Tag Archives: business

What Does Art Say About Your Financial Institution?

The use of art in the financial banking world is a subject that is in need of serious contemplation.  The corporate culture found in most financial institutions tends to gravitate towards the ultra conservative. Therefore the art displayed in lobbies and boardrooms  are the typical portraiture of corporation leaders and board members.

On the surface this makes sense. Ultra conservative art, such as those painted portraits of all the bank leaders from the institutions past are a safe bet in a corporate culture set on dominating from the boardroom down.  It shows how powerful the institution is with all of it’s grandeur and accumulated wealth.

There is no denying that this is a successful and very tactical use of art as a display of business dominance

Ready for My Closeup
Ready for my Close-up

and financial prestige.    Ultra conservative art tends to exude political confidence and financial power.

Unfortunately, if you’re a banker, the competition realizes this logic is a historical concept.  But, odds are also good that they also realize that surviving the business world is about being on the cutting edge.  If customers are not willing to create an account with an institution because of outdated business ideals then that institution, like the dinosaurs, will simply not survive.

The days of too big to fail ideology are gone and every institution needs every client.   The competition understands this old-school business ideology also contains a rather negative stereotype found in many places of the world where the leader figure is powerfully displayed in conservative business attire mandating policies to the hirelings directly under supposed omniscient leadership.  In other words, it hurts your image more than it helps.

Thankfully, art offers a path out of the suit jacket and tie boardroom image into a more resounding modern appeal to the masses and employees.  Why? Areas of industry long dominated by the standard operating rules of Victorian styled yesteryear are realizing the wonderful and lucrative partnership that working with creatives, like photographic artists, brings to the bottom line.  A recent article by Ceci Moss on the online journal Rhizome sums up the power of these ideas and how they are already happening among several tech giants in the San Francisco Bay area.

Artists are exceptionally talented people who have a knack for thinking outside the box.  These creative people add to a financial institution, not by their ability to follow rules, but instead by their ability to help create and express the living values of a corporate entity.

When workers see art that makes them feel good about working in a system,  they work harder and are more productive.  Customers and clients also see the artwork developed by these artists and they also sense the contemporary edge of that company’s ability to do business in the modern world.  It opens a dialogue between the creative and more factual subcultures in an organization.

So look at your corporate institutions and banking financial centers you deal with on a day by day basis.  What does their art say about their institution?  Are they modern or old-fashioned?  What are the values they portray?

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Stock Photography: No Longer Fun For Everyone Pt.2

Will it Get Worse?

As we discussed in part one of our investigation into stock photography, The situation in the stock photo world shows the market is full, prices are dropping, and art quality is arguably getting lower. How does it possibly get worse?

It was just announced that Dreamstime is now the stock photo provider for Google Ads.   Dreamstime is a stock photo service that has announced a new deal where the buyer, Google Ads, will be able to buy pictures for a huge discount.   Remember that lucky photographer in our earlier example that sold a $2 picture for 10,000 copies? He made a nice $20,000. Well, the new deal allows all 10,000 copies of a picture to be sold for $2.

Granted, this is only one deal between a photo service and a major corporation. Alone it will hardly affect the entire industry. But a deal like this between Getty Images and Google has already happened. So this makes the second brokered deal with similar characteristics.   Cheap prices for a lot of pictures. Remember the old saying.  “Once is chance, twice is coincidence and three times is a trend.”

 The Effect:

No photographer can hope to make a living under these kinds of corporation take all deals. Now, it’s true many are saying, “Well it’s still $2 more than what you have.” However, a photographer would have to produce and sell 10,000 separate licenses under those requirements before they could break even with our earlier example.

In the end, how this will adversely affect the market is still unclear. Mainly, the market should expect to lose even more of the artists that produced high quality images for licensing. The reason is simple. There is no logical way to turn a profit large enough to make a living producing those quality pictures.

How can I say this?   Aren’t I just being overly negative?  I hate plain negativity, but the numbers just are not helpful in my critical analysis of the situation.

Using the $2 a picture deal, let’s look at an example:

There is a garden nearby that charges photographers $70 for photographers to take pictures in that garden. That means you have to sell 35 photograph licenses from that trip just to break even. But wait, I’m not counting the cost of equipment, transportation, insurance, meals, computers, software, picture processing time, and any assistants or models you might need.

Assuming you get 35 top quality pictures, how long would it take you to sell the 35 separate licenses needed to break even? Or sell one picture 35 times.  How about if you needed 50? Or 150?

What would the effect on your business be? Do you have the pockets deep enough to be able to afford waiting weeks, months or even the years it takes to break even for a single afternoon’s work?

Could you afford to only be a stock photographer and offer the quality necessary to make a name for yourself?

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Stock Photography: No Longer Fun For Everyone Pt.1

The Basics:

Stock photography is an interesting business in the art world. The basic concept is to sell your pictures, usually through a distributor or agent company, for a discounted price in mass volume.   This volume is either the number of permitted prints the buyer makes or the length of time the buyer licenses the usage of a picture.

It’s this kind of photography, where corporations and sometimes moviemakers will go to find art for various projects.   I always think of it as a Wal-Mart for pictures.

Last week I read an article by Michael Zhang on Petapixel about stock photography and the latest troubles that industry was experiencing. I have to admit I’ve always thought about delving into the realm of stock photography.

While I prefer to create and sell fine art, the truth is I can’t upload all of my pictures for some just won’t sell as fine art. They’re fine pictures and are of excellent quality but there is only a  limited amount of space available even on an online gallery. Yet, those pictures may satisfy the casual buyer in the form of a corporate brand looking for art in their next magazine ad. So it’s been tempting to place them in the stock photo market.

In the past, the idea of selling your photographic work by the thousands for just a few dollars could bring in quite a substantial amount of exposure and profit for the professional photographer. I mean if you sold a license to have your picture printed in a brochure for to a major company at a rate of $2 per pic for 10,000 copies, that’s $20,000.   Not bad.

 What Happened:

Then the huge availability of cheap cameras and iphoneographers  struck the stock photography world. A great deal of people saw the potential to make some money and saturated the market with copious amounts of cheaply produced photography of various, sometimes dubious, quality. All this is done in hopes that a company would purchase their license.   The industry really became more about selling your license than selling your art.

This situation resulted in the mass-production of pictures to combat the glut of pictures available for the undiscriminating eyes of corporate buyers who just wanted a picture. The law of supply and demand soon reared its head. The prices dropped as the competition increased and soon the market flooded. However, the money is only part of this particular equation.

Who are the winners in this situation?   Not surprisingly, one would believe it’s the corporations. They have a lot more advertising material available to them. Alas, it’s not so.

The corporations will actually lose out on the picture quality of the photographs available for purchase. Think of all the various quality pictures that companies must sift through to find that one shot they think will serve their purpose. The effect is the same as if everyone opened a restaurant because they had a kitchen. How many bad cooks would you have to suffer through before you found a great one?  How much money would you waste on meals before you found that one meal that was perfect?

Don’t forget to join us on Thurs. for Stock Photography:  No Longer Fun For Everyone Pt.2.  Will it get worse?


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What do Art Galleries and Sports Have in Common?

The world of art galleries is like the world of professional sports. That’s a pretty bold statement.  Let’s see how.

Imagine each gallery as a team in your favorite sports league. Each artist represents the players. The type of artists like sculptors, photographers, painters, and such, all represent the various positions that players play.   The gallery, acting as a team, wants to field the best artists for the best result, in this case sales.

Now we should mention that this is not easy. Just like in sports, the gallery can only hope that they pick the winning combination that allows their team to succeed. Just like in sports, there are no guarantees

One that Got Away
Sometimes our best players don’t work out…

the artists or players you pick will perform the way you want.

Now imagine if you start in sports in middle school. Schools encourage everyone to join in and play. But when you get to high school only about 10% of the players in middle school can actually try to make the team. Of those, less than 10% can make it to the college level, and of those chosen at colleges, only 1-2% makes it to the pros.   How much talent is being left on the wayside?

What if you were a really good player but there was a large number of equally good players at your position and as luck would have it, you’re just not chosen for the pros? There are only so many positions to fill and too many people to fill it.   Does that make your talent weaker?

No, of course not. This is what it’s like for an artist trying to get into a large gallery. There are only so many galleries, and unlike sports teams, they don’t always travel scouting for players.   An artist living in the middle of rural Alaska has the potential to become the next Picasso, but you’ll never see him or hear about him. Why?

There are no major international galleries near her. She can’t get to the special events at the galleries. This is a real problem in that galleries are very specific and very skittish about whom they display and whom they ignore. What are her chances of finding true gallery love?

The online gallery changes this equation. Everyone can have a website or a webpage that shows their work. Online art galleries allow for artists to display and even sell their work to the world.   There are no limits to the type of art or the number of pieces displayed.  Further, In the fine art world the goal of any artist is to have exposure. Being online allows for not only local Calling the Faithfulexposure but international also.

With the use of the Internet and its international reach, art is no longer a selective club to be enjoyed by the privileged few. Oh sure, there will always be large galleries and institutions that are by invitation only. You will always have detractors and naysayers of the online art movement. But that is how opportunity works.

Speaking of opportunity.  Remember to download your Christmas card catalog today!  Time is running out on your chance to order these fine cards.

You can view the cards from here.


Download the PDF from here…

Free Christmas Card Catalog


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Christmas Cards Are Coming To Town

We have a new development at the gallery!  I’ve created a new type of catalog to help your holiday art shopping.

With the holidays quickly arriving, it is an excellent time to offer a free look at our new Christmas card selections.   Each of these pictures will easily fit to make a gorgeous one of a kind Christmas card with Blue Dooryour personal message.  Or buy a pack of cards and save even more!  Naturally, all pictures will print without the watermark.

You could buy those same old boring cards at the big retail store, but that’s being predictable and boring.  Support the cause of small businesses and buy your fine art Christmas cards today!

Download your free PDF today!

Free Christmas Card Catalog


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