Art Buyers Talk About How to Land That First Meeting
What is the best way for an artist to ask for a meeting?
Face-to-face meetings are one of the best ways for photographers and illustrators to introduce themselves to, and build relationships with, a potential new client. However, with their busy schedules, art buyers don’t always have time to meet with every artist who comes a-knockin’. Approaching them for a meet-and-greet takes a bit of finesse.
Art buyers from Utne Reader, ArnoldNYC, Target and Publicis Modem share the secrets of how to land that all-important first meeting.
“I strongly prefer a quick, personalized email with a link to work somewhere online. I don't care if it's a website, a blog, or Flickr, as long as it's focused on your work. (No photos of your cat, please.) You can include a couple jpeg attachments, but make sure the file size is less than 2MB.” – Stephanie Glaros, art director, Utne Reader
“I appreciate when people email me, but it’s OK to follow-up with a phone message. Don’t push too hard though! Please respect when someone says they’re busy at the moment and asks you to check back in at a later date. I meet photographers as much as possible but a strong online portfolio is enough.” – Kristen Walsh, art buyer, ArnoldNYC
“I would say that overall we prefer to work with an agent for those introductions. There are a lot of really talented photographers out there. However, not everyone's work is relevant to our creative needs. Your agent should be showing work that is relevant to the categories we work on. And if your work isn't relevant, sometimes it's easier to provide that feedback to the agent.” – Lisa M. Smith, manager, art buying, Target
What mistakes do some artists make?
“The only communication faux pas that you can make is being too aggressive. Please don’t hound. An introduction and well-timed updates are sufficient to make me remember you. A photo is worth a thousand words.” – Kristen Walsh, ArnoldNYC
“I often get emails repeatedly from the same people, on the same day, just with different subject lines to make it look like something else. Don't do this. Send one email and keep it simple.” – Melissa Love, art buyer, creative resource manager, Publicis Modem
How often should an artist follow-up with you?
“Either once a month, or whenever she/he has something they are really proud of, whichever comes first. I don't have time to respond to every email, but I promise I look at everything that arrives in my inbox.” – Stephanie Glaros, Utne Reader
“A few times a year is alright. Perhaps at the beginning of every season is a good way to gauge. Also, if there is new work to show or updates to their website, notices of that are OK. I often have people contact me when they are going to be in the area. If I have time and can get a couple of people from our creative team, I will try my best to schedule a meeting with you if I feel we could possibly use you in the future.” – Melissa Love, Publicis Modem