Right now, there are a lot of people (myself included) talking about how the Internet is making it easier than ever for artists and other creative individuals to promote themselves online to a global audience.
While it’s true that getting your art online can be a great way to market your work, it’s all too easy to get stuck in the Matrix and forget that there’s a real world out there too, with plenty more opportunities for getting your work noticed.
I myself am guilty of spending too much time online, tweaking my website, networking on social media, blogging etc. and neglecting many local networking opportunities.
The Joy of Reality
The fact is, some people don’t use the Internet to look for art, preferring to see it in reality rather than on a computer screen. There’s a certain joy of looking at a real painting hanging on a wall, which can’t quite be captured when you look at the same painting on your computer.
Also, a lot of people, especially the older generation, may not be comfortable buying art online, where they may be worried about credit card fraud and identity theft, whereas they would have no problem buying it from a bricks and mortar shop or gallery.
So it’s definitely worth taking some time out from your online marketing efforts to think about what opportunities there might be locally.
Restaurants and Shops
A good place to start is with local restaurants, bars and cafes. Some places might be interested in buying some of your work to display, but probably more common is for them to display your work for sale to the public, and take a small commission from any work they sell.
If you’ve seen some local eateries that already display original art, then you may have a good chance of getting your work on display too. If they don’t display any art yet, there’s no harm in asking. The worst that can happen is they say no.
Some independent shops may also be interested in displaying your work if it’s a good fit for their customers, such as small card/gift shops.
Other places you could try that you may not have thought of are tattoo studios and hair salons. Anywhere where there is a waiting area is a good option as your work will have a captive audience with nothing to do for a few minutes but look at your art.
I had a small book of my art published very cheaply through Blurb.com (affiliate link) and put it on the coffee table in the waiting area of a friend’s hair salon. She tells me that people are constantly looking through it, and I’ve had several commissions from clients of hers who have seen my work in the book and got in touch
There are plenty of other possibilities for a bit of local exposure, including independent art galleries, local art/craft fairs and small hotels or B&Bs.
Wherever you decide to try and display your work, the important thing is that you unplug from the Internet and get out into the real world from time to time. You never know what hidden opportunities you might stumble upon!
Do you have any tips for offline local art marketing, or do you prefer spend most of your time online? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.