Saturday, March 12, 2016


Marketing art with social media and on handheld devices was unheard of when I wrote A Gallery without Walls (ArtNetwork Press 2005), an artist handbook about selling art in alternative venues. A few weeks after the book's publication, I heard stories about artists who were loading their artwork onto MySpace and showing art on their laptops. At the time, I was intrigued but not convinced that the "social media thing" on smaller computers would make an impact marketing art. (Was I wrong!)

Since then, connecting with clients utilizing social media and showing artwork on handheld devices has revolutionized the way we work in the art business.  Now artists and dealers are routinely using social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to connect with each other and the art buying public. In addition, they are creating content on IPhones and IPads to promote their art and make sales.

To illustrate, eight years ago I gave a talk on art marketing and during the break one of the artists in attendance, figurative painter Julie Snyder, showed me her entire portfolio on her Smart Phone. I had never before seen an artist use a Smart Phone to promote their work. Julie was able to enlarge certain images so I could see fine detail. I could see that she was a terrific painter and asked to visit her studio. I signed her shortly thereafter.


Currently I prefer to show artwork on my IPad. Most of my clients are over 40 and have over-40 eyesight. It is therefore easier for them to see the images by showing them artwork on my IPad as opposed to my IPhone.  Specifically, I have shown art to clients on the IPad (think portable gallery) which I then sold utilizing Square. I also create short movies with I Movie featuring art and artists. Last year I created a short personalized IMovie featuring artist Marian Fortunati talking about one of her lovely landscapes. I embedded the movie into an email that I sent to one of her collectors who then bought the piece.

With respect to social media, I use Facebook to promote all of my art exhibitions. For each new exhibition I curate, I create a link on the first page of my website that directs potential buyers to a specific gallery page on Facebook. I keep track of a lot of inventory this way, and don't have to pay my webmaster to update my website every time I want to add content. The Facebook gallery has each image loaded with the artist's name, size, title and price. I send those images around the web, directing people to the gallery online. When a piece sells, I congratulate the artist by posting the image with the word "SOLD!" on their Facebook page. This process informs the artist's fans about our art sale and often leads to other sales. 


Marketing art via social media and with handheld devices has revolutionized the pace of marketing art and artists who do not understand this are at a disadvantage. Eleven years ago, it took some time to send clients images - to send a postcard or embed images into emails. Now it takes seconds as artists and dealers are making every piece of their marketing social. What does this mean? It means that links to social media outlets and their icons are embedded into artists' blogs, newsletters, and websites to make it fast and easy to hop from one social media outlet to another. Artists now expect that by utilizing social media they will add to their contacts and fan base by making their marketing both integrated and social, and that the positive comments posted onto their social sites will lead to greater exposure and sales. (To a large extent, they are correct.)

I am still a firm believer in follow-up, however, and do not rely on social media only. I have a regular schedule of daily, weekly and monthly activities (newsletter) to keep the work I represent in front of the art buying public. Mainly, I keep up with my mailing list. I believe that artists and dealers who connect to those who visit their sites, nurture their mailing list and contact collectors regularly through a variety of outlets will be successful. 

I also highly recommend to all artists that they invest in an IPad (tablet) and/or IPhone in order to show artwork to potential collectors any time, any place and anywhere.

"I'll Wear the Red One" by Julie Snyder
Sold via Facebook

"Point Lobos Poetry" by Marian Fortunati
Sold because of IMovie Interview embeded into an email.      

Monday, November 16, 2015


Artists often ask me what they should look for when looking for a gallery to represent them.  As an art rep and daughter of a gallery represented artist (the late painter and illustrator Robert G. Stevens) I recommend that you obtain answers to the following questions before you attempt to approach a gallery about representation:

1.            How long has the gallery been in business?  

As we all know, even in the best of economic times many small businesses including art galleries struggle to find their footing. My advice is to try to find a gallery that has been in business at least four years. In fact, on the Small Business Administration (SBA) website, I discovered that…

“Two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at least two years,
44 percent survive at least four years, and 31 percent survive at least seven years, according to a recent study.
 These results were constant for different industries. … Of special interest, the research found that businesses that survive four years have a better chance of surviving long-term. After the fourth year, the rate of firm closings declines considerably.”

You don’t want to be accepted to a gallery only to find that it is going to close the next month so first and foremost, you want to find a gallery that has a longer term track record.

2.            Does the gallery have a good location?
Do they have good foot traffic and adequate parking? If not, how do they bring in new business?  You want to get a feel for their clientele and how they handle people coming and going into their physical location.

3.            What is the director’s background?

Do the directors have an art background or a marketing background?  (Ideally they should have both.) Keep in mind, per the SBA website:

“…the major factors in a firm’s survivability include an ample supply of capital, being large enough to have employees, the owner’s education level, and the owner’s reason for starting the firm.”

