As shown in the previous blog, to the right you can see a few images of the exhibit. It was one very long campus hallway - almost the length of a football field that connects two major office buildings together underground. The hallway also borders the central cafeteria / atrium where 1000's of staff come to have lunch and coffee breaks and hold informal meetings.
As such, even though the wall is not that pretty or properly lit compared to a dedicated art gallery, an artist could not ask for a location with better visibility to the public as 1000's walk past or are in sight of all this art every business day.
Well I can tell you now with the conclusion of the exhibit, the response was simply amazing. More importantly, for this being my first ever real world art exhibit, the value I received from the experience was beyond my expectations in many ways and I want to share this with you all.
First, to address what most would look for as the first factor of a successful art exhibit. Let me answer the quantifiable question all ask: HOW MANY DID YOU SELL? Going into this event, the committee told me that some artists make no sales at all, most will make a few (like the last artist was happy she sold 2), and a few have sold a lot. Therefore, going into this exhibit I set my expectations with the norm and would be happy if I sold a few (maybe up to 5ish). Well, when all was added up, I sold 16 as a direct result of the art exhibit !!
- 2 artworks were sold just before I put the exhibit up
- 7 artworks were sold directly off the wall (and I didn't have to take them home)
- 5 artworks were order as Re-Prints of what was on the wall or from my online art gallery
- 2 artworks were sold as R.L. prints by friends in my SecondLife community from my Deviant Art site
- 2 instances of a special commissioned artwork (which I won't even count as a sale but you never know)
Here is a "glimpse" gallery of all the artworks that were bought during my exhibit:
I will say that even though the sales were great - with the margins being quite small and my huge investment to print 40 artworks to canvas, I am still over $1,000 in the hole but I consider this printed art now as an investment to use for other exhibits and hopefully to sell off. So I don't consider that fact as a failure. Its not even a factor.
In addition to the sales was the education and insight of what the general public liked about my art versus didn't like. By that I mean, what styles of my art portfolio would rise up as unique enough to become marketable (i.e. people would actually put money out to have it) versus the art that would not sell. The exhibit demonstrated this clearly.
With the exception of one real life floral photo that was bought for personal reasons (they were her flowers), none of my many pretty real life florals sold. I am sure I know why. Even though they are very pretty photos, they are not unique in the art print market. ANYONE CAN BUY FLOWER ART - even from Walmart - for a fraction of the price I charge for my art.. In other words, the art that I had almost no artistic manipulation applied - did not sell.
Yet I sold many of my heavily manipulated Real & Virtual world art as well as my 3D sculptured wall art. This means, that most of my portfolio of art has a potentially unique offering / styling that the general Real Life public has not experienced. For all of us in SecondLife® its commonplace and we have seen amazing virtual world art. But its fascinatingly new for those that do not know of these virtual worlds.
Another valuable outcome for me was the validation I received about how much of what I learned, developed, and evolved as an Artist in SecondLife® was a huge value-add as a foundation when I transitioned / expanded my Artist role into the Real World. All the important tips and tricks I learned from all the SL art galleries I have exhibited at. The development of my "Artist's Comment" notecards for each artwork. Learning how to present / display my art at a gallery. Promoting and advertising art events. All of these were huge value inputs to prepare me for my first real world exhibit.
Finally, the one experience I gained the most from this exhibit was the feedback from all those that bought and even those that did not. During the exhibit I received many verbal compliments and emails from so many about how unique, refreshing, new, vibrant, intriguing, interesting, and even inspiring / comforting my art was to them. A few that will stay with me are as follows:
- One lady, a VP of the company who bought an artwork said that as soon as she saw the artwork she ended up buying she knew she had to have it. She also said that over the years she has rarely ever stopped to even take any interest of the art exhibits, but her co-workers joked to her that with my art she stopped and looked and read about the art. She even went to my art site.
- Another lady bought one of my artworks. She mentioned her child recently passed and my artwork gave her a feeling of comfort that he was safe and playing happily in the hands of God.
- On a couple occasions I was told my art was being sold to low. But, because of my price, a couple people bought my art because it was the first time they loved an artwork that they could afford.
- So many people commented how vibrant the colors were and wondered if I painted the scenes - most of those were the virtual world artworks they just don't register to those that have not seen that environment.
In conclusion, I cannot be more happy how my first ever real world art exhibit went. The experience for me was invaluable and will be one of those highlights in my life. I am so grateful for this corporate art committee giving me this opportunity. I can now say that I have been an Artist that has publicly exhibited my art. NEXT ! :)