by Carolyn Edlund
Considering selling your work to corporate clients? Here’s what you need to know.
The corporate art market offers opportunities for artists to sell their work for display in environments such as office buildings, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, municipal agencies, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, and many other settings.
Buyers and decision makers for this market include interior designers, architects, building managers, art consultants, and curators. Artists may be self-representing, or be represented by galleries or art consultants. Art consultancies are located in most major U.S. cities, and many of them accept submissions from artists interested in having their work taken into consideration for corporate projects. If you are interested, do an online search for consultancies in your area.
How can an artist know whether their work might be a good match for the corporate market? Consider if:
You have a suitable subject matter. Art with violent, overtly sexual or controversial imagery does not work well in these settings. Businesses often use art to welcome, calm and please visitors and employees. They will be looking for art that fits their needs and helps to convey a public image.
Your work is the right scale. Many commercial clients have large lobbies, conference rooms and and other spaces in their buildings that require artwork suitable to fill them. Large individual works, installations or groupings may fill this need. Likewise, corporate art that is set in outdoor spaces must be adequately sized to fit visually with the space and make impact.
You offer reproductions. Some commercial clients, such as hotels, are searching for artwork in the form of reproductions that can be purchased in volume to fill the many rooms that accommodate their guests. If your work is a good match for this environment, be prepared to fill those needs.
Your work is created in series. A series of art that shows well as a grouping may be appropriate for these settings. Imagine a long hallway with a collection of work in a similar format by the same artist, or a number of related works hung together in a larger space.
Your style and palette fits their needs. Consider the purpose for displaying artwork in any particular corporate environment. Are they seeking to create a calming, comforting environment for visitors, patients or clients? If the imagery and colors you use match this need, you may be considered. Other customers in this market may be looking for art that is playful and filled with color and movement, to express their corporate culture and brand.
As an artist interested in the corporate market, you should know where your art fits, and be able to explain why. Plan to have photos of your art shown in situ in corporate environments in your portfolio, on your website and as a part of your presentation materials. In that way, you are telling the customer that you might be a good candidate.
Many times, corporate clients choose to commission artwork for their spaces. Are you are open to taking commissions, and to collaborate with the needs and requirements of these clients?
Corporate clients make art-buying decisions based on their needs. They may require that artwork is able to be sterilized (in a hospital environment, for example), is fire resistant, easily cleaned and maintained, durable, and meets safety regulations.
Consider questions that corporate clients may have about your artwork, including shipping, installation, maintenance, repair, etc., and be prepared with answers and solutions. This will help to move the decision-making process along and will be more likely to result in successful placement of your art.