INVEST IN THE STORY

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Begin with the end in mind

Habit #2 of Stephen R Covey’s seminal book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is ‘Begin With The End In Mind.’ If you are an art gallery owner, this is advice worth heeding.

Your goal should be to create a comprehensive archive of engaging content. Start the process now and you will most definitely reap the rewards in the future. Think long term. 5 to 10 years from today. How much value will there be for visitors to your website if they can track the evolution of key artists, year-on-year, through well-crafted video and photojournalism?

Art galleries and artists now need to find different ways – ways that extend far beyond the physical walls of an exhibition space – to tell the stories of the work they create and represent, to build awareness of the individual and his or her portfolio and, ultimately, to create a successful sales environment. 

How much more powerful might it be for potential buyers and advocates to see in context and through a comprehensive archive of online video an artist’s development from their earliest work through to the present day?

Online users now have many thousands of works literally at their fingertips. To be able to access and interact with any one of them is now literally within the gift of any individual artist or gallery – and the effects can be compelling.

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Create a commotion

Take the New York-based visual artist Bradley Theodore and the Paint the Wraith video New England art-directed with him for Maddox Gallery in Mayfair. 

Creating a work of art on a £250,000 Rolls Royce Wraith outside the gallery had two obvious benefits: first, it became a live public art event outside the gallery that generated interest in the gallery and Bradley Theodore himself; second, it showed the provenance of an artist work as it was created. 

There was a third benefit not obvious on the day in the shape of an ongoing partnership with Rolls Royce.

Consider a series of films just like that one that are just a click away and think about the way in which it might bring an artist and his or her market closer together, and you begin to see a wealth of opportunity.

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Video is a big deal

Content, as Bill Gates famously observed, may be king, but as Buzzfeed’s former CEO Jonathan Perelman countered: distribution is queen, and she wears the pants. 

The question now is how artists and galleries can find channels that reinforce reputations, build trust, attract deeper engagement and create lasting support and loyalty – all key parts of a successful sales funnel.

It’s said that in two years 85% of all online content will be delivered by video. The percentage of online users who prefer video to text already stands close to 60%. More than 500 million people watch video on Facebook every day. Users upload 72 hours of video content to YouTube every 60 seconds.

YouTube – now owned by Google, of course, and populated solely by video and video animation – is the second largest search engine in the world and has to be part of any contemporary video strategy.

It’s no coincidence that the smart gallery owners and entrepreneurial artists are now looking to invest in high-quality, well-produced, in-depth engaging video, photojournalism and other rich content over a long period of time to build traction with an audience that is already wise to the opportunities online channels can offer.

By doing that, online users can quickly and easily stay up-to-date with existing and emerging talent, keep an eye on the prime movers, shakers and innovators among in the art world and see within a few clicks the growing reputation of the artist. 

Art provenance is no longer constrained to paperwork and authenticated signatures. Art provenance is now in seeing that art created in real time on the screen or viewed in a gallery from many hundreds of miles away.

And future success lies in recognising and understanding the value of that opportunity.

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