Friday, November 21, 2008

marketing Jacksonville

Last night, at the Contemporary Conversations event at MOCA Jim Draper made a great point, he said that artists are so desperate for exposure, they take just about any deal, no matter how raw. “We just want to be wuvved,” he kidded.

Though Draper’s comment hit a mark—most recently played out in the book: Picturing Florida, From the First Coast to the Space Coast, a pay-to-play tome billed as an art historical treatise, but that would more accurately be described as a catalogue—it wasn’t the take-away message of the night. The real kicker (supported by all four panelists: Sarah Crooks Flair, James Greene, and Tonya Lee) was that artists don’t make livings in Jacksonville. Even Draper, who has known a fair amount of fiscal success said that at the height of his sales, Jacksonville only ever made up for about 20% of his income.

So now its clear, artists: take your work and go forth! Use Jacksonville for those good things about the location/weather/etc…, but place your sites outside of the city limits. That, and be prepared to teach.

After all, as someone snidely commented afterwards, “Do you really want to be known as *the* Jacksonville artist?”

*pictured: an image from artist Anri Sala’s body of work on display at MOCA North Miami (because I liked the awkward incongruity of it), and a tiny round of cheese I snagged from one of my friends at the museum. If sharing snacks is not the core of community spirit, I don’t know what is.


Kurt said...

A few years ago I had a few heart to heart talks with some well established art dealers in New York. Morrison Pierce and I went as "journalists" to cover The Armory Show. We were able to take a camera and do some interviews. Surprisingly most of the dealers were genuine and forthcoming. The gist of what they had to say was " we put a lot of trust $$ in our artists and how or why should we trust someone that we have no relationship with". In other words New York dealers don't want anyone from Jax. bugging them. They have plenty of artists to choose from in their neighborhood.
This same basic principle holds true in all cities. There are plenty of artists everywhere and none of us are re-inventing the wheel.
Also, who is buying all this art on the internet?

madeleine said...

so you are essentially saying that in this instance, NYC galleries only want to deal with NYC artists? Hmm, or do you think that as Jacksonville-based artists the onus is on us to forge relationships past state lines?

kurt said...

I know it sounds negative, but that was the reaction that I got. Straight from the horse's mouth. I'm not just talking about NYC. I've met dealers from all over at art fairs and they say the same thing.
Obviously we shouldn't not try to forge relationships in other cities, but we can't forget about the one we live in - as sucky as it is.