about $400. I easily made it back and even though the display was taken down 6 months ago people still ask about prints. I actually sold one on Friday.

Another key is to keep the prices affordable. The biggest mistake I see artists making is overpricing the art. Keep in mind the clientele of the venue. The place I displayed is mostly patronized by hipsters and college students. They're not the most affluent crowd.
You must also realize that this isn't necessarily a profit making venture, but a marketing strategy, keeping your prices down to a reasonable level will encourage more sales. I spend a lot of time in cafés and I most often hear people talking about the ridiculous prices on the art, and I usually agree.

Some of my unsold prints from the show were donated to special causes to be raffled off as well. I donated a photo of Motorhead to be raffled off to help a local band buy a new tour band when theirs was stolen. When they needed photos for their new album, guess who they called? That print that cost me about $25 to make landed me a $750 gig with more on the horizon.

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