ARTS & THEATRE

Promoting Your Art: Advice on Choosing a Niche

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You are an artist, right? But do you have an audience? A cadre of fans eagerly awaiting your latest work? I became an automotive artist in 2009 — and I came to my conclusions on the subject after some trial and error plus some good successes. My initial ideas were based on my prior experience working in publicity for a university and for various automakers on special projects. Here are my rules that you can use to build your brand and recognition in the art world.

RULE #1 DEVELOP A CONSISTENT STYLE

Some buyers of your work may relish your line drawing skills, your choice of colors, or your composition. Once you receive plaudits for your work, choose one direction and move in that direction and make it your style. My style by the way is to paint a detailed background and sometimes blur it out so nothing in the background distracts from the main subject.

RULE #2 AIM FOR A NICHE

When I started my art career, I did some portraits of famous people like race driver Carroll Shelby, then segued to the cars he built. I also tried a nature scene — a dock at Malibu Beach — but decided there were too many artists painting beach portraits. And then I realized there were only a few making car portraits. The whole idea here is to pick a niche, paint a few, then go to an event and see if you can sell your prints.

Image courtesy of Wallace Wyss

Image courtesy of Wallace Wyss

RULE #3 ADOPT A LOOK FOR YOURSELF  

Almost a separate subject but this can also be important to establishing your brand. I once ran into an author doing a book signing at a bookstore in Hollywood. He was a young man in his 30s and looked splendid in a white suit with a white bowler hat. It was Thomas Wolfe and he wore white suits for decades and fans came to expect it as his look — “the man in white.”

A similar white suit has become my standard attire when I go to car events. I am not quite as famous as Wolfe but it has created an image.  When I go to car events I am often eagerly welcomed because with such sartorial elegance they assume “whoever he is, he must be important.” I considered the cowboy look but “the man in white” image fits with the classic cars I portray at classic car events like the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach.

Image courtesy of Wallace Wyss

Image courtesy of Wallace Wyss

WHAT’S NEXT?

Once you have a niche, work that niche for all It’s worth. If I were pursuing equine art, I would donate prints to libraries on the horse scene, and look for which organizations need art. I would write articles for their newspapers, magazines, and websites, offering my art as illustrations.

Don’t worry about the niche imprisoning you. You can always diversify with other niches, creating collections. Perhaps it’s sailboats — find a local yacht club who will let you roam their venue, donate some prints to their next banquet or event and soon you’ll be sailing.

Automotive art has been my focus ever since I calculated the profit. When I found clients who didn’t blink at the price for a 20” x 30” canvas print (which was very cost effective for me), I decided I was comfortable. Of course, there are lots of potential collectors in other high end lifestyle genres to pursue. Who knows, you might find me one day painting horses for thoroughbred racing enthusiasts.

Once you’ve chosen your niche, look for websites and magazines devoted to that niche. If I were just beginning, I would try multiple directions initially — a trout fisherman one time and a horse racing the next. See what gets the most attention and sales and build your collector and fan base in that direction. Know also that people that love your work will be excited to see an occasional foray into other subjects.

In summary, look for environments you enjoy. Are there events that bring people together? Do those events look welcoming for an artist who wants to depict them? Check it out, then go for it!

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About the author:

Wallace Wyss is letting it be known that he’s open to submit work on consignment to galleries for those interested in an adventure into automotive art. He can be reached at malibucarart@gmail.com

All images courtesy of artist Wallace Wyss.


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