>Ben Zhu Recap, with special guest Greg Spalenka
Ben Zhu, owner of Gallery Nucleus, came for a return visit to Picture This. He discussed some of the things that galleries look for in artists they’d like to represent. These qualities include:
– a consistent body of work
– being established and at least somewhat well-known
– having a fan base
– having intent and purpose in your work (i.e. knowing why you made a piece and being able to talk about it)
– potential for sales
– good communication skills
Ben then introduced Greg Spalenka, an Art Center grad who has had a long career in illustration. Greg showed us work from his career, then went on to talk about the importance of establishing yourself and your artwork as a brand. He had a lot of great advice, such as knowing the history of your craft and transcending your tools, but he kept returning to the idea that the art we make can form the foundation of our own art empire.
He said that when we are in tune with who we are and what we love, we’ll make are that connects to people on a visceral level. When that happens, we’ll start developing a fan base. Greg went on to discuss the importance of social media and promotional opportunities like ComiCon. He talked about the power of products, and how merchandising can create revenue streams that will keep on providing income. He mentioned artists like Gary Baseman and Tara McPherson, who have become branded entities, and, in turn, terrific business models. Greg had a message of hope for us, in that we can make a living doing what we love, as long as we are smart and proactive about it.
Greg is leading a 3-day workshop entitled Artist as Brand at Gallery Nucleus in November. The workshop will more fully cover the points he touched on in his lecture to us.
It was an inspiring and informative evening. A big thank you to Ben and Greg for coming out!