How to make your art more valuable
Last week I gave a lecture at Enterprise Toronto for those involved in the arts on, “How to earn more revenue by creating a strong brand.”
A faculty member at Ryerson University who teaches photography came up to me afterwards saying he had found the session eye opening. I had mentioned how in the past we as a company had hired photographers regularly but now rarely do as we have invested in a professional digital camera. The technology is so powerful and easy to use that our artists can shoot most things themselves and then assemble the images. However, that is no reason to despair, I said, as the market for high quality images that tell a story is growing. Witness the billions of web pages that could benefit from more interesting imagery.
The task for photographers is to reposition themselves. If they find that their traditional markets have disappeared they should have the creativity to see beyond calling themselves “photographers.”
Andy Warhol is an example of branding in the arts that created astonishing value. The picture Green Car Crash sold for $71 million. Did it require extreme craftsmanship to produce? No. However it did break the mold of traditional paintings. Warhol never positioned himself as a painter. He was a counter culture socialite. He became the archetype of a new type of artist – a “pop artist”.
Likewise those who are trained in creating compositions with cameras needn’t position themselves as “photographers”. They can get creative – and coin a new term for what their clients need.
The teacher had an aha! moment realizing that he needs to explain to his students that they have to be true artists and think innovatively about the very nature of what they do.