This week I hope this you will indulge me a little while I tell you about a new group of artists and the work I have been doing, together with one of my sons, to start promoting them.
The group grew out of a couple of other groups I am involved with, one of which is an instructional art group and the other a membership support group. Both are amazing and I have learned loads from them both.
With the blessing of one of the groups’ leaders, I asked all the members if they wanted to be part of a UK collective who would come together for the purpose of putting on our own exhibitions. A private Facebook Group, ‘The Exhibition Collective’, was born and we held our first exhibition, which was a great success, at Denbies Vinery in February.
Initially, the main reason for setting up this group is cost. Every time we artists show our work to the public there is a cost to us. These vary from as little at £10 per piece up to £5,000 for an exhibition space within an established, recognised set up like The Affordable Art Fair or its overseas counterparts.
When you are just getting going and trying to make a name for yourself as an artist, paying such fees without any guaranteed sales is just impossible. You could take the view that we should all be patient, build up a following, and we will get there in the end but I figured a little nudge in the right direction with a group of artists I know are already destined for success, couldn’t be a bad thing.
Along came Covid-19 and everything stopped. All the exhibitions I was signed up to attend were cancelled, as were all the exhibitions I was trying to set up for the group and during those first few weeks when marketing savvy people were putting together online teaching, courses, exhibitions etc., I didn’t even think about the possibilities of doing anything, as I was dealing with some difficult family stuff.
So, one morning, I woke up, realised that I was missing a trick and asked everyone in the group if they were interested in me setting up an online gallery website and have them all take part. There was a good positive response and then the wheels started moving.
The first thing was to agree a name. Have you any idea how difficult it is to get 65 people to agree on a name? Well, it took a couple of weeks but in the end, we agreed on Ginger Cactus Art.
Why? Because trying to find a name which was not already taken by other art groups was almost impossible, so it made sense to go a bit daft. After all it works for Apple computers. Orange phones, Mail Chimp email service and Survey Monkey, so why not? And it is a name which people are more likely to remember.
Aside from that, as one lovely lady in the group commented, with Gin and Art in our name, how could we possibly go wrong? Personally, I was sold so a big thankyou goes to Lin C for coming up with the name.
Currently, we are setting up a Facebook page for people to like and follow, which already has 100 followers. I am very excited about that. An Instagram account is also up and running, we have an email address set up and we are building the website.
There are 65 people in the exhibitions collective and it would be wonderful if they would all sign up to be a part of this, but I know from past experience people will say yes until things get serious. Understandably, things come up, real life gets in the way but often it is when you ask them to make a payment that people back out. Yes, we do have to ask people to pay as the website hosting needs to be paid for; nothing is for free these days. The amount we are asking is minimal, really. I do not intend to make a profit.
At this stage it is just to cover the hosting costs. Later, when things really get going then I will probably increase the cost so that we have more money in the pot for advertising. We are not at that stage yet.
However, I do want the group to be all inclusive and have members operate as much as possible various areas. With that in mind I have seven people who have agreed to be administrators and help to promote the group to the world. We are going for world domination after all, lol.
The long-term plan is to build this online presence but also to have Ginger Cactus Art exhibitions, that is after all how this all started, with us running our own exhibitions. I have huge plans for the future. I am a visionary kind of person and have the knowledge and experience to set these type of things up, what I am not great at is the day to day running of things.
I think I am pretty typical of most artists I know in that I get bored with things, particularly if they are all running smoothly. I need a challenge to try something different, something new. In my vision I see huge banners with Ginger Cactus Art written all over them and hundreds and thousands of people coming to our exhibitions. But I am not a dreamer, I know these things take time and I am determined to get this important venture up and running to be successful.
So rather than writing a blog to help you all this month, I am asking you to do something for me, if you don’t mind.
If you are on Facebook or Instagram, please follow and like our posts as they appear. When the website is launched, please go and take a look, and share all of this with your family and friends.
Trying to make a living as an artist is not easy, as you probably already know, but with the help and support of friends and family, sharing and supporting artists, we can collectively make things better.
Thank you all in advance for your support. 😊
Instagram page:- https://www.instagram.com/gingercactusart/
Website details to come and will be displayed on the FB and IG pages when ready.