I would add to the list above that the gallery owner needs to have a passion for the art they are selling. If they are not passionate about the art, then you don’t want to be in their gallery.

4.         Does the gallery cross-promote with other dealers?   

Are they part of a gallery group or a regularly scheduled art walk or other event? In other words, do they make an effort to grow their business with each event they do? This is essential to their long term success, and to your assurance that your artwork will be seen. 

5.         Are you able to obtain a referral for the gallery and the director? 

Speak to other represented gallery artists about the gallery’s operations and the people running it. Are they honest? Do they have written contracts and consignment agreements with their artists, and do they pay them on time? What percentage do they take? Even a seasoned gallery artist like my late father had a very bad experience with a prestigious gallery in Taos, New Mexico. Over the four years he was in the gallery, the director increasingly paid the artists very late, sometimes as much as six months after a sale! When the gallery closed suddenly with three of his paintings still in their possession, my father found out about it from a newspaper article. We have never been able to retrieve his lovely paintings from the gallery director who had stolen them.
6.         What kind of marketing does the gallery do?
Does the gallery advertise in major art magazines, produce postcard mailings, work the internet and have a great website? Does the director write articles, speak in public or publish catalogues? Do they attend the major art fairs? You need to know how the gallery plans to expose your work to collectors. 

7.         How are you treated when you go to the gallery?
One of the best stories I’ve heard on this “due diligence” subject was from a sculptor. One Saturday she put on an expensive outfit, armed with her wish list, and spent the day visiting ten galleries in Santa Monica. She decided in advance that she would not mention that she was an artist looking for representation. 

At two of the ten galleries she visited the doors were closed. There was no information on the door about their hours or how they could be reached. (She crossed them off her list.)  

At three of the galleries she was greeted adequately by friendly people who knew absolutely nothing about the art on display, nor about any of the artists who created the work. (She crossed these galleries off her list as well.) 

She was ignored completely at four of the galleries she visited. The people working in the galleries didn’t even say hello to her and spent their time talking on the phone or working on the computer. They never even looked at her! (She didn’t like this at all and crossed them off her list, too.) 
At the tenth gallery she visited, however, she was greeted by a young man who was knowledgeable about the art. He seemed interested in her and her reactions to the work. He told her engaging stories about the artists and gave her additional information about the media the artists used to create the work. He invited her to their upcoming reception, and asked her for her contact information to add to their mailing list. She decided that, of the ten galleries on her original list, only this last gallery was worthy of her attention.

Remember that in your search for a gallery, one size does not fit all. Each gallery is unique in its location, how it is run, and the style of art the director will accept. Like the shrewd artist mentioned in the story above, before approaching a gallery you need to do some research to determine which gallery will be the best fit for you and your work.  

Source Note:  

SBA Website Quoted
: “Business Employment Dynamics Data: Survival and Longevity, II,” by Amy E. Knaup and Merissa C. Piazza, Monthly Labor Review, vol. 30, no. 9 (Sept. 2007), pp. 3-10; “Redefining Business Success: Distinguishing Between Closure and Failure” by Brian Headd, Small Business Economics, vol. 21, no. 1 (August 2003), pp. 51-61.

Friday, May 29, 2015


by Margaret Danielak

Pricing art is not only challenging, it is often quite frustrating. If you are a professional artist with many awards and a long exhibition history, national name recognition, have major collectors, noted commissions and numerous past sales, you can charge higher prices for your original work than an emerging artist, or one just out of college.

I therefore suggest artists price their work based upon the following seven factors.

The Competition
At what price are other artists, exhibiting in the same geographical area with a similar background, producing work of a similar style, in the same medium, commanding for their work? Note, I do not say, “What is being charged for the work?” but rather, “At what price is the work actually selling?” How many pieces is the artist actually selling? 

Try to find out the answer to these questions and you will learn your price range. The price of everything, including art, is determined by what people are willing to pay, and what the overall market will bear, not by how much time it took to create the item, or how much money was spent promoting it.

Sales History

At what price have your pieces of a certain size and style sold for in the past?

Name Recognition 
Are you famous? If so, you can charge more for your work. Frustrating though it may be, even artists with little or no talent can command high prices if they are famous.

Are your paintings seven feet long or five inches square? Size matters when pricing art. Even though it may take longer to paint a small piece, one generally cannot command as much for a small piece as for a large piece.

Is your art “traditionally beautiful?” Are specific pieces of yours especially striking? Auction houses use several factors for assessing the value of the pieces they sell. I highly encourage artists to visit auction websites to see exactly what the auctioneers consider when selecting a price range. 

Beauty, you will note, is one of the important factors. If some of your pieces are exceptionally beautiful, colorful or recognizable, you may be able to command higher prices.

