David Hockney, 20th March 2021, Flowers, Glass Vase on a Table (2021, left) and 28th February 2021, Roses in a Blue Vase (2021, right), both iPad paintings printed on paper, each from an edition of 50. © David Hockney
Last summer, I visited the wonderful exhibition “Matisse – Hockney. Un paradis retrouvé” in Nice. Hockney’s colorful flower paintings, which he had painted in recent years, were displayed as masterpieces: bright bouquets hung in old ornate gold frames against dark painted walls. Only on closer inspection did one realize that they were digital images, painted on the iPad.
The 85-year-old Hockney spent the lockdown in a country house in Normandy and painted daily on the iPad. He sat there with a view of nature and waited for spring.
The story is as beautiful as the pictures. But why am I telling it? Because it reveals so much about good art marketing!
Good storytelling is more important than ever today! Why? Because it reaches people emotionally.
The American marketing magazine Adweek presented a study showing that customers are willing to pay 11% more for a work of art if they know the story behind it.
What stories can you tell? About you, your team, your art?
And what do art buyers look for? Art that just looks “pretty” above the dining table? Or art that they can tell a story about? Of course, the latter.
It is the personal stories that touch us the most. And make art accessible!
Storytelling removes barriers. Between the buyer, the gallery owner, and the work of art.
For example, we love stories of people who unexpectedly became famous. Like the story of Paul Schrader, the German shooting star painter who became an artist “overnight” from a lawyer.
Why can we all remember the name “Banksy”? Because the story of the anonymous artist who secretly leaves graffiti in public places is good. Quirky, adventurous.
So what does your company stand for? There must be plenty to tell!
Larry Gagosian is still known today as the world’s leading art dealer, with the image of a hands-on salesman, because he and the press repeatedly tell the story of how he sold posters on the streets in Los Angeles when he was a young man.
Hauser & Wirth gallery represents something completely different. They see art as a cultural asset and believe that it should be accessible to art enthusiasts beyond the boundaries of wealthy collectors. They invest large budgets in scientific articles, scholarships and organize exhibitions of museum quality.
Two very different gallery stories, but they remain “sticky” or memorable.
Everyone who is interested in art knows about the “blind art dealer”.
What about you?
What are your customers looking for from you that they can’t find anywhere else on the art market?
To find out, you should start with the answer to ONE question: the WHY.
If you know why you are selling what you are selling, you can create your own “mission statement” and tell a story that customers will remember.
Here are 5 questions that will help you create a brand identity, the WHY:
Why do I/we exist?
How did it come about?
Who are my/our main characters?
What problem do I/we solve?
What have I/we already failed at?
The last question is particularly nice, as it makes you relatable. And that’s what makes a good story.