How to Present Your Art with Impact

Courtesy Bobbi Mastrangelo

 

By Carolyn Edlund

Take a look at your body of work. Is it cohesive? Does it reflect a signature style? Is it relevant to anything?  Could you put together a collection of your work for a show which looks like it all belongs together? Does a grouping of your art make a greater statement than just one piece?

Quite often I receive emails from artists submitting portfolios and asking for input.  In visiting their websites, I sometimes run across a mishmash – perhaps a gallery of their watercolor portraits, and also some photographs they took and a little pottery they do on the side, none of which is in a cohesive style. This tells me that the artist either hasn’t developed a personal style of work, doesn’t understand how to make an impact, or is not very serious.

Many students and new artists are still finding a direction in their work, and a style that is uniquely theirs. It can take many hundreds of hours and a lot of dead ends to forge a path and start creating a body of work that grows and matures and works on many levels.

A great example of presentation can be found by looking at artist Bobbi Mastrangelo.  Although Bobbi uses several different mediums, she has a strong sense of direction and has found a niche that works well for her – rubbings and art based on manhole covers.  Visit her website, and see how she takes this further by sharing information about the symbology on some of covers she has taken rubbings from and the history of her subject, as well as tying her work in with an event (National Postcard Week).

Share more than just a portfolio on your website and in your marketing material by:

  • Showing a photograph of yourself so viewers feel they “know you”
  • Writing about a project or charity you are participating in and supporting
  • Communicating pertinent information and links about your niche that go beyond your work to draw the reader in
  • Giving a “behind the scenes” look at your creative process, including technical information and tips for other artists if applicable
  • Presenting yourself as a knowledgeable expert about your subject matter
  • Updating your website and materials on an ongoing basis to share current work and keep it looking “fresh”

Is the passion you have for your chosen direction obvious in the breadth and depth of your presentation?

Even seasoned artists can benefit from stepping back and reevaluating what is included in their portfolio, both online and in materials they use for promotion and applications.

Use your studio time to extensively explore different directions, and perfect a style that is recognizable as your own. Then take the product of your hard work and present it professionally as a collection.

 

Author Carolyn Edlund is the founder of Artsy Shark and a business consultant for artists and entrepreneurs. Looking to grow your creative small business? Find out more here.

 

Comments

  1. Thanks, Carolyn for including a bit about my art in your article “How to Present Your Art with Impact.” You have given fantastic advice which will help advance many careers.

    I would like to share the advice of my mentors:
    In the 1980’s Master Printer, Dan Welden advised me to get a style or a theme.
    He also suggested that his students send photo of themselves and their art news to local papers.

    Professor Lawrence Alloway, author of American Pop Art, took the time to look over samples of my work and pointed out that circles were a common denominator which prompted my theme selection of manhole covers.

    Cheryl Wilson is the creative designer of my web site: http://www.bobbimastrangelo.com “Tell us the story behind your art works and Keep your news current!” are her mottos.

  2. Carolyn, Thanks for posting this information for artists. I think all students and young artist should pay attention to the small details you described.

    Here’s my portfolio http://i-amaze-eyez.com/ .

    I’ll be sure to spread the word of this post.

  3. Thank you this useful article-really enjoyed it.I am posting my website and will be glad to hear any opinions on my presentation! Thank you.

    Zanara

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