know your customer
Thanks for the great response on my little quiz last post! You guys are the best. The results slightly favoured the top one, but if you add my three boys, then they were even. What I found most interesting was the slight gender bias: women tended to prefer the first and men the second. I have decided to use the first for reasons entirely prosaic: birdwatchers who buy art are more likely to want a more accurate representation of the species ~ and that would definitely be the first.
Trying to decide which to send got me thinking about who my potential customer might be. Vicki's interview with Miriam Weeks on Monday touched on the subject when Miriam told a revealing anecdote:
At a dinner party, I sat next to an artist who makes limited edition, hand-bound journals and photo albums. I asked him who he thought his customer is.
"My customer's name is Shirley. She lives in a fancy neighborhood near a large city. She's a busy professional who travels a lot. She has a lot more money than time. She's planning to buy my most expensive photo album at a high-end crafts gallery for her sister's 50th birthday."
- who do I imagine will be interested in my work
- male/female or both
- where would they shop for art
- where do they live
- do they have a ethnic cultural, religious identity
- how do they dress
- what's their home look like, how decorated
- why will they buy my work
- will my customer buy one piece or collect my work
As for me, my average customer at this gallery (not for these bird drawings necessarily) is a well-educated 60ish woman whose husband works as an executive in the oil and gas industry in Calgary. She plays a philanthropic role, her hobbies are decorating, the theatre and tennis, and she lives in an upper middle class neighbourhood with a holiday retreat in the Rockies near Invermere, BC. She prefers to collect contemporary art rather than the highly realistic cowboy art that is so popular in Canada's Texas. She buys my drawings for her second home because they are 'local', original and being drawings, cost less than the paintings she buys to decorate her main home.
There's nothing left on the walls of this home except vines:
This is the old Pratt farmhouse (bought in the '40s but built in the late 1800s) that my cousins lived in until the ‘60s when it was no longer fit to inhabit and abandoned. I rarely pass by it any more, but every time I do I stop to see how much more of it has been reclaimed by the land.