Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tips for Becoming a More Professional Sculptor

There are many talented sculptors throughout the United States who go unnoticed! This is not because of the lack of talent but mainly due to improper marketing. A sculptor must consider his or herself a commodity and market themselves thusly. I will hit a few of the high points that have helped me throughout the years.

First and foremost one must establish an icon, trademark, or logo to be used with all forms of media. It will take a while but eventually, that logo becomes associated with a particular sculptor, while the public may not remember the name a logo usually sticks in their memory. Using the logo on all correspondence, resumes, portfolios and proposals shows professionalism! Maintain the same theme throughout!

Resumes are equally as important, but how much and what do you need to put in is the question. We have several resumes made up each with different and varying information, depending upon what we are submitting the resume for dictates which resume we send. An example would be if you are submitting a proposal for a monument, the resume you use should contain information regarding past commissions that relate to the specific subject. Lets say you have sculpture commissions or works that you have done in the abstract field and works you have done that are figurative; the request for proposals is on a figurative sculpture so simplify the resume you are sending and only include works in the figurative field. More is not always good, sometimes less is best. You don't have to list every single exhibit you have been in pick out the most prestigious and list only those. Don't make the review committee have to dig to find important information, put your resume on a diet and only provide the basic necessary information. If you were applying for a position where your knowledge of sculpture was the key issue then you should submit a resume containing information relative to your art education background. include art courses and workshops . A good rule of thumb is to keep the resume to two pages.

One of the most important aspects of responding to a RFQ (Request for Qualifications) or an RFP (Request for Proposals) is to read and follow directions! When they request 10 copies unbound, don't stable them together follow instructions, when they request images in a specific format i.e. Tiff don't send JPG and vice versa. We sending in a proposal that has a specific deadline, make sure your proposal is in the mail in plenty of time to reach it's intended destination (allow for delays in the postal service). It is always a good idea to request a delivery receipt with signature verification, that way you know when it got there and who signed for it, just in case it gets misplaced (this has happened before and having proof of date and delivery were grounds for reconsideration).

Professionally made business cards are a must! Now you can do these on your own computer but by all means use the best quality card stock and quality printer. The same thing applies to brochures, we make our own (we don't save any money because we use high quality photo, scored brochure stock) but here again we are not stuck with a 1000 printed brochures with the wrong email, phone or address. We can change photos and any other information and print just what we need for a show etc.

Photographs are a must, never too many! Take good quality photos of your work from varying angles and in different lighting conditions, use what looks best. Be sure to save the original copy, unedited in a high resolution, you can resize and format from the originals time and time again. You may be required to send in an 8 x10 photo, if all you have is 4x6 it never looks good when you scale it up, so pull up the original and make a copy to the specified size.

Portfolios are excellent tools to have on hand at all times! We generally carry 5 or 6 copies with us whenever we are traveling, here is the scenario; you are visiting New York and you walk into a gallery that happens to be showing sculptors who are producing works in a style similar to yours. The best way to get them to even look at your work is simply ask if you might leave your portfolio for them to review at their leisure, you drop off a copy of your portfolio and walk out. They might throw it in the trash, they might look at it and send it back to you, they might even file it for future reference or BAM! they might even get back to you about representing your work.

It's late, I'm tired but I hope this information is of some help!
Don't hold typos against me, my proof reader is busy on her own blog so it stands as is.

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