Use Video to Enhance Your Art Career

Terence Donnellan

Are you serious about your art and eager to take your career to the next level? Consider having a professional video made. Terence Donnellan of Artwork on Video in New York City offers these services and recently discussed how a professional video can enhance an artist’s visibility and increase the possibility of sales

Terence is usually able to film a video in a day or two, but editing can take a week or two.  A typical video may have a running time of 10-15 minutes. His business is just starting up, so he is willing to create a professional video for about $1,000.

Terence mentions that some of the top New York galleries now show videos of their artists on their websites.  While open to all artists, he prefers to film artists who may not be well-known to the general public, but who have been working diligently for years, have a wide-ranging body of work, have had gallery shows and press, and who may be the blue chip artists in the future.

The videos contain footage of the artist working in the studio, and sometimes in preparation for a show, but the heart of the video is the interview where the artist discusses his or her work.  The medium is becoming more and more popular on websites.

It is easier and more relaxing to watch and listen to an artist speak about his or her work than it is to read an artist statement or resume. Additionally, videos create lasting impressions – in a world where tens of thousands of images are available online to users every day, a video can stand out and capture the attention and imagination of the viewer.

How can a professional video be useful in your art career?

  • An embedded video on your website will give viewers a fuller picture of you as an artist
  • Showing your video during an art exhibit communicates your inspiration and your techniques, and allows visitors greater insight into your artwork, thus encouraging purchases. The gallery can give a DVD to interested collectors, or even sell them, which will broaden your audience.
  • Want to get yourself noticed when submitting to galleries or museums? Send your video along with images and other materials. Galleries often have videos of the artists they represent. Sending a video illustrates your understanding of the art world, and shows you are serious about your future as an artist.
  • Submit your video to art sites such as Start Looking to introduce yourself and your work to the public, to other artists, and to art professionals.
  • Send a DVD as part of your press kit to grab attention while communicating valuable information.
  • Post your video on Facebook and other social media sites.  Using apps like Wix, you can customize your page to give it a more impressive appearance, which will bring more traffic to your site.  Thus, increasing the possibility of sales.
  • Videos document your growth as an artist. Artist change over time. The work you do today will probably be different from what you do five years or ten years from now.  Videos allow you to capture who you are now.  Imagine, for example, how fascinating it would be to watch videos of Picasso as he went through his many changes as an artist.  You have a chance to capture your own changes, for yourself, for the art world, and for your family and friends.
  • Applying for a grant? A video can be an important component of your application, making you seem more professional and inspired than your peers, thus increasing your odds of success.
  • Looking for a teaching job, or even commissions? Show yourself as a true professional by allowing your video to represent you in addition to your CV.
  • “Invite” the public into your studio by allowing them to watch a video of you working.  Knowing who an artist is extremely important to most savvy collectors.  Artists are different from others.  They feel strongly enough about the world that they want to show the beauty of it through their art.  Viewers appreciate this. They want to learn from you and be able to understand what you do so they can share this with others.  A video is a great way to start that conversation.



  1. I think this is a great idea, especially considering we’re already working in visual media, but I’m SO camera shy. Also not sure making jewelry is a particularly interesting thing to watch, unlike, say, blacksmithing or glassblowing, no molten glowing orbs, no sparks flying, but I’m sure a pro could find a way to make it interesting.

    No doubt video is the wave of the future (and present), but I wonder how effective it is if you’re not a good front person for your own work – maybe you’re shy, don’t look the part, short on personality or something, perceived too young, too old, could it work against you? Kind of the way you didn’t used to have to be attractive to be a rock star, but with the advent of MTV, there’s a whole beauty thing attached to music, now. I’m not a total slouch in any of those departments, I could rise to the occasion if I had to, but I think it’s more common for artists to want to be a little more reclusive and behind the scenes.

    I’ve been thinking more about this physical/visual public profile lately, wondering whether I should get some good head shots at least before any more of my hair falls out or my teeth get any worse 😉 Maybe in the arts vs. more commercial industries, collectors aren’t as attached to an image, maybe they’re looking for the actual “real person” who makes the work they’re interested in, warts and all.

  2. Yes – get good head shots. Use a photo of yourself on your site and your accounts such as Google + and Facebook, etc. As the artist, you are fascinating to people. You are branding yourself as well as your work. Use that to increase interest in yourself, your work and your message.

    I saw a post (somewhere) about “just getting over” one’s shyness of being on a video. Do it anyway. If you need reinforcement, show it to your friends and people you respect before posting it.

    If you really are hesitant, get started by speaking on Skype, or participate in a Google hangout. You will be on video on both, and will give you an initial experience.

  3. Hi Diane,
    You’re right: video is the wave of the future (and also the present). As for being shy in front of the camera, most artists are also very shy and have expressed the same feeling of dread as you have. But when you are enthusiastic about what you love–the how and why you create–your audience will be engaged with what you have to say, and often your fears will melt away. Also, no one expects you, or other creators, to look like a movie star. If fact, it’s usually very comforting to viewers to find out you don’t have movie star looks—most of us are in the same category. So stop worrying and dive in. I think you will find you are happy you did.

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