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Tuesday, November 7, 2017 11:02:14 AM - At FinerWorks we have full-time on staff two people who are also actively involved in the art gallery business at night and on weekends. Zane Thomas is a successful screen printer and founder of both Black Moon Prints and Black Moon Gallery, based in San Antonio. Melissa Hernandez shuttles between Austin and San Antonio and works for multiple galleries such as Art on 5th in Austin and Tatum Originals in San Antonio. She also represents various independent artists as a dealer. At the same time, she is in the process of developing a new gallery in San Antonio’s Blue Star Art Complex. I had a chance to spend some time with both discussing what is the best way for an artist to find gallery representation. I thought it would be best to get some tips direct from them since they have had the fun and displeasure or having to both accept and reject artists and their work. Based on our discussion, this is what we came up with that we think will help and artist understand and better go through the process of finding representation.

Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:12:07 PM - In the past 4 to 5 years, the number of Etsy store owners that have come to FinerWorks to fulfill their print orders have steadily increased. Because these numbers were leading to a lot of questions that we felt could not be answered properly, we decided to get a firsthand look of what the Etsy seller experiences. So, one of our staff decided to take on this task of offering prints for sale and having us drop ship her orders. It took probably about 6 months but once her Etsy shop gained some traction and began to draw sales we could see things a little more clearly and be able to empathize with some of the challenges Etsy sellers face. It has been a little long in coming but after speaking with her, and some of our customers over the years, I think I have some information that people thinking of selling giclee prints on Etsy will find useful. And if you already are running a Etsy, shop, maybe there will be some tidbits of information here that might help you as well.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 11:36:13 AM - I want to provide you another perspective that may change the way you look at every time you sell a print. I will start by asking you to think about how much is everyone who likes your art, worth. More specifically think how much did your print or even a painting fetch after someone DID NOT buy it. Did you also know these people that don’t buy or never will buy individually have actual monetary sales value to you even if they don’t buy prints or decide not to commission you for some art or photo project? So, let’s discuss this different approach when viewing your sales.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 12:28:45 PM - How to become a successful artist is a question we have probably asked ourselves at one point. But what makes a successful artist? At a micro level there are a tons of things you can do to improve your chances of success. Many might be related to the art you practice, whether it be photography or painting. But too often artists get wrapped up in so many of the minor details without looking at things in a broader perspective. I have met a lot of artists and photographers over the past decade or more. Some have been incredibly inspiring in everything from their personality to their craft. Based on some of my conversations with them I like to think there are at least 3 things at a macro level that I believe anyone looking to become successful in a visual arts related field must do. These could likely be attributed to other aspects or professions in life but I will try to make this more relatable to those in the arts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 4:56:34 PM - Quite often I am asked for my opinion or if I have any tips to increase an artist’s potential when comes to selling prints either online, in galleries or at art shows. While I have had some personal success in the past as an artist, I no longer put energy in selling my past work or even seeking out commissioned work. Most of my experience now is from viewing the visual arts industry from the perspective of someone that has frequent contact with both struggling as well as successful artists or photographers. And many times I cannot explain why someone who I think is an incredible photographer or artist is struggling after years of trying to get their name out there while people just out of college have no trouble finding buyers of their work with what appears to be little work on their part. Without knowing what efforts have been made on their part I would simply be guessing.

