Free Thinking: Art Retail Network Gets You Spotted By Industry Professionals

by Cass Art

Our season of tips, hints and talks for students, art graduates and creatives starts very soon with Free Thinking 2015

Jena Connolly, Artist Engagement Officer at Art Retail Network, will be giving a talk at Free Thinking, explaining how to approach galleries and get spotted by industry professionals. This talk will take place on Friday 26th June and Friday 3rd July, and It's vital stuff that all artists need to know!

To give you a taster, or just in case you can't make the talk on those days, we asked all the right questions ahead of time to showcase exactly how you can start promoting your work - for free - using Art Retail Network. Read on for Jena's excellent advice.

Art Retail Network Workshop

So, in a nutshell: what does Art Retail Network do, and what are the benefits of signing up?

We provide access to proven and growing art markets and equip artists with digital tools for selling art in the real-world. We work with galleries, artists, art collectives, arts organizations, universities, colleges and arts fairs to help artists make a living from selling their original artwork.

 We do this through a series of services ranging from our free access website and workshops, to our premium services such as our art-viewing app ActivCanvas. The Art Retail Network website works to connect artists with galleries suited to their medium, subject, price range and experience. Artists can upload a profile and portfolio which will be seen by hundreds of UK based galleries. ActivCanvas is an app that recognizes any original artwork and triggers multi-media content specific to that artwork. It allows artist to connect directly with the people that love their work the most.

One key benefit of artists using Art Retail Network is the knowledge that galleries using the system are actively browsing for new artists, and using search filters to generate the best match for both gallery and artist. 

Where did the idea come from?

Art Retail Network Founder Jamie McCallum strongly believes “Every artist with the talent and the drive should be able to make a career from creating art.” Art Retail Network believes that original artworks are appreciated at their best when an audience sees them firsthand rather than online as a digital thumbnail. We also believe that the internet should be the perfect tool for matching unique, original art with a particular gallery space or owner. Art Retail Network is the combination of these two ideals; equipping artists with digital tools for connecting with,  and success within, real-world exhibition and sales spaces.

Art Retail Network 

How does the ‘best fit’ matching system work?

When a gallery joins the Art Retail Network website we match them with an initial list of ten member artists that best fit the profile they completed to join. This profile reflects their preferred mediums, artist type, price range and geographical preferences. There is also a sample image rating system that is heavily taken into consideration. Smart filtering and search engines are then at their disposal whenever they enter the system to search for artists.

Can anybody join? Do you already have to be a practicing artist, or do you have to have studied art, for example?

Art Retail Network is a democratic art ecology. Anyone who would consider themselves an artist is welcome to join the system. We currently have a wide variety of artists on the system including students, recent graduates, emerging and professional artists. We believe that through using digital tools to expand your geographical reach, a variety of artist should be able to find the right space for them.

Can you tell us any success stories that might inspire recent art graduates to join Art Retail Network?

I'll let the quotes speak for themselves!

Quote from Julie Arbuckle (Professional Artist @joolzarbuckle):

"Art Retail Network (ARN) provided me with the confidence boost I needed to get my art out there more in the real world. Connections I've made since working with ARN have lead to my work being shown in one well-known gallery so far, and has given me the impetus to approach more galleries. Making that first contact with any gallery can be often very difficult; it's a huge help to be assisted over that first threshold"

John Brenton 

 Quote from John Brenton (Professional Artist, pictured above)

“After being approached by Art Retail Network I was intrigued to find out how an app (ActivCanvas) could link the artist to the potential client or gallery in such a user friendly way. Obtaining video footage for ActivCanvas took a couple of days during which time I was able to build a great working relationship with the team. The ActivCanvas app was put to the test at the preview of my exhibition at the Biscuit Factory Gallery in Newcastle. The interaction between the painting and the device enabled a more personal experience for the viewer giving essential information and a “story” behind the selected painting. I feel ActivCanvas has enormous potential and hope that it will continue to develop and bring closer links to artists and potential clients."

Quote from Heather Beveridge (Final Year Student at Gray’s School of Art @Hev9)

“Working with Art Retail Network has been a great experience. We have worked together to bring my ideas to life in a way that I never knew was possible until now. ActivCanvas has the potential to be applied to endless perspectives and creative outputs, and is extremely reliable. It has allowed my work to become interactive, which will not only catch people’s eye, but excite them.”

Is it completely free for artists to join?

Yes. Our website is completely free for both artists and galleries to use, as are our workshops hosted at Universities and Fairs. We generate revenue through our premium services such as the ActivCanvas app. The prices for ActivCanvas range depending on the number of works involved, style of audio-visual content activated, and length of activation duration.

Finally, what are you going to be talking about at Free Thinking 2015?

I will be presenting an interactive session with tips on how best to approach galleries and art retailers, advice on the importance of online portfolios, and direction on how to get spotted by industry professionals. With a series of short, team-based activities we aim to get you thinking like the gallery owners and creative businesses you're pitching to. I’ll also be showing a little demo of the ActivCanvas app in action but that’s top secret stuff…you’ll need to come along to find out it's exciting possibilities. 

Art Retail Network Artist Mascots

Feeling inspired?

Come and see Jena speak at Free Thinking 2015, to hear how to approach galleries, set up an online portfolio and get spotted by those all-important industry professionals.

The Arts Retail talk will take place at 4pm on Friday 26th June, and 3pm on Friday 3rd July, in Shop13 at the Old Truman Brewery.
Art Retail Network Logo 

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