Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Picasso the businessman - branding and the value of art

An article What Picasso Knew: Branding Tips For Artists From An Art Basel Insider by Allen Adamson, a Contributor to Forbes Magazine provides some useful tips for artists who need to learn about the relationship between branding and the value of art.

Pablo Picasso (1962)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
It highlights Pablo Picasso as an artist who was not only a smart artist but an astute businessman.  His fame and his wealth came from both.  Being an excellent artist alone would not have allowed him to achieve the success he did.

I've added a section on Picasso and the art business into my website About Pablo Picasso - Famous Artist.  This includes links to other information on the internet about Picasso and his dealings with the art business.

Picasso and his mastery of branding and the art business

Here's a summary in my own words of Picasso's mastery of branding and the art business.

Art has value / Art is a business

  • Art is a business - always
  • An artist needs to know the value of their work
  • sell when you need to not because you have art to sell - control the artwork in circulation and you have more influence over the value and the price

Branding and art

Thinking about art as a brand is helpful to understanding why some art sells - and other art does not
  • brands which succeed are superior in some way
  • art needs to intrigue and communicate in a way which adds value
  • brands which succeed connect with collectors
  • brands with single names are easy to remember
  • brands with clear identities are easy to recognise
  • manage the perception of your brand by the market

What an artist needs to know in order to be successful:

Being a good painter is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a successful artist
  • art needs to be different and distinctive
  • art needs to be high quality and capable of standing the test of time
  • the artist needs to have a clear sense of self and what he or she stands for
  • an artist who is prolific in his production of art does not have to sell everything he makes when he makes it
  • always keep the collectors wanting more

What Collectors want to know about

Collectors want to know about "who" produced the art i.e. they want to know about the brand's "persona"
  • What is the back story?  Is it an interesting and authentic narrative?  
  • Is this artist different?
  • They need to know your latest news - it's another chapter in the story
Collectors are also impressed by artists who are famous enough to be known by one name only.

Other Factors critical to an artist's success

These include:
  • brand placement (ie where you show your art and for how long) is critical to success.  
  • who art is sold to (ie do they have status - will people copy them?) Finding the right collectors is critical and having 
  • where art hangs (irrespective of whether people can see it)
  • knowing the right people - an art dealer who can help with both placement and clients can be critical to an artist's success.
  • how the artist's story is told - and by who
  • keeping control over how art is released to the market and the value/price is managed

Isn't it interesting that Picasso was one of the earliest artists to be filmed painting?

and finally......

Here's my latest find in terms of Picasso videos.  I suggest you mute the Cat Stevens soundtrack!

1 comment:

  1. At last! Great information about the business side of art from an artists perspective that actually makes sense. Picasso's astute business acumen should be admired regardless of the product - it's a winning formula.

    Valuable article, thank you!


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