Monday, January 25, 2016 12:11:57 PM - Is coming up with a good title part of your creative process? You may be like me and have found that coming up with a title is an afterthought or something you simply attache to the finished work at the end of the creative process. Years ago when I was more active in the art world from the creative perspective I used to run a simple e-mail newsletter with over 20 thousand subscribers. This was back in the day when people read most or at least more of their emails. It was also before Facebook, Twitter and no one had yet heard of MySpace. As a result email was the best way to connect with fans of my work and it led to a moderate amount of success in selling my prints.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 1:09:48 AM - Making buyers of your giclee prints happy is all about communication. The other day a photographer stopped in to pickup a print. During his visit he mentioned how one of his very demanding clients had been testing his patience. Specifically for the print which he was picking up, it was the third attempt of a 16x20 portrait on canvas. He said first the client had waited forever in making a decision on the photo to be printed. And when it finally was turned into a print she noticed it had an error in the actual image which he had forgotten to remove. After making the correction and reprinting it, the customer decided she wanted a different photo from the photo shoot to be used. Because the new shot she had decided on was a little out of focus he suspected she would not be happy with that one either even after he had warned her of the potential problem. He had spent quite a bit of time correcting it the best he could, submitted it to be printed but as he was on his way to pick it up, she called him and said she was thinking about switching to a different image. His frustration with the client was obvious but fortunately this photographer is really good at putting on a good facade in front of his clients and he bends over backwards to satisfy them with the appearance of both grace and professionalism without a hint of his personal feelings being known. I knew that eventually this client would be a happy client as a result even if in the end the barely broke even as a result of the time and effort he had placed on this particular portrait session.

Monday, November 9, 2015 10:19:07 AM - One of the beauties of prints versus originals works of art is the simple fact it has the potential to pay dividends in the form of ongoing revenue that only stops when you decide it has to stop. If you sold a painting that took you 50 hours to complete and then turned around and sold it for for $1000, later prints have the potential to allow you to continue to resell the concept behind that original work over and over again. Let us assume that over the course of a few years you sold a hundred prints at $100 each, your total gross from that one painting would be $11,000. That is $220 per hour. Not bad! But in the real world it is not quite so simple. It may have taken you 50 hours to complete the painting but what about all the time devoted to placing those prints for sale, not to mention time it takes to fulfill or have the orders fulfilled.

Monday, October 19, 2015 4:21:06 PM - For many of our customers, we are getting into the season where print sales start to take off. This is true for those that create commissioned one of a kind prints for their clients just as much as for artists selling open edition prints online or even at various art festivals. For some of us, this is their first time around the block when it comes to making some substantial sales during the holidays. It can even be intimidating at first because we as artists want everything to run smoothly. And if we are not new to this maybe we are trying to coordinate a number of different orders. What also happens to some of us is the realization that our creations, whether it be photography or something else, actually has potential to be collected outside our immediate circle of friends and family. Real buyers want to buy our work! But while that may be so, its not uncommon for us to loose focus on on the big picture and ignore some new opportunities in front of us that will promote more sales later on.

Sunday, August 30, 2015 1:46:36 PM - So you sell canvas or giclee prints on Etsy right? Or maybe you are thinking of doing so or just got started. Well, this post is for you. People fitting this profile come to us all the time with questions since they want to use FinerWorks to process and ship many of their print orders. Usually the questions center around such things as how many of our own customers use Etsy as their Manufacturing Partner and what info can we provide them to be sure they are abiding by Etsy's policies. They also wonder how successful are the current Etsy users who use us. And, some even ask us if we know what sells best when it comes to artwork.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 1:38:39 PM - Producing a video on YouTube has never been easier. Create a YouTube account, upload your video and even use the YouTube video editor to publish it. That's all there is too it at it's most basic level. I know for some of you producing a video, if you have not done so before, sounds kind of intimidating. The reality is it is quite simple to do as long as you have a good outline to follow.