The Economy
If the economy is soft, you might need to reexamine your prices. Since art is considered to be a non-essential luxury item, you will need to ask yourself, do you really want your pieces to sell? What is more important to you; sale of your work or the art itself? 

How you feel about your art is very important. Some of the work you have produced, you may simply not want to part with for less than a certain price. If you can afford to wait it out, then, by all means, hold onto this work. You just may be able to sell it for more money next year, in a different location, when you are exhibiting the work to a different group of people.

Available Inventory
Some artists produce a very limited number of original pieces, so they price their work very high, so high that the originals are not often sold. Such artists might wish to explore licensing and publishing so they can keep their originals and make money on reproductions.


Sometimes artists will tell 
me that they are going to raise their prices because someone told them they were “under priced.” More often than not, the person advising the artist was not an artist, gallery owner, rep or collector. Furthermore, the person giving this sage advice was not someone who had purchased art from either the artist or from his gallery or rep. 

It is very easy for someone to tell you that your work is under priced if they are not an art collector and have not purchased art and do not know the market.

Consider raising your prices if the following occurs:
➤ You have won a prestigious nationally-recognized grant or award
➤ Your other pieces of a particular size and price have sold easily
➤ A major collector has acquired your work or commissioned a piece
➤ A major museum has acquired your work or is hosting an
exhibition, perhaps retrospective, of your work
➤ You have obtained critical press coverage
➤ You have obtained a major commission
➤ You have become famous (or infamous!) overnight

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Portrait of The Countess Kinsky by
Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun
(Marie Élisabeth Louise; 16 April 1755 – 30 March 1842)




Saturday, May 16 at 11 a.m.

Cost: $20 per person

not including museum 

Followed by an Open House and Art Sale at a private home in

in Pasadena from 

1 pm to 4 pm featuring the work of Robert G. Stevens and 

noted local artist, Julie Snyder. 


I am once again conducting a 

Feminist Tour of the Norton

Simon Museum in Pasadena.

Learn about French Portrait Artist, 

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun and her narrow 

escape from the Terrors of the French Revolution! 

Tour at the peak of Spring the museum's fabulous sculpture

garden designed by noted landscape designer, 

Nancy Goslee Power. 



Art Sales & Consulting Services

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


by Margaret Danielak

                 1.  Create a great looking business card with a sample of your work on it, and keep it with you at all times. You never know when you are going to meet your next client.

             2.  After meeting someone for the first time, be sure to obtain their contact information so you can follow up with them. 

             3.  Prepare an elevator speech, 15 to 30 seconds in length, which answers the question: WHAT DO YOU DO?

            4.  Maintain an updated website and/or blog featuring not only your art, but articles you’ve written and any awards you’ve won.  Make it clear what is for sale, what has sold, and where and how the client can buy the work. (i.e. a particular gallery)

             5.  Do not wait for potential clients to contact you. Create a system for staying in touch with your contacts through a monthly or weekly newsletter, regular Facebook post or blog feed. Reach out to your contacts regularly.

            6.  Join and participate in not only a professional art association or guild, but a chamber of commerce, cultural or volunteer organization.  Immediately, you will be plugged into a group of affluent potential buyers this way.

        REMEMBER:  People do business with people they know.

            7.  Cultivate other creative professionals like architects, art consultants, curators, film makers, interior designers and the like.  They know a lot of people who both need and appreciate art.

            8.  Act as your own press agent. Market your work with press releases.

           9.  Be friendly and both willing and able to have a conversation about a variety of topics and not just your art. Become someone others want to know.

           10.  Find out what your client likes and then give it to them even if it isn’t your artwork. It doesn’t hurt you to "pay it forward" and may secure you a referral fee. 

     “The No. 1 secret to successful marketing is to choose a set of simple and effective marketing activities and do them consistently. Secret No. 2 is to choose those activities that best fit your personality, abilities and interests, because you are much more likely to do them consistently. Remember: The most carefully detailed marketing plan won’t work unless you make it real by putting it into action.” – Susan Urquhart-Brown.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feminist Tour of the Norton Simon Museum March 29

(Support Women Artists Now!)

Feminist Tour of The Norton Simon Museum
Saturday, March 29 
12:00 noon - 1:30 pm

Once again, I will be leading a small group on a tour of WOMEN MADE ART
at the Norton Simon Museum
411 W Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena
* SEE great works by women artists!

* HEAR my rousing account of Elizabeth Vigee-LeBrun's
dramatic escape from the Terror of the
French Revolution!

* LEARN about "The Six Degrees" of Berthe Morisot,
the only woman artist
invited to exhibit with the Impressionists! 

COST: $20.00 per person
(not including museum admission)

To reserve your spot today, send $20.00 to:
P.O. Box 91656
Pasadena, CA 91105