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Art Marketing: Be Bold!

There's been a lot of buzz about Sarah Jessica Parker's new reality show for artists. You can sneer at it or you can see it as an opportunity for 15 minutes of fame. Either way, you'll get a kick out of Connie Bransilver's account of going to the final casting call with Nicholas Petrucci.

"The Patriot" portrait of Connie Bransilver by Nicholas Petrucci"We did it. We answered the Cattle Call (a.k.a. Casting Call) to compete in an 'Untitled Art Project' reality show for artists. I saw a small article on the Art Business News web site, thanks to Jennifer Wiley, and followed the prompts to Bravo TV and then to the Magical Elves Casting Team information. That's Sarah Jessica Parker's company. They were casting in Miami when we uncovered the information -- too late for Miami. "Nicholas said something like, 'No Guts, No Glory,' so I booked a cheapie to New York for the two of us (I love Orbitz!). I printed photos and created a small size and up to date portfolio while Nicholas filled out pages and pages and pages and pages of personal and professional information.

Nicholas Petrucci"'C' Day was bright and sunny and as beautiful a day as New York can ever produce. Glorious! Staying at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel we splurged on a taxi to White Columns Gallery on the border between Greenwich Village and Chelsea. We found the gallery, and proceeded to the side where the instructions said we were to enter. Two naive puppies, we were, because that is where the line ended and where the 'lucky' ones entered. We were directed to the end of the line - one block, turn right, a second block, turn right, and almost to the end of the third block, next to a chain link fence with no shade, back about 250 people! And maybe another 200 ended up lining up behind us.

"The good news is that waiting there we met some quite nice, and some extremely kooky (is that still a word?) individuals vying for an opportunity to compete. Sharon (see her on, right after Nicholas' interview and photo) taught at the art institute in NYC, and showed us good classical technique of some rather edgy characters. Trixie had feminine pink and green pastels and watercolor interpreting various objects. She and her husband had been to several Aman hotels, but for them it was easy because they lived in Hong Kong. Jeffu was astounding for his waxed mustache and feisty demeanor (also on Another's gay-ness was his trademark. Another constructed a table on which to arm wrestle. You get the point.

"Nicholas was interviewed by several journalists, including Randy Kennedy of the NY Times. He was not mentioned except in the reference in the headline -- Realism Need Not Apply.

"A hot but friendly and easy-going four hours later Nicholas was 'excused.' That was after slowly moving forward, finally getting a number and an envelope for his questionnaire, resume and digital portfolio, and having a tattooed young woman smoking a cigarette look at his hard copy portfolio. Because he was not moved to the inner sanctum of the gallery no secrecy contract applies. Had he gone forward he would be sworn to complete secrecy.

"So . . . having the puff taken out of us -- I stayed with him from the end of block 3, through block 2, and to the top of block 1 -- and having burned our faces and abused our feet, we shuffled away into The Village -- not to lick our wounds but to cogitate on what we learned.

"Obviously, edgy is in, and until we see the actual show, which we will watch, it's hard to say if those selected were selected for being freaks or having talent and being characters as well. We came away with a slightly different direction, however.

Nicholas is a portrait artist, and having spent several hours in the Frick viewing Ingres and Rembrandt and Vermeer and Whistler, there is no doubt that Nicholas can paint as well as any of them. Really. To bring his skills into 'The Art Scene' he has to go a bit edgy. What and who does he know that others don't and want to know? How about some of the real characters living in the Everglades? I know and have interviewed quite a number of them, and books tell some of their stories. How about painting their portraits. . . .? And I won't give away the rest of the plan until we have put a proposal together for a grant and/or sponsorship.

"Too long, this story, but absolutely one of the best educations we have had.

"The rest of the weekend gave us glorious weather -- walks in Central Park, to Lincoln Center and dinner at Josephina's across from Lincoln Center, subway to Chinatown for Dim sum, World Trade Center site, a look at the line to take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (we refused to stand in line again), drive through the financial district to and then up the Empire State Building, B&H Photo, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, and in the evening a Park-view/horse and carriage view/people view seat in Sarabeth's restaurant. That's it. Added to The Frick on Friday . . . perfect!

"Reinvigorated, we are back at work in Naples . . . but love NYC."

Aside from being recognized, talented artists, Connie and Nicholas put body, heart and soul into creating and promoting their art. I had the pleasure of working one-to-one with Connie and Nicholas to develop a marketing plan for Art Expo New York this year. Thanks to their hard work, Nicholas was deemed "the darling of Art Expo." Take another moment to check out their work. You will see why they get attention and win awards. and

P.S. Robin Sagara, A.C.T.'s wizard behind the scenes created Nicholas' web site. Give her a quick call if your web site needs some love. The first 15 minutes are on us.

P.P.S. If you need some ideas for a time-out, check out Robin's latest blog.

We love to hear from you, so please e-mail your questions, comments and insights to or call me at 250-549-2615 Pacific Time.

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Thank you and have an artful day!

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