Monday, May 18, 2015 4:35:34 PM - Occasionally we are asked what is our advice on how to find some success as a print seller. A print seller can entail anything from an artist selling on Etsy to a web based art gallery with an online store. One thing that they have in common if they come to FinerWorks is they are usually working hard to increase the number of prints they sell. I would love to tell them how to wave a magick wand which will create immediate sales. But most successful businesses get to where they are by engaging in tactics that are slow and steady. In the case of print sales I would like to discuss 5 business essentials which will improve the chances of success in the long term. They are having a clear vision of how you are going to scale your business, keep a positive outlook as the challenges increase, stay in communication with your customer base, know what you are selling, and don't overstate and under-deliver.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 1:36:38 PM - In the art world there are always going to be those that seem to disparage photography by implying it is not art. Some of those would instead label it more as a technology to capture imagery. Case in point is an article that recently posted to the Guardian in which Jonathan Jones an art critic made the statement that a photograph which sold for 6.5 million was merely like a “posh poster you might find framed in a pretentious hotel room”. His premise stems from a reaction to a previous article he wrote in which he implied that photography does not belong in galleries. To be fair he does not exactly state that photography is not something to be appreciated, but he definately does not appear as if he holds if to the same esteem. His implication is that photography is lifeless and flat as an art form. While I don't agree with his premise, after speaking with photographers over the years I believe he is not alone in his sentiment. Professional critics rarely set the standard in my book, but I suspect the mainstream art market tends to lean in his direction. I base this from talking with photographers who tell me it seems to be challenging to locate galleries willing to carry their work even when they know from their successes that their work does sell. I tell them, its not easy for traditional artists either. Far be it for me to not encourage any photographer working toward entering into the art market but be prepared to knock on the doors of a few more galleries until you find those that do see photography as art.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:23:46 PM - Providing good customer service is an integral part of any business. This includes small single person art and photography based businesses. If you fit within one of these categories like most of our own customers, then consider taking advantage of ways that can help you improve your relationships with your own art buyers both offline or online.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 3:21:05 PM - Are you keeping track of your fans. I am not simply talking about general social media type friends, fans or whatever they will be called next. I am talking about creating a list of people who are excited about you as an artist and your work. As artists we should have two primary goals. One is to create art and the other is to acquire fans of our art. I have talked previously about the importance of finding buyers but one important step in creating buyers is to turn those people into fans of your art.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 8:54:57 AM - Having your orders drop shipped makes the process of printing and shipping your art to your customers easier than before. It eliminates some of the time and stress associated with doing it all yourself. When you consider the expense of materials to make a print, cost of shipping, shipping supplies, not to mention the time spent actually making the order and possibly time waiting in line at the post office to ship it, a service like ours is perfect if you are getting started in the art print market. With your printing and shipping infrastructure taken care you can spend more time on your art and your customers. Attracting new buyers and making them happy customers should be a top priority. Making them happy buyers is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you are building a successful art based business.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 3:25:45 PM - Just the other day we had a new customer inquire about the safety of her images which she has loaded in her account. While I did not talk to her direct I saw the transcript from her live chat session with one of our customer service people and I thought that this is a topic worth bringing up, especially for those a little tentative about uploading their artwork to a website which they may not be familiar with.

Thursday, January 23, 2014 1:36:46 PM - How are you supposed to be able to sell prints when you have to compete against low cost substandard sources of prints outside of your own country? I was talking to a business owner who is also an artist and hoping to retire soon. As a supplemental income source he wants to have some of his original paintings reproduced as giclee prints. He is very new to the concept of selling prints of his work and actually is new to the concept of selling his artwork altogether. He has always painted as a hobby for his friends and family but based on his talent and subject matter I told him I could easily see a market for his work. As we got to talking about prints, I defined for him what a giclee print was and some of the advantages, especially for someone trying to generate a demand. He was very interested in getting started but he did have some concerns about how easy or challenging it would be to compete with art prints mass produced in other countries, mainly China.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 2:59:15 PM - What are your plans for 2014. With the entrance into January many people like to start their new year with resolutions. For artists I think it is a good time to set goals rather than resolutions. I like the term goals because it implies you have set a finish line that must be crossed to complete. And in many cases you might have a larger goal in mind that may consists of smaller goals. At FinerWorks we always set goals thought the year but January is especially important. The final months of the year are so busy that implementing new solutions seamlessly can be challenging but with the holiday season behind us we have a chance to evaluate ourselves and come up with ideas with the idea of becoming more capable in meeting our customers' expectations. So what are some ideas that we can offer artists who want to set new goals for themselves? I will name a few that you can either take with you or expand on yourself.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:28:25 AM - An artist can be like an entertainer. Like someone who performs for a living, they want to enable an emotional yet thoughtful response by the people viewing their work.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 8:31:40 AM - I have put together 3 different ways to help you decide how to charge your customers shipping. If you have your own system and you find it works, by no means do I recommend you change. These are just suggestions you might want to consider, especially if you are just getting started.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 7:07:31 PM - A few weeks ago I was meeting with some artists and photographers and the topic came up as how to choose print sizes. What is better, printing your images large or small and how do you know what sizes are in demand by your customers. One young lady there was an artist who initially wasn’t selling her work at shows in the numbers she had expected. She had printed almost everything as an 8x10 or slightly smaller. Many of the other artists at the show were successful at selling smaller sizes so she knew it had to be something she was doing wrong. After trying a larger size instead of what she was offering she found buyers were purchasing prints at a higher rate. When she asked some of the other artists at the show what they thought about this she was told very frankly that the style of the artwork needed to sync up with the sizes she was printing. Unfortunately she had done her initial sizes based on what a friend who was not an experienced artist had suggested rather than what her work called for. Her artwork had so much more appeal and interest than what the small 8x10s could reflect.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 5:18:28 PM - Presentation: If you are selling your work direct (face to face) then coming up with a successful presentation should be your first priority.

Friday, October 5, 2012 12:09:05 AM - Getting your work in front of a mobile audience is more crucial then before. More people will be viewing your site on a mobile device as people use their iPhones, iPads and Android powered tablets so why not make their experience as enjoyable and easy as possible. While it may seem easier to pack in more content in a standard website, what good is it if many of your mobile visitors decide it's too difficult to navigate or view.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:13:10 PM - If you have a website then it may not be enough. How long has it been since it was designed. Does meet today's standards? And if you don't have a website to promote yourself or your work, what's the deal? Read more about where you need to start if you are serious about getting exposure for you and your work on the web.

Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:42:13 PM - Many artists want to sell their work and are looking for ways to promote with little to no budget for marketing. Facebook has a great feature which is independent of member's profile page. If you are using Facebook, why not create a Facebook fan page devoted to your work.

Saturday, June 9, 2012 12:56:03 PM - Did you know you can print high resolution images posted on the Library of Congress website? Not only can you do this but it is free and you can make money from the prints you produce too.

Sunday, June 3, 2012 2:37:15 AM - If it is important the print number and signature be visible on your giclee print, placing it on the actual artwork in the right or left corner will probably be the best option. Read this post to learn why.

Saturday, May 26, 2012 8:08:04 PM - Have you wondered what to charge for your prints. A few artists share with us how they decide on pricing prints they sell online and offline.

Friday, February 3, 2012 12:53:23 PM - Present yourself in a neat manner, force yourself to wear a genuine 10 hour smile, and meet your customers as they approach or pass. Whether you are successful or not, you must portray that you are.

Friday, September 2, 2011 12:05:38 PM - Way before starting FinerWorks, one of the areas of printing I researched for myself for my digital artwork was different ways to offer prints to my buyers. Which should I offer: giclee or lithograph prints?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 11:56:37 AM - Check out these tips to improve your sales and exposure of your art and photography prints online.

Sunday, August 7, 2011 9:17:24 PM - Artists and fine art photographers frequently asked me what should go on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for the prints we produce for them or is there a set format for the COA.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 11:14:41 AM - If you have spent much time in shows displaying your photography or art prints you may have had the occasional customer pick one up and damage it. If you are new to participating in shows, here I provide some basic tips on protecting your work.

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About James Theopistos Aside from being an enthusaistic promoter of the visual arts field as it relates to individual artists' success, he also serves as the acting Chief Development Officer for, an online color print lab for artists and photographers.
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