The Art of Business/The Business of Art
Ragazine.CC: Litsa, I first became aware of BLINK when a beautiful catalog addressed to Ragazine arrived. It contained a huge catalog of contemporary art presented in a clean professional and exciting way, and apparently intended to promote a large variety of art and artists to interior design and architectural firms. In other words, not for the average collector, but with a more commercial market in mind. Would you say that’s accurate?
Litsa Spanos: Yes. Although Blink could be a great “coffee table art book”, it’s main purpose is to expose artists to trade buyers, high end interior designers, art galleries and art consultants, who like myself, buy and sell art every day.
Q) I understand that BLINK is a cooperative venture of artists who pay for space in the catalog, and collect all the proceeds from sales. This is a bit like the model used in many art shows these days, where one buys space and proceeds of sales are theirs. Is that correct?
A) Yes, Artists pay for the cost of promotional pages and we send the catalogue out to trade buyers free of charge.
Q) How do you decide who gets into the catalog? Can anyone “buy in”?
A) Blink is a juried catalogue featuring only professional artists with proven sales success. The catalogue has a specific and balanced collection of work − including sculpture, objects, paintings, mixed media, etcetera… so, yes, we decided who can be in it.
Q) What do you do to promote BLINK and the “member” artists? Is there an individual artist promotional effort?
A) Blink artists receive fantastic benefits. This catalogue is not meant to be a “one time ad.” All artists who are showcased in a full page or more receive online representation in both Blink and ADC’s websites and social media (including our blog, facebook, etcetera).
They also have the opportunity to exhibit in our 10,000 square-feet gallery. And we are proud to say that we have also worked with many of our Blink artists to get their work sold. Many have been placed in our prestigious clients collections throughout the country. This is a huge bonus for artists!
Q) What percentage of artists in the catalog do you represent through your gallery in Cincinnati?
A) We represent all artists who commit to a full page or more.
Q) Is there a general price range of work in the catalog, or is that pretty much up to the artist?
A) The price ranges of Blink artists are across the board. A client may want a collection of small works that are in the hundreds of dollars or they might want to commission an outdoor sculpture for a public space that could be in the thousands. We work “one on one” with each artist to assure that they show work that has the most opportunity for success.
Q) Can you tell us a little about the work that’s represented? Is it original paintings or sculptures? Multiples?
A) What is so incredible about Blink Art Resource is the diversity. Clients can find whatever they are looking for from monumental site specific works to smaller pieces. There are paintings, sculptures, photography, objects, mixed medias in every style, shape and form. The selection is incredible.
Q) Making a living as an artist is generally presented as “the impossible dream.” Do you see your gallery and BLINK as a means to make the dream a reality?
A) Yes, it’s another wonderful venue for artists to expose their work to an audience that would not have been able to reach on their own. Each person we send the book to has been researched by our team to assure they are successful businesses that buy and sell art.
Q) Artists sometimes think of the business side of art, i.e., making a living, as a sort of copout. What would you say to that?
A) If you want to make a living, support your family and pay your bills, you need to see art as a business. We all love what we do and are passionate about art. Why not be able to do what you love and make money too!!
Q) What about making art more accessible to the general public?
A) That’s what I strive to do every day. Art should be in every home, every office and every hospital. By surrounding yourself with art, you lead a happier life!!
Q) Can you tell us a little about your background, and how you came to Art in the first place?
A) I’ve been in business for over 20 years and started off working at a small gallery in Michigan before launching Art Design Consultants in 1991. I’ve seen the ups and downs through many changes in the economy and continued to work harder and harder in a career that I truly love. I get a complete charge out of placing great art is beautiful spaces and then seeing how it affects everyone. I also love being able to help artists reach their goals of being more successful. It’s very important and meaningful to me to see how I can affect many lives through what I do.
Q) How and when did you start the gallery, and who were your first artists?
A) ADC started in 1992 out of my basement with only a handful or local artists, a bit of framing equipment and my will to succeed.
Q) Who or what (individual or corporate/commercial) comprised your early client base for Blink, and how did that develop?
A) We worked hard to balance Blink’s distribution to include high end interior designers’ firms (corporate and residential), art galleries and art consultants. I hired a team who worked for over a year to research and find the “best of the best” art buyers. Our goal was to hand select 10,000, and we did it!
Q) Many art agencies look for “stock” and “original” work to use in advertising campaigns. Do you approach ad agencies as a representative for your artists or is that area out of the range of the work you represent?
A) We have not reached out to that market, but see it as a viable opportunity and will absolutely add advertising firms to our distribution list for 2016.
Q) Are you an artist yourself, and if so, what is your preferred medium? If not art, what are some of your other interests?
A) No, I wish I was as talented as the artists I work with! My talents are in finding great art for my clients, marketing and sales!
Q) Is there anything else you would like to say or add about the Business of Art today?
A) I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be in Ragazine and look forward to the article. We are really proud of Blink Art Resource and want to share it with as many people as possible!
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About the Interviewer:
Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine.CC. You can read more about him in About Us.
This e-interview was conducted in August 2015.