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Art Business: How to Waste Every Dollar You Spend (A Tale of Two Artists) 

DwellOnDesignImageA few weeks ago I was with my husband Harry at the Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles.

We went to an artist's booth and it was wonderful, with nice art beautifully displayed and an assortment of colorful printed materials including an eight-page brochure on sumptuous paper. The artist was tastefully dressed. Stellar, huh?  Not so fast.

I was impressed and decided to feature him in this newsletter, as an example of "how to do things right."  So I tried to introduce myself, but he was very distracted (I was the only visitor there.) His demeanor was stiff and his attitude arrogant. His attitude said, "The great artist" standing in his booth, holding court. I did not feel that he valued our conversation, not at all. But I handed him my postcard, and started to explain what I do, that I write this column and.... he took my postcard, glanced at it, and scowled. Looking at something in the distance he said, "What is it you do?" and I started again. A few words later it was obvious that he had decided I wasn't worth listening to. He handed the postcard back to me (!), took a call on his cell phone, turned his back on me and walked away. No "thanks for stopping by." Not even a "no thank you."

JessikaCardinahlPostcardAnother artist booth I visited was very different. Not a big fancy booth, hers was small and simple, well-lit and covered in her framed work. (Sorry, I didn't get a photo, but below is one of her at another show.) Jessika sat in a folding chair next to a small table displaying her colorful postcards, with a fishbowl to collect business cards for her mailing list. As I approached, she made eye contact and greeted me warmly. She listened to me as if I was the most important person in the world.

I complimented her on her art and postcards, and asked where she got the postcards printed. We chatted and I explained that I collaborate with fine artists, helping them build their art businesses. I handed her my postcard, she took it, looked at it, and smiled. How nice she was! Obviously, I wasn't buying (at the moment), but did she turn her back on me and walk away? No, she didn't. Instead she told me about her wonderful printer, she showed me other samples of his work (her prints, which were very good quality), and as she searched for one of his cards for me she explained about all the great things he does to help her.

JessikaCardinahlTHIS artist understands how to market her art. Sure, I wasn't buying but she was wise enough to be friendly and helpful. She understands that genuine interest, good listening skills and pleasant conversation are very valuable marketing tools.

Who will I buy art from in the future? Her, or the rude artist? Yeah, her of course (and I suspect so will everyone else at that show). And who did I choose to be featured in this article and benefit from the exposure? Her, of course.

Her name is Jessika Cardinahl and you can read about her and view her work at

Oh, her printer? His name is Dan Rider. He is located in Alhambra, California and I suggest you look him up at

The rude artist? He wasted all that money he spent on fancy printed stuff. As I walked around the show I glanced at his booth from time to time. It was usually empty, and if someone visited it wasn't for long. Can you blame them?

All my best to you and yours,

Robin Sagara
Web Marketing Mentor

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