Dear Artwork Archive,

As I’m transforming my art career to work within the new normal of social distancing and remote art selling, I need some help upping my game for virtual studio visits. 

I am tech-literate, but I wouldn’t call myself tech-savvy by any means. Just when I figure out one online platform, it feels like I need to learn another. 

I’m looking for low-tech solutions and general strategies for virtual studio visits. What do you think? Can I use my phone camera? Can I pre-record the visit or does it have to be live? I want to be able to have a face-to-face conversation but also show details of my art without giving my viewer vertigo (yikes!). 

Sincerely,
Searching for Wifi and my Next Big Break

 

Dear Big Break,

A virtual studio visit might be intimidating ... but think of all the silver linings. You can approach curators and get new viewers from anywhere in the world into your studio. You can also connect with multiple people at once. And, you don’t have to worry about putting on a pot of coffee or hosting!

Once you get over any technical bumps or difficulties, going digital can do wonders for busting and art nerves. Just remember to look into the camera of your device to mimic making eye contact (weird, but true!). 

So let’s get to it. You can run your art business online and do studio visits virtually and successfully with just a few tips.

Here are some tricks for making the most of your virtual studio visits:

  • Set up and test your systems before any real visits. Does your wifi work in all spots? Is the audio on? How is the lighting?
  • Find the video medium that works best for you. You can use your cellphone to video call, use Skype, Zoom, Facebook video chat, even a Go Pro (who said art isn’t an adventure?!). Learn more about which platform is right for you here. 
  • How do you normally structure a studio visit? A few minute intro chat then looking and discussing your art? Set up a dedicated spot to sit and a way to easily fix your camera, like a stand or way of propping it up, so that you can focus on the conversation and not on holding a device. Then, have a few works on the wall or readily available to talk about, so you don't have to waste time searching for them during a video. 
  • Before the studio visit, send an inventory report of your works so that your viewer will know which artworks they are interested in learning more about. You can create a professional report or even a digital private viewing room with Artwork Archive.

Make sure to have your visitor be a part of directing their viewing experience.

When you bring them through your studio, let them tell you when to move on from a work or ask them which works they would like to see and learn more about. It might be tempting to quickly walk them through the space, but remember they are not as familiar with your work as you are and they are seeing it for the first time.

When you set up your virtual studio visit and send your Private Room or Inventory Report of works, let your visitor know the general structure for the visit. A sense of order will help the visit move forward and distract from the fact that the visit is not in person. 

Make sure to follow up with your visitor. You can successfully sell art while working digitally. Send them more information about any works they were interested in and continue the conversation that you started. 

Wishing you unfrozen screens,
Artwork Archive
 

Dear Artwork Archive,

What is the deal with online art scams?

Now that I am selling completely online because of COVID-19, I want to make sure that I’m being safe about my artwork and my information. 

I received a message on Instagram the other week that seemed fishy. How do art scams even work? I don’t think of myself as a money-bags target but it seems like scammers come after everyone despite how “starving of an artist” they might be. 

Thanks,
Scanning for Scammers

 

Dear Scanning for Scammers,

Good on you for wanting to be the safest you can be online with your art sales! Organizing your art and managing your career online is the way to go, but if you are an internet user you need to have your wits about you. 

Now that more and more people are working and selling online and with increased economic stressors, there may very well be an uptick in online scams. 

You’re right, scammers don’t care what your profession is or how likely you might be to have cash to give to them. Scamming is often a numbers game and a shotgun approach where scammers will reach out to as many people as they can in the hopes that someone will provide them money or information.

Scammers might want you to engage enough so that they gain access to your personal information or so you even send them goods in exchange for a check that will bounce. The most common scams are when a scammer will get you to send them money, sometimes under the guise of making change for a purchase or making up a monetary difference between prices.

The good thing is, there are telltale signs of a scam. Whether it's coming through your email or to your Instagram, there are common red flags you can look out for. 

If someone has an improbable, impersonal, or very long story, that's a red flag! Your art buyers typically will get right to the point, ask you about your artwork, and show that they are a human being and not an automated or message template.

If they request any type of check, money transfer, or create a complicated selling system where you will need to exchange money or ship your art to another country, that's a red flag! It makes no sense when a buyer will offer you more money for an artwork and then request a portion of it to be sent back, don’t be tempted!

If there is a strange or rapid timeline, that's a red flag! Art buyers will take their time to decide on a work and make sure that they want to buy it. Scammers entice sellers with the promise of a quick deal. They are motivated to get you to give them what they want before you have time to realize that you are being scammed.

If there is strange formatting, spelling and grammar errors, or phrasing that doesn’t make sense in a message, red flag! Your scammer is mass messaging people online, a human takes the time to craft a message that makes sense to its reader. 

Whenever you’re in doubt, ask for a second pair of eyes. You can always also report a scam and see if the message you’ve received is a known art scam.

Wishing you and your foreign prince (it’s a scam, we know, we know!) happiness,
Artwork Archive

Dear Artwork Archive,

I have some questions about print-on-demand, for masks. 

Do you have any tips for print-on-demand in general and for mask printing in specific? 

I want to get my designs on masks, but I want to make sure that the masks they will be on will be effective for their users! I’m looking specifically for cotton, 3 ply mask options. 

Stay healthy,
Asking for Masking

 

Dear Masking,

Art is essential, just as health and safety are essential—what a great idea to combine the two! Not only will your art prints on masks help their wearers want to wear their masks, but masks can also be a walking advertisement for your artwork. Win-win.

If you want to learn more about what print-on-demand is and how it might help your art business, look no further. Even better, hear helpful tips and sage advice about using print-on-demand services from Artwork Archive users.

There are many print-on-demand sites right now with mask options. Custom Ink has a three-ply cotton mask option. There are also more three-ply choices for print-on-demand sites focused on printing logos on masks like Liberty Print Co.

If artists reading this have suggestions for print-on-demand options for high-quality masks, let us know in the comments below!

Art and hand sanitizer for all,

Artwork Archive

 

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