by Carolyn Edlund
You’ve seen them: food packages with a photograph on the front and the words “suggested serving” that idealize that frozen macaroni or can of corn you are considering. Showing the use of a product is smart marketing, and artists can translate this to their own businesses through the use of “in situ” photos.
Online sites that sell artwork do this all the time, by helping shoppers visualize how their purchase will look – in a mat, in a frame, on the wall. In a bedroom or a boardroom.
Showing work “in situ” gives the shopper a good idea of the scale of the work, its impact on a room and a clue where it belongs in their home or office. This provides an excellent shopping experience for the customer. They love the art, and then your presentation process takes them farther. They can imagine owning the piece . . . and bingo, they are reaching for their wallet.
Use “in situ” photos when marketing your own art. Place them on your website, in a brochure, or even on a large banner in your show booth. Bump up your sale by showing artwork grouped together, like the photograph at the top of this article that shows digital art from artist Paula Ogier. Could you imagine buying just one of those two pieces? Nope. They look fantastic as a set, and they belong together. So, you will just have to spring for both!
“In situ” photos can make other suggestions as well. Do you work in a series or in a theme? Imagine offering giclees (or originals) in a modular size such as 12” x 12” that works well in different types of spaces. Show a photo of four pieces together – two over two. And, in a narrow space, four pieces hung one above the other, or side by side down a wall. This type of “in situ” photo shows the versatile nature of your work, and that emphasizes the benefit to the customer. And, it sends a strong message that they need to buy the whole grouping to make the best impact in a room. That’s your “suggested serving.”
Now, let’s take this a bit further. I happened to notice in this month’s Real Simple magazine that they have an article on “Easy DIY Gallery Walls” with some cool decorating ideas on how to group multiple pieces of art (see above). Could you imagine putting together a photo of a wall filled with your own work creatively displayed? What you are doing is selling consultatively by visually telling the shopper how to make their space look amazing by buying your art and then arranging it so that it looks like they hired a professional decorator.
People love to see this type of presentation. It’s why HGTV is so popular and interior design magazines and blogs will never go out of style. As the artist, you are in a perfect position to make those recommendations on how and where your work should be displayed. So, serve up your art in a suggestive way and see the response you get!