Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Other 50%

The Olympics are over and I heard a great sigh of relief from all those not wild, crazed, fawning, foaming fans like the Long Sufferin and other spouses.

But while the Games may be over the marketing has just begun. If you have a silk screen shop or a poster shop or an equipment shop, tomorrow will be like Christmas, all the fans will converge on you like Mongols sweeping across the steppes and like Attila before them they will burn, savage and pillage every credit card machine in their path.

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Misty May and Kerri Walsh and Team USA basketball will reap the whirlwind and the halls will be decked and the merchants will be merry and there will be no gloom in CommercaiLand for the Gold has come home…unless you are looking for the most prized trophy of all, a US Women’s Olympic Soccer Team jersey.

Sure if you make up one of the fifty percent of their fan base which happens to be female, lady, women type people then you can enjoy the victory and vicariously celebrate with Captain America and the Avengers in an official US Soccer number jersey with the name of your favorite on the back.

And the Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Abby Wambach jersey’s will be flying off the shelves so fast hotcakes will be taking notes.

But if you are the other fifty percent of the US Women’s Soccer Team’s fan base, the hairy-legged, knuckle-ragging, guy type person you are SOL.

Now you would have thought after the World Cup when the team came home beaten, but unbowed and the Capt and the Avengers swore they’d come home with gold or nothing, the marketers would have caught on, this is not a sport where women are the only fans. To quote the most distinguished literary magazine in the country, The New Yorker, “Boys love Alex Morgan, women love Megan Rapinoe and everyone loves Abby Wambach.” Maybe that wasn’t clear enough, everyone loves Abby Wambach. And that means half of the potential buyers for Abby Wambach jerseys are out in the cold.

Oh God he’s off on another harangue about women’s soccer, I heard you say, no, in fact I am haranguing about something altogether different, but like the marketer's hideous oversight I do not want you to be caught flat-footed and empty handed by focusing on such a tight market image that you ignore the other fifty percent.

Sure we all love the big, rich art shows or the cozy galleries where we can display our work and wait for the rich and shameless to come and buy.

But that just isn’t going to happen every day. Even the best, most gifted, talented in demand artists can only expect to be shown in shows and galleries some of the time and that leaves the rest of the time for them to get out there and hustle.

Have you done anything online?

His is the Cyber-age kids; if you aren’t online you are dragging your feet. You should at least have a web page, or a blog, maybe a show at an online gallery or a marketing source like Zazzle. The nice folks who live here in Coos Bay do an awful lot for us artists but they can’t support your whole art effort, you are going to need some one from outside the area.

That means getting the attention of someone outside the area. We are blessed to have Roseburg, Salem and Eugene just over the hill along Highway 5, so are you doing something in those locals?

Umpqua Valley Art Assn does as much for coastal art as it does for their own folks and you should be keeping an eye peeled for a chance to get your work over there where the nice tourists headed for Portland, Washington state and Canada can be lured into looking.

When’s the last time you stopped by and had a word or introduced yourself to Aleta? She is the boss babe but don’t let that intimidate you; you have to talk to the guy in the carpeted office sometime!

What have you been doing about the upcoming show in Florence? You do have your application ready, check made out and art packed and ready for delivery? Why the hell not? Celebrate The Arts isn’t small time stuff. It is a big-time, important show in an area where there are a lot of potential buyers and a lot of gullible tourists just waiting to be enticed by fantastic art if only they get a chance to see it.

Okay, okay I know the budget only goes so far, between buying supplies, getting the kids equipped and ready for school, (Hannibal thought getting those elephants over the Alps was a big deal? Try two kids in high school at the same time and in both sports and extra curricular activities and with piano lessons and Teakwando and girls scouts and choir and dating, only on weekends and after you’ve met the guy and parents and he has passed a blood test and put up a surety bond and then there’s the new cell phone cause you wouldn’t dare send them back to school with just a phone to make calls on), putting food on the table and prying the remote out of the hands of that lump on the sofa which hasn’t moved in two weeks watching the Olympics, there isn’t much left for planning and spending, but you have to do it. You cannot rest cause for sure the other guys, you know the Other Guys… they never sleep and they have plans and those plans do not include you getting their space in the shows or on the gallery walls so you better be on your toes.

Popular Photography has an online contest right now. The cost is moderate and there is no need to frame and mat your pictures, so it’s a good one for stretched budgets and frazzled family managers.

Have you been working on your basic figure studies like I asked you? Good cause there’s a contest just up the road in Astoria for nudes and even though they with very short-sighted and narrow-minded exclusivity have banned photography and photographic processes this is a good semi-local show that you should think about.

The CAM Biennial is coming up and there’s no jury so what’s holding you back? You bring it, they hang it that’s all there is to the deal and you just can’t beat that so why haven’t you gotten your entry ready?

You cannot allow your focus to be so narrow that you forget the other fifty percent.

Me, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that by 2015 and the next World Cup, Capt will still be playing, Megan the mighty will still be ripping’em up on the touchline and I can get an official team jersey